What is Sales Planning? How to Create a Sales Plan

Jay Fuchs

Published: December 06, 2023

Sales planning is a fundamental component of sound selling. After all, you can‘t structure an effective sales effort if you don’t have, well, structure . Everyone — from the top to the bottom of a sales org — benefits from having solid, actionable, thoughtfully organized sales plans in place.

how to create a sales plan; Sales team creating a sales plan for the upcoming quarter

This kind of planning offers clarity and direction for your sales team — covering everything from the prospects you‘re trying to reach to the goals you’re trying to hit to the insight you're trying to deliver on.

But putting together one of these plans isn‘t always straightforward, so to help you out, I’ve compiled this detailed guide to sales planning — including expert-backed insight and examples — that will ensure your next sales plan is fundamentally sound and effective.

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In this post, we'll cover:

What is a sales plan?

Sales planning process.

  • What goes in a sales plan template?

How to Write a Sales Plan

Tips for creating an effective sales plan, sales plan examples, strategic sales plan examples.

A sales plan lays out your objectives, high-level tactics, target audience, and potential obstacles. It's like a traditional business plan but focuses specifically on your sales strategy. A business plan lays out your goals — a sales plan describes exactly how you'll make those happen.

Sales plans often include information about the business's target customers, revenue goals, team structure, and the strategies and resources necessary for achieving its targets.

what is a sales plan in a business plan

Free Sales Plan Template

Outline your company's sales strategy in one simple, coherent sales plan.

  • Target Market
  • Prospecting Strategy

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

What are the goals of an effective sales plan?

what is a sales plan in a business plan

And if (or more likely when ) those goals change over time, you need to regularly communicate those shifts and the strategic adjustments that come with them to your team.

Your sales strategy keeps your sales process productive — it offers the actionable steps your reps can take to deliver on your vision and realize the goals you set. So naturally, you need to communicate it effectively. A sales plan offers a solid resource for that.

For instance, your sales org might notice that your SDRs are posting lackluster cold call conversion rates. In turn, you might want to have them focus primarily on email outreach, or you could experiment with new sales messaging on calls.

Regardless of how you want to approach the situation, a thoughtfully structured sales plan will give both you and your reps a high-level perspective that would inform more cohesive, effective efforts across the team.

An effective sales org is a machine — one where each part has a specific function that serves a specific purpose that needs to be executed in a specific fashion. That's why everyone who comprises that org needs to have a clear understanding of how they specifically play into the company's broader sales strategy.

Outlining roles and responsibilities while sales planning lends itself to more efficient task delegation, improved collaboration, overlap reduction, and increased accountability. All of which amount to more streamlined, smooth, successful sales efforts.

Sales planning can set the framework for gauging how well your team is delivering on your sales strategy. It can inform the benchmarks and milestones reps can use to see how their performance stacks up against your goals and expectations.

It also gives sales leadership a holistic view of how well a sales org is functioning as a whole — giving them the necessary perspective to understand whether they have the right people and tools in place to be as successful as possible.

Sales planning isn‘t (and shouldn’t) be limited to the actual sales plan document it produces. If that document is going to have any substance or practical value, it needs to be the byproduct of a thorough, well-informed, high-level strategy.

When sales planning, you have some key steps you need to cover — including:

  • Gather sales data and search for trends.
  • Define your objectives.
  • Determine metrics for success.
  • Assess the current situation.
  • Start sales forecasting.
  • Identify gaps.
  • Ideate new initiatives.
  • Involve stakeholders.
  • Outline action items.

When putting this list together, I consulted  Zach Drollinger — Senior Director of Sales at edtech provider Coursedog — to ensure the examples detailed below are sound and accurate.

Step 1: Gather sales data and search for trends.

To plan for the present and future, your company needs to look to the past. What did sales look like during the previous year? What about the last five years? Using this information can help you identify trends in your industry. While it's not foolproof, it helps establish a foundation for your sales planning process.

For the sake of example, let‘s say that I’m a new sales director for an edtech company that sells curriculum planning software to higher education institutions. My vertical is community colleges, and my territory is the East Coast.

Once I assume this new role, I‘m going to want to gather as much context as possible about my vertical and how my company has approached it historically. I would pull information about how we’ve sold to this vertical.

How much new business have we closed within it in the past five years? How does that compare to how we perform with other kinds of institutions? Are we seeing significant churn from these customers?

I would also want to get context about the general needs, interests, and pain points of the kinds of institutions I‘m selling to. I’d look for insight into figures like degree velocity, staff retention, and enrollment.

Ultimately, I would get a comprehensive perspective on my sales process — a thorough understanding of where I stand and what my prospects are dealing with. That will ensure that I can deliver on the next step as effectively as possible.

Step 2: Define your objectives.

How do you know your business is doing well if you have no goals? As you can tell from its placement on this list, defining your goals and objectives is one of the first steps you should take in your sales planning process. Once you have them defined, you can move forward with executing them.

To extend the example from the previous step, I would leverage the context I gathered through the research I conducted about both my and my prospect's circumstances. I would start setting both broader goals and more granular operational objectives .

For instance, I might want to set a goal of increasing sales revenue from my vertical. From there, I would start putting together the kind of specific objectives that will facilitate that process — like connecting with administrators from at least 30 community colleges, booking demos with at least 10 schools, and successfully closing at least five institutions.

Obviously, those steps represent a streamlined (and unrealistically straightforward) sales process, but you get the idea — I would set a concrete goal, supplemented by SMART objectives , that will serve as a solid reference point for my org's efforts as the sales process progresses.

Step 3: Determine metrics for success.

Every business is different. One thing we can all agree on is that you need metrics for success. These metrics are key performance indicators (KPIs). What are you going to use to determine if your business is successful? KPIs differ based on your medium, but standard metrics are gross profit margins, return on investment (ROI), daily web traffic users, conversion rate, and more.

I kind of covered this step in the previous example, but it still warrants a bit more elaboration. The “M” in SMART goals (“measurable”) is there for a reason. You can‘t tell if your efforts were successful if you don’t know what “successful” actually means.

The edtech sales example I‘ve been running with revolves mostly around me assuming ownership of an existing vertical and getting more out of it. So it’s fair to assume that sales growth rate — the increase or decrease of sales revenue in a given period, typically expressed as a percentage — would be an effective way to gauge success.

I might want to structure my goals and objectives around a sales growth rate of 20% Y/Y within my vertical. I would make sure my org was familiar with that figure and offer some context about what it would take to reach it — namely, how many institutions we would need to close and retain.

Step 4: Assess the current situation.

How is your business fairing right now? This information is relevant to determining how your current situation holds up to the goals and objectives you set during step two. What are your roadblocks? What are your strengths? Create a list of the obstacles hindering your success. Identify the assets you can use as an advantage. These factors will guide you as you build your sales plan.

Continuing the edtech example, I would use the historical context I gathered and the objectives I set to frame how I look at my current circumstances. I might start by considering my goal of increasing revenue by 20% Y/Y. In that case, I would look at the company's retention figures — ideally, that would give me a sense of whether that needs to be a major area of focus.

I would also try to pin down trends in the colleges that we've already closed — are there any pain points we consistently sell on? I might take a closer look at how we demo to see if we might be glossing over key elements of our value proposition. Maybe, I would use conversation intelligence to get a better sense of how reps are handling their calls.

Ultimately, I would try to identify why we're performing the way we are, the inefficiencies that might be resulting from our current strategy, and how we can best set ourselves up to sell as effectively as possible.

Step 5: Start sales forecasting.

Sales forecasting is an in-depth report that predicts what a salesperson, team, or company will sell weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. While it is finicky, it can help your company make better decisions when hiring, budgeting, prospecting, and setting goals.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, economics has become less predictable. Claire Fenton , the owner of StrActGro — a professional training and coaching company — states, “Many economic forecasters won't predict beyond three months at a time.” This makes sales forecasting difficult. However, there are tools at your disposal to create accurate sales forecasts .

In our edtech example, I would approach this step by trying to estimate how my sales org is going to fare with the specific vertical we‘re pursuing in the time window we’ve allotted.

The method I decide to go with will depend on factors like how many concrete opportunities we have lined up — in addition to elements like the kind of historical data we have handy, how the reps working these deals tend to perform, and the degree of insight we have about our potential customers.

Let's say I consider those factors and decide to run something called a multivariable analysis. In that case, I could start by taking stock of the opportunities my reps have lined up. Then, I could look at the reps working those deals, their typical win rates, and the time they have to close — among other factors.

For instance, I might calculate that a rep working with a particularly large institution has a 50% chance of closing within the window we‘ve allotted. Using that insight, we could attribute 50% of the potential deal size to our forecast — we’d repeat that process with all of the opportunities in question and ideally get a solid sense of the revenue we can expect to generate in this window.

Step 6: Identify gaps.

When identifying gaps in your business, consider what your company needs now and what you might need in the future. First, identify the skills you feel your employees need to reach your goal. Second, evaluate the skills of your current employees. Once you have this information, you can train employees or hire new ones to fill the gaps.

Continuing the edtech example, let‘s say my forecast turned up results that weren’t in keeping with what we need to reach our goals. If that were the case, I would take a holistic look at our process, operations, and resources to pin down inefficiencies or areas for improvement.

In my search, I find that our sales content and marketing collateral are dated — with case studies that don‘t cover our product’s newest and most relevant features. I also might see that our reps don‘t seem to have too much trouble booking demos, but the demos themselves aren’t converting due to a lack of training and inconsistent messaging.

And finally, I find that a lack of alignment with marketing has prospects focusing on unrealistic outcomes our sales team can‘t deliver on. Once I’ve identified those gaps, I would start to hone in on ways to remedy those issues and improve those elements.

Step 7: Ideate new initiatives.

Many industry trends are cyclical. They phase in and out of “style.” As you build your sales plan, ideate new initiatives based on opportunities you may have passed on in previous years.

If your business exclusively focused on word-of-mouth and social media marketing in the past, consider adding webinars or special promotions to your plan.

In the edtech example we've been running with, I would likely ideate initiatives based on the gaps I identified in the previous step. I would start a push to ensure that our sales content and marketing collateral are up-to-date and impressive.

I would also consider new training programs to ensure that our coaching infrastructure is prioritizing how to conduct effective demos. Finally, I would start to work on a plan with marketing to ensure our messaging is aligned with theirs — so we can make sure prospects' expectations are realistic and effective.

One way or another, I would take the gaps I found and find concrete, actionable ways to fill them. I would make sure that these initiatives aren't abstract. Just saying, " We're going to be better at demos," isn‘t a plan — it’s a sentiment, and sentiments don't translate to hard sales.

Step 8: Involve stakeholders.

Stakeholders are individuals, groups, or organizations with a vested interest in your company. They are typically investors, employees, or customers and often have deciding power in your business. Towards the end of your sales planning process, involve stakeholders from departments that affect your outcomes, such as marketing and product. It leads to an efficient and actionable sales planning process.

This step is sort of an extension of the previous two — once I‘ve identified the key issues and roadblocks obstructing my edtech startup’s sales org, I would start identifying the right people to fulfill the necessary initiatives I've put together.

In this example, I would tap some stakeholders in charge of our sales content and marketing collateral to produce newer, more relevant case studies and whitepapers we can pass along to the institutions we're working with.

I would also go to middle management and either offer more direction for coaching on demos or bring in a third-party training service to offer more focused, professional insight on the issue.

Finally, I would connect with marketing leadership to align on the benefits and outcomes we generally stress when pitching the schools we sell to. That way, we can ensure that the institutions we're connecting with have realistic expectations of our product or service that we can speak to more clearly and effectively.

Step 9: Outline action items.

Once you have implemented this strategy to create your sales planning process, the final step is outlining your action items. Using your company's capacity and quota numbers, build a list of steps that take you through the sales process. Examples of action items are writing a sales call script, identifying industry competitors, or strategizing new incentives or perks.

In our edtech example, some key action items might be:

  • Revamp our prospecting strategy via more involved coaching and re-tooled sales messaging.
  • Revamp administrator and college dean buyer personas.
  • Conduct new trainings on demoing our software.
  • See our new prospecting strategy from ideation to execution.
  • Align with our sales enablement stakeholders for new, more relevant case studies and whitepapers.

Obviously, that list isn‘t exhaustive — but those are still the kinds of steps we would need to clarify and take to structure a more effective high-level strategy to produce different (ideally much better) results than we’ve been seeing.

One thing to keep in mind is that sales planning shouldn't end with creating the document.

You‘ll want to reiterate this process every year to maintain your organization's sales excellence.

Now that you‘re committed to the sales planning process, let's dive into the written execution component of sales planning.

Featured Resource: Sales Plan Template

HubSpot's Sales Plan Template: 10 Section Prompts for Outlining Your Sales Plan

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Blog Business How to Create a Sales Plan: Strategy, Examples and Templates

How to Create a Sales Plan: Strategy, Examples and Templates

Written by: Aditya Rana Mar 25, 2024

how to create a sales plan: strategy, examples, templates

The difference between a company struggling to drive sales and one that’s hitting home runs often boils down to a well-crafted sales plan.

Without knowing how to write a sales plan , your sales reps will lack vision, not understand the market, and be ineffective at engaging potential customers.

Most businesses fail in sales planning because they don’t focus on their unique value. If you’re struggling with sales, here’s what you need to do: define your goal(s), create customer personas, and create an action plan for success.

One of the best ways to organize this information in one place is to use sales planning templates . In this post, I’ll show you how to write a sales plan (…with plenty of template examples included of course!).

Click to jump ahead:

What is a sales plan?

Benefits of a sales plan, how to create a sales plan, sales plan example, sales plan templates.

A sales plan is a strategic document that outlines how a business plans to convert leads into sales. It typically details the target market, customer profile, and actionable steps that must be taken to achieve revenue targets.

Here’s a great example of a sales plan that includes all these elements neatly packed into one document.

Colorful Food Retailer Sales Action Plan

Every company needs a sales plan, but have you ever wondered why?

Why should businesses invest time and resources in creating sales plan when they could…well…be focusing on sales?

Sales plans are worth it because they tell sales employees what to do.

Without a sales plan, your sales efforts will end up becoming a disorganized mess. Let’s explore the benefits of sales plans in detail.

Help you identify and target the right market

A sales plan helps you figure out the target market that’s most likely to be responsive to your messaging.

I mean do you really want to waste your time trying to sell to someone who has no need for your product or isn’t interested in your offering?

But if you know who your customer is, you can target their pain points.

Cream Purple Customer Range Pictograms Charts

Help you set goals

All great sales plans require you to set goals that are actually attainable and budgeted for.

Without goals, your sales team essentially operates in the dark unsure of what success looks like and how to achieve it.

One of the best ways to set goals is by conducting a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) to understand the market landscape.

Sales SWOT Analysis

Help you forecast sales

Since sales plans require you to study historical sales data , you have the ability to understand trends, seasonality, and customer buying patterns.

This information can be used to accurately forecast future sales performance.

And when you chart it out visually like in this example, you can make data-driven decisions to optimize your sales strategy.

Sales Projections Line Chart

Help you identify risks

Because sales plans require you to study the market, you’ll be able to uncover risks such as market saturation, competitors, and shifting customer needs.

With this knowledge, you have the ability to be flexible in your approach.

Besides market risks, sales plans also help you pinpoint risks within your company such as a lack of qualified leads or unclear communication between departments.

Risk Management Plan Templates

Improve customer service

It may sound counterintuitive but creating a sales plan also actually improves your customer service.

Researching and trying to understand customer needs means new insights that you can share with the customer service team which allows them to tailor their approach.

You’ll also be able to train sales service reps to anticipate questions and concerns so that they can communicate effectively.

Increases sales efficiency

Sales plans help standardize sales tactics and ensure sales reps follow the same best practices to reduce inconsistencies and improve effectiveness.

One of the best ways to standardize practices is to use a flowchart like in this example to make sure everyone knows what to do when facing a decision.

Sales Flowchart

Increases your profits

Sales plans generally guarantee a boost in profits because it allows sales team to laser-focus on high-value opportunities instead of being headless chickens.

Reducing wasted effort and a higher frequency of closed deals is a win in my book any day.

One of the best ways to measure changes in profits is to use a simple template to review performance like in this example.

Free Bar Graph Template

Help you understand customer needs

Contrary to what you might think, sales plans aren’t just about selling but also about understanding customers at a deeper level.

The process of creating a plan forces you to analyze customer data, buying habits, and pain points, all of which will help you understand what makes your customers tick and build trust and loyalty.

Here’s a great example of a customer persona you can edit to include in your sales plan.

Purple Persona Guide Report

A sales plan is a document that helps you maximize profitability by identifying valuable segments and outlining strategies to influence customer behavior.

Common elements most sales plans include:

  • Sales goals : Information on revenue, market share, and more.
  • Sales strategy: Information on how to reach potential customers and convert them.
  • Target audience: Information on ideal customers and their needs.
  • Metrics : Methods to track progress.
  • Resources :  Tools, budget, and personnel needed to achieve sales goals.

Let’s take an in-depth look at how to create a sales plan.

( Note : You don’t need to include each of these points in your sales plan but I recommend you cover most of them to build a plan that’s well-rounded).

Define your business mission and positioning

Before you jump into tactics, build a strong foundation by defining your company’s mission and positioning.

