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How to Create a Sales Plan: Template + Examples

Meredith Hart

Published: December 05, 2022

Do you have a sales plan? Entrepreneurs, sales executives, and sales managers all benefit from writing sales plans — whether for their business, department, or team. You must know where you're going before you can hit your key targets, and from there, you must break down the strategies and tactics you'll use to do it.

Sales team creating a sales plan for the upcoming quarter

All of this information can be included in a sales plan (and more). Read on to learn how to draft a sales plan that's right for your organization.

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In this post, we'll cover:

How to Write a Sales Plan

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

What is a sales plan?

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' target customers, revenue goals, team structure, and the strategies and resources necessary for achieving its targets.

Free Sales Plan Template

Tell us a little about yourself below to gain access:, what are the goals of an effective sales plan.

The purpose of your company's sales plan is to:

Communicate your company's goals and objectives.

Provide strategic direction., outline roles and responsibilities., monitor your sales team's progress..

You can't expect your sales team to work well if they don't know your company's goals and objectives. It is necessary to make sure the goals are clear and realistic. As they change over time, ensure you regularly communicate your strategy to the entire team.

A sales strategy is vital to selling your products or services. To execute your plan, your company needs to provide direction. Should your employees focus on email conversions versus social media conversions this quarter? Are you boosting your efforts on LinkedIn instead of Facebook? Your business needs to provide your team with guidance to be effective.

Your company's sales plan should outline the roles and responsibilities for your sales team and leadership. The benefits of this include efficient task delegation, improved collaboration, overlap reduction, and increased accountability.

Your sales team is the driving force behind your strategy. If they do well, so does the company. Unfortunately, the alternative is also correct. Monitoring your team's progress on organizational goals allows you to manage your objectives. It ensures you have the people and tools in place to be successful.

Sales Planning Process

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that sales planning doesn't just encompass the creation of a sales plan document. For that document to be more than something that gathers dust on the bookshelf, a high-level strategy is required.

You should:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 .

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Ready to write your own plan? Download HubSpot's Free Sales Plan Template to get started.

What Goes in a Sales Plan Template?

A typical sales plan includes the following sections:

Target Customers

Revenue targets, strategies and tactics, pricing and promotions, deadlines and dris, team structure, market conditions.

Your target customers are who your company aims to serve with its products and services. They're the individuals most likely to buy your products. Target customers are created by dividing your target market into smaller, more focused groups through divisions based on geography, behavior, demography, and more.

Target revenue is how much money your company aims to bring in during a given time. You can measure revenue targets by determining a growth percentage to add to the previous year, estimating revenue based on employee capacity, or summing up the sales quota from your team.

Strategies and tactics are specific actions your team will take to reach revenue targets. You might consider using social media to generate leads. Your company could also turn to associates to ask for referrals. Instead of focusing all your efforts on new clients, a sales strategy could be keeping up with past clients or customers. These are avenues to explore when building a sales plan.

Pricing and promotions typically hold the most interest for customers. It documents your offering's price and any upcoming promotions for converting customers. A free trial is a popular promotional tactic that companies like Amazon and Hulu use to entice customers to buy in once the free session is over. Be mindful and intentional with your pricing and promotions. Your company must find the middle ground between making a profit and looking appealing to your target customers.

Deadlines and Directly Responsible Individuals (DRIs) outline any critical dates for deliverables and list who is accountable for their completion. There are many moving parts to a business. Creating a timeline and assigning responsibility to each task is necessary to keep your company running successfully.

Your team structure often depends on the size of your company. Smaller businesses tend to have a small team, and it can potentially exacerbate issues with overlap and confusion. As your company grows, you will need to hire new employees. The more employees you have, the harder it can be to manage these different members. Your sales plan needs to outline the members of your team and what their specific role is to provide clarity.

The people on your team are the most influential tool for implementing your sales plan, but to do so, they need resources. These are the tools your team will use to reach revenue targets. Your company could use project management resources like Monday or Asana to keep track of deadlines. Programs like Adobe Photoshop and Canva are resources for designing graphics to send to prospects. While your team is essential, their function becomes obsolete without the tools to do their job.

Market conditions are pertinent information about your industry and its competitive landscape. What's trending? Where are customers losing interest? Have there been any competitors gaining traction in the industry, and why? The way your market is fairing should guide how you approach your sales plan.

Now let's walk through how to write a sales plan. Don't forget to follow along with HubSpot's free Sales Plan Template to make the most of this blog post.

Create a mission statement. Define your team's roles and responsibilities. Identify your target market. Outline your tools, software, and resources. Analyze your position in your industry. Plan your marketing strategy. Develop your prospecting strategy. Create an action plan. List your goals. Set your budget.

1. Create a mission statement.

Begin your sales plan by stating your company mission and vision statements, and write up a brief history of the business. This will provide background information as the plan drills down into specific details.

2. Define your team's roles and responsibilities.

Next, describe who is on your team and what their roles are. Perhaps you manage five salespeople and work closely with a sales enablement professional and a sales ops specialist.

If you're planning on adding headcount, include the number of employees, their job titles, and when you're planning to bring them on the team.

3. Identify your target market.

Whether you're writing your first sales plan or your 15th, knowing your target demographic is crucial. What do your best customers look like? Do they all belong to a specific industry? Exceed a certain size? Struggle with the same challenge?

Keep in mind you might have different buyer personas for different products. For example, HubSpot's salespeople might primarily sell marketing software to CMOs and sales software to sales directors.

This section of your sales plan can also change dramatically over time as your solution and strategy evolve and you adjust product-market fit. In the very beginning, when your product was in its infancy, and your prices were low, you may have found success selling to startups. Now that the product is far more robust and you've raised the price, mid-market companies are likely a better fit. That's why it's important to review and update your personas consistently.

4. Outline your tools, software, and resources.

You should also include a description of your resources. Which CRM software do you plan on using? Do you have a budget for sales contests and incentives?

This is where you'll lay out which tools your salespeople should use to succeed in their jobs (e.g., training, documentation , sales enablement tools, etc.).

5. Analyze your position in your industry.

Now, name your competitors. Explain how your products compare, where theirs are stronger than yours, and vice versa. In addition, discuss their pricing versus yours.

You should also discuss market trends. If you're a SaaS company, you should note what vertical-specific software is becoming more popular. If you sell ads, mention the rise in programmatic mobile advertising. Try to predict how these changes will influence your business.

6. Plan your marketing strategy.

In this section, describe your pricing and any promotions you're planning on running. What key actions will you take to increase brand awareness and generate leads? Note the impact on sales.

Here's a mock version:

7. Develop your prospecting strategy.

How will your sales team qualify the leads generated by your marketing strategy? Don't forget to include the criteria prospects should meet before sales reps reach out.

And identify which inbound and outbound sales methods your team will use to close more deals.

8. Create an action plan.

Once you've outlined where you want to go, you must figure out how you'll get there. This section summarizes your game plan for hitting your revenue targets.

Here are a few examples:

A. Objective: Increase referral rates by 30% this quarter

B. Objective: Acquire 20 Enterprise logos

9. List your goals.

Most sales goals are revenue-based. For example, you might set a total target of $10 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR).

Alternatively, you can set a volume goal. That could be 100 new customers or 450 sales. Make sure your objective is realistic; otherwise, your entire sales plan will be largely useless.

