When you have a sales team in charge of bringing in the revenue for your business, your sales enablement efforts make a direct impact on your bottom line. Creating a sales plan is a great way to define your sales goals and the action steps required to achieve them. This can become the ultimate resource for your sales team, keeping reps on the same page and focused on the right priorities. By holding your sales reps and other responsible parties accountable with an effective sales plan, you can set up your team for success and inspire confidence in stakeholders.
What Is a Sales Plan?
A sales plan is the action plan that breaks down exactly how your business will achieve its sales goals. It first outlines your objectives and goals, including timelines for achieving certain measurable outcomes. A great sales plan also describes your target audience so your sales and marketing teams are clear on who your customers are. Then, it details strategies at every stage in the sales cycle, from lead generation to promotional offers.
Types of Sales Plans
Not every sales plan looks the same. Larger organizations may benefit from creating one sales plan for executives and stakeholders and a different plan for sales reps to use as a practical resource. Here are some of the types of sales plans you can create.
Sales Action Plan
A sales action plan is a standard sales plan complete with sales goals, strategies and tools for given time periods. It gives an overview of how team members across the company play a role in generating sales. It’s probably the best document to hand over to a stakeholder if you want to demonstrate how your company plans to grow.
Operational Sales Plan
An operational sales plan focuses on the administrative policies that will enable your sales team to increase conversions. Basically, the plan includes the action steps and protocols sales reps aren’t directly responsible for, but which they require in order to perform better. For example, an operational sales plan might include the payment methods accepted, the online checkout process and customer perks, such as free shipping on larger orders.
Territory Sales Plan
A territory sales plan is limited in scope to the action steps and tools required to sell to a specific segment of your audience. Creating territory sales plans for the different persona types in your target market enables your sales team to take a “divide and conquer” approach. When each sales rep specializes in understanding specific buyer types and selling directly to them, they can convert more sales.
Tactical Sales Plan
A sales action plan makes for great literature to present corporate executives, board members, investors or other company stakeholders. It’s written in a way that helps them understand the company’s forecast for the future, but it’s not necessarily presented in a way that helps your sales reps understand how to take action. Creating a tactical sales plan for your sales reps is a great way to give them all the practical strategies they need in an instructional format, without any information irrelevant to them.
Contingency Sales Plan
No matter how great your sales plan, every plan needs a plan B. A contingency sales plan defines completely different ways to generate sales outside of any tactics or strategies mentioned in the original sales plan. You might consider writing down action steps your staff should take in the event of a natural disaster, internet outage or a cyberattack. These plans might include, for example, steps for retrieving lost data, alternate ways to communicate and written policies regarding legal liability.
Elements of a Sales Plan
A comprehensive sales plan acts as a resource for all parties invested in your business’s sales outcomes, from your sales agents to your financial investors. Here are the elements you should include when crafting a sales plan so that you cover all bases.
Mission Statement and Sales Goals
Your company’s vision and overarching goals can be formalized in a mission statement, which should be at the core of all strategic planning. After starting with the mission statement, your sales plan should then outline measurable sales goals in dollar amounts with time restrictions. Make sure there are goals for each responsible party. For example, your sales team can rally around revenue goals, while executives and investors are interested in profit margins and market share.
Success in sales requires knowing your customers and speaking their “language.” Develop a profile for each customer type so you can tailor the buyer’s journey according to the customer profile each person fits best. Customer persona profiles should include demographics, interests, how they spend leisure time, which social media platforms they use most and which line of communication they prefer. Also, include exactly how your product or company solves a problem for this customer. These profiles can serve as cheat sheets for your sales reps.
Outline your tactical strategies for generating leads and converting sales based and include the research that supports it, such as relevant statistics on your industry and target consumer. These strategies are ultimately the action steps your team will take to achieve the company’s goals. Break them down into specialized areas within sales, such as lead generation strategies, customer loyalty strategies and sales enablement strategies.
Tools and Systems
Include the business software you’ll use to organize and track the information involved at every stage in the sales cycle. Include the CRM tool, any communication tools and performance tracking tools that will be used to help achieve your goals.
Detail how sales outcomes will be tracked and measured against sales goals. Include all the plans and tools involved in monitoring team member productivity and the efficacy of sales tactics used. Also, mention how the relevant personnel will receive performance feedback on their work.
Include an itemized sales budget that forecasts the expected overhead required to achieve your sales goals. Provide supporting ROI analyses to justify proposed expenditures like new software or freelance work.
Sales Plan Templates
Using available online resources, you can avoid starting from scratch and have a sales plan put together in no time. Grab a downloadable template and replace the example text with your own sales plan details. Here are some websites that provide free sales plan templates:
- FitSmallBusiness.com Sales Plan Templates
- Hubspot.com’s Sales Plan Template
- Close.com Sales Plan Template
A Solid Sales Plan Can Be a Roadmap to Success
Creating a sales plan for your business lets you turn ideas into action steps. It can become a resource for sales enablement and the perfect accountability to show stakeholders.