Here’s why this step is a must-do:

  • Your mission statement defines your company’s purpose and values and gives your sales team and customers something to relate to.
  • Your positioning statement defines how your product or service meets a specific need and sets you apart from the competition.

Trying to sell without any alignment to company values will lead to inconsistent messaging and damage your brand reputation.

Here’s a great example of a sales plan template you can customize with your own brand’s mission and positioning statements.

Dark Sales Action Plan

Define your target market

Unless you think you can sell to every person possible, you’ll need to define your ideal target market.

Study your customer base and ask questions like: do most of the customers belong to a specific industry? Or do they all face the same pain point?

Also, keep in mind that target market can change over time due to changes in your product, pricing, or factors out of your control, so it’s important to review and update your target market frequently.

Market Infographic

Understand your target customers

This step often gets mixed with the previous one, so pay close attention.

Your target customers are those who your business wants to target because they’re most likely to make a purchase.

You can figure out who your target customers are by creating customer profiles by breaking down your target market into smaller groups based on geography, behavior, demography, and more.

Here’s a great sales plan template where you can edit in your own customer persona.

Food Customer Sales Action Plan

When making your buyer personas, make sure you answer the following questions.

  • Motivations and challenges:  What are customer pain points? What drives purchasing decisions?
  • Behaviors and preferences:  How do customers research products? What communication channels do they prefer?
  • Goals and aspirations:  What are your prospective customers trying to achieve? How can your product or service help them get there?

Define sales objectives and goals

Setting clear, measurable goals gives you a method to measure performance of your sales strategies.

More importantly though, they give your sales team targets to aim for which then allows them to work in a structured and focused manner.

Your sale goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This is to make sure they’re realistically achievable within a set timeframe.

Here’s a comparison of good sales goal setting vs a bad one.

  • ✅Drive $100,000 in sales of product X by Y date using Z tactics
  • ❌ Increase overall sales in each product line

You can organize this information using a template like in this example, especially if you have multiple product lines.

Vintage Food Retailer Sales Action Plan

Define your value proposition

Your value proposition is a concise statement that explains why a customer should choose your product or service over the competition.

Here’s an example of a value statement:

“For busy small business owners, we provide a user-friendly accounting software that saves you time and money, allowing you to focus on growing your business.”

Here are some tips on defining your value proposition:

  • Identify customer needs:  What are the core challenges and pain points your ideal customer faces? Understanding their needs allows you to position your offering as the solution.
  • Highlight your unique benefits:  What sets your product or service apart? Focus on benefits you deliver that address the customer’s needs.
  • Quantify the value:  When possible, quantify the value you offer. Can you demonstrate a cost savings, increased efficiency, or improved outcomes?

Map out the customer journey

Unless you’re extremely lucky, no one is going to purchase from you during the first interaction.

That’s why it’s crucial for you to know the steps a customer takes from initial awareness to purchase. Mapping out their journey allows you to personalize messaging and influence behavior.

Here are some tips on how to create a customer journey map:

  • Identify the stages:  Break down the journey into distinct stages, such as awareness, consideration, decision, and post-purchase.
  • Define touchpoints: Pinpoint the different touchpoints where your customer interacts with your brand (example: website, social media, customer reviews).
  • Understand customer needs at each stage: What information are they looking for at each stage? What are their concerns and motivations?
  • Identify opportunities to engage:  Identify opportunities to engage with your potential customers and move them along the buying journey.

Want some help creating customer journeys?

This customer journey map template is an excellent way to bring customer journeys to life.

Purchase Customer Journey Map

Gather existing sales data

This step involves collecting and analyzing all available data on past sales performance.

This data is critical in helping you spot trends, patterns, and areas for improvement in your sales operations.

Blank 5 Column Chart Template

Perform sales forecasting

Sales forecasting is the practice of estimating future sales which can be presented as a report highlighting expected sales volume weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Though not always 100% accurate, sales forecasting is key to writing sales plans because it’ll provide you with a clear picture of the ground reality which leads to better decisions on budgeting.

Here’s a template you can use to perform sales forecasting to makes the sales planning process effective.

Monthly Sales Report

Define your sales KPIs

KPIs are a fancy way of saying that you need to set metrics to track effectiveness of your sales strategy and team’s performance.

Some example KPIs you can include in sales plans are:

  • Number of sales
  • Sales revenue
  • Average deal size

This sales report template is a great example of how you can include KPIs in your meetings to test performance and adjust strategy.

Weekly Sales Report

Identify gaps in the sales process

This step is all about analyzing your current sales process to figure out gaps and/or potential obstacles preventing you from achieving goals.

When you identify a gap, brainstorm potential solutions so that you can create a specific action plan.

Understand the sales stages

When writing a sales plan, make sure you cover each stage of the sales cycle. If you’re unsure of what the sales stages are, here’s a quick recap.


This is the foundation of the sales process where you identify potential customers who might be a good fit for your product or service.


Once you have a list of prospects, you need to research their needs, challenges, and buying habits.

This is all about how you contact and communicate with prospects.


This section is your opportunity to showcase the value proposition of your product or service. Tailor your presentation to address the prospect’s specific needs and demonstrate how your offering can solve their problems.

Handling objections

Identify common objections your sales team might encounter related to price, features, competition, or need. Develop clear and concise responses to address these concerns proactively.

Equip your sales team with effective closing techniques to secure commitments from prospects who are interested but might hesitate.

Plan your follow-up strategy based on the prospect’s decision timeline and the stage of the sales cycle. For longer timelines, periodic updates and information sharing through digital sales rooms can maintain engagement and provide valuable resources conveniently.

Organize the sales team

Organizing the sales team entails defining roles and responsibilities clearly to cover all aspects of the sales process effectively.

This might involve segmenting the team based on product lines, customer segments, or territories.

Here’s an example of how it might look:

Sarah — Sales Director — will lead the sales team, set overall strategy, goals and direction. Michael and Jessica — Business Development Executives — will focus on prospecting new leads. They will research potential customers, identify those who might be a good fit for the product, and qualify leads by gathering information and assessing their needs. William — Sales Development Manager — will manage the business development executives and ensuring they follow best practices. Chris and Lisa — Account Executives — will handle qualified leads. They build relationships with potential customers, present product demos, address objections, and close deals.

Using an org chart like in this example is a great way to visualize this information.

Simple Corporate Organizational Chart

Outline the use of sales tools

Sales tools play a crucial role in streamlining the sales process and enhancing productivity.

Make sure you outline the tools your team will use, how they fit into different stages of the sales process, and any training required to maximize their utility.

This ensures that your team has the resources needed to engage effectively with prospects and customers.

Set the budget

Setting the budget involves allocating resources efficiently across various sales activities to achieve your objectives without overspending.

This includes expenses related to personnel, sales tools, marketing initiatives, travel, and customer entertainment.

A well-planned budget balances investment in growth opportunities with the overall financial health of the business.

Create a sales strategy and action plan

Now that you’ve laid the groundwork of what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it, it’s time to bring it all together into a single view.

Create an action plan which not includes your strategy but also concrete steps.

Your action plan should outlines specific activities for each stage of the sales funnel from prospecting (lead generation channels) to closing (structured process and follow-up strategy with timelines) and everything in between.

Vibrant Sales Action Plan

Performance and results measurement

Last but not least, your sales plan should present a clear and quantifiable means to track the effectiveness of sales activities.

How are you going to measure outcomes against predefined targets?

Performance measurement is key because it builds accountability and allows you to always have a pulse on customer behavior, preferences, and trends that’ll help you make decisions based on data.

If you’ve made it this far, give yourself a pat! I’ve covered A LOT on elements that you can include in a sales plan.

However, in most cases, you don’t always need to go that in-depth and instead should aim for brevity so that anyone in your team can stay up-to-date without having to worry about the nitty gritty details.

Here’s a sales plan example that’s brief but highly effective. It includes a summary of all you need in one document, a target market analysis, a customer profile, and an action plan.

Red Customer Sales Action Plan

Want even more sales plan templates for design inspiration or to customize and make your own?

This 30-60-90 day sales plan provides a great way to organize goals, priorities, performance goals, and metrics of success over three three timeframes: first 30 days, first 60 days, and first 90 days.

30 60 90 Day Plan Template

This sales plan is structured around key components that drive the sales process: objectives, strategies, tactics, and key metrics. It emphasizes a multi-channel approach to sales,, with a strong focus on measuring performance through metrics.

Territory Sales Plan Template

This sales roadmap is a great way to visualize activities such as defining strategy and generating leads to more advanced steps.

Blue and Orange Sales Roadmap

Conclusion: Save time on designing and updating sales plans and focus on growing your business with Venngage templates

Though there’s no secret formula for effective sales plan design, it’s good practice to include the basics or information on the target market, a customer persona, and a strategy on how you plan to sell.

What you definitely shouldn’t do is write a sales plan and then never look at it again.

And trust me, I know how time-consuming and frustrating it can be to edit your sales plan especially if you don’t have design skills. One small change might make the icons or numbers go all out of whack.

That’s why I recommend customizing our sales plan templates instead so that you can focus your energy on strategy.

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How to Create a Sales Plan: Tips, Examples & Free Sales Plan Template

How to Create a Sales Plan: Tips, Examples & Free Sales Plan Template

Tactics and strategies are great. But when you create a sales plan, you set a clear path to success, with each step mapped out ahead of you.

The Internet is full of people who will tell you all about the success they’ve found from their strategies, whether it's personalizing a newsletter subject line or changing the color of the 'Buy Now' button.

But, news flash—these tips and tricks aren’t actual sales strategies .

To create real, lasting growth for you and your company, you need to create your own grand strategy. And that starts with a solid sales plan .

So, what’s your plan? How do you build it (and stick to it)?

We’re about to take a deep dive into sales plans. By the end of this guide, you’ll be completely equipped to win the fight for business growth. And we can't recommend it enough—grab our free sales plan template here in the Sales Success Kit today:


What is a Sales Plan? (And What Makes for Successful Sales Planning?)

Armed with the information you'll compile within your sales plan, you can quickly identify any upcoming problems, sales droughts, or opportunities—and then do something about them.

If done correctly, the right sales plan template empowers you to spend even more time growing and developing your business, rather than responding reactively to the day-to-day developments in sales.

Sound exciting? Let’s jump right in.

Download Your Free Sales Plan Templates Today

Want to build your own sales plan template that'll clarify your business plan and accelerate your growth? Grab the Sales Success Kit , including...

...and more to help you set up strategic sales planning and quotas for your team.

Want to stand out in the competitive market? Explore the insights of challenger selling .

What’s in a Sales Plan? 6 Elements Every Sales Plan Needs

In basic terms, a sales plan template includes:

  • Sales forecasting and goal-setting
  • Market and customer research
  • Prospecting and partnerships

Each part of the sales plan naturally works itself into the next, starting with your high-level goals, then considering market factors, and finally looking at who you know, and how to find more prospects to help hit your sales goals .

Here are the key elements to include in your plan:

1. Mission Statement

What gets your sales reps out of bed in the morning? What’s the clear mission that pushes your team to keep fighting for that win?

Your mission statement is a concise statement of the ‘big picture’—the main idea and goal you want to achieve. Think about your company mission and how the sales team forms part of that overarching goal.

2. Sales Goals and Revenue Targets

A sales plan must include achievable sales goals and the targets your sales reps will be working to reach. Use previous years' results to tell you what's reasonably possible for your team to do. Include specific metrics and KPIs , how these are performing currently, and what you plan to do to improve them.

This may also include information about your product’s pricing , planned discounts, and how your team can focus on the right customers to get the most revenue possible. Link these sales goals to the business goals your company is working to achieve.

3. Analysis of the Target Market

Your plan should clearly identify your ideal customer profile and information about the target market and demographic you plan to sell to. Are you breaking into a new market? Are you targeting small business or enterprise customers ? Give a concise description of your target audience and the stakeholders you’ll need to sell to.

4. Sales Strategy Overview and Methods to Reach Target Customers

This should include a brief overview of the customer journey , pain points , and how your salespeople will engage and follow up with new prospects throughout their journey to purchase. You'll likely outline specific sales activities you'll focus on, such as improving referral numbers, testing new cold-calling email strategies, or dipping your toe in social selling.

You may also include information about the marketing strategy and lead generation methods used to gather new leads and how sales managers will support the team.

5. Use of Resources and Sales Tools

How much does it cost your team to close a new deal? What is your budget for the sales team, or for sales tools ?

Inside your plan, list the resources you have available to you, and how you plan to use them during the year. This includes monetary resources, as well as human resources.

Next, show how your resources will be used. For example, how much will you spend on sales tools? Which CRM software is your team depending on? Briefly explain how you plan to use each tool and why you’ve allocated resources in that way.

6. Sales Team Structure

The structure of your sales team includes which reps are available during what times of the year, their specialties and skills, and where they focus in the sales process .

Also, include information about the sales managers, their teams, and the incentives you offer your reps.

The Benefits of Sales Planning: Why You Need a Sales Plan

Creating a sales plan from scratch can be daunting, even with the right sales planning template. So, why should you have your sales strategy written down and ready to act on?

Let’s talk about the benefits of sales planning to attract new business and grow your market share.

Clear, Time-Bound Goals Help You Reach Revenue Targets

There’s a reason they say, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

If you want your sales team to execute on and accomplish your sales goals, you need to have a plan in place. When targets are linked to specific timeframes and actions, your whole team will see how their individual work is involved in reaching your sales goals.

Prioritize Time and Resources

Without a specific action plan in place , your team won’t be able to prioritize their time with the right sales tactics and strategies to hit their targets.

With a clear outline of the tactics that bring the most significant ROI for your team, each rep can get the best results for the time they spend selling.

Clear Action Plan to Reach Your Goals

With an action plan in place, each team member knows what they’re supposed to be doing, and why they’re doing it. This keeps them motivated and helps them see how their individual efforts make a difference.

4 Types of Sales Plans (How to Choose Which Planning Style is Right for Your Sales Team)

It’s difficult to templatize a good sales plan since every plan is unique to the business and team it applies to. So, what are some examples of the types of sales plans you might create, and how can you choose between them?

  • Revenue-based sales plan: If you’re aiming for a specific revenue goal, this type of sales plan will be focused on in-depth sales forecasting and specific actions to improve conversion rates and close more deals.
  • Sales plan based on the target market: If you’re selling to vastly different markets, you may want to create a different sales plan based on the market you’re targeting. For example, your sales plan for enterprise companies would differ from your sales plan for selling to SMBs.
  • Sales goals plan: A plan that’s focused on goals (other than revenue) may include hiring and onboarding, sales training plans, or plans to implement a new type of sales activity into your process.
  • New product sales plan: When launching a new product, it’s a good idea to develop a specific business plan around its launch and continued promotion. This plan may include finding and contacting strategic partners, building a unique value prop in the market, and creating new sales enablement content for the team to use when selling this product. This type of sales plan can also apply to launching new features in your SaaS product.

How to Choose the Right Sales Planning Style

Ultimately, this will depend on factors such as:

  • Your revenue goals
  • The resources at your disposal
  • Your sales team’s abilities and bandwidth
  • Your personal commitment to seeing this plan through

When you’ve determined who is involved in sales planning, how committed they are, and the resources you can use to make this plan happen, you can start building your own sales plan.

9 Steps to Create a Sales Plan to 10x Your Sales Team’s Results

It may seem like a lot of work to develop a sales plan at this point. But once you do, you’ll be in a place to take your sales (and brand) to the next level.

Let’s break down this process, step-by-step, so you can start achieving greater results.

1. Define Your Sales Goals and Milestones

With a sales plan, we begin at the end: an end goal.

Start by choosing the sales metrics that matter most to your overall business. This could be:

  • Annual or monthly recurring revenue (ARR or MRR)
  • Retention or churn rates
  • Average conversion time
  • Average conversion rate
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV)

It doesn’t matter so much which metric you choose —the important point is that it can tell you whether your work has succeeded.

Next, look at last year’s forecast and results . Were you being realistic? How did sales revenue increase annually? How does that compare your company to the industry standards? Use this information to determine what realistically you can bring in based on the size of the market, your company goals, and the experience and resources available to your sales team .

After setting clear sales goals, it’s time to set milestones . This involves breaking that big number down into smaller expectations with strict deadlines. These should challenge and motivate your sales team , without being so difficult they kill morale.

Lean on your sales team during this process. After all, they’re in the trenches with you and probably have the best knowledge about your customers. Learn about what they do during the workweek to close deals. Ask how much they’re currently doing, and how much bandwidth they have to do more. This will give you a real, frontline take on what goals and milestones to set in your sales plan template.

Finally, create specific targets with clear deadlines . For example, to achieve a sales goal of increasing revenue by 15 percent YOY, you might set the milestone of increasing your customer base by 20 percent, or increasing sales by 50% for a specific product.

Brought together, these milestones inform and support your overall sales plan, giving you a clear, actionable workflow to hit your overall goals for the year.

2. Clearly Define Your Target Market or Niche

You need to know the market you’re in and the niche you’re going to occupy so you can properly position your business for growth.

What’s a business niche? It’s more than just what your business specializes in—a niche is the space your business occupies with your products, content, company culture, branding, and message. It’s how people identify with you and search you out over the competition.

