Steps in Creating a Sales Plan

We offered up tips on how to create a marketing plan in our last post

Once you start implanting the plan, leads will start coming in.

How will you sell to these leads? Do you have a sales plan? If not, here’s how to create one.

First things first: what is a sales plan?

Much like a marketing plan, a sales plan is a map of your goals, tactics and obstacles. It also helps you further define your target audience. 

It pretty much “ignores” any marketing aspects and instead focuses solely on sales and, specifically, how you intend to make those sales happen.

A good sales plan should:

  • Let members of your sales team know your company’s sales goals/objectives.
  • Delineate sales reps and leadership responsibilities and roles.
  • Give your sales team members strategic direction.
  • Examine your team’s progress toward your sales goals.

Start the planning process

That’s right, creating a sales plan is itself a process. 

To start, you should:

  • Put together your sales data from a couple of previous years and search for trends.
  • Determine your revenue goals.
  • Start defining objectives and sales targets that will get you to your revenue goals.
  • Decide what metrics you’ll used to ascertain whether you are successful, and when.
  • Take a look at where you are now, determine your weaknesses and what obstacles you may encounter.
  • Begin forecasting and look for gaps that you need to fill to reach your targets.
  • Get all stakeholders on board, even those in different departments.
  • Create actions/steps based on your sales team’s capacity as quotas.

The parts of a typical sales plan

  • Who your target customers are.
  • What revenue you’re targeting.
  • The strategies/tactics you’ll use.
  • Your standard pricing and promotions (those that help prospects convert to customers).
  • Deadlines and who is responsible for meeting them.
  • Who is on your team and are their roles.
  • The tools your team uses to meet their targets.
  • Information about your particular industry as well as your competition.

A sales plan’s sections:

  • Your company’s background and mission. What is your mission statement? What is the company’s history? Write them down (be brief on the history).
  • Members of your sales team. What are their roles? Do you plan to hire more sales pros? If so, what are their titles, duties and when do you hope to hire them?
  • Who is your target market? This is where the prospect personas you created for your marketing plan come in. Take a look at it and write them down in your sales plan.
  • The software, tools and other resources you and your team use in the sales process. This doesn’t just include sales software and CRMS, but also any documents you use for selling, training, etc.
  • Your company’s position in the marketplace.
  • And, speaking of that position, your sales plan should name your top competitors and explain how your products or services compare, where yours are weaker and where they are stronger. And don’t forget your pricing compared to theirs.
  • Don’t forget market trends. Where changes are coming that you know of? How will – or won’t – they change or influence the market?
  • Discuss how your sales reps will engage in prospecting. What criteria should members of your sales team use when deciding which prospects to contact; how will they qualify the leads your marketing plan will generate. 
  • Don’t forget your budget, particularly the costs associated with your plan. These include tools, software, mileage, commissions, sales training, travel costs, contests/promotions costs.
  • Mention your marketing plan. Keep it brief, but be sure to include it, particularly when it comes to any sales promotions you’re planning or brand awareness strategies/tactics your marketing team plans to execute.

Lastly, create an action plan for how you’ll hit your revenue targets

Let’s say you have a goal of increasing referrals from existing customers by 25 percent in a year. Write down the actual tactics you will use to meet that goal. 

And, speaking of goals, you undoubtedly will have revenue goals, but don’t forget volume (if applicable), closing percentages, etc.  

Create a goal for each quarter or even each month. Consider creating goals for each sales rep, taking into account their sales skills, past quotas, and so on.

Sales plan template

We’re huge fans of HubSpot, and just as we recommended its marketing plan template in our last post, so do we now recommend its free sales plan template

If you’re interested in creating a marketing plan to go along with your sales plan, contact Ingenex Digital Marketing to learn more.