Factor in your product's price, total addressable market (TAM), market penetration, and resources (including your sales headcount and marketing support).

Your goal should also be closely tied to your high-level business goals. For example, suppose the company is trying to move upmarket . In that case, your goal might be "Acquire 20 Enterprise logos" rather than "Sell X in new business" (because the latter will encourage you to solely chase deals rather than focus on the right type of customers).

Of course, you'll probably have more than one goal. Identify the most important, then rank the rest by priority.

If you have territories, assign a sub-goal to each. That will make it easier to identify over- and under-performers.

Lay out your timeline too. Having regular benchmarks lets you know if you're on track, ahead, or behind in meeting your targets.

Suppose your sales goal for the first quarter of the year is selling $30,000. Based on last year's performance, you know January and February sales are slower than March.

With that in mind, your timeline is:

You should also write in the DRIs if applicable. For example, maybe Rep Carol's January quota is $5,000. Rep Shane, who's still ramping, has a $3,000 monthly quota. On a smaller team, this exercise helps people avoid replicating each other's work and shifting blame around if targets aren't met.

10. Set your budget.

Describe the costs associated with hitting your sales goals. That usually includes:

Compare the sales plan budget to your sales forecast for accurate budgeting.

If you want to take your plan to the next level, read on to learn some tips for creating a highly effective sales plan.

We've gone over what you should include in a sales plan, including some examples and mockups.

Learn some tips and tricks for creating a sales plan that helps you hit target numbers and exceed your higher-ups' expectations.

You can create a few different types of sales plans for your organization. Here are some examples.

30-60-90-Day Sales Plan


Download Now: Free Sales Training Template

This general sales plan is defined not by theme but by time frame. You'll create three goals: one for the 30-day mark, another for the 60-day mark, and the last for the 90-day mark. You can choose to focus on quotas or reduce customer churn by a certain percentage.

Consider this plan if you're new to the role since you can use it to track your progress during your first ninety days . A 30-60-90 day plan can also be useful for a new business that's still figuring out its sales goals.

Peggy Ratcliff McKee, an executive career coach at Career Confidential, describes the 90-day plan as "a great starting point… [where] you may end up speeding up your goals or extending them depending on the specific needs of your new company."

Marketing-Alignment Sales Plan


In many ways, a traditional sales plan is already aligned with marketing. Still, you can create a marketing-alignment sales plan if your organization has not yet aligned both of these departments.

The plan's focus will be on establishing ideal customer profiles and buyer personas and aligning marketing's messaging with sales' product pitch. A strong marketing-sales alignment ensures everyone within your organization is on the same page and reduces miscommunication down the line.

Business Development Strategic Sales Plan


Download Now: Free Strategic Business Planning Template

A strategic sales plan for business development will focus on attracting new business to your company by networking with other companies, sponsoring events, and doing outreach. In your sales plan, you'll want to choose the right KPIs that best reflect performance for these specific outreach channels.

Business development is imperative for long-term success because it will help your organization better understand your industry's competitive landscape and strategize on how to stand out. Plus, it ensures that everyone at your company is working toward a common goal.

Market Expansion Plan


Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template

A market expansion plan outlines a task list and target metrics when expanding into a new market or territory. This type of sales plan is specifically concerned with addressing a target market in a new geographical area.

You'll typically take into account distribution costs and, if applicable, time zone differences between your sales representatives and target buyers, as well as other logistical factors.

New Product Sales Plan


If you're launching a new product, create a sales plan specifically to generate revenue from the new launch. It'll be crucial to carry out competitive analysis, determine a sales strategy, strengthen your brand positioning, and secure channel partners if you're shifting to a channel sales model.

Strategic Sales Plan Examples

If you're in need of some more inspiration, take a look at these sales plan examples.

1. Sales Plan Template by HubSpot

hubspot sales plan template

We've created a sales plan template that outlines the key elements of a sales plan. This template will walk you through each of the steps to write a sales plan of your own.

Our plan allows you to easily communicate to your organization what your goals are, how you'll accomplish them, and what support you need.

2. Sample Sales Plan by BestTemplates

Sample Sales Plan Template example: BestTemplates

A sales plan doesn't need to be hundreds of pages long. Try consolidating your sales plan to a page or two. This template is an excellent example of making it short and sweet while still communicating the most important elements of the plan.

In landscape mode, this strategic sales plan includes a channel, expected costs and sales, distribution strategy, and key performance indicators in an easy-to-read grid layout.

5. Online Sales Plan Maker Map by Venngage

sales action plan example: Venngage with colored bars for each category

We love 30-60-90 day plans because it allows you to set a realistic pace for accomplishing your goals, whether they are short- or long-term.

This sales plan does some of the work for you by outlining tasks related to your sales goals. You can check off boxes as you complete each item to ensure you're creating a sound sales strategy.

10. Microsoft Word Sales Plan Template from TemplateLab

sales plan example: TemplateLab with colored sections for goal, action step, party responsible, and date

Look ahead at your sales strategies for the next 90 days using this sample sales plan. In this document, you'll be able to break your sales plan down into phases, tasks, and key questions for your sales goals. The final section is a mind map for your sales process and pipeline strategies, which is especially great for brainstorming.

Create a Sales Plan that Grows with Your Business

There's no one-size-fits-all sales plan. The only wrong way to use a sales plan is to write it at the start of the year or quarter and never touch it again. You should periodically review and update it as time goes on to ensure you're focused and on track. By continuously improving on your plan, you can ensure your company generates revenue more effectively than it ever did in the past.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in December 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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

How to Write a Sales Plan

This guide explains the purpose of a sales plan, what it contains and how to write one that works for your business. it also includes a free template for your own sales plan..

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.

“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:

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:

When examining your strengths and opportunities, conduct a SWOT analysis to get a clearer picture of where your business stands.

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: 

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.

Set milestones that give you the opportunity to regularly determine whether you are on track to achieve your sales goals or need to make adjustments.

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:

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.”

A solid sales plan helps you deal with unexpected events and acts as a benchmark for where your company is and where you want it to go.

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. 

Create your own sales plan by downloading our free template .

“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.

building a sales business plan

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6 Steps to Create a Successful Sales Business Plan

6 Steps to Create a Successful Sales Business Plan

Written By Summer Sturgill

building a sales business plan

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Sales Plan: 7 Steps to Creating one that Grows Your Pipeline

Sales plan

A sales plan is the first step towards defining your sales strategy , what your sales goals are and how you’re going to reach them.

You need to formalize who your target audience is, how your team will be structured, what types of reps you will hire, what communications and measurement tools you’ll use, your revenue goals and how you will measure performance.

A refined sales plan is a go-to resource for your reps. It helps them better understand their role, responsibilities, targets, tactics and methods. Done right, it empowers your reps to perform at their highest level. Because it’s loaded with detailed strategies and best-practices, your reps can consistently refer back for ongoing support.

In this article, we’ll outline what a sales plan is, why it’s important to create one and exactly what you should include in your own plan.

What is a sales plan and why create one?

Your sales plan is a roadmap that outlines how you’ll hit your revenue targets, who your target market is, the activities needed to achieve your goals and any roadblocks you may need to overcome along the way.