As serial entrepreneur Jason Zook explains: “ When you try to create something for everyone, you end up creating something for no one. ”

Don’t do that.

Instead, start by looking at a niche and asking yourself these questions:

  • How big is the market?
  • Is there a built-in demand for what you're selling?
  • What’s your current market position?
  • Who are your competitors? What are their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?

If you’re stuck, start by going back to your own strengths . List out your strongest interests and passions. Pick a field where the odds are already in your favor—where you have a proven track record, more expertise to offer, an extensive contact base, and people who can provide you with intros.

These kinds of strategic advantages will help you clarify your buyer persona and amplify the results of your planning.

Start with one product in one niche—you can always branch out to a complementary niche later. Sell beautiful, handcrafted tea cups? How about a booming doily business? Or customizable teaspoons?

A niche doesn’t limit you. It focuses you.

3. Understand Your Target Customers

Chasing the wrong customers will only waste your time and money, so don't allow them to sneak into your sales plan.

Your best customers are the ones that are successful with your product and see the ROI of it. Talk to them, and find out what they have in common.

While defining ideal customers depends on your company and market, here are some basic characteristics you’ll want to identify:

  • Company size (number of employees, number of customers, yearly revenue)
  • Size of the relevant department
  • Geographical information
  • Job title of your POC
  • Buying process
  • The goal they’re trying to achieve with your product or service

Also, don’t forget to think about whether they will be a good ‘fit’. If this is a long-term relationship you’re developing rather than a one-night stand, you want to ensure you speak the same language and share a similar culture and vision.

Use this information to build out an ideal customer profile . This fictitious organization gets significant value from using your product/service and provides significant value to your company. A customer profile helps you qualify leads and disqualify bad-fit customers before you waste time trying to sell to them.

Once you know the type of company you want to target with your sales team, it’s time to get inside their head. Start by hanging out where they hang out:

  • Are they on social media? What’s their network of choice?
  • Are they members of any Facebook or LinkedIn groups?
  • Can you answer industry questions for them on Quora or Reddit?
  • What podcasts do they listen to, or what resources do they read?

Get in your customers’ heads, and you’ll be in a much better position to sell to them.


4. Map Out Your Customer’s Journey

The next part of an effective sales plan must address how that ideal customer becomes your customer. Do this by mapping out their journey, including actions and events during the different stages of the sales funnel :

  • Consideration

Conduct a customer survey or chat directly with your current, happy customers to gather valuable sales planning insights. Ask them:

  • When you became a customer, what did you want our product to do for you?
  • What features were important to you? Why?
  • What was your budget?
  • How did you solve this problem before using our product?

To fully understand their journey as a customer, you can also ask about past buying experiences:

  • When was the last time you bought something similar?
  • Was that a good or bad experience? Why?
  • What was the decision-making process like?
  • How did you evaluate different offers?
  • Which factors made you choose that particular solution?

Once you’ve identified the awareness, interest, and consideration stages, let your prospects and new customers build the rest of their roadmap by asking them: "What’s next?"

"What needs to happen to make you a customer?"

If, for example, they say they’ll have to get approval from the VP of Finance. Ask:

"Ok, and let's say he agrees that we're the right fit; what's next?"

We call this the virtual close , a way to put your prospect in a future-thinking state of mind that makes them imagine buying from you. Asking this question to several high-quality prospects will tell you those final few steps in the customer journey until they’ve signed on the dotted line.

Finally, piece together the post-sale journey. Once a prospect becomes a customer, what’s next? How do you enable them to use your product and be successful with it? What happened to create your most loyal customers? Understanding this piece of the sales process is essential to managing and increasing customer retention .

5. Define Your Value Propositions

You know your customers. You know their journey. Now, define where you fit in by looking at your competitive advantage . Fully articulating what sets you apart from the competition is a crucial element of your sales plan template.

Start by asking a few simple questions:

  • Why do customers buy from us?
  • Why do customers buy from our competitors and not us?
  • Why do some potential customers not buy at all?
  • What do we need to do to be successful in the future?

Remember that customers buy benefits, not features. When describing your value proposition , it’s easy to get caught up in talking about you. What you’ve made. What you do. Instead, flip the script and talk about what your product will do for your customers . A strong competitive advantage:

  • Reflects the competitive strength of your business
  • Is preferably, but not necessarily, unique
  • Is clear and simple
  • May change over time as competitors try to steal your idea
  • Must be supported by ongoing market research

For example, the competitive advantage of help desk software has nothing to do with its social media integrations and real-time ticket tracking. It’s the fact that it allows its customers to focus on creating a great customer experience.

Here’s the point: Focus on value, not features, in your sales plan template.

Your competitive advantage will inform everything your company does moving forward, from marketing to product development. It’s a great example of where sales can influence the development of a product and the direction of a business.

6. Organize Your Sales Team

The way your sales team is organized can enable them to better serve their customers and bring new revenue into your business faster.

Here are three basic structures for your sales team :

  • The island: Individual reps work alone.
  • Assembly line: Each sales rep is assigned a specialized role such as lead generation, SDR (qualifier), Account Executive (closer), or Customer Success (farmer).
  • Pods: Each sales rep is assigned a specialized role in a pod, or group, that’s responsible for the entire journey of specific customers.

Think about the strengths and weaknesses of your sales team members, and how they will truly thrive as part of the team.

7. Outline the Use of Sales Tools

Now it’s time to think about the tools you’re using. Building out your sales stack takes time and effort, but listing out that stack in your sales plan will help you avoid getting caught up with new tech that may or may not help your sales team.

Basically, you’ll need tools for these areas to cover all aspects of the sales process:

  • CRM software (like Close )
  • Lead generation and prospecting tools
  • Internal communication software
  • Engagement and outreach tools
  • Documentation software
  • Sales enablement stack

Think about how all of your sales tools work together through integrations and where automation comes into play to save your team time, and how you'll drive CRM adoption across your team members.

8. Build a Prospecting List

A prospect list is where we take all the theory and research of the last few sections of our sales plan template and put them into action.

At its core, a prospect list is a directory of real people you can contact who would benefit from your product or service. This can be time-consuming, but it's essential for driving your sales plan and company growth.

First, use your ideal customer profile to start finding target companies:

  • Search LinkedIn
  • Check out relevant local business networks
  • Attend networking events and meetups
  • Do simple Google searches
  • Check out the member list of relevant online groups

Target up to 5 people at each organization. Targeting more than one individual will give you better odds of connecting by cold email outreach as well as a better chance that someone in your network can connect you personally.

Remember, this isn’t just a massive list of people you could sell to. This is a targeted list based on the research you’ve done previously in your sales plan.

Once you have your list, keep track of your leads and how you found them using a sales CRM. This will keep historical context intact and make sure you don’t overlap on outreach if you’re working with teammates.

9. Track, Measure, and Adjust As Needed

Just because you’ve made a solid sales plan template to follow, doesn’t mean you get to sit back and watch the cash roll in.

Remember what Basecamp founder Jason Fried said about plans:

“A plan is simply a guess you wrote down.”

You’re using everything you know about the market, your unique value, target customers, and partners to define the ideal situation for your company. But yes, try as we might, very few of us actually see anything when we gaze deep into the crystal ball.

Instead, remember that your sales plan is a living, breathing document that needs to account for and adapt to new features, marketing campaigns, or even new team members who join.

Set regular meetings (at least monthly) to review progress on your sales plan, identify and solve issues, and align your activities across teams to optimize your plan around real-world events and feedback. Learn from your mistakes and victories, and evolve your sales plan as needed.

Create a Strategic Sales Plan to Grow Your Business

You’ve just discovered the basics—but I’ll bet you’re ready to go beyond that. Here are some final ideas to take your sales plan from a simple foundation to a strategic, actionable one.

Avoid Moving the Goalpost

Avoid making adjustments to the goals outlined in your sales plan—even if you discover you’ve been overly optimistic or pessimistic in your sales planning. When you're developing your very first sales plan template, it's natural to be wrong in some of your assumptions—especially around goals and forecasting .

Instead of letting it get you down, remember your plan serves as a benchmark to judge your success or failure. As you see places where your assumptions were wrong, carefully document what needs updating when it's time to revise your sales plan.

Invite Your Others to Challenge Your Sales Plan

Never finalize a plan without another set of eyes (or a few sets.) Get an experienced colleague—an accountant, senior salesperson, or qualified friend—to review the document before solidifying your sales plan.

Your sales team is another strong resource for reviewing your sales plan. Ask their opinions, give them time to think about how it relates to their daily work, and agree on the key points that go into your sales plan.

Set Individual Goals and Milestones for Your Sales Team

We talked about creating milestones for your business, but you can take your sales plan to the next level by setting individual milestones for your sales team as well.

These individual goals need to consider the differences in strengths, weaknesses, and skills among your salespeople.

For example, if someone on your team is making a ton of calls but not closing, give them a milestone of upping their close rate . If someone’s great at closing but doesn’t do much outreach, give them a milestone of contacting 10 new prospects a month.

Doing this will help your individual reps build their skills and contribute to their company and career growth.

Ready to Hit Your Sales Goals?

In most sales situations, the biggest challenge is inertia. But with a solid, detailed sales plan and a dedicated team with clear milestones, you’ll have everything you need to push through any friction and keep on track to hit your goals!

All jazzed up and ready to put together your own sales plan? Download our free Sales Success Kit and access 11 templates, checklists, worksheets, and guides.

They're action-focused and easy to use, so you can have your best sales year yet.

Ryan Robinson

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How to Write a Sales Plan

Elizabeth Veras

Table of Contents

Every business needs a business plan as well as more detailed road maps that offer guidance to each department working toward that common goal. As the revenue-generating engine of your company, the sales department should be a top priority for this type of document, aptly named the “sales plan.” This guide introduces the concept of a sales plan and gives you all the guidance you need to create a sales plan that works for your business.

What is a sales plan?

A sales plan details the overall sales strategy of a business, including the revenue objectives of the company and how the sales department will meet those goals. This may also include revenue goals, the target audience and tools the team will use in their day-to-day. In addition, the sales plan should include examples of the hurdles and pain points the team might encounter, as well as contingency plans to overcome them.

“[A sales plan] is essential to support the growth of an organization,” said Bill Santos, vice president of the ITsavvy Advanced Solutions Group. “A sales plan helps individual reps understand the priorities of the business as well as the measurements by which they will be evaluated.”

Business plans vs. sales plans

Business plans and sales plans are closely linked. A sales plan, though, should outline the actions that the sales department will take to achieve the company’s broader goals. A sales plan differs from a business plan, though both work toward the same end.

“A business plan is a ‘what’ [and] a sales plan is a ‘how,'” said James R. Bailey , professor of management and Hochberg Professional Fellow of Leadership Development at the George Washington University School of Business. “Business plans are where a firm wants to go. A sales plan is a part of how they can achieve that. A business plan is direction; a sales plan is execution.”

For example, a software company that developed a new mobile application might state in its business plan that the app will be installed by 1 million users within a year of launch, while the sales plan describes how that will actually be achieved.

How to write a sales plan

Every sales plan should suit the individual needs of a different company, so they come in all shapes and sizes. There is no one-size-fits-all sales plan; the one you create will be unique to your business. With careful planning, you’ll have a much clearer vision of what you need to accomplish and a road map for how to get there. 

Chris Gibbs, vice president of global sales at Centripetal Networks, named some additional items that every sales plan should include.

  • Targeted accounts: Assign each salesperson a few key accounts to focus on, and grow from that base.
  • Targeted verticals: Sales teams might focus on specific market segments or verticals, such as a particular industry.
  • SKUs: Salespeople should emphasize certain SKUs or inventory items rather than get lost in a broad catalog of merchandise to sell.
  • Sales and marketing coordination: Sales and marketing teams should work together to create promotions to help generate sales.
  • Product road maps: Every company has a road map, and each product should have a road map that shows the plan and direction for a product offering over time to chart out when a product will launch and when it might sunset or be replaced by a newer model.
  • Forecasts: Sales forecasting is projecting sales volumes and expectations by comparing them historically to sales of previous years, and then conducting market comparison to determine where sales will fall against the competition.

“Sales plans are extremely important to ensure there is cohesiveness between product teams, sales and marketing,” Gibbs said. “In addition, they’re important for ensuring that timing of new products and/or new version releases coincide with sales objectives and forecasts.”

What are the steps to create a sales plan?

A sales plan is necessary for businesses of every size, from an individual entrepreneur to a Fortune 500 company. When you’re ready to actually write your sales plan, follow these steps:

1. Define the objectives. 

Clearly outlining your goals and stating your objectives should always be the first step in creating a sales plan or any other business venture. You should include the expected sales volume and any markets or territories you expect to reach. 

For example, let’s say you own a retail store selling household goods and electronics. If your purpose is to establish yourself as a trusted local retailer, ask yourself the following questions:

  • If so, are they purchasing anything or just browsing?
  • Was it word of mouth?
  • Was it through marketing efforts, such as email marketing, direct mail or social media?
  • How many are new customers?
  • How many are repeat customers?
  • Where do you want your sales to come from? 
  • What are some external and internal factors that could impact your sales? These include industry trends and economic conditions.

When you can precisely state your key objectives, you are setting yourself up to plan later steps around achieving your goals.

2. Assess the current situation.

The next step is to create an honest overview of your business situation in relation to the goal you set in the first step. 

Review your strengths and assets. Take a look at your resources and how you can apply them to your goal. This can include personal relationships and competitive advantages like new products or services.

For example, if your goal is to enhance your relationship with your customers, you’d need to ask yourself some questions to examine your current situation:

  • What is your current relationship with your customers?
  • Where did most of your sales come from?
  • Where would you like to expand your sales?

3. Determine and outline the sales strategies. 

Sales strategies are the actual tactics your team will use to reach customers. They can include marketing channels as well as procedures for lead generation and client outreach employed by your salespeople.

Here are two examples of potential sales strategies: 

  • Use your POS system to retain customer information so you can track current and new customers.
  • Employ email marketing, text message marketing , social media, outbound call center services and direct mail marketing campaigns.

4. Define roles for the sales team. 

Each member of the sales team should be assigned clear roles, whether they vary from person to person or everyone performs the same functions.

Defining the sales direction of the team is crucial, as it shows the focus of the company and helps the team target and execute sales most effectively.

The plan of attack for the sales team should be communicated clearly by leadership, whether it is from team leaders or the CEO.  

5. Inform other departments of sales objectives.

A sales plan shouldn’t just update a company president or C-suite; it should inform the whole organization of the sales team’s objectives. 

Clearly outline your plan for the rest of the company to help them understand the goals and procedures of the sales team. Other departments become more efficient when interacting with the sales team and clients. This also conveys a certain level of quality and professionalism to the clients about the company.

6. Provide tools for the sales team.

Provide the tools each member of the sales team needs to achieve the stated goals, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software. The best CRM software is customizable to meet a company’s needs, making it much easier for your team to use the software and work efficiently.

7. Detail how the department will track progress. 

Offer strategic direction and insight on how progress will be monitored. Having a quarterly review to assess whether the company is on target is just as important as the plan itself.

Markets change, and so should your sales plan. Keeping it up to date will help you capitalize on the market and achieve your goals. Tracking progress is made easier by the tools you use to collect data. That data will then have to be analyzed and presented in a way which all departments can understand and use for future growth. 

Key elements of a sales plan

Every sales plan should also include the following elements.

Realistic goals

You need to set achievable goals . Challenge your sales team, but don’t push too hard. Bailey said that these “deliverables” are among the key points to include in a sales business plan. 

“Deliverables need to be as specific as possible and moderately difficult to achieve – specific inasmuch as being measurable in a manner that is uncontested [and] moderately difficult inasmuch as making sales goals too difficult can lead to failure and discouragement.”

Midpoint goals also help build morale and keep the team working toward a larger goal. Instead of having one giant goal, creating smaller goals to achieve along the way will keep your team focused.

Sales tools

Tracking sales throughout the term is helpful, and you can employ tools to keep track of each team member as well as the department overall. It also helps establish a culture of accountability among salespeople.

“Tools can help, especially project management and CRM software,” Santos said. “Having a weekly cadence of update and review is also important, as it sends a message that ownership and updates are important.”

Clear expectations and a defined commission structure

Assign goals and responsibilities to each team member to make expectations clear. This is true whether or not each team member has the same goals.

“We meet with each individual to come up with a plan that works for them so that they can reach their goals,” said Leah Adams, director of client success at Point3 Security. “We measure results based on numbers. Each team member has his own plan and how they’re going to get there.”

It’s also necessary to spell out the commission structure in full detail.

“The only real difference is how sales count,” Bailey said. “In petroleum-based products … a few big clients are necessary. Compensation needs to be structured not just in contract value, but in graduated terms: Above $1 million, commissions move from 5% to 9%, and so forth. In smaller-volume enterprises, commissions might be front-loaded with higher percentages early, then graduated down. You have to reward what you want.”

Training programs

Along the way, some training might be necessary to maintain the momentum.

“What’s important to us is that we’re teaching these individuals to be the best salesperson they can be,” Adams said. “We help them do that by constantly training them and giving them knowledge of what’s going on in our industry. Everything stays on track because each member of the team knows their individual goal; though each person has a number, they also know the ultimate goal is for the entire team to hit.”

Adams said that an effective CRM keeps things organized and helps delegate tasks and responsibilities on a schedule that uses the company’s lead information.