Many business leaders see the sales plan as an extension of the traditional business plan. The business plan contains strategic and revenue goals across the organization, while the sales plan lays out how to help achieve them within the sales organization.

An effective sales plan must communicate the following information:

Before we explore these areas in more depth, you must understand the benefits a sales plan brings. By understanding its purpose, you can more effectively communicate and secure boardroom buy-in.

Sales plan steps

The benefits of a sales plan

Most salespeople are driven by action. Because they focus on getting the job done by any means necessary, planning often gets neglected in favor of short-term results.

While this may help them hit quota, the downside is it’s unpredictable. Sales processes should be treated as a system with steps that can be optimized. If reps are doing wildly different things, it’s hard to uncover what’s working and what’s not. A good sales plan can keep them on track using repeatable systems.

This also means that everyone will work toward the same outcome. For example, if £250,000 worth of new business is your “true north” goal for next quarter, you can collaborate and ensure you achieve it together.

As you uncover the activities and methodologies that work best, you can refine your plan and flesh these out into playbooks. Adopt several different sales methodologies across the sales pipeline , focusing on activities that move the needle. Why? Because some methodologies work better than others in certain situations and reps may encounter various scenarios through the buying journey.

Each methodology should guide your reps on what to do throughout the sales process and how to push the deal along. The right methodology will meet your buyer’s needs and ease them through the pipeline.

For example, a SPIN Selling methodology is great for uncovering prospects’ pain points and getting to the heart of the problem, so it works best in the early discovery and qualification stages of the sales process. On the other hand, a Consultative Selling approach helps you reframe how your product or solution will uniquely solve problems, making it ideal for the later intent and evaluation stages.

Your sales plan should also shine a light on the tools and talent you need to adopt and nurture. Uncover answers to the following questions:

In order to answer these questions accurately, you must collect the right information and data. Your plan is likely to fail if you make assumptions about customer needs and market conditions.

Tailored sales plans for different functions

What period of time should your sales plan cover? Which functions and departments should it apply to? Each organization and function is different. When creating your sales plan, you have two options:

The direction you choose will depend on your headcount and how complex each function is. For example, if you have a sales development team with a large headcount (including managers), then having a dedicated sales plan is justified.

While the content will vary for each function, the framework will remain the same. With this in mind, let’s explore the seven components of an effective sales plan.

1. Company mission and positioning

No matter their function or seniority, everyone in your organization must work toward the same goals.

This means understanding what your organization is trying to achieve, and where in the market you position yourself.

To understand this, sales leaders must be involved in all areas of the business strategy. Collaborating and working toward the same goals is impossible if they’re determined by only a select group of stakeholders.

Let’s assume you’re a sales director who has joined an organization to lead their sales efforts. To fully familiarize yourself with the company’s positioning, take the following steps:

This insight can provide context around how your company is currently positioned in the market. You’ll get to see what influences this information, providing you with your customer’s perspective.

Finally, speak with the team that was in charge of defining the company positioning. Come armed with a list of questions, and use this time to find out why they made certain decisions. Here are some examples:

How to communicate mission and positioning

Within this section of the sales plan, include the following information:

sales plans goals and targets

2. Goals and targets

Now you know what your company stands for and why it exists in the market, you must define your revenue goals and other targets that sales are responsible for.

As mentioned earlier, sales goals are usually aligned with business goals. Revenue goals are established in the boardroom and it’s your job to achieve them.

This is why sales leaders and chief revenue officers (CRO) are a critical piece of the boardroom puzzle. They have the performance insights that will drive achievable goal-setting (and what it takes to achieve them).

Revenue goals will shape your sales strategy, use them to reverse engineer quotas, sales activity and the staff you need to execute them.

Use data on sales activity and past performance to calculate sales targets. You should break this down by pipeline stage and activity conducted by reps across all functions.

For example, how many cold emails does it take to generate a deal? What is the average LTV of your customer? Breaking down these numbers allows you to accurately forecast what it will take to achieve your new revenue goal.

It will also reveal the expertise needed for each activity, along with any required changes to your organizational structure (which we’ll explore in the next section).

How to communicate goals and targets

Your sales plan must clearly state the revenue goal everyone is working toward. This will ensure all team members are working together on the same page.

Break this revenue goal down further into sales targets and activity targets for your team. These might include:

Include targets for the time it takes to act on each activity. For example, past performance might indicate a higher appointment rate when lead response time is less than five hours. Using this insight, you can define service-level agreements (SLAs) for each activity.

Next, define targets for other metrics. This includes win rate and conversion rates between pipeline stages.

Activities are the specific actions you and your reps can control, while sales targets are the results provided by those activities. By setting goals for both, you can optimize each activity to further move the needle as you execute on your sales plan.

9 steps to creating the perfect sales strategy (with free template)

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3. Sales organization and team structure

With your goals defined, you can work on identifying the talent and expertise needed in order to achieve them.

Who you hire will depend on your business model and the activities needed to reach your goals. For example, a marketing agency that depends on strong relationships will benefit more from a business development executive than an SDR.

Use the targets established in the previous section to identify who you need to hire as part of your organizational structure. For example, if the average sales development rep can send 20 cold emails a day, and you need to send 200 in order to achieve your goals, you’ll need around ten reps in order to hit your targets.

Micromanaging should be avoided , but now is a good time to ask your existing teams to report on the time spent on certain activities. By keeping a timesheet, you’ll have an accurate forecast on how long certain activities take and the capacity of each rep.

How to communicate your sales organization and team structure

This section of your sales plan must justify who you need on your team and the budget required to hire them. Use the targets and activity-driven metrics mentioned in the previous section to quantify these needs.

Get specific by including the following information:

Include the information for each team member in a table in your sales plan. Example:

Sales development representative role

Visualizing each role helps all stakeholders understand who they’re hiring and the people they’re responsible for. It gives them an opportunity to collaborate on the plan and identify the responsibilities and qualities critical in ideal candidates.

4. Target audience and customer segments

A sales plan is useless without knowing who to sell to. Having clearly defined customer personas and segments is critical for success.

Start with your target account criteria. Include the following information to clearly define which companies you’re looking to attract:

Collect as much insight as you can around their organizational challenges. This may include growth hurdles, hiring bottlenecks and even barriers created by legislation.

Within those target accounts are your buyers. These individuals have a need for your product and service, each with their own challenges and goals. The way you sell to each buyer will vary, even when they’re within the same organization.

How to communicate target audience and customer segments

Well-documented customer personas fueled by customer insights will help you steer your sales plan in the right direction. Strong personas include the following customer insights:

These insights will change as your business grows. Enterprise companies may wish to revisit their personas as they move upmarket. For startups, your target audience will evolve frequently as you find product-market fit.

It’s important to constantly revisit this part of your sales plan. Even if your goals and methodologies are the same, always have your finger on the pulse of your customer’s priorities.

Sales plan strategies

5. Sales strategies and methodologies

With the groundwork laid out, you can begin defining your sales approach. This includes the strategies, techniques and methodologies you’ll use to get your offering out to market.

This part of your sales plan may end up being the largest. It will outline every practical area of your sales strategy, including:

Start by mapping out each stage of your sales process. What are the steps needed to guide a prospect through your deal flow?