Key steps to follow when devising a sales plan

Here are some best practices for creating a sales plan:

  • Refer to the business plan. The sales plan should directly address the objectives of the business plan and how those objectives can be achieved.
  • Advance clear objectives. The clearer the objectives are, the easier it will be to reach your goals.
  • Reference prior sales data. Chart sales over the previous few terms, and project the trend for the current term. New businesses can create sales projections based on expectations.
  • Outline the commission structure. This will help motivate your team and help you calculate anticipated costs.
  • Be clear about how progress is measured. There should be no dispute about this. If larger clients carry more weight than lower-volume buyers, that should be stated upfront.

The benefits of a sales plan

A sales plan keeps the sales department on track, considering the details of how they must operate to hit their targets and achieve company objectives. Because the sales team is the primary driver of revenue, it is an incredibly important document. [Related article: Adopting a CRM? How to Get Buy-in From Your Sales Department ]

“It’s extremely important to have a sales plan in place, almost a must,” Adams said. “Without this plan, it’s almost impossible to get through the year and hit the company’s sales goals.”

It’s not uncommon to encounter obstacles along the way, however. A good sales plan accounts for that.

“Almost always, you’ll run into the speed bumps along the way, but with a plan in place, it makes it a whole lot easier to navigate through it all,” Adams said. “The sales plan allows you to adjust when necessary so the goal can still be hit. I strongly believe a plan allows you to stay in control and reduce the risk while being able to measure the team’s results along the way to that finish line.”

Sales plan templates

Sales templates are helpful in that many of them are based on tried-and-true formats that have been used by businesses across several industries. They can also provide structure so that it is clear to each employee what their role and responsibilities are. 

“A template helps plan each individual’s daily activities in a structured way,” Adams said. “If you know what each person is doing daily, it’s easier to help correct what’s going wrong. It helps with things like conversion rates, etc. Yes, these templates can be customized in any way a team’s manager sees fit, based on how he believes the team will perform better.”

Sales plans should be unique to the company; however, there are key components they should always include. Because there is somewhat of a formula, you can use a template.

Templates are extremely helpful, Gibbs said. “It creates uniformity for the team, as well as a yearly or quarterly sales plan to present to senior management.”

Gibbs added that templates can easily be customized to meet the needs of a particular business or sales team.

Keeping your team on track with a sales plan

Planning is vital for any business, especially when dealing with sales targets. Before selling your product or service, you must outline your goals and ways to execute them. Essentially, a sales plan enables you to mitigate problems and risks. When there is a clear plan of action, you will know how to proceed in order to attain your goals. 

Enid Burns contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.


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How To Create A Sales Plan: Steps, Templates, And Examples

How To Create A Sales Plan: Steps, Templates, And Examples

Want your sales to skyrocket?

You’ll need a strategy. And for the sales success, nothing works better than a strategic sales plan. The key concern, of course, is how to design a plan that impacts sales. 

We’ve collected the necessary steps and sales plan examples so that you can promptly create a document that’s right for your organization.

What is a sales plan?

Advantages of a sales plan.

  • Strategic steps to create an efficient sales plan
  • Strategic sales plan templates

What sales plan to choose?

Let’s deal with the definition and sales plan elements first.

A sales plan is a strategy document that lays out a company’s plan for improving sales results over a particular period. 

Its components may differ. But they all focus on the business’ growth: profit plans, sales strategies, analytics, target market, existing sales force potentials, and much more. +

To make things easier, we narrowed them down to 9 main elements that lead to smooth selling. But feel free to use as many of them as you like.

1. Revenue targets and business goals

Without goals, you won’t know if your sales strategy was successful, right? This is the part where you can set a specific number to shoot for or create multiple goals for your sales team.

If you are in doubt about what to include, here are some examples to spark a thought:

  • Specific sales numbers;
  • Number of new clients you want to convert;
  • Number of existing customers you plan to nurture and retain;
  • Sales goals around a new product or service you are offering.

Sales goals ideas and examples

If you write an annual sales plan, you can briefly recap the previous year, its goals, scope of work, and results. Identify the mistakes and actions that led to positive results and draw a lesson from them.

3. Your ideal customer profile and their user journey

Ask yourself a question: who do you want to attract and convert? Demographics, purchasing habits, and other factors will help you create your buyer persona . 

But you shouldn’t stop here. It’s useful to outline the customer journey of your clients and suggest ways to improve their experience at every step of the sales funnel.

4. Customer segmentation and tactics to work with each segment

In this section, you can describe all segments of the leads you get from your channels and ways to communicate with them to boost profit generation. If new segments might appear in the future, describe them as well. 

Pillars of customer segmentation

Research market trends that can strongly affect your sales and suggest ways to use them to boost your performance.

Without a budget set in place, you risk spending more resources than you intended to. Think of the team size and operational tools you need to process and close the deals.

7. Strategies and tactics

Suggest the best approaches for your company and describe their implementation.

8. Action plan for individuals and teams

Here, you can determine the roles and responsibilities of specific staff members, assign tasks, and set deadlines for them.

9. Performance criteria and analytics benchmarks

Describe the tracked metrics and systems that help monitor them. 

You might now think, “That’s too many components to describe, do I need a sales plan at all?” Yes, you do. Let us explain why.

Of course, a sales plan promotes self-discipline and diligence, but it also ensures that your sales don’t dry up over time. Which means it’s not optional. 

We all tend to talk a lot, but without a plan, your goals might never turn into reality. So, the first advantage of a sales plan is that it helps you realize all of your greatest ideas. 

Besides, with it, you can determine the demand for your solution and identify new product areas to predict the growth of your business. It’s also a great tool in analyzing your rivals and competitive advantage to distinctly position your company in the market and specify your product niche.

Without the sales plan, it would be hard to choose strategies and metrics for your sales team. And, as a result, it would be more difficult to measure your progress, optimize your performance over time, and motivate stakeholders.

Here are all the benefits summarized: 

Advantages of a sales plan

8 strategic steps to create an efficient sales plan

If you only start in sales and have neither sales planning experience, nor previous statistics, the following extensive guide will help you organize your work at every step, be it a small startup or a big corporation.

Each aspect of the sales plan moves gradually into the next, beginning with the team’s high-level objectives, then considering market conditions, checking your existing audience, and discovering more leads to help you meet your sales demands.

How to create a sales plan

1. Set sales goals and metrics

Your sales plan structure needs an end goal . Identify what you can yield based on the size of the market, skills, and tools available to your sales team.

The biggest mistake you can make here is to set unrealistic goals. Yes, we know, you might be over-optimistic. But if you assume, for example, that the market’s going to go down and you’re going to lose a certain share, it won’t make any sense to forecast an increase in sales, right? 

Another piece of advice is to ask your sales team what they think your goals should be. These people closely work with your clients and have the best understanding of them. Ask their opinion, give them enough time to think it over, and then discuss it together. Or, you can get a more experienced person to analyze the plan and help set metrics before approving it.

Remember, your goals must be SMART !

SMART goals

What metrics should you track while analyzing the success of your sales department? There are plenty of them to monitor: 

  • Sales growth
  • Sales target
  • Current opportunities
  • Product performance
  • Sales to date
  • Quote-to-close
  • Lead conversion rate
  • Sell-through rate

It would be great for a team to have all the metrics displayed on one clear, intuitive dashboard . You can include screenshots of such dashboards in your sales plan for a more effective demonstration. For this task, such free tools as PowerPoint, Google Sheets, or Excel can be of great help. Or you can use any other software, as in the example: 

Sales dashboard example

“But what if it turns out I was wrong in some of my assumptions around the sales plan objectives?”

Don’t worry. If you’re developing a template for the first time, this is perfectly normal. But what’s essential is that you’ll be able to learn what needs to be improved when it’s time for the next version of your sales plan.

2. Set deadlines and milestones

It will take a while to achieve your goals, so why not split them into smaller sized milestones with deadlines to track the progress? These targets are extremely convenient in checking if your sales plan is on the right track.

Use last year’s statistics . Observe how sales earnings improved and compare your company to the market criteria. Again, talk to your sales team about their work, how they generate leads, and how they convert them into clients. What is the current conversion rate? How many deals do they expect to close in the future? This will show you what objectives to set.

Your milestones need to be precise with definite deadlines . For instance, you might want to increase your client base by 25% or boost your revenue by 40% for a specified product by the end of Q3. No matter what the milestone is, set clear objectives and a tough deadline.

This is not it. It’s better to also set personalized milestones for your sales professionals, considering differences among your employees. 

For example, if somebody on your team is sending a lot of emails but not getting deals, give them the task of increasing the number of their closed deals. If someone’s awesome at closing deals but doesn’t do much outreach, give them the task of generating at least 20 new leads a month.

Deadlines and milestones

Oh, and set the budget as well! It usually includes:

  • Sales training
  • Salary and commission
  • Tools, software, and resources
  • Travel costs

3. Study market

You now know what you want. It’s high time to define the market niche you’re in so that you can accurately position your business to achieve the best results.

What’s a market niche? It’s what your company specializes in and also the place your business occupies, not only with your solution but also with generated content, corporate culture, and branding. It’s the way your audience identifies with you and recognizes you among competitors.

To analyze your niche, answer the following questions:

  • How big is your potential market?
  • Is there an inherent demand for your product?
  • What’s your market situation today? ( SWOT analysis will be awesome here)
  • Who are your competitors? (Again, SWOT analysis)

SWOT analysis

The key here is to find what your competitive benefit is:

  • Why do clients decide to purchase from you?
  • Why do customers buy from your rivals and never from you?
  • How come some prospective leads do not purchase at all?
  • What must you do to achieve success with time?

Keep in mind that clients purchase advantages, not characteristics. Whenever explaining your value proposition , it’s an easy task to get trapped in talking about your business too much. Put the script aside and mention exactly what your solution does for clients. 

A good competitive advantage :

  • Shows the competitive power of the organization
  • Is ideally, although not always, unique
  • Is obvious and simple
  • May change over time

Your competitive advantage isn’t just a fundamental component of your sales strategy, it will determine everything your organization does, from advertising to product enhancement. 

4. Build an ideal customer profile

Before you get inside your potential clients’ heads, you need to define who your target market is. Ask yourself questions: 

  • What do your best customers look like? 
  • What’s their personality like?
  • What are their age, level of income, and living situation?
  • What does their career journey look like?
  • What industry do they belong to?
  • Do they have the same pain points ?
  • What are these challenges preventing them from achieving?
  • What influences their decision-making?
  • What content and information is most useful when communicating convincingly with them?
  • What sorts of social networking platforms do they normally use? 

5. Determine what systems, tools, CRMs to use

It will be hard to do everything without the right resources for the job. And that’s where CRM software and sales automation tools come in handy.

CRM is a technology for managing all business relationships and interactions with existing and potential customers within a company. It helps gather information on how many emails your team is sending, how much time they’re spending on qualifying leads, and how much revenue they are bringing in. 

Meanwhile, with sales automation software, you will be able to standardize and automate the entire sales process. There are lots of professional tools for sales teams, these are just some of the examples: 

  • Salesforce, 
  • Freshsales, 
  • Insightly, 
  • Pipedrive, 
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365, 

For example, a tool like Snov.io helps you fill your marketing funnel with quality targeted leads and close them easier. You can focus on every stage of the sales funnel and business growth: market research, lead generation, nurturing, conversion, statistics, analysis, and business forecasting for scaling and future growth.

email finder

6. Support existing customers

Don’t underestimate your current dedicated customers. References, word-of-mouth, client feedback, and existing connections are your best sources that ensure additional growth.

Check if anybody you know on social media can recommend you to one of your desired prospects. Contact loyal clients and offer them a discount or a referral bonus if they know someone who would profit from your products or services.

7. Find partners for strategic cooperation

Many entrepreneurs, startups, and big organizations might target the same types of customers. But oftentimes, they are not your competitors but rather offer services that can complement your solution (this is why they can be called CSPs or Complementary Service Providers).

You can engage with them in different ways:

  • Writing for their website or blog;
  • Delivering speeches at webinars or offline seminars;
  • Offering valuable resources for their platforms;
  • Creating a mastermind group where you can exchange contacts.

The more value you provide to your business partners and target audiences, the more connections you will have. All these services are provided for free and included as an additional investment in your sales strategy plan.

8. Keep studying your statistics, analyze, and modify your approaches

Don’t forget that your sales plan is a flexible document and needs to be regularly updated according to new market trends, outreach campaigns, features, or even staff members. Return to the document from time to time to see if your prognosis is close to reality.

Organize regular meetings to discuss progress, discover and solve problems, align the work across teams, get experience from your failures and success, and enhance your plan accordingly.

Strategic sales plan templates 

If you want to find more inspiration, check out these simple yet helpful sales plan template examples.

  • HubSpot Sales Plan Template
  • Sales Plan by Asana 
  • BestTemplates Sample Sales Plan
  • Venngage Online Sales Plan Maker Map
  • BestTemplates Simple Plan
  • Creately Sales Strategy Plan
  • FitSmallBusiness Sales Plan
  • BestTemplates Sales Action Plan
  • TemplateLab Sales Plan Template in Microsoft Word 

Sales plan example

There might be one more question unanswered – what template to choose? It all depends on your particular business goals: 

  • The most common one is the 30-60-90 day sales plan with milestones that need to be achieved by each period.
  • A weekly or yearly sales plan is also an option.
  • You can create a sales plan for specific sales tactics , such as email drip campaigns, prescribed calls, and appointments. It sort of resembles a yearly/weekly sales plan, but it focuses on assessing and increasing gains for a single objective or task.
  • In the meantime, sales professionals who manage a specific market region typically use region sales plans to present CMOs and VPs with more clarity of their sales initiatives.

Wrapping up

In many product sales circumstances, the greatest challenge is passiveness. However, with a great, step-by-step product sales plan and a passionate team with distinct milestones in mind, you’ll have everything you need to endure any resistance and carry on hitting your targets!

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How To Build a Strategic Sales Plan + 10 Examples

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  • March 28, 2024


Every sales team has some sort of plan, even if it’s just “sell more of the product/service that you’re employed to sell.”

A sales plan is a portfolio that includes a layout of your processes, target audience, objectives and tactics. It’s used to guide your sales strategy and predict cost and returns. 

Yet without a codified sales plan, it can be difficult to give a sales team the motivation and purpose they need to successfully engage customers and continue to generate revenue.

Not having a sales plan that’s written down and signed off on by stakeholders can lead to confusion around what sales reps should and shouldn’t be doing , which can be demotivating.

It might seem daunting or time-consuming to put together an entire sales plan, but it doesn’t need to be. Here’s how to create a thorough sales plan in 10 simple steps. 

What Is a Sales Plan? 

A successful sales plan defines your target customers, business objectives, tactics, obstacles and processes. An effective plan will also include resources and strategies that are used to achieve target goals. It works similarly to a business plan in the way it’s presented, but only focuses on your sales strategy. 

A sales plan should include the following three components: 

  • Ideas: If you use specific business methodologies, you may choose to outline key principles and examples of them in action within your sales plan. An example could be conversation tactics when pitching your product to your target customer. 
  • Processes: In order to streamline productivity and business strategy, you’ll want to make sure your processes are defined within your sales plan. Your sales team should be able to refer to the sales plan when they’re in need of direction. 
  • Tools and tactics: The most effective sales plans include not only high-level business strategies, but also step-by-step approaches for your sales team to utilize. These tools can include key conversation pieces for your sales reps to use when pitching a product or content to close out a deal. 

Solidifying a sales plan is crucial for a strong business model. Taking the time to narrow in on the components above will set you and your business up for success down the road. 

Sales Planning Process

Sales Planning Process

It’s important to keep in mind that sales planning isn’t just about creating a sales plan document. A sales plan should be a go-to item that’s used every day by your team, rather than sitting on your desk collecting dust. Creating an effective sales plan requires high-level strategy.

You should: 

  • Decide on a timeline for your goals and tactics
  • Outline the context
  • Write out the company mission and values
  • Describe the target audience and product service positioning
  • Include sales resources
  • Draw out an overview of concurrent activities
  • Write an overview of your business road map
  • Outline your goals and KPIs
  • Outline an action plan
  • Create a budget 

 Below we dive into each of these steps to create your ideal sales plan. 

1. Decide on Your Timeline

Setting goals and outlining tactics is not going to be productive if you’re not working toward a date by which you’ll measure your efforts.

Determining the timeline of your sales plan should therefore be your number one consideration. When will you be ready to kick-start your plan, and when is a reasonable time to measure the outcomes of your plan against your SMART goals?

Remember that you need to give the plan a chance to make an impact, so this timeline shouldn’t be too restrictive. However, you also want to make sure that you’re flexible enough to adjust your plan if it’s not producing the desired results.

Most sales plan timelines cover about a year, which may be segmented into four quarters and/or two halves to make it a little more manageable.

2. Outline the Context

Use the first page of your sales plan to outline the context in which the plan was created.

What is the current state of the organization? What are your challenges and pain points? What recent wins have you experienced?

Do you have tighter restrictions on cash flow, or does revenue appear to be growing exponentially? How is your sales team currently performing?

While you’ll discuss your business plan and road map later in the document, you can also outline the long-term vision for your business in this section. For example, where do you want to see the business in five years?

Tip: Comparing the current situation with your vision will emphasize the gap between where you are now and where you need to be. 

3. Company Mission and Values

It’s essential that you put your mission and values at the heart of your business. You need to incorporate them into every function – and this includes your sales plan.

Outlining your mission and values in your sales plan ensures that you remember what the company is striving for, and in turn helps ensure that your approach and tactics will support these objectives.

Remember: A strong brand mission and authentic values will help boost customer loyalty, brand reputation and, ultimately, sales.

4. Target Market and Product/Service Positioning

Next, you’ll need to describe the market or markets that you’re operating in.

What is your target market or industry? What research led you to conclude that this was the optimal market for you?

Who within this industry is your ideal customer? What are their characteristics? This could be a job title, geographical location or company size, for example. This information makes up your ideal customer profile .

If you’ve delved further into audience research and developed personas around your target market, then include them in here, too.

5. Sales Team and Resources

This step is simple: Make a list of your sales resources, beginning with a short description of each member of your sales team.

Include their name, job title, length of time at the company and, where appropriate, their salary. What are their strengths? How can they be utilized to help you hit your goals?

You should also include notes around the gaps in your sales team and whether you intend to recruit any new team members into these (or other) roles.

Tip: Communicate the time zones your team members work in to be mindful of designated work hours for scheduling meetings and deadlines. 

Then, list your other resources. These could be tools, software or access to other departments such as the marketing team – anything that you intend to use in the execution of your sales plan. This is a quick way to eliminate any tools or resources that you don’t need.

6. Concurrent Activities

The next step in creating your sales plan involves providing an overview of non-sales activities that will be taking place during the implementation of your sales plan.

Any public marketing plans, upcoming product launches, or deals or discounts should be included, as should any relevant events. This will help you plan sales tactics around these activities and ensure that you’re getting the most out of them.

7. Business Road Map

For this step, write up an overview of your business’s overall road map, as well as the areas where sales activities can assist with or accelerate this plan. You’ll need to collaborate with the CEO, managing director or board of directors in order to do this.

In most cases, the business will already have a road map that has been signed off on by stakeholders. It’s the sales manager’s job to develop a sales plan that not only complements this road map, but facilitates its goals. 

Tip: Highlight areas of the road map that should be touchpoints for the sales team. 

Ask yourself what your department will need to do at each point in the road map to hit these overarching company goals.

8. Sales Goals and KPIs

Another important part of the sales plan involves your sales goals and KPIs.

Outline each goal alongside the KPIs you’ll use to measure it. Include a list of metrics you’ll use to track these KPIs, as well as a deadline for when you project the goal will be achieved.

It’s vital to make these goals tangible and measurable.

A bad example of a goal is as follows:

Goal 1: Increase sales across company’s range of products and services.

A better goal would look something like:

Goal 1: Generate $500,000+ in revenue from new clients through purchases of X product by X date.

9. Action Plan

Now that you’ve laid out your goals, you need to explain how you will hit them.

Your action plan can be set out week by week, month by month, or quarter by quarter. Within each segment, you must list out all of the sales activities and tactics that you will deploy – and the deadlines and touchpoints along the way.

Tip: Organize your action plan by department – sales, business development and finance. 

While this is arguably the most complex part of the sales plan, this is where sales leaders are strongest. They know which approach will work best for their team, their company and their market.

Budgets vary from team to team and company to company, but whatever your situation, it’s important to include your budget in your sales plan.

How are you going to account for the money spent on new hires, salaries, tech, tools and travel? Where the budget is tight, what are your priorities going to be, and what needs to be axed?

The budget section should make references back to your action plan and the sales team and resources page in order to explain the expenditures.

6 Strategic Sales Plan Examples 

You can create different types of strategic sales plans for your company, depending on how you want to structure your sales plan. Here are a few examples.   

Customer Profile 

A customer profile outlines your ideal customer for your service or product. It will usually include industry, background, attributes and decision-making factors.  

Creating a customer profile helps narrow in on the target customer your sales team should focus on while eliminating unproductive leads.  

Buyer’s Guide

A buyer’s guide is an informational sheet that describes your company’s services or products, including benefits and features. This document is useful both for your sales team but also for a potential customer who requires more information on the product before purchasing. 

30-60-90-Day Plan

This plan is organized based on time periods. It includes outlines of goals, strategy and actionable steps in 30-day periods. This is a useful sales plan model for a new sales representative tracking progress during their first 90 days in the position or meeting quotas in a 90-day period. 

This type of sales plan is also ideal for businesses in periods of expansion or growth. It’s helpful to minimize extra effort in onboarding processes. 

Market Expansion Plan

A market expansion plan clarifies target metrics and list of actions when moving into a new territory or market. This sales plan model is typically used with a target market that resides in a new geographical region. 

You’ll want to include a profile of target customers, account distribution costs and even time zone differences between your sales representatives. 

Marketing-alignment Plan

Creating a marketing-alignment sales plan is useful if your organization has yet to align both your sales and marketing departments. The goal of the sales plan is finalizing your target customer personas and aligning them with your sales pitches and marketing messages. 

New Product/Service Plan 

If your organization is launching a new service or product, it’s best to create a sales plan to track revenue and other growth metrics from the launch. You’ll want to include sales strategy, competitive analyses and service or product sales positioning. 

Sales Plan Template

4 additional sales plan templates.

Here are some additional templates you can use to create your own unique sales plan. 

  • Template Lab 
  • ProjectManager

5 Tips for Creating a Sales Plan 

Now that you’ve seen and read through a few examples and a sales plan template, we’ll cover some easy but useful tips to create a foolproof sales plan. 

  • Create a competitive analysis: Research what sales strategies and tactics your close competitors are using. What are they doing well? What are they not doing well? Knowing what they are doing well will help you create a plan that will lead to eventual success. 
  • Vary your sales plans: First create a base sales plan that includes high-level goals, strategies and tactics. Then go more in depth on KPIs and metrics for each department, whether it’s outbound sales or business development . 
  • Analyze industry trends: Industry trends and data can easily help strengthen your sales approach. For example, if you’re pitching your sales plan to a stakeholder, use current market trends and statistics to support why you believe your sales strategies will be effective in use. 
  • Utilize your marketing team: When creating your sales plan, you’ll want to get the marketing department’s input to align your efforts and goals. You should weave marketing messages throughout both your sales plan and pitches. 
  • Discuss with your sales team: Remember to check in with your sales representatives to understand challenges they may be dealing with and what’s working and not working. You should update the sales plan quarterly based on feedback received from your sales team. 

When Should You Implement a Strategic Sales Plan? 

Does your organization currently not have a sales plan in place that is used regularly? Are you noticing your organization is in need of structure and lacking productivity across departments? These are definite signs you should create and implement a sales plan. 

According to a LinkedIn sales statistic , the top sales tech sellers are using customer relationship management (CRM) tools (50%), sales intelligence (45%) and sales planning (42%) .

Below are a few more indicators that you need an effective sales plan. 

To Launch a New Product or Campaign 

If you’re planning to launch a new service or product in six months, you should have a concrete marketing and sales strategy plan to guarantee you’ll see both short- and long-term success. 

The sales plan process shouldn’t be hasty and rushed. Take the time to go over data and competitor analysis. Work with your team to create objectives and goals that everyone believes in. Your sales plan should be updated formally on a quarterly basis to be in line with industry trends and business efforts. 

To Increase Sales

If your team is looking to increase revenue and the number of closed sales, you may need to widen and define your target audience. A sales plan will help outline this target audience, along with planning out both sales and marketing strategies to reach more qualified prospects and increase your sales conversion rate. 

Now that you’ve seen sales plan examples and tips and tricks, the next step after creating your sales plan is to reach those ideal sales targets with Mailshake . Connect with leads and generate more sales with our simple but effective sales engagement platform.

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How to create a sales plan (and 3 templates that do it for you)

Hero image with an icon representing a sales pipeline

There's a 25-year-old "South Park" episode I think about way too often. Working on a presentation with a coffee-addicted classmate named Tweek, the boys see a gnome stealing underpants from Tweek's dresser. They follow him to a cave, where they discover a network of gnomes executing a massive underpants-smuggling operation.

Explaining their business model, the underpants gnomes present this outline:

Phase 1: Collect underpants

Phase 3: Profit

In this post:

What is a sales plan?

A sales plan is a strategic document outlining goals and strategies for reaching predetermined sales targets. For the "South Park" underpants gnomes, it's the glaring question mark standing between their product and their profits.

Illustrated list of what a sales plan does, with each item in a dark green box on a light peach background

What goes into a sales plan (including examples)

A sales plan has the information stakeholders need to establish sales goals, set strategies, allocate resources, collaborate across teams, track goal progress, and measure success. Basically, whatever the stakeholders need to make sound decisions about sales processes.

The specific elements of a business plan differ by factors like sales plan type, industry, product type, goal horizon, and organizational structure. Some may have just a few sections across a page or two, others a dozen or more over several pages.

While your sections may differ in number or phrasing, you can expect some version of these elements to go into most sales plans.

This section is where you set measurable sales goals. (In fact, this section is also called "Goals" in many sales plans.) Depending on your industry, common sales objectives include:

Total revenue growth

Market share expansion

Customer acquisition volume

Adoption rate increase

Obviously, you could just write "$100 billion" here and insert a Dr. Evil meme, then hope for the best. But the real objective of the objectives section is to come to attainable sales goals that align with broader organizational growth goals.

Increase market share by 5-10% this fiscal year

Target market

If your product is a massive eCommerce space with rock-bottom prices and free next-day shipping, write "Everyone" and move on. But since you're probably not Jeff Bezos, you'll need a detailed description of your ideal customer profile. 

Project managers of midsized technology companies with distributed teams seeking streamlined collaboration and task management

This is where you'll give the broad strokes of the approach you'll take to achieve your sales goals with your target market. Whether it's for entering new markets, expanding within existing markets, or launching new products, this generalized section communicates the stepping stones that will lead to your objectives.

Improved prospecting, generating more qualified leads, and tailoring sales processes to market research to make existing sales processes more efficient

These tactics are still theoretical and don't have to be set in stone at this phase. But this is a space to describe specifics like customer survey or beta testing methods, social media marketing campaign concepts, new sales techniques, or new ways of utilizing existing sales software and resources.

Leverage social media influencer outreach with influencer-specific promo codes

As anyone who's ever watched a heist movie knows, every great plan needs a crack team. In this section, you'll list either each member of your sales team or the team leads, depending on your team size. Beyond a simple list of names, here are some helpful elements to include about each:

Aptitudes or experience

Certifications or completed trainings

Hourly pay rate (for budgeting and forecasting)

Daily or weekly utilization limits

Associated accounts

This should help you outline a structure for assigning individual roles and responsibilities related to your strategies and tactics, ensuring you've got the people power to get the job done.

John Doe, UX specialist | $100/hour incurred expense | 20 hours/week floating utilization | Manager: Jane Doe | Responsible for analyzing survey data and making recommendations for UI updates

It's possible you may even need new hires, freelancers, additional trainings, certifications, or third-party agencies to do the things you need to do. List those here, so you can incorporate them into your time and expenses.

Stakeholders won't just want to know what you're going to do—they'll want to know how long it'll take. Outline your strategies by breaking them into key milestones and deadlines according to the personnel you have. This should also map to revenue projections as your strategies mature.

2/15: Complete market research | 3/1: Synthesize findings | 3/15: Schedule strategies for Q2 execution

The last thing you want is to create a beautiful, perfectly crafted sales plan and discover that you don't actually have the funds to execute it. Based on entries in the last few fields, you should have a good idea of expenses based on strategy resources, personnel utilization, timelines, and any purchases your team may need. 

Chart those here with estimates for any other potential expenses related to marketing, advertising, and sales promotion activities.

Sure, you've been making sales since you started executing your plan. But how do you know you're making enough sales to justify your efforts?

This is where key performance indicators (KPIs) come into play. By setting these during the sales planning stage, you allow stakeholders to measure the success of individual sales efforts, so you can report on how performance compares to sales targets over time. 

Potential challenges

If sales were easy, every company would be successful. Even at the planning stage, you should be able to see some possible roadblocks on the horizon.

The best plans are realistic enough to be actualized, so be realistic about what might stand in your team's way. Try to get ahead of challenges relating to things like target market sensitivities, general market conditions, internal resources, competition, seasonality, or campaign effectiveness. Then, come up with contingencies, so you're ready for these obstacles if they do arise.

Free sales plan templates

Here are three templates for the same general sales plan structure to choose from, depending on the level of granularity and presentation you're looking for.

Sales plan template 1: Comprehensive document

Image of Zapier's comprehensive sales plan template on an orange background

If you're looking to get buy-in for your sales plan from senior stakeholders, you'll need a document that can organize and communicate your research.

This comprehensive sales plan template includes fields for each of the sections outlined above. Just copy it, rename it to your liking, and then click into each field to start filling in the information outlined in this post. (For sections you don't need, just delete or fill with "N/A" and move along.)

Best for: Communicating every element of your sales plan in full detail with (virtually) unlimited space

Sales plan template 2: Summary document

Image of Zapier's summary sales plan template on an orange background

Maybe you need a sales plan template that gets the point across quickly. This one distills the gist of a sales plan into six concise, actionable sections, so you can share the most important elements of every sales objective in one document.

If you need room for more objectives, just copy/paste an empty row.

Best for: Quickly sharing the fine points of a sales plan with only actionable takeaways

Sales plan template 3: Project workflow document

Image of Zapier's project workflow sales plan template on an orange background

What does your sales plan look like on a day-to-day basis? If you're having a hard time translating that, use this template.

Just include your sequence of objectives and related tasks, include the person they're assigned to, and tweak the date ranges. You can even update the progress graph for each task as you progress through them.

Best for: Organizing tasks, roles, and timelines within a greater sales plan

How to start sales planning

Step 1: Start sales planning. Step 2: ? Step 3: Start selling.

Sales planning may not be that easy, but it doesn't have to be especially complicated, either. It should take enough time and resources to come up with a document that's persuasive and detailed but not so much that it cuts into the real money-making efforts themselves. 

Here are a few ways you can set your plan up for efficiency, success, and—maybe most importantly—stakeholder buy-in.

Start with competitor research

You may be tempted to start the sales planning process by outlining your objectives and tactics, but competitor research can go a long way in setting the stage for both. This can show you what works, how well it works, and what doesn't work. It can also show you opportunities to fill market gaps your competitors are missing.

You don't have to reinvent the wheel, but it can be very helpful to just reinvent what your competition is doing.

Don't shy away from established frameworks and methodologies

Here are a few benefits many of these can potentially bring:

Iterative internal processes

Improved collaboration

Predictable lines of communication between teams

More useful insights from stakeholders

More accurate internal data

More reliable goal-setting

Obviously, the benefits will depend on the types of frameworks and methodologies you use. But the real key to any of them is the ability to standardize some element of the planning process and make collaboration more efficient.

Collaborate with stakeholders to define success

You may have one definition of success, while your stakeholders have a completely different one. Remember that your objectives and KPIs need to have bases in two realities: the market's and your company's.

It's the job of senior stakeholders to align sales efforts with high-level goals that help keep the entire operation afloat. That means they may have goals in mind that conflict with your market research findings about sales potential. The sales team, on the other hand, may need to help align expectations with market realities.

Successful sales plans keep both parties on the same page. As such, it helps to collaborate before setting sales benchmarks to see what success can look like for all involved parties.

Don't forget about operations

S&OP helps align sales teams with operations teams to ensure they have the inventory needed to both keep up with demand and promote maximum stocking efficiency. Since inventory can take time and careful scheduling, it's best to get S&OP underway as early as possible. Demand forecasting, for example, is closely related to both sales and inventory projections, so combining these projections early is worthwhile.

Establish clear lines of communication

If all good plans require a team, then all good teams require sound communication.

Since sales campaigns require collaboration between multiple parties and teams, it helps to have open communication channels during the sales planning process. This could mean adopting an Agile workflow and establishing daily Scrum meetings, hosting regular "office hours," or even just checking in with team leads.

While you're setting up these channels, tap them to get more accurate insights into sales planning elements like budgets, assets, and resource needs.

Types of sales plans

While the sales plan templates in this post are somewhat generically designed for new product or feature launches, there are tons of other types of sales plans you can choose from. Many expand on specific elements already included at a high level in our templates, foregoing some of the other sections that aren't as relevant. 

If you know you want your plan to have a more granular focus on specific use cases, you could consider one of these options.

Illustrated boxes detailing the different types of sales plans on a light peach background

New product sales plan

This details the introduction and promotion of a recently launched or forthcoming product. Similar to the template and example in this post, it can be for a physical product, digital product, or service. It includes general information without getting too bogged down in details.

Best for: General sales planning for new products, services, or features

Milestone sales plan

Prioritizing timelines, this plan delineates sales objectives and targets to be achieved within specific timeframes. Typically, these timelines fall into weekly, monthly, and quarterly milestones. You can list these in a timeline section for any plan, but this plan is structured around those elements.

Best for: A bird's-eye view of the time a sales campaign will take

30/60/90 sales plan

This sales strategy outlines goals and priorities for the first three months of a new hire's tenure, typically focusing on short-term objectives. This can lean toward onboarding milestones to get the new rep up-to-date on sales processes.