Traditionally, sales stages are broken down into nine categories:

Not all of these stages will be relevant to your organization. For example, a SaaS company that relies on inbound leads may do much of the heavy lifting during the initial meeting and demo.

Map out your sales process to identify each step. Get together with other stakeholders to figure out what it takes to close new deals. Your sales map should look something like this:

Sales process diagram

How to communicate sales strategies and methodologies

At this stage, many of your playbooks may not exist. The purpose of the plan is to forecast what you’ll need in order to achieve your new goals.

Break each sales stage down into separate activities, along with the stakeholder who is responsible for them.

With your sales activities laid out, you can research the techniques and methodologies needed to execute on them. For example, if you sell a complex product with lengthy sales cycles, you could adopt a SPIN selling methodology to identify pain-points and craft the best solution for leads.

To summarize, each stage must be broken up into the following sections:

Finally, use these activities and stages to form your sales playbooks. This will help you structure your training plan, providing a reference that reps can rely on for guidance.

6. Sales execution plan

You have the “who” and the “what.” Now you must figure out “when” your sales plan will be put in place.

A structured sales execution clearly communicates when key milestones will be reached. It must outline when certain projects and activities will be complete, as well as recruitment timelines across each quarter.

The order in which you implement your plan will also depend on your priorities. Many sales organizations prefer to front-load the activity that will make a bigger impact on the bottom line.

For example, upon analyzing your current sales process and strategy, you may find your existing customers are a rich source of qualified leads. Therefore, it would make sense to prioritize account management activities that nurture more of these relationships using a structured referral program.

You must also consider how recruitment will affect workload across the rest of your team. Hire too quickly, and you may end up spending more time getting new reps up to speed and neglecting your existing team. This can make a big impact on culture and deal flow.

How to communicate your sales execution plan

By prioritizing each activity and goal, you can create a plan that balances short-term results with long-term investment.

Segment each stage of your plan by month and quarter. Start with a rough schedule detailing ballpark deadlines. This should include key hires, process implementation and any one-off projects that need completing.

Collaborate on this schedule with the boardroom before setting it in stone. Get all stakeholders involved in deciding when tasks should be completed. When applying this to your sales plan, use GANTT charts and tables to visualize projects and key milestones.

7. Measuring performance and results

Finally, your plan must include details on how performance is measured. Outline your most important sales metrics and activities, along with the technology needed to track them.

Performance metrics can indicate the effectiveness of your entire sales process. Your chosen metrics typically fall into two categories:

The metrics you select must closely align with your goals and sales activities. For example, at the appointment setting stage, you might measure the number of demos conducted.

Each team needs its own sales dashboard to ensure they’re hitting their targets. Sales development reps will have different priorities to account executives, so it’s critical they have the tools to focus on what’s important to them.

How to communicate sales performance metrics

Structure this part of your plan by breaking down each sales stage. Within these sections, list out the metrics needed to ensure you’re running a healthy sales pipeline.

Assign each metric to a member of your team, ensuring they’re measured against them as KPIs. For example, a sales rep could be measured against:

Doing this will help you run a smooth operation as soon as you implement your new sales plan. Finally, research and evaluate the technology needed to accurately measure these metrics. A good CRM is the best system to use for bringing your data together.

Final thoughts

An effective sales plan is an invaluable asset for your sales team.

Writing it helps you to define your sales strategy, targets, metrics and processes, while distributing it helps your reps understand what is expected of them and how to reach their goals.

That’s because providing supportive, comprehensive resources is the best way to motivate your team and inspire hard work. When you do the work to build a solid foundation, you equip your reps with everything they need to succeed.

building a sales business plan

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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.

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

In basic terms, a sales plan template includes:

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.

How to Develop a Sales Team Structure (in Your Sales Plan) Group Session Image

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?

The Different Types of Sales Plans (and Examples of Each in Practice with a Template)

How to Choose the Right Sales Planning Style

Ultimately, this will depend on factors such as:

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:

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.

set milestones in sales plan

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% YOY, you might set the milestone of increasing your customer base by 20%, 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:

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:

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.

Sales Team Building an Ideal Customer Profile for a Sales Plan

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:

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 :

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

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

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:

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:

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.

Create Value Propositions to Create a Successful Sales Plan (Image of Planning)

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 :

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:

Think about how all of your sales tools work together through integrations and where automation comes into play to save your team time.

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:

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.

Track and Analyze the Data in Your Sales Plan Template (to Improve Results)

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.

Set Individual Milestones for Your Sales Team to Succeed (Planning Image)

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.

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Create a Sales Plan That Actually Works (Tips + Template)

sales plan

True success always starts with a plan. And for sales success, nothing beats a strategic sales plan.

Designed specifically to help your sales team drive more sales, a sales plan can show you where you’re at, where you want to be, and even more important, how to get there.

The question, of course, is how to create a sales plan that actually impacts sales. Keep reading for tips and a template to quickly and confidently create a strategic sales plan for your business.

Table of Contents

What is a sales plan, what is included in a sales plan, sales plan examples: there’s no one right way, the benefits of a sales plan, how to write a sales plan, 7 tips to help you create a sales plan, sales strategy template, selling your sales plan, final remarks.

A sales plan is a strategy document that lays out a company’s plan for improving sales results in a specified time period. A sales plan makes it possible for everyone on the sales team to see the big picture, share the same overall objectives, and work the same plan to achieve them.

It usually includes:

A sales plan covers a lot of important aspects of business growth: revenue goals, selling methods and metrics, target customers, current sales force capabilities, and more.

Specifically, it covers 9 pieces of strategic information.

1. Executive Summary and Scope of The Sales Plan

This section gives a short summary of the document, focusing on goals and the strategies to achieve them. It also states the specific period and other parameters covered by the plan.

2. Business Goals and Revenue Targets

This section clearly establishes revenue targets and may include associated business goals (e.g., optimize lifecycle value through customer success programs, etc). Classifying revenue figures based on different categories (such as line and territory) helps clarify the document.

3. Review of Prior Period Performance

This section presents a recap of the prior period’s performance, identifying mistakes as well as decisive actions that led to a positive outcome. The overarching goal is to optimize the sales plan by adopting inputs and techniques that work.

4. Market and Industry Conditions

This section provides a summary of the market trends that have a high likelihood of influencing sales performance.

5. Strategies, Methodologies, and Tactics

This section recommends the best selling techniques, communication sequences, and playbooks for the specific company.

6. Customer Segments

This section cites all the potential revenue-generating, omnichannel opportunities available for the brand, such as the following:

The document should describe new segments of the addressable market when they arise.

7. Team Capabilities, Resources, and Upgrades

This section provides a summary and describes the current state of all production inputs (human resources, tech software, specialized sales team, etc.,) required to process and close sales details.

8. Action Plan For Teams and Individuals

This section assigns tasks, activities, and responsibilities to different teams and individuals. Tasks include prospecting activities, meeting appointments, and product demos/presentations.

9. Performance Benchmarks & Monitoring

This section lays out performance metrics to track the systems and processes that help monitor these metrics.

What usually comes to mind when you think about sales plans?

If you’re like most people, it’s the annual sales plan or weekly sales plan — broad strategic and tactical documents mapping out the plan for everything sales-related.

But there are as many different types of sales plans as there are needs for a sales plan.

We’ll go over a few sales plan examples to get you started in the right direction.

30-60-90-day Sales Plan

There’s the 30-60-90-day sales plan. This is designed to help a new salesperson or sales manager get up to speed quickly in their first quarter on the job. The plan includes milestones they’d need to achieve at the 30th, 60th, and 90th day of their ramp-up.

Generally, the  30-60-90-day sales plan  can be broken down into 3 sections:

Day 1 to 30: 

Learn and understand everything you can about a company from their processes, customers, products, the competition to procedures.

Day 31 to 60:

Evaluate and put your plan into action. Analyze their current processes and assess changes.

Day 61 to 90:

Optimize and make the plan better. It is time to take action. Initiate an action plan. Implement any new strategies and procedures you’ve come up with.

Sales Plan For Specific Sales

A sales process involves using different tactics to approach and convert a prospect into a paying customer.

Another type of sales plan you’ll see a lot is an individual sales plan for specific sales tactics, such as prescribed call sequences,  email follow-up  frequency, and meeting appointments. This type of plan is similar to an annual/weekly sales plan, but it focuses on measuring and improving results for just one goal or task.

Territory Sales Plan

Meanwhile, sales managers who oversee a geo-location or region often use territory sales plans to give sales directors and VPs more visibility into their sales efforts.

This is a workable plan used to target the right customers and implement goals to increase the income generated and sales over time.

A good territory sales plan will:

Note: It is essential to work on your territory sales plan and avoid making constant changes. Unnecessary changes can tamper with your productivity and your ‘territory’ in general.

Sales Training Plan

And there are sales plans for every area of sales. Sales Enablement might have a sales training plan, for example, and  Revenue Ops  might have a sales compensation plan.

A sales training plan can be used as a roadmap for different sales training programs. It can be grouped according to positions held in an organization, assets, sales record etc.

A sales compensation plan is an umbrella for base salary, incentives and commission that make up a sales representative earnings.

Therefore, you can schedule a sales training plan to talk to your sales team about the importance of a sales compensation plan and how they can use it to increase revenue and drive performance.

Sales Budget Plan

Lastly, a sales budget plan gives you a  sales forecast  for a given period based on factors that could impact revenue — like industry trends and entry to a new market segment. Similar to a traditional sales plan, they cover the staff, tools, marketing campaigns, and other resources needed to generate the target revenue.

A good sales budget plan  should include the following:

Sales forecasting: 

The process of estimating future sales by predicting the number of units a salesperson or team can sell over a certain period, i.e. week, month, year, etc.

Anticipated expenses: 

Include the number of costs your team is likely going to incur. Remember to have even the smallest expenses to estimate the average sales.

Expect the unexpected: 

Always leave room for unforeseen circumstances in your sales budget. For example, new packaging expenses, new competitive market strategies etc.

A sales plan does deliver side benefits (such as promoting discipline and diligence), but it’s really about making sure your sales don’t dry up over time. Which means it’s not optional.

The reality is this: Most of us aren’t planners. We talk a good game, but nothing happens until we’re accountable.

Without a written plan, it’s just talk.

So the first benefit of a sales plan is that it helps you execute on all your best ideas. But that’s not all. A good sales plan will also help you:

A sales plan is a pretty straightforward document. It doesn’t need to be written in a formal language or pass your compliance review. It just needs to outline your plans for the coming period, whether that’s a year, a quarter, or a month.

While there are 9 sections in the sales plan template, much of the document simply validates your ideas. The most important pieces of information are:

1. Your goals

Setting smart goals for you and your team  is an essential part of creating a sales plan. I believe the biggest mistake you can make when setting goals is solely focusing on numbers.

Smart sales goals should be actively focused on. If it helps, use goal-setting and planning frameworks such as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). Create goals that stretch your capabilities, but that seems doable based on your new strategy.

2. Your SWOT analysis

SWOT — short for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats — is one of the best frameworks for analyzing your sales team’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and strengths. It helps you to build a bulletproof wall around your plan.

You’ll be able to address what you’re lacking, the areas that need improvement, identify your USP (Unique Selling Point),  come up with Value-Based Selling , and your most vital points and how you can exploit them to your advantage.

3. Your strategy

Your sales strategy should be documented to help position your products and services to differentiate your solution from competitors.

A good strategy will help you address your customers’ needs in every stage of your sales plan. For better sales, you can balance  inbound and outbound sales strategies  for even higher sales.

4. Your tactics

Be aware, though, it’s not just a wish list or a collection of ideas. Your sales plan should be based on actual field data and only use benchmarks and quantities that are measurable. Be clear. Be specific. Be actionable.

Which brings me to another point: A good sales plan is realistic.

It’s fine to have a 5-year goal of hitting $10B. But what about now? Figure out exactly what your current numbers are, and set your targets based on those numbers.

I already mentioned that your sales plan doesn’t have to be a formal document. But it does need to be clearly written, so all team members and stakeholders understand the plan.

Tip #1: Base it on in-depth and up-to-date research

You need relevant  statistics  and trends in your niche, industry, and ideal customers. Remember, markets and customers are in a constant state of flux. There’s nothing worse than stubbornly chasing prospects who aren’t a good fit anymore while ignoring entire market segments that show a rising demand for your solutions.

Tip #2: Use data and statistics

Use the data from your in-depth research to identify problem areas, find points of opportunity in your sales process, and validate your assumptions and ideas.

You can also use the data to come up with accurate metrics and figures to help predict your sales plan’s outcome.

Tip #3: Verify your facts

Accuracy matters!

Don’t rush! Facts and figures are essential, especially to stakeholders. One simple mistake and your entire plan come tumbling down.

Ensure you take time to review your facts, figures, and forecasts before finalizing the document.

Tip #4: Get tactical

Break the overall sales action plan into tactical plans for individual areas of sales:

This may require collaboration with  cross-functional teams  such as marketing, customer support, and product teams.

Tip #5: Use Historical Performance Data

In sales, you can use the past to dictate the future. Historical data will help you set targets for the current period. For example, what were your previous revenue targets? Did you hit them? Why or why not? This information can help you set achievable goals for your current sales plan and know the mistakes to avoid.

Tip #6: List The Tracking Methods You’ll Use

Highlight the tracking methods you’ll use to keep your plan moving forward. That includes performance metrics, monitoring techniques, software, tools, and  selling strategies  for your business model.

Tip #7: Build a Strong Case For Your Proposed Budget

Stakeholders and superiors are impressed with cold-hard facts. Therefore, having a strong detailed case for your budget will help your sales plan smoothly sail through.

Not only will you outline your plans for the coming period for your budget, but you’ll also need to detail the costs. Be sure to include an ROI analysis for any new tools or talent you think you’ll need.

Are you ready to write your own sales strategy? Here is a sales plan template to help you get started. Here’s how to use the sales plan template to make it useful to you:

Start by using the Sales Plan Template we’ll give you in the next section. Just follow the prompts in the template, so you know what information is needed in each section. Don’t try to be fancy. Use simple language. Focus on being specific and clear.

Then share information in whatever format works best. That may be text paragraphs, tables, lists, charts, graphics, or screenshots. You can also adapt it as needed to suit your business, your sales team, and your needs.