Best for: Bringing on new sales reps

Sales budget plan

As a financial framework, this plan details allocated resources for sales activities and expenses to achieve revenue targets. This gets much more granular about the costs associated with sales, making that element of planning its primary focus.

Best for: Communicating nuanced expense figures

Sales tactics plan

Similar to a sales budget plan, a sales tactics plan is mainly concerned with one area of the sales planning process: the tactics. It takes a comprehensive approach to specifying the methods and techniques required to achieve sales goals and overcome challenges.

Best for: Communicating specific details about sales strategies

Sales territory plan

This one makes me think of classic mob movies—two families hashing out their territories in the Bronx over plates of spaghetti. It's a strategic outline of how you'll distribute sales resources within specific geographic areas or customer segments.

Best for: Segmenting sales efforts geographically

Sales focus area plan

This one highlights specific product lines, customer segments, or markets on which the sales team will concentrate their efforts. It helps align sales team members on their individual responsibilities.

Best for: Setting expectations for sales team roles

Market expansion plan

When you use this sales plan, you're taking a strategic approach to broadening the reach of a product or service by entering new geographical areas or targeting additional customer demographics. You can tailor it to go deep on a range of KPIs that suit your specific goals for saturation. 

Best for: Planning specifically for market growth KPIs

Marketing alignment plan

Marketing and sales—one hand (or team) washes the other. To help bump that cleaning sesh along, consider one of these plans. They help coordinate strategies, ensuring a solid connection between sales and marketing efforts.

Best for: Aligning sales and marketing teams

Growth action plan

This strategic roadmap details initiatives and steps to foster business expansion, increase market share, and achieve sustainable growth. It includes actionable strategies for making growth-oriented goals a reality.

Best for: Establishing actionable strategies for growth KPIs

Sales planning tips

As you build out your sales plan, you might find that you need a little help. Here are some of our top tips for sales planning:

Know your audience: The sales plan will either be for stakeholders, team members, or both. Write to their level and with the level of detail they need.

Start with SWOT: A SWOT analysis is a great way to get a quick, relevant picture of fundamental sales plan elements like aptitudes, challenges, and opportunities.

Budget carefully: Not every sales plan style includes budgets by default—but don't let this deter you. It's vital to know what you can afford before you start executing your plan.

Vary strategies: To reduce volatility, try to keep your sales tactics varied. This also helps you find the strategies that work best and back them with data.

Continue monitoring: You can't know if you hit your KPIs unless you monitor according to the benchmarks you're tracking.

Make a (sales) plan to automate

Hopefully this post has you pumped for sales planning—or at least finding a mysterious new three-step business model (or even just watching "South Park"). 

Related reading:

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Bryce Emley

Currently based in Albuquerque, NM, Bryce Emley holds an MFA in Creative Writing from NC State and nearly a decade of writing and editing experience. His work has been published in magazines including The Atlantic, Boston Review, Salon, and Modern Farmer and has received a regional Emmy and awards from venues including Narrative, Wesleyan University, the Edward F. Albee Foundation, and the Pablo Neruda Prize. When he isn’t writing content, poetry, or creative nonfiction, he enjoys traveling, baking, playing music, reliving his barista days in his own kitchen, camping, and being bad at carpentry.

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sales plan

Sales Plan 101: Definition, Types, Template

Any business is all about sales. Whether a company practices B2B or B2C, the main goal is to receive revenue. Only a steady approach with a defined sales plan can guarantee a successful outcome. 

A strategic sales plan is the map for business processes related to trading, dealing with customers, and organizing sales operations . In this article, you will learn the definition of a sales plan, its structure, and types. Moreover, you will get acquainted with a sales plan template and the basics of creating it.

What Is a Sales Plan?

Sales plan is the hub around which the entire operations of the company revolve around. 

A sales plan is a business plan that features the development of the company’s sales activity with set objectives within a particular time frame. 

In other words, it’s a strategic plan where one specifies sales goals, tactics, challenges, target market and steps you will take to execute the plan. 

Setting goals and time frame to achieve them isn’t the only aim. Give the same importance to working out tactics and a precise sales strategy . This part includes analyzing all the resources, deciding on the amount to use, and describing the specific activities.

Download Free Sales Planning Template Now! 

Sales Plan Objective

The Structure of a Sales Plan

Sales plan examples differ, depending on the exact type. But we will pay closer attention to this a bit later in the article. Generally, it includes nine areas of strategic business development. They are:

1) Executive summary

Executive summary is like laying the foundation bricks of your organization. State your company’s vision and mission. What is the ultimate sales goal ? To reach X million revenue by Q4 2021, or increase share price to X amount. In your executive summary, include background on your company’s founding story and how you got to where you are and where you want the company to be in X years. 

2) Set business goals, including revenue targets

You can either set a revenue-based goal or a volume-based goal like having a target of $100 mn Annual Recurring Revenue or expanding product portfolio, or increasing customer base. Keep an achievable revenue or volume target; only then your sales plan can be achieved. 

3) A brief analysis of the performance during the prior period

Give some context to your sales team on the previous year’s performance to know where they are and what needs to be done differently to get to where you want to. 

4) Industry and market overview

Competitor analysis, swot analysis, industry trend reports and market research go a long way in understanding your market position. Having a keen eye for this in your sales planning helps craft your sales plan better. 

5) Description of strategies, tactics

For instance, if your goal is to achieve 100 mn revenue, what is the sales strategy to achieve this number? Then your sales plan should include the following tactics- 

  • Introduce aggressive selling strategies 
  • Tap new markets
  • Give deep discounts 
  • Retarget customers 
  • Cross-sell products to existing customers 

6) Customer segments

Your entire sales team should have clarity on who they are selling to, always. Your sales plan should include target audience, target industries, and ideal customer profiles that your company caters to with its products and services.

7) Resources and team capabilities

If your sales team is tiny, how do you expand your team to meet sales targets and achieve the sales plan? Hiring guidance should also be included in the sales plan. If your outbound sales team is running thin, then your sales plan should state how many resources are required over a particular period and should have a sound outbound hiring strategy in place. 

8) A detailed plan for a team and each member

Ensure clear delegation of roles and responsibilities and at each stage, there should be smooth handoffs and communication. Having a CRM can help bring visibility into the sales pipeline and process for all team members. 

9) Budgets 

An essential element of the sales plan is the budget for the year. How much are you willing to spend to achieve your goals? This would include salaries, bonuses, commissions, training costs, team building activity costs, resources spends, and miscellaneous costs. 

Any sales plan sample consists of these sections. You can alter some of it if they are not necessary for your organization. You can tailor it to suit your organization’s culture and processes.

How to Use CRM Data During Black Swan Events Freshsales Blog

What Are the Benefits of a Sales Plan for Business

In pursuing high revenues, sales managers work out an exact sales plan, including determining strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and risks – SWOT-analysis in the business language.

Having a sales plan helps to do this in terms of sales activities. Here is the list of benefits a company would reap if it has a well-structured sales plan:

1) Clear goals and revenue targets to achieve within a limited period

With an organized sales plan in place, every team member is clear on what they need to contribute to your organization’s success. For example, your sales goal could be to leverage $5,000 in five new deals within a month. 

2) Specific ways of achieving the target

A sales plan lays out the tactics to achieve sales targets. Define the target audience, marketing tools, and techniques to use in your sales plan. For instance, some companies employ guerilla marketing tactics to achieve aggressive sales targets. 

3) Unified labor policies that contribute to operations consistency

All procedures related to your sales teams, campaigns, employees, etc. form a part of your sales plan. Include compensation packages, commission rules, leave policies, in your sales plan, etc.

4) Deep understanding of the company’s strengths and weaknesses

Sales plan should gear your sales team to bring out the strengths of your company. Include competitive battle cards and SWOT analysis in your sales plan to focus on your product strengths. 

5) Ability to effectively track progress

If an employee fails to meet the predetermined sales goals, rethink the sales approach or provide additional sales training.

6) Discipline and diligence

For instance, an employee is more task-oriented, once he knows he must close five deals per month. 

Types of Sales Plans

There is no unified sample sales plan template. They differ according to the company’s purpose. Although most of the sales plans are rather similar, the following types can be distinguished:

  • Annual/quarterly/weekly sales plan – It’s a traditional business sales plan that features revenue goals, tactics, and specific time period by when it should be accomplished.
  • 30 60 90 sales plan – This milestone based sales plan specifies a goal to achieve within set milestones – 30, 60 or 90 days – and is ideal for new sales managers. Helps draw up strategic and tactical activities based on this plan. 
  • Sales budget plan – A sales plan that provides a forecast of factors that could influence revenue within a specific timeframe
  • Sales tactics   plan – This is a tactical sales plan that includes execution strategy, detailed daily or weekly plans such as email follow-up frequency, meeting appointments, and prescribed call sequences for different sales teams.
  • Territory-based sales plan – It features tactics for sales teams across different territories, considering the working environment and market dynamics of a specific area.
  • Sales focus area plan  – This plan dives deep into different sales domains like sales compensation or sales training plan.

what is a sales plan in a business plan

10 Steps to Create a Sales Plan

These ten steps will help to create a sales plan:

1) State Your Company’s Mission

The foremost step is to define the company’s mission, e.g., delivering the best user experience through innovation. Whether you sell a commercial retractable awning , groceries, or clothes, the operations should be consistent with brand values. According to the data from Lucidpress , brands with consistent presentation has increased the revenue by 33%.

2) Set Objectives and Timeframe

Define the objective and time within which a sales team has to achieve them. For example, drive $10,000 in revenue within a month. 

3) Describe a Team

There are many types of sales teams. For example:

  • The island: Involves an owner and sales representatives responsible for every step of the sales process (generating and qualifying leads, closing deals) on their own.
  • The assembly line: A sales force is broken down by functions (e.g., a lead generation team, sales development representatives or prospectors, account executives, a customer success team). A customer moves to a new team as the sales process unfolds.
  • The pod: A team consists of sales development representatives, account executives, and a customer success representative.

4) Define a Target Market

The target market is a starting point for working out further tactics. 

Group your target audience by income groups, like high-net-worth individuals or middle-income groups. You can even group them based on B2B or B2C customers, and so on.

The core aspect is to describe the target audience precisely. For instance, for a women apparel store in NYC – women 18-40 years old live in NYC and its boroughs. Stating your ideal customer profile helps market a product with minimum costs and maximum effectiveness.

5) Evaluate the Resources

A company has to know its assets. In terms of a sales plan, businesses should analyze those which are related to the operations, e.g., the number of sales employees and the level of their expertise, the budget, the equipment (phones, marketing tools, computers, cars).

6) Make a Comparative Analysis with Competitors

Market overview and analysis are crucial in any business plan. It’s vital to know where business, its product, or service stands. One has to explain the distinguishing features that make the business stand out from others. For example, an innovative product, free delivery, convenient location, higher expertise, etc.

7) Set the Budget

Layout all the costs that you think you will incur to achieve those sales targets. Some of the expenses that are part of sales plans include salaries, commissions, sales tools , training, travel, printing costs, hiring costs, etc, which ultimately determine the budget. For example, according to your estimates, it will account for $5,000 per month. Consider this while setting revenue targets.

8) Define Company’s Marketing Strategy

This step implies describing pricing and promotions. It’s isn’t the final step, so some of the promotions a company included in the plan may change later. Also, one has to mention core actions a business is going to take in order to increase brand awareness and generate leads. For example, in the very beginning of Fortuna Visual we practiced a 20% discount for clients who will recommend us to others. 

9) Work Out the Strategy

This stage is where a company states how the sales team must qualify the generated leads. Apart from the exact tactics, one has to determine the criteria for prospects to meet before sales representatives reach out. (e.g., a company operates for five years minimum, its annual income is $100,000).

10) Define an Action Plan

Summarizing the plan to reach each particular objective. For example, a sales goal, such as a 20% increase in referrals. Actions: 

  • Hold a referrals techniques workshop
  • Run contest for referral sales
  • Increase commission on referral sales by 5%.

There is no single plan that can fit your company perfectly. There will be hurdles along the way, and you can always mold the shape of your sales plan until you start seeing favorable results. Take your time to identify opportunities and ways to overcome challenges.

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An effective sales plan serves as the compass guiding a business towards its revenue targets and growth objectives. In today's highly competitive marketplace, a well-crafted sales plan is not just a valuable asset; it's often the difference between success and stagnation.

What is sales plan?

A sales plan is a strategic document that outlines a company's sales objectives, strategies, and tactics for achieving its revenue and growth targets. It serves as a roadmap for the sales team and provides a clear direction for achieving sales goals within a specified time frame, typically on an annual or quarterly basis. A well-structured sales plan includes details on target customers, revenue targets, pricing strategies, promotional activities, sales tactics, team responsibilities, resources, and market conditions.

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What is the sales planning process?

The sales planning process includes:

  • Set clear objectives and goals
  • Analyze market and industry trends
  • Identify target customers and segments
  • Determine sales strategies
  • Set sales tactics and actions
  • Pricing and promotions
  • Allocate resources
  • Team structure and responsibilities
  • Create a timeline
  • Implementation
  • Set clear objectives and goals : Begin by defining clear and measurable sales objectives. These objectives should align with the overall business goals and may include revenue targets, market share goals, customer acquisition goals, or product-specific targets.
  • Analyze market and industry trends : Conduct a thorough analysis of the market and industry in which your business operates. This includes studying market trends, customer behavior, competitor strategies, and any external factors that may impact sales.
  • Identify target customers and segments : Define and segment your target customer base. Understand the specific needs, preferences, and pain points of these customers to tailor your sales approach effectively.
  • Determine sales strategies : Develop high-level sales strategies that outline the overall approach to achieving your sales objectives. Consider whether you need to expand into new markets, focus on specific customer segments, or invest in product development.
  • Set sales tactics and actions : Break down your sales strategies into actionable tactics and steps. Determine the specific activities that sales teams or individuals will undertake to implement the strategies effectively.
  • Pricing and promotions : Decide on your pricing strategy and any promotional activities that will support your sales efforts. Consider whether discounts, bundles, or special offers will be part of your sales tactics.
  • Allocate resources : Identify the resources required to execute the sales plan. This includes budget allocation, technology tools (e.g., CRM systems), training, and personnel needs.
  • Team structure and responsibilities : Define the roles and responsibilities of the sales team members. Establish clear reporting structures and accountability within the sales organization.
  • Create a timeline : Develop a timeline that outlines the key milestones, deadlines, and deliverables associated with the sales plan. Establish a schedule for reviewing and adjusting the plan as needed.
  • Budgeting : Allocate the necessary budget for implementing the sales plan. Ensure that the budget aligns with the objectives and strategies outlined in the plan. ‍
  • Implementation : Put the sales plan into action. Sales teams and individuals execute the defined tactics and strategies, engaging with customers, generating leads, and closing deals.

What are benefits of sales plans?

Key advantages of having a well-defined sales plan:

  • Clear direction
  • Goal achievement
  • Improved focus
  • Better time management
  • Enhanced accountability
  • Resource allocation
  • Consistency
  • Clear direction : Sales plans provide a clear roadmap for sales teams and individuals. They outline specific goals, strategies, and tactics, ensuring that everyone understands their role and responsibilities in achieving sales objectives.
  • Goal achievement : Sales plans help organizations set and track sales goals. By breaking down revenue targets and other objectives into actionable steps, sales teams can work systematically toward achieving these goals.
  • Improved focus : Having a sales plan helps sales professionals prioritize their efforts. They can concentrate on high-potential leads, key customer segments, and strategic activities, reducing time spent on less productive tasks.
  • Better time management : Sales plans allocate time and resources efficiently. Salespeople can allocate their time based on the importance and urgency of tasks, optimizing their schedules for maximum productivity.
  • Enhanced accountability : Sales plans establish accountability within the sales organization. Each team member knows their responsibilities and is held responsible for meeting their targets and deadlines.
  • Resource allocation : Sales plans help allocate resources effectively, including budget, personnel, and technology. This ensures that the right resources are available to support sales efforts.
  • Consistency : Sales plans promote consistency in sales processes and customer interactions. This consistency can lead to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.

What add in sales plan template?