A sales plan should contain the following sections:

1. Executive Summary

This is your opening ‘statement’. It is a formal summary that sum ups the contents of your strategy.

When writing your executive summary , keep it short, and precise. It should be one page or two. Ensure it gives an overview of what is included in your plan. It should talk about:

2. Business Goals With Revenue Targets

This section talks about the revenue target and associated business goals. You can  classify revenue figures  according to different categories to clarify the sales strategy.

For example, for each goal, you can enter the current outcome and targeted outcome as illustrated in the table below:

sales strategy template

3. Review of Past Performance

Take a trip down prior period performance . Note the mistakes that negatively affected the outcome and their strengths which positively impacted the general outcome.

Your goal is to identify the strategies and tactics that work.

4. Specific Strategies, Methods, and Playbooks

List the  specific sales strategies,  methods, and playbooks you’ll use to achieve the goals listed above.

5. Customer Segments/ Buyers Persona

This section talks about potential  revenue-generating streams  and different opportunities available for the company and new markets. Remember to include upsells, referrals, and renewals.

6. Team Capabilities and Resources

Here, provide a summary and describe the current  production inputs required in the sales process , i.e., human resources, specialized software, sales team, etc.

7. Action Plan

The action plan requires you to set  specific strategies and supporting tactics  that will be used to achieve a particular goal, i.e. new acquisition. Assign different activities and responsibilities to teams who will run that particular action.

Below is an example of an action plan table:

sales plan template

8. Sales Tools

Go ahead and list the  tools you’ll use to ensure the sales plan runs smoothly  and all sales processes will be managed using these tools.

building a sales business plan

9. Performance Benchmarks

This is the last section of your sales plan. It  lays out the performance metrics  to track the process systems to help and monitor these metrics.

Also, list and provide links to used sources. Explain how the report will be generated and stored. Finally, talk about how the report will be used to review the progress made.

sales plan example

Okay, your sales plan is written. Great! But you’re not done yet.

Your next step is to present it to the sales team, management, and stakeholders. That’s because you need buy-in to make it happen.

When your sales team is on board, they’ll be pumped about doing their assigned tasks. When management is on board, they’ll be excited about giving you the budget you need to turn your plan into a reality. With buy-in as your top priority, it’s important to be prepared to give a solid presentation. In other words, sell it.

One final note: There are lots of reasons you may not get everything you ask for. There may be plans in the works you don’t know anything about yet. Or the budget may need to favor another initiative.

If you don’t get the budget you asked for, be sure to update your sales plan accordingly. The goal is to stretch your team’s capabilities, not do the impossible.

Sales don’t happen without a good sales plan. Fortunately, they’re not as hard as they might seem.

Take your time identifying your biggest challenges and problem-solving to overcoming them. Once that’s done, your sales plan is simply the document that organizes your ideas.

What’s your biggest hang-up when it comes to creating a sales plan? Have you found any tricks that help? Let me know in the comments below.

Also published on Medium .

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Hi I hope to get import experience from you

building a sales business plan

Max Altschuler is the founder and former CEO of Sales Hacker. He's authored two books - 1) Hacking Sales and 2) Sales Engagement, both published by Wiley. His work has been published in Forbes, Time, Inc, HBR, and the MIT Sloane Review. Now founder and GP at GTMfund.

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How To Build a Strategic Sales Plan + 10 Examples

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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: 

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: 

 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. 

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. 

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 write a sales plan

4-minute read

If you’ve never written a sales plan before, the task might seem daunting. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be complicated.

Think of a sales plan as your roadmap for the coming year. It’s where you set specific sales goals for your business and define the actions you’ll need to take to reach them. If done right, it can help you take a more strategic, big-picture approach to growing your business .

There’s no need to craft a 50-page report. For small businesses, a sales plan should be short and to the point.

“Whether it’s a couple of pages in Word or even a simple spreadsheet, all you need is something that will bring structure to your sales and marketing so everybody on your team is pulling in the same direction,” says BDC Business Consultant Diana Da Silva.

Here are four key steps to creating an effective small business sales plan.

1. Identify your goals

Start by deciding what goals you want to achieve. These can be revenue and margin targets, or more general goals for growth. Is there a new market you want to enter? Do you want to grow your team? Launch a new product or service?

Jot down whatever comes to mind. Dream big at this stage, without editing yourself. When you’re done, share the goals you’ve identified with your team and ask for their feedback or suggestions. Then flesh out your goals as needed. In the end, everybody should buy into the goals you’ve set.

“It’s critical that you share ownership of the plan with your people,” says Da Silva. “The more they feel their voice is heard, the more likely they’ll be to help you implement the plan going forward.”

2. Get specific about your targets

Once you’ve established your high-level goals for the year, it’s time to give them some focus. If you want to expand into a new market—for example, the U.S.—be clear about which states you want to concentrate on.

Do some research to make sure your targets are realistic. Test your assumptions. Is there demand for your product or service? What sort of competition will you face? This is another opportunity to get your team involved: assign them some research to help fill in the blanks.

3. Allocate resources

With goals and targets in place, you now need to think about what’s achievable and within your means. Do you have enough full- and part-time employees to implement the plan? Will anybody be away on vacation or maternity leave? Can you get help from employees who aren’t in sales or marketing roles? How much money will you need to invest to achieve every target?

Also take stock of your tools and systems. Will you need to invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) system or do you have something already in place? What kinds of marketing materials do you have to support your sales team?

4. Define your key performance indicators

The only way to know if your plan is working is to measure your results using key performance indicators (KPIs) .

For example, you might want to track revenue by salesperson and region, or by the percentage of leads that go all the way from qualification to closing.

Keep things simple if this is your first sales plan: pick just three to five metrics and track them consistently throughout the year.

One of the keys to measuring progress is communication. Over the life of your first sales plan, Da Silva recommends holding regular meetings with your team to ask about what’s going well and the challenges they’re facing. Keep the conversation open and light to encourage honest feedback.

Diana Da Silva

BDC Business Consultant

Make it manageable

Planning is often an activity that happens on top of regular business. To keep moving forward without biting off too much at once, spread the planning process across a week or so, focusing on one section of your plan at a time. The key is to just keep doing something—to avoid what Da Silva calls “analysis paralysis.”

“Your plan is never going to be perfect,” she says. “As your business grows and changes, so should your plan. Start small, see what works after a month or so, then add to it and refine things as you go.”

Sales | How To

How to Create a Sales Plan in 10 Steps (+ Free Template)

Jess Pingrey

REVIEWED BY: Jess Pingrey

Jess served on the founding team of a successful B2B startup and has used a wide range of sales and marketing tools over the course of her 15-year career. She uses her industry knowledge to deliver the best answers to your questions about sales tools and sales management.

WRITTEN BY: Jillian Ilao

Published March 9, 2023

Jill is a writer at Fit Small Business specializing on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

This article is part of a larger series on Sales Management .

Sales plans enable businesses to set measurable goals, identify resources, budget for sales activities, forecast sales, and monitor business progress. These all contribute to guiding the sales team toward the company’s overall strategy and goals. In this article, we explore how to create a sales plan, including details on creating an action plan for sales, understanding the purpose of your business, and identifying your ideal customers.