Key sections and elements you should consider adding to a sales plan template:

  • Executive summary
  • Business overview
  • Sales objectives
  • Target market analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • SWOT analysis
  • Sales strategies
  • Sales tactics
  • Deadlines and responsibilities
  • Sales team structure
  • Resources and tools
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Risk assessment and mitigation
  • Integration with marketing
  • Communication and training
  • Executive summary : Provide a brief overview of the sales plan, including the primary objectives, target market, and key strategies. This should be a concise snapshot of the entire plan.
  • Business overview : Describe your company's mission, vision, and history. Explain how your products or services meet customer needs and provide a competitive advantage.
  • Sales objectives : Clearly state the sales goals and objectives you aim to achieve within a specific time frame, such as revenue targets, market share growth, or customer acquisition goals.
  • Target market analysis : Detail the characteristics of your target customers, including demographics, psychographics, behavior, and pain points. Use market research to support your analysis.
  • Competitive analysis : Identify your main competitors, their strengths and weaknesses, market share, and strategies. Highlight what sets your offerings apart from the competition.
  • SWOT analysis : Conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to assess your company's internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats.
  • Sales strategies : Outline the overarching strategies you plan to implement to achieve your sales objectives. Include high-level descriptions of your sales channels and tactics.
  • Sales tactics : Provide detailed plans for specific sales activities, including lead generation, prospecting, nurturing, closing deals, and customer retention strategies.
  • Pricing and promotions : Explain your pricing strategy and any promotional campaigns you intend to run. Clarify how pricing decisions align with your sales goals.
  • Deadlines and responsibilities : Set clear timelines and deadlines for each phase of the plan. Assign responsibilities to individuals or teams and specify who is accountable for each task.
  • Sales team structure : Describe your sales team's structure, roles, and responsibilities. Include information about training, coaching, and development programs.
  • Resources and tools : List the resources, tools, and technology needed to support your sales efforts. Mention CRM software, marketing collateral, and any other essential resources.
  • Budget : Estimate the budget required to implement the sales plan effectively. Break down expenses related to personnel, marketing, technology, and other resources.
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) : Define the KPIs and metrics that will be used to measure the success of the sales plan. Specify how and when these metrics will be tracked.
  • Risk assessment and mitigation : Identify potential risks and challenges that could impact the plan's execution. Develop strategies and contingency plans to address these risks.
  • Integration with marketing : Explain how the sales plan aligns with the marketing plan to ensure consistency in messaging, lead generation efforts, and customer engagement. ‍
  • Communication and training : Provide guidelines for communicating the sales plan to stakeholders, including the sales team, executives, and support staff. Address training needs and resources.

What are tips for creating an effective sales plan?

Tips to help you create a successful sales plan:

  • Align with company goals
  • Understand your target market
  • Set clear and specific goals
  • Leverage industry trends
  • Include a SWOT analysis
  • Involve your sales team
  • Create realistic budgets
  • Align with company goals : Ensure that your sales plan aligns with your company's overall goals and objectives. Sales should support the broader mission and vision of the organization.
  • Understand your target market: Conduct thorough research to understand your target customers' needs, preferences, and pain points. Define your buyer personas and tailor your plan accordingly.
  • Set clear and specific goals : Establish clear, measurable, and specific sales goals. Whether it's revenue targets, market share, or customer acquisition, your objectives should be well-defined.
  • Leverage industry trends : Incorporate relevant industry trends and market insights into your plan. Highlight how your strategies capitalize on these trends to gain a competitive edge.
  • Include a SWOT analysis : Perform a SWOT analysis to assess your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Use this analysis to inform your strategies and mitigate weaknesses.
  • Involve your sales team : Collaborate with your sales team to gather input and insights. Sales reps on the front lines often have valuable information about customer needs and market dynamics.
  • Create realistic budgets : Develop a budget that aligns with your sales goals and strategies. Consider expenses related to personnel, marketing, technology, and resources.

What are types of sales plans?

Types of sales plans:

  • Annual sales plan
  • Quarterly sales plan
  • Monthly sales plan:
  • Individual sales rep plans
  • Territory sales plan
  • Product launch sales plan
  • Market expansion sales plan
  • Annual sales plan : An annual sales plan outlines the sales objectives, strategies, and tactics for an entire year. It includes revenue targets, sales quotas, and plans for product launches or expansions.
  • Quarterly sales plan : A quarterly sales plan focuses on goals and strategies for a specific three-month period. It allows for more frequent adjustments to respond to market changes.
  • Monthly sales plan : Monthly sales plans break down annual or quarterly goals into monthly targets. These plans are especially useful for tracking short-term progress and making quick adjustments.
  • Individual sales rep plans : Each sales representative may have their own individual sales plan that aligns with overall company goals. These plans include specific quotas, prospecting strategies, and account management tactics.
  • Territory sales plan : Territory sales plans allocate sales resources and strategies to specific geographic regions or customer segments. This ensures effective coverage and focus on local market conditions.
  • Product launch sales plan : When introducing a new product or service, a product launch sales plan outlines how sales teams will promote, sell, and support the new offering. It includes target markets, pricing, and promotion strategies.
  • Market expansion sales plan : A market expansion sales plan is used when entering new markets, whether in different regions, industries, or customer segments. It involves market research, resource allocation, and market entry strategies.

what is a sales plan in a business plan

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

what is a sales plan in a business plan

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.

what is a sales plan in a business plan

eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

what is a sales plan in a business plan

  • Promoters Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

What are strategic sales plan examples?

​​Strategic sales plan examples that you can adapt to your specific needs:

1. 30-60-90-Day sales plan

  • Objective : To provide a structured approach for new sales hires or initiatives, outlining goals and tasks for the first 30, 60, and 90 days.
  • Key components : Define specific objectives, tasks, and KPIs for each of the 30, 60, and 90-day periods. This plan helps new hires ramp up quickly and achieve sales targets.

2. Market expansion sales plan

  • Objective : To guide your sales team when expanding into new markets or territories.
  • Key components : Identify the target market or territory, conduct market research, set revenue goals, allocate resources, and develop a timeline. This plan ensures a systematic approach to market expansion.

3. New product sales plan

  • Objective : To successfully launch and sell a new product or service. ‍
  • Key components : Analyze the competitive landscape, determine pricing and positioning, outline marketing strategies, define the target audience, and create a sales roadmap. This plan is essential for maximizing the success of product launches.

How to create a sales plan?

Steps to create a sales plan:

  • Define your sales objectives
  • Identify your target market
  • Analyze current position
  • Develop sales strategies
  • Outline sales tactics
  • Determine sales channels
  • Set sales quotas and targets
  • Define sales processes
  • Create a sales calendar
  • Measure and track progress
  • Review and adapt
  • Communicate and train
  • Execute and monitor
  • Define your sales objectives : Start by setting clear and specific sales goals. These objectives should be measurable, achievable, and aligned with your overall business goals. Common sales objectives include revenue targets, market share, customer acquisition, and product penetration.
  • Identify your target market : Understand your ideal customer profile. Define your target audience based on demographics, psychographics, industry, location, and other relevant factors. This helps tailor your sales efforts effectively.
  • Analyze current position : Conduct a thorough analysis of your current market position, including a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). Understand your competitors, market trends, and customer needs.
  • Develop sales strategies : Based on your objectives and market analysis, create high-level strategies for achieving your sales goals. This might involve expanding into new markets, optimizing your sales processes, or increasing customer retention.
  • Outline sales tactics :  Break down your strategies into actionable tactics. These are specific steps and activities that your sales team will undertake. Tactics can include cold calling, email marketing, social selling, trade shows, and more.
  • Determine sales channels : Decide which sales channels are most effective for reaching your target audience. This might include direct sales, online sales, retail, partnerships, or a combination of these.
  • Set sales quotas and targets : Assign sales quotas to your sales team or individual representatives. These quotas should be realistic and aligned with your overall sales objectives. Ensure that your team understands their targets.
  • Define sales processes : Document your sales processes, including lead generation, lead qualification, nurturing, closing, and post-sale customer support. Establish clear guidelines for each stage.
  • Allocate resources : Determine the resources required to execute your sales plan successfully. This includes budget allocation, personnel, training, technology, and tools. Ensure you have the necessary resources to support your sales team.
  • Create a sales calendar : Develop a timeline that outlines when specific sales activities, campaigns, and milestones will occur. A well-structured calendar helps with planning and tracking progress.
  • Measure and track progress : Implement key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your sales plan. Track metrics such as sales revenue, conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, and customer lifetime value. Regularly review and analyze these metrics to make informed adjustments.
  • Review and adapt : Sales plans should be dynamic documents. Regularly review your plan's effectiveness and make adjustments as needed. Be flexible and adapt to changing market conditions or unexpected challenges.
  • Communicate and train : Ensure that your sales team understands the sales plan, their roles, and responsibilities. Provide training and support to empower your sales representatives to meet their targets. ‍
  • Execute and monitor : Put your sales plan into action. Monitor progress, provide feedback to your team, and make real-time adjustments as necessary to stay on course toward your sales goals.

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what is a sales plan in a business plan

2023 Playbook: How to Create a Revenue-Generating Sales Plan [Template + Examples]

2023 Playbook: How to Create a Revenue-Generating Sales Plan [Template + Examples]

Casey O'Connor

What Is a Sales Plan?

Why do i need a sales plan, how to create a sales plan: 7 steps + what to include, types of sales plans, how to measure sales progress, what to include in a sales plan template, sales plan template, sales plan examples, tips for creating a winning sales plan.

A sales plan is a detailed, A – Z roadmap for salespeople that outlines the various stages, executable actions, methodologies, outcomes, and goals of the sales process.

The document provides the sales team with an action plan for executing their roles and responsibilities in supporting your company goals.

In this article, we’ll go over all the steps you need to take (and exactly what to include) in order to create an effective sales plan as well as examples, templates, and proven tips.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • How to Create a Sales Plan

A sales plan is very similar to a business plan , except that it focuses entirely on sales activities. It’s an all-encompassing playbook that spells out everything a salesperson might need to know about what they’re working toward within their company, including: 

  • Strategies or methods to adopt
  • Action steps to follow
  • Team players, their specific responsibilities, and the skills required to do their jobs
  • Potential pitfalls and challenges
  • Individual and team-wide, short-term, and long-term goals

An effective sales plan should be very thorough, and should outline for your salespeople all the various steps — and their potential outcomes — they will need to take in order to play their part in meeting the company’s targets.

A sales plan is meant to help sales reps understand their specific roles and responsibilities, and how their actions and outcomes contribute to the bigger picture. 

Like a business plan, a sales plan is a customizable document and should reflect the specifics of your company or small business. What you include in the document — and how you go about creating it — will be unique to your scenario. 

With that being said, there are some guidelines and best practices to follow to ensure your sales plan is as effective as possible. We’ll go over all of those later in this article.

First, let’s look at some of the reasons why it’s so important to make a sales plan.

For many sales reps, the name of the game is closing deals . It can be easy to lose sight of the process in favor of converting as many leads as quickly as possible.

But solidifying and systemizing the sales process is critically important. Creating a sales plan will help you:

  • Maximize the efficiency of your sales process by determining which strategies and methods are most effective with your target market
  • Identify a variety of targets and goals, and encourage your sales reps to continually strive to meet them
  • Track individual and collective performance data from every stage of the sales process, which will help fine-tune your sales process and determine your budgeting needs

Though it may require some time and effort on the front end, creating a sales plan will pay off in spades in the long run.

It doesn’t matter how skilled or talented your sales team is — if they’re not efficient in their sales activities, they will never reach peak performance. 

In fact, most top-performing companies report that their sales activities are carefully structured , far more so than average or underperforming companies.

sales plan: the importance of formal sales structures

Having a structured system allows your sales team to meet their sales goals more quickly and easily. The detailed roadmap of the sales plan enables your reps to waste no time deciding what to do next, wondering whether what they’re doing is working, or how close they are to meeting their goals. 

One of the most effective ways to motivate a sales rep is through expertly crafted sales goals . It’s important that your goals are lofty, and will drive your business forward, but they should also be achievable. 

sales plan: SMART goals

Once you’ve set effective goals, you also need to be able to see what steps and actions are helping you meet them, and which need some fine-tuning. 

sales plan: track sales KPIs

Although your sales plan will be unique to your company’s current operating status and future goals, there is a relatively standard process that will help most sales managers create one to suit their needs. 

These seven steps will help you know where to start — and what all to include — in your sales plan.

1. Mission Statement & Positioning

Before you start nailing down the specifics of your goals and sales actions, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the big picture. What is your company’s purpose? What do you do and why do you do it? What are your company values? All of these things come together to form a company’s mission.

Creating a mission statement is an all-hands-on-deck exercise. Your company’s mission is developed by and given contributions from many departments. Be sure to consult with your marketing, account management, and content management teams, along with any other stakeholders that are impacted by the company’s larger purpose (in other words, everyone!). 

sales plan: creating a mission statement

It’s also important during this step to acknowledge your company’s current position in the market. Who are your main competitors? What is the value you offer that sets you apart ? This isn’t necessarily part of your mission statement, but it does help your sales team understand where they currently fit in the bigger market picture.

Once you’ve zoomed out and gotten a handle on the higher-level ideals and values of your company, it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty.

sales plan: how to set sales goals

Do not cut corners in this step. The more specific, the better, and you should consider setting smaller, highly targeted goals for every stage of the sales pipeline .

For example, a high-level goal may be to close 100 deals in a month. That’s a good start at a SMART goal, but challenge yourself to go several steps further . Reverse engineer those 100 deals, and look at all of the steps that happened before close that helped you arrive there.

How many cold emails did it take to close a single deal? How many phone calls are reps making before qualifying a prospect ? How is your social media engagement ? Your sales process map can help you identify and target each individual step in the process, so you can create smaller, stepping-stone goals.

Here’s a general structure:

sales plan structure: goals, responsibility, tactics, deadline

One last tip: make sure to set goals for activities that are directly within a sales rep’s control — things like how many phone calls they make in a day, or how long their demo takes to present — and the outcomes that are driven by those activities (like revenue or number of deals closed).

3. Sales Team Organization & Structure

Here is where you’ll outline your team roster , so to speak. This section of your sales plan should start with an overview of your current sales team, as well as the specific roles and responsibilities of each team member. 

sales plan: team structure

Beyond that, it should also outline the specific skills and/or training that your sales reps currently possess, and what they (ideally) still need in order to be successful. You should also consider including projections for future growth or openings on the sales team. Similarly, you may consider including your compensation plan within the sales plan. 

Some of this section will be forward-looking and dependent on your sales budget — don’t exclude something just because it’s not happening now or seems too expensive. These projections will help further shape your revenue goals and allow you to budget appropriately. 

This section should rely heavily on self-reports from your sales reps. Take the time to interview them individually about how they view their role and what they currently take responsibility for within the sales process .

There are no right or wrong answers here, so be sure to let your reps know that this isn’t a performance evaluation. The point of gathering this kind of input is to see, from a high-level perspective, which responsibilities are currently well-served, and which need more attention.

4. Target Market & Buyer Persona

As important as it is to clearly understand the internal workings of your sales process, it’s just as important to outline things from the customer’s perspective.

sales plan: ICP and buyer persona

5. Sales Strategies & Methodologies

In this section, you’ll want to give an overview of the various sales methodologies that are most successful for your target market, as well as the actionable steps required for each one. 

This doesn’t mean that you need to adopt one approach and stick with it. Many top-tier sales teams use a hybrid approach to sales strategies, combining a variety of methods depending on the rep and the customer. 

For example, you may find that inbound leads respond best to a value-selling approach.

sales plan: value selling

This section works best when it’s laid out according to each stage of the sales cycle .

The sales landscape is changing faster than ever, particularly with the rise of social selling . With that in mind, here’s another reminder to update this section with best practices as you continue to adopt and practice new strategies.

6. Sales Execution & Action Plan

If the sales organization structure section is your roster, then the execution & action plan is your playbook.

Here is the real “meat” of your sales plan. This section is where you will outline the very specific sales activities, timelines, deadlines, and milestones that you expect to take place throughout the sales process. 

Be as specific as possible here. “Make 200 cold calls” is far more executable than “Call prospects.” The SMART goals and sales strategies you outlined will drive your execution plan. Include all relevant deadlines, as well as the individuals directly responsible for meeting them. It can be beneficial to break this section down into monthly, quarterly, and yearly timelines.

Tip: Grab this free interactive worksheet that helps you identify the number of calls, conversations, new opportunities, and deals needed to hit your quota each month.

Interactive Cold Call Worksheet

The specificity here will serve two primary purposes.

First, it will be an enormous help to your sales team. There’s no better way to learn on the job than with a step-by-step manual. It also makes the onboarding process very smooth.

It will also allow you to pinpoint which stages of your sales process are converting well, and which need help. It can show you where your sales team’s energy is currently going and where it’s most needed. If, for example, you see that most reps are spending 70% of their time prospecting and still not meeting their quotas, you may want to reconsider your marketing plan.

7. Measure KPIs

The last part of your sales plan involves measuring and analyzing your sales KPIs . What you measure and how you measure it will depend on your specific company, but it’s important to standardize them across the company so that everyone is working toward — and knows exactly how to achieve — the same sales targets.

Most companies choose to track both primary metrics — the ones that measure your overall, big-picture progress — and secondary ones that indicate levels of success throughout the various stages of selling. We’ll go over some of these in the next section.

A robust CRM  can help you manage and track the many moving pieces of the sales process.

One of the most useful things about sales plans is that you can create one for just about any scenario your sales team might encounter. 

Whether you’re entering a new market, launching a new product, or simply wanting to grow your revenue, a sales plan specific to your goals can make all the difference in your success.

Here are a few examples of the different types of sales plans your team might create.

Annual/Quarterly/Weekly Sales Plan

One straightforward way to write a sales plan is by determining goals for a specific time period. 

Most sales teams create weekly/monthly/quarterly/annual goals; a sales plan can help everyone involved achieve those goals. 

A sales plan created around a specific time period should include revenue goals, specific sales strategies and tactics, and a means for measuring progress. 

Here’s an example of a quarterly sales plan :

Annual/Quarterly/Weekly Sales Plan

New Product Sales Plan

A new product sales plan details the goals, strategies, tactics, and people involved in launching a new product. It’s essentially a blueprint for how to generate sustainable revenue from the launch.