What Is a Sales Plan? A sales plan outlines the strategies, objectives, tools, processes, and metrics to hit your business’ sales goals. It entails establishing your mission statement, setting goals and objectives, determining your ideal customer, and developing your sales strategy and sales funnel. To effectively execute your sales plan, assign roles and responsibilities within your sales team and have metrics to measure your outcomes versus your goals and objectives.

Ten steps to creating an effective sales plan

Download and customize our free sales planning template and follow our steps to learn how to create a sales plan to reach your company’s revenue goals.


Free Sales Plan Template

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💡 Quick Tip:

Once you’ve created a sales plan, give your sales team the tools to execute it effectively with robust customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Use a CRM like HubSpot CRM to help your sales team collaborate on deals, develop sales reports, track deals, and create custom sales dashboards

1. Establish Your Mission Statement

A mission statement summarizing why you’re in business should be part of your action plan for sales. It should include a broad overview of your business’ products or services and your brand’s unique selling proposition. For example, you wouldn’t say, “We provide customers with insurance policies.” Instead, you might frame it as “We provide customers with cost-effective financial risk management solutions.”

It’s essential to fully understand your unique selling proposition before creating a mission statement. This allows you to learn why you’re different from competitors in your industry. It also helps you determine how your unique proposition suits a niche market better.

Steps on how to create a unique selling proposition

For instance, using the same insurance example above, you may realize specific markets are easier to sell based on that selling proposition. Therefore, it’s a good idea to narrow in on your mission statement by saying, “We provide startup businesses with cost-effective risk management solutions.”

2. Set Sales Goals & Objectives

Once you have summarized why you’re in business in a mission statement, begin setting sales goals . Typically, business goals will include one year, but may also include three- or five-year projections.

Steps on how to set sales goals

Here are a few options for how to set sales revenue goals for your business:

Pro tip: Projecting sales can be challenging without a suitable sales forecasting model. Our free sales forecast templates help you create simple, long-term, budget-based, multi-product, subscription-based, and month-to-month business sales forecasts. Some customer relationship managers (CRMs) like Freshsales have sales goal-tracking functionalities that allow you to set and assign sales goals for your team.

Five-year sales forecast template example.

Five-year sales forecast template example (Source: Fit Small Business )

Freshsales sales goal tracking filter options.

Sales goal tracking in Freshsales (Source: Freshsales )

Sales goals must reflect new business revenue and sales from existing or recurring customers. Then, you must add specific sales objectives that identify and prioritize the sales activities your team needs to complete to meet sales goals. This creates an objective way to measure success in hitting goals at all levels: organizational, sales department, team, and individual sales rep, which is an essential part of sales management .

For example, imagine your total revenue goal is $200,000 in year two and $300,000 in year three. You then add an objective, such as stating you want your business’ revenue from existing customers to grow 15% in year three. This can be measured by evaluating your percentage of revenue from existing customers in year three compared to year two.

3. Determine Your Ideal Customer

Determining the ideal customer or target market is the next step of your business plan for sales reps. It may have been accomplished when you developed your mission statement, but also when you set your sales goals and discovered how broad your market needs to be to reach them. Describing your ideal customer helps dictate who you’re selling to and your selling approach.

One way to establish your ideal customer is by creating a series of unique customer profiles . Each profile specifies key demographics, behaviors, interests, job positions, and geographic information about one of your ideal buyer types. Based on your customer profiles, you can then develop more targeted marketing strategies for lead generation and nurturing to move leads through the sales process more efficiently and close more deals.

Pro tip: Making a customer persona can be challenging, especially if it is based on the wrong data or if you just focus on the demographics. Check out our article on creating a customer persona to help you define your company’s ideal buyer types and guide your lead generation and marketing activities.

4. Set Your Sales Budget

After establishing your objectives and identifying your ideal customer personas—and before developing your actual strategies and tactics—you must identify a sales budget to work with. It should include estimated expenses for salaries, travel expenses, and the cost of any software tools or service providers used to help with sales and marketing. While these are meant to be estimates, research and due diligence should be done to avoid financial errors.

One way to set your sales budget, particularly for software tools and services you may be interested in, is to create and issue a request for proposal (RFP). Issuing an RFP allows you to post a summary of your needs to solicit proposals on potential solutions. In addition to providing accurate budget estimates from various qualified vendors and contractors, it may also help you discover cost-effective or high-performing options you were previously unaware of.

5. Develop Sales Strategies & Tactics

A sales strategy explains how you plan to outsell your competitors and accomplish your sales goals. It defines specific, detailed tactics your team will use to pursue your sales goals. These may involve using Google Ads, cold calling, and drip email marketing campaigns as part of a lead generation strategy. Available strategies differ depending on your company’s resources, skill sets, sales operation, and product or service offerings.

Strategies and tactics should be personalized for your ideal customers based on their unique interests, behaviors, and the best ways to connect with them. For example, some customer profiles show your ideal buyer generally only makes purchases based on trusted referrals. In this case, you could implement a referral strategy that provides incentives to generate more customer referrals .

Plus, different sales strategies will be needed to acquire new business vs keeping existing customers. When selling to existing customers, for example, your strategy could include cross-selling tactics where additional products are recommended based on prior purchases. The short-term cross-selling tactics could require customer service reps to send 30 emails per week recommending a complementary product to existing customers.

For a new business strategy, sales reps might rely on emotional selling methods when using cold calling as a tactic. Instead of product features, cold calling scripts would be geared to evoke feelings that lead to buying decisions. Tactics could reflect the objective of having reps make 15 cold calls each week. They could use a script that opens with a story about how a purchase made a customer feel or how someone felt because they didn’t purchase the product.

Pro tip: Ensuring your strategies are properly executed requires excellent sales leadership and a healthy environment for sales reps to operate in. Our how-to guide for building a positive sales culture shows you how to create an environment that promotes high job satisfaction, low employee turnover, and profitability.

6. Implement Sales Tools

Your sales strategy template should reference the software, hardware, and materials you use to manage the sales operation and make each team member more efficient. One of the most notable tools to include is the customer relationship management (CRM) system . It allows your team to organize contact information, streamline sales tasks, and facilitate communication with customers and leads.

HubSpot CRM , for instance, makes it easy to organize information about leads, contacts, and deal opportunities. Additionally, from a HubSpot CRM lead profile, you can initiate a conversation with that contact by calling, emailing, or scheduling an appointment.

HubSpot CRM sample lead profile.

HubSpot CRM contact profile (Source: HubSpot )

CRMs are also used to monitor and report sales progress. For example, many have dashboards and functionality, such as alerts, which make it easy to identify where your team may be underperforming. These could also tell you which leads are most likely to convert and should be focused on. Sales information such as deals closed, revenue generated, and leads created can be presented in a detailed report .

These types of insights can also be shown on the CRM’s system dashboard . Pipedrive is an example of a CRM that has a customizable dashboard that displays both activity information and performance-based data. Activity data include emails sent, received, and outstanding tasks to be completed. Performance-based data, on the other hand, have deals lost or the average value of won deals.

Pipedrive’s customizable dashboard (Source: Pipedrive )

Other sales enablement tools can make your sales team more effective. These include voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) phone systems , lead generation platforms, email campaign tools, content creation platforms, and task automation software. These tools can be found within CRM software or through CRM integrations and standalone applications.