A new product sales plan should also include competitive analysis, details or ideas about any potential strategic partnerships, information about your unique selling points, and a sales enablement strategy for the launch.

Customer Segment Sales Plan

A customer segment sales plan helps sales reps understand the many different sub-groups in their target market, and how to sell most effectively to each.

Your customer segments may be determined by geographic area. They may also be segmented by other demographic information, like company size or revenue bracket. A customer segment plan outlines the specifics of each of those segments and helps you optimize your sales strategies and tactics for each one.

30-60-90 Day Sales Plan

A 30-60-90 day sales plan is a popular option for new sales hires. This kind of sales plan outlines the approach and specific strategies that a new sales rep will take in their first 90 days on the job. 

30-60-90 Day Sales Plan

Days 30 through 60 are for putting the plan into action. Sales reps should jump into the sales process and track their progress, challenges, and successes. These will be analyzed later in order to optimize the process. 

Days 61 through 90 are all about fine-tuning the plan. Sales reps should take the data they gathered through the first two phases and use any insights gained to create a new and improved iteration of the sales plan.

Market Expansion Sales Plan

If you’re hoping to start selling to a bigger market, a market expansion sales plan might help structure the process and improve productivity and results. 

A market expansion sales plan outlines what a sales team must do in order to successfully expand into a new market or territory. Most often, this kind of plan addresses expanding into a new geographic market. 

A market expansion plan should address distribution efforts to the new territory, as well as time zone issues and other logistical considerations. 

Revenue-Based Sales Plan

A revenue-based sales plan is based on — no surprise here — revenue.

This type of sales plan focuses on sales forecasting and strategies to improve conversion rates in order to close more deals and improve the bottom line.

There are a number of ways to use your sales plan to measure your sales progress. Remember, your sales plan is a living, breathing document and should be scrutinized and updated as often as needed to reflect your current sales team, product pricing, market conditions, and sales tactics.

As your sales plan changes over time, your measurable metrics may need updating, as well. Consider tracking some of the following KPIs to keep your finger on the pulse of your team’s progress.

Revenue is one of the most straightforward metrics to track, but keep in mind that there are many ways to approach this. You can measure revenue in one or several of the following ways:

  • Overall revenue
  • Revenue by product
  • Revenue from new customers vs. existing ones
  • Revenue by territory or market

If you only track overall revenue, you lose out on valuable insights for growth. Your total revenue, for example, might look healthy, but a closer look could reveal that it’s streaming almost entirely from existing customers. Tracking revenue from new customers would highlight the fact that your company needs to focus on customer acquisition in order to continue generating new business. 

Sales Activities

You can also track the day-to-day behavior and sales activities of your sales team. Consider monitoring things like:

  • Social media engagement
  • Scheduled meetings
  • Demos and presentations

Remember, none of this is meant to spy on your sales team or micromanage their progress. Instead, the goal is to promote growth and efficiency. 

Funnel Metrics

The sales cadence is another lens through which to analyze your team’s progress. Take a bird’s eye view of your sales pipeline and start tracking some of the following:

  • Length of sales cycle
  • Number of closed deals
  • Number of deals that didn’t close after reaching a certain stage
  • Value of the pipeline by individual and team, by month and by quarter
  • Average contract value
  • Conversion rate

Tracking these metrics will help you see any kinks in the overall process.

Lead Generation Metrics

When you track your lead generation progress, you can get valuable data about how effectively you’re reaching your target customers. The following data will help you set benchmarks and reach your business goals. 

  • Volume of new opportunities
  • Lead response time
  • Percentage of follow up 
  • Dropped leads
  • Qualified leads
  • Customer acquisition cost

If any of these metrics are lagging, you may want to work with your marketing or content teams and reconsider your marketing strategy. 

Sales Productivity Metrics

Sales productivity metrics are great for seeing where your reps’ sales efforts are going. These metrics can be a bit more tedious to measure and track, but are well worth studying in the long run.

  • Entering data
  • Creating content
  • Number of sales tools used
  • Percentage of lead follow-up

Time is money, and knowing where your time is going has a direct impact on your bottom line.

Ultimately, it’s up to sales teams (ideally in collaboration with marketing) to decide what information will be most useful to them within a sales plan. 

Here are some of the more common components that teams include in their sales plans. 

Mission Statement

A company’s mission statement gives a high-level, goal-oriented synopsis of its purpose and how it serves the market.

sales plan: mission statement

Although this isn’t necessarily an actionable component of the sales process, it’s good to include it in the plan so that it’s front of mind as your team works to meet the goals laid out in the sales plan.

Target Customers

Your sales plan should always outline who your offer is best-fit to serve. 

At a minimum, your sales and marketing teams should collaborate to define the ICP and buyer personas. But certain sales plans need to go beyond the basics and define their target market into subgroups. Some examples of customer segments might include:

  • Upsells and cross-sells

Your target customer segments can also be defined by geography, demographics, and company size — just to name a few. 

Team Structure

Many teams also include a section that succinctly outlines the people involved in the sales process, and their specific roles and responsibilities. 

Effective sales plans outline roles and DRIs, so it’s a good idea to ensure that everyone has access to the roster, so to speak, as they execute the sales plan. This is especially important for larger sales teams.

Sales Goals and Revenue Targets

Every sales plan needs to include the goals it aims to achieve. 

Remember to follow the SMART goal framework; our goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 

It’s especially important to make clear in your sales plan how your team plans to track your progress toward those goals. How and when will you monitor/measure performance? What are the performance benchmarks you’re hoping to achieve in a given time period? These specifics should be outlined in full in your sales plan.

sales plan: quarterly sales goals

Performance During the Prior Period

You can give your sales plan context by including data about your team’s past performance in your goal areas. This helps salespeople understand how much of a gap they need to fill in order to succeed.

Strategies and Tactics

Your sales plan must include details about the specific strategies, tactics, and/or methodologies your team will use to reach their goals. This section should be action-oriented and aligned with the unique buyer’s journey of the target market.

sales plan: buyer's journey

You’ll also want to include details and actionable insights about any specific sales strategies you want your team to use.

Pricing and Promotions

Most sales plans will also need to include at least basic information about your offer’s pricing structure , and whether or not you plan to offer any promotions. 

Be thoughtful about these numbers, especially promotions. Sales teams need to strike a fine balance between attracting customers with hard-to-refuse deals and making enough profit to affect the bottom line in a meaningful way.

Deadlines and DRIs

Every sales plan needs to include clear information about who is responsible for which deliverables, and when those deliverables are due.

Everyone on the team needs to be clear on the DRIs (directly responsible individuals) for each step of the plan.

A timeline can also be a very helpful visual component of a sales plan.

It’s also a good idea to include an overview of the resources and/or tools your team will need to use in order to execute the plan successfully.

Resources might include a CRM system, project management software, sales enablement tools, forecasting software, or a sales dashboard . You should also include a breakdown of the budget.

Market Conditions

You can also add some context to your sales plan by including insights about the current state of the market.

Information about general trends and potential disruptions in the industry can help motivate your sales reps to buy into your sales plan, as well as help them know how to approach their responsibilities. You’ll also want to include an in-depth competitive analysis.

Below you’ll find a basic sales plan template that you can copy and paste as a starting point. Remember, the sales plan is meant to be highly specific to your company, so it’s likely that the template here will not meet all of your needs. Instead, treat it as a jumping-off point and customize it until it captures all of the pertinent information.



1. Mission Statement

sales plan template: goals

3. Sales Team Organization

sales plan template: sales team organization

4. Target Market

  • Demographics (Age, Marital Status, Location, Profession, Etc.):
  • Challenges:
  • Pain Points:
  • Objections:

5. Sales Methodologies

sales plan template: sales methodologies

6. Action Plan

[This section is highly specific to your preference. Consider formatting as a list, table, or flowchart.]

sales plan template: KPIs

Here are a few examples of sales plans to fit a variety of scenarios. Remember, these are intended to be templates or starting points; they should be tweaked or changed to fit the unique needs and goals of your team.

Basic Sales Plan Template

Best Templates offers a comprehensive and straightforward sales template that can be adapted to fit just about any sales goal.

sales plan example template

Simply download the template and fill in each section with relevant data and information. This template includes sections for goals, lead demand generation, implementation, and progress tracking.

Single Page Sales Plan

If you’re going for brevity, a one-sheet sales plan might be a good fit for your team.

sales plan example: strategic template

This template gets right down to brass tacks; it includes space for budget details, deliverables, and KPIs.

Customizable and Design-Forward

For a sales plan that’s custom to your needs and looks great to boot, try Venngage . Venngage is an online sales plan creation software that helps sales teams create actionable, visually engaging sales plans.

sales plan example

Venngage offers users the ability to choose from dozens of layout templates that they can further customize with charts, photos, and illustrations. 

30-60-90 day sales plan template

Tip: If you’re interested in the checklist above — grab the Google Docs version of it here.

Microsoft Word Sales Plan

sales plan template

This template allows sales teams to tackle multiple goals at the same time, making it easy to get a bird’s-eye view of how close your team is to achieving both individual targets and big-picture goals.

Tip: Grab more sales plans here –> 13 Strategic Sales Plan Templates

Here are some of our best tips for creating a sales plan that gets results.

Get Input From Marketing

Your sales plan will only be effective if your marketing team can attract the right leads. 

It’s essential that sales and marketing teams remain in close collaboration as they create, track, and manage sales plans.

Understand Your Sales Rep’s Challenges

You can enable your sales reps to be most successful by creating your sales plans around their strengths, and taking their challenges into account.

Of course, sales reps will likely always encounter challenges during a deal — that’s to be expected. But the best sales plans are the ones that leverage their team’s strengths to get the job done and have built-in workarounds to address the team’s needs and potential challenges. 

Don’t Move the Goal Posts Once It’s Complete

Although it can be tempting, it’s important to finalize your sales plan and refrain from editing it until the given time period is complete. 

Your team will be best-served if you stick to the plan, collect data on the process, and use those insights to further optimize your next sales plan.

Get Feedback

Share your sales plan in draft form with members of other teams. Customer success , marketing, and finance teams can all offer valuable insights into how the proposed sales plan fits into the bigger picture of the company’s goals. 

Set Individual Goals and Milestones for Your Team

All sales plans should include SMART goals for the sales team. But some of the most effective plans also include SMART goals for each individual sales rep that’s involved. This helps keep everyone on the team accountable.

This guide was updated on November 30, 2022.

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what is a sales plan in a business plan

How to Write a Sales and Marketing Plan

Bag of money and a megaphone. Represents creating a sales and marketing plan.

2 min. read

Updated January 3, 2024

You’ve addressed what you’re selling and why in the products and services section. You now have an understanding of the market and an ideal customer in mind thanks to your market analysis. Now, you need to explain how you will actually reach and sell to them.

The marketing and sales section of your business plan dives into how you’re going to accomplish your goals. You’ll be answering questions like:

  • Based on your audience, how will you position your product or service in the current market?
  • What marketing channels, messaging, and sales tactics will you implement?
  • What’s your business model and how will your business operate day-to-day?

By the end of this section, you should have an outline of what growth looks like, what milestones you intend to hit, and how you’ll measure success. Basically, you’re backing up the opportunity you’ve identified with a solid go-to-market plan.

What to include in the sales and marketing section

The sections you should include act as a useful framework for exploring and defining your marketing and sales tactics.

Create a positioning statement

How does your business differ? What do you do that others don’t? If you’re unsure, work through a handful of strategic exercises to create a simple but convincing positioning statement.

Outline your marketing strategy

A marketing plan brings together strategic goals with tangible marketing activities designed to reach and engage your target market—ultimately convincing them to purchase your product.

Craft your sales plan

A good sales strategy provides actionable steps to reach your goals. Estimate how much you intend to sell and outline a process that anyone else in your business can execute.

Optional sales and marketing information to include

The basics of a marketing and sales plan are fairly straightforward. However, it’s also the perfect place to flesh out any details that you think will make your outreach efforts successful.

Create a unique value proposition

What makes your business unique? How does the solution you provide stand out? This is your chance to point to what you believe potential customers will find more valuable about your business over the competition.

Don't forget digital marketing

While we don’t recommend creating separate traditional and digital marketing plans, it may be wise to explore and address them separately within your plan.

Build your promotional plan

How will you convince your customers to buy your products or services? While actual ads and promotions may be months away, it’s best to think through and even mock up designs now.

Conduct a SWOT analysis

With this simple analysis, you’ll better understand your strengths and weaknesses, along with the opportunities and threats you should account for.

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  • Optional information

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Japan and ASEAN plan joint strategy on auto production, Nikkei reports

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The meme-stock rally is dead as reality sets in amid GameStop's warning on revenue and plan to sell 45 million shares

  • GameStop's meme-stock rally officially ended on Friday after the company announced plans to sell 45 million shares.
  • The struggling video game retailer also said it expects a 29% decline in first-quarter revenue compared to last year.
  • GameStop said the extreme rally in its stock does "not appear to be based on the underlying fundamentals of our business."

Insider Today

It was fun while it lasted. 

This week's meme-stock rally that sent shares of GameStop surging as much 271% is done. 

GameStop stock plunged as much as 29% on Friday to $19.70, down 70% from its intra-day high on Tuesday, and trading at the levels seen last Friday before the @TheRoaringKitty X account posted a meme that sparked a resurgence in the stock.

The rally in GameStop shares came to its sputtering conclusion on Friday when the struggling video game retailer announced plans to sell 45 million shares in an at-the-market offering, which could result in massive dilution for existing shareholders.

This type of share sale allows GameStop to, at its discretion, sell shares directly in the open market to willing buyers to raise capital, with an upside limit of 45 million shares. This is the same type of share sale agreement that allowed AMC Entertainment to take advantage of this week's meme-stock rally and raise $250 million in capital.

The only problem for GameStop is it appears too late for the company to take advantage of this week's meme stock rally, with all of its stock gains having been evaporated.

In a filing made with the SEC, GameStop said it expects first-quarter revenue to decline nearly 30% year-over-year to a range of $872 million to $892 million, and that it expects to see a net loss of $27 million to $37 million.

GameStop also said the company has experienced no fundamental change in its business that would explain the week's massive price surge.

"We did not experience any material changes in our financial condition or results of operations that would explain such price volatility or trading volume. Furthermore, since January 2021 through the date hereof, the market price of our common stock has seen extreme price fluctuations that do not appear to be based on the underlying fundamentals of our business or results of operations," GameStop warned investors in the prospectus tied to its share offering.

The company offered a sobering note to anyone interested in its stock: 

"Investors that purchase shares of our common stock in this offering may lose a significant portion of their investments if the price of our common stock subsequently declines," GameStop said. 

what is a sales plan in a business plan

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European leaders are planning a $4.3 billion Iron Dome-style defense system

  • European nations say they're planning a $4.3 billion joint air and missile defense system.
  • Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said creating an Iron Dome similar to Israel's was "necessary."
  • The European Sky Shield Initiative involves 21 countries and aims to enhance NATO's defenses.

Insider Today

European countries are preparing to disclose plans for a $4.3 billion Iron Dome-style air and missile defense system, Poland's prime minister has announced.

Donald Tusk told the Polish broadcaster AVN that the proposal, which involves the cooperation of 21 nations, would be presented to the European Council in a matter of days, according to the Kyiv Post .

The European Sky Shield Initiative is conceived as a means to jointly procure ground-based interoperable air-defense systems.

"The recent attack on Israel showed how essential such systems are. There is no reason for Europe not to have its missile-defense shield," Tusk said, according to The Telegraph .

"Creating an Iron Dome against missiles and drones is necessary," he added.

In a not-too-subtle reference to Russia, Tusk also said it didn't take much imagination to figure out where a potential attack on Europe might come from, the Telegraph reported.

Related stories

Israel's Iron Dome has long been seen as one of the world's most advanced air-defense systems, protecting the country's skies from rockets and other projectiles.

In April, Iran launched a barrage of missiles and drones at Israel, which Israel's air defenses almost completely shot down, with the assistance of US and UK forces .

While a direct hot-war attack by Russia on NATO Europe isn't considered an immediate likelihood, many countries — particularly those that border Russia — are deeply alarmed . Many are also beefing up their defense spending in ways that were unimaginable before Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine .

ESSI was first mooted by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in 2022, not long after Russia had begun pounding Ukraine's civilian infrastructure with rockets. It's been led by Germany ever since.

In July last year, Austria and Switzerland — both traditionally neutral states — signed up to the initiative, and as of February this year, the number of countries had grown to 21, with the participation of Turkey and Greece .

The German Institute for International and Security Affairs , or SWP, outlined in a report last year some of the systems the German government was seeking to buy or replenish as part of ESSI. These included US-made Patriots, the IRIS-T SLM — a short-to-medium-range system capable of targeting drones, aircraft, and cruise missiles — and the long-range Arrow system in use in Israel.

SWP also said that although it considered a Russian attack on NATO countries unlikely in the immediate term, "improving air and missile defense in Europe could curb Russia's coercive power vis-à-vis NATO and thereby strengthen the cohesion of the alliance."

Despite Tusk's championing of ESSI, it has faced challenges from Polish President Andrzej Duda, who has opposed joining it on the grounds that the country already has its own joint air-defense agreements with the US and the UK.

Watch: Russia flaunts intercontinental ballistic missile in new video

what is a sales plan in a business plan

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