In addition to technology tools, sales and marketing templates should be used to streamline outreach initiatives. Scenario-based, premade sales email templates , for instance, allow salespeople to have an email already crafted for their specific situation.

Creating and storing business proposal templates in your CRM also streamlines the contact procurement and business proposal generation process . This way, whenever a prospect says they’d like to receive a quote or you’re responding to a request for a proposal, you already have a customizable template ready to go.

Pro tip: Effective cold calling scripts sales reps can use as a guide when placing calls to new leads is a tremendous sales tool to include in your action plan for sales. Get started using our guide for writing a cold calling script , which includes examples and free templates.

7. Develop Your Sales Funnel

Setting up a sales funnel within your sales strategy template lets you visualize the stages of the customer journey, from becoming aware of your business to buying from it. By creating and understanding the different statuses of your leads, you can track progress and determine how effective you are at converting leads to the next stages in the funnel.

Using a sales funnel with conversion rates also makes it easier for you to adjust your sales strategies and tactics based on how effectively you’re getting leads through the funnel. For instance, let’s say you have 100 leads in the awareness stage of the funnel. You decide to cold call 50 of them and write a sales email to the other 50 to qualify leads by setting up a product demonstration.

After each campaign, you find you were able to qualify seven of the leads that were cold-called and only two of the leads you had emailed. Based on these funnel conversion rates of 14% (7/50) from cold calling and 4% (2/50) from emailing, you would likely adjust your tactics to focus more on calling instead of emailing.

Do you need help creating a sales funnel for your business? Our guide to creating a sales funnel explains the step-by-step sales funnel creation process and provides free templates and specific examples.

8. Create Your Sales Pipeline

Once your sales process’ sales funnel stages are identified, develop the sales pipeline stages . These stages include your team’s sales activities to move leads through the funnel. For example, you need to get a lead from the sales funnel stage of brand awareness to show interest in learning more about one of your services. To do this, you could add a sales pipeline activity like setting up a demo or presentation appointment through a cold call.

Adding your sales pipeline to your sales strategy is essential because it describes all the activities your sales reps need to do to close a sales deal. CRM systems like Freshsales allow you to create and track the pipeline stages for each lead or deal within the lead record.

Funnel view of Freshsales’ deal pipeline (Source: Freshsales )

Listing each pipeline stage also helps you identify tools and resources needed to perform the activities for each stage. For example, if you use phone calls to initiate contact with or introduce a product to a lead, you could develop outbound sales call scripts for your team.

After the initial contact by phone, you may use email to follow up after a call and then nurture leads throughout the sales process. As part of your follow-up, create and automate a sales follow-up email template to get them to the next pipeline stage.

The sales funnel shows where a lead is in the sales process. The sales pipeline, on the other hand, lists activities needed to drive leads to the next stage in the sales funnel. Both should be used in your sales strategy when defining the repeatable steps required to generate leads and close deals. Check out our article to learn how to create a winning sales process with insights on both creating a sales process and measuring its success.

9. Assign Roles & Responsibilities

Regardless of the size of your business or sales operation, your business plan for sales reps should include the role and responsibility of each person in the sales team. Each role should have a name, such as someone being a sales development representative (SDR). There should also be a summary of their responsibilities, such as “the SDR is responsible for setting up sales appointments using the activities listed in the sales pipeline.”

Measuring the performance of any sales position is simple through key performance indicators (KPIs). Specific KPIs should be used to measure performance for each role and should be included in your plan. Below are some examples of KPIs that can be used by the members of the sales team and their respective responsibility:

While assigning roles in your plan, a sales rep’s territory could be based on geography, industry, potential deal size, or product/service line, creating more specialization for better results. Our six-step process on proper sales territory management is an excellent resource for segmenting, creating, and assigning sales territories.

This section of the business plan is also a prime spot for individually setting sales quotas for each rep or team needed to hit your organizational sales goals. Sales quotas should be a specific KPI for that sales role and be set based on the experience, skill level, and resources of that individual or team. These quotas should also be based on your organizational, department, and team goals and objectives.

10. Monitor Progress & Adjust Accordingly

Once the strategic business plan is in motion, monitor its progress to make any required adjustments. For instance, while your sales operation is running, you may find certain sales tactics are working better than expected, and vice versa. Your sales goal template should account for using that tactic more, as well as any new sales tools, budgetary changes, new roles, and possibly even a new sales goal.

As in the earlier example, if you found that cold calling was significantly more effective than emailing, reduce or abandon the email method in favor of cold calling. You could also invest in sales tools especially useful for cold calling, such as power dialing using a voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) phone system, or hire additional staff to place calls. All of these will be part of your updated business plan.

Pro tip: Focusing on the big picture by creating, executing, and adjusting a strategic business plan is one of the most critical traits of an effective sales leader. For more insights on what it means to be a sales leader and how to become one, check out our ultimate guide to sales leadership .

Examples of Other Free Small Business Sales Plan Templates

Apart from our free downloadable sales strategy template, other providers have shared their version of a free strategic sales plan examples. Click on our picks below to see if these templates fit your business process better:

HubSpot’s free sales planning template helps users outline their company’s sales strategy. It contains sections found in most sales plans, as well as prompts for you to fill out your company’s tactics and information. These include company history and mission, team structure, target market, tools and software used, positioning, market strategy, action plan, goals, and budget.

HubSpot sales plan template

HubSpot sales strategy template (Source: HubSpot )

HubSpot’s sales plan template with the mission, vision, and story of the company

HubSpot’s sales goals template with the mission, vision, and story of the company (Source: HubSpot )

Visit HubSpot

Asana’s free sales plan template helps organizations analyze their current sales process, establish their sales objectives, identify success metrics, and plan actionable steps. The sales business plan template is embedded within Asana’s platform, automatically integrating aspects such as goals and measuring them against results or sales performance.

Asana sales plan template

Asana sales plan example (Source: Asana )

Visit Asana

Sales Planning Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is sales planning.

Sales planning is creating a document that outlines your sales strategy, objectives, target audience, potential obstacles, and tools to achieve goals within a specified period. This may include your daily, monthly, quarterly, yearly, and long-term revenue objectives.

What is included in a sales plan?

A sales strategy plan template typically includes the following key elements:

What are the different types of strategic sales planning?

The type of strategic planning for sales that you choose for your team ultimately depends on different factors. These include your revenue goals, available resources, the ability and bandwidth of your sales team, and your personal commitment to your plans. Once you have determined the details of these factors, you can choose from these types of strategic sales planning:

Bottom Line

While any business can set bold sales goals, creating a sales plan outlines how your team will achieve them. By following the best practices and 10-step process laid out above, your sales goal template defines what your sales process will look like. It will help establish baselines for accountability and identify optimal strategies, tactics, and the tools needed to make your team as efficient as possible.

About the Author

Jillian Ilao

Jillian Ilao

Jill is a sales and customer service expert at Fit Small Business. Prior to joining the company, she has worked and produced marketing content for various small businesses and entrepreneurs from different markets, including Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Singapore. She has extensive writing experience and has covered topics on business, lifestyle, finance, education, and technology.

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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:

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: 

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:

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 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:

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:

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:

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. 

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.

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:

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

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 birds-eye view of how close your team is to achieving both individual targets and big-picture goals.

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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