How to Create a Sales Plan (Including a Template) in 2022

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A sales plan outlines the basic strategy your business will use to attract more customers. Writing a sales plan is therefore an important task for any business owner. This guide covers the basics.

I like a good sales plan. It really sets the tone for any business by explaining how you’re going to find those customers and get them to pull out that credit card. It’s something any business owner can positively obsess over – and for good reason.

A business without a sales plan is like a ship without a rudder. If you don’t have one, drop everything and go for it. The sooner you have a sales plan in place, the sooner you can take big steps as a business with confidence that you are moving in the right direction.

Sales plans are a fundamental part of the sales process – you simply cannot effectively run a business without one. So let’s talk about what a sales plan is and what yours should look like.

Overview: What is a Sales Plan?

A sales plan is a framework that sets goals for finding and closing paying customers for your business. This plan outlines a sales strategy on how a business will go about growing its customer base. It solidifies the tactics the business will use and helps formulate the type of budget the organization needs that will influence those strategies. It also sets deadlines for achieving sales goals.

What should you include in a sales plan?

Sales plans should include a clear goal, so avoid vague goals such as “rapidly increase sales” and set specific dates and numbers such as “achieve a 20% increase in sales in the next fiscal quarter”.

The business action plan should identify potential barriers to success so the team can plan mitigating actions. He must also determine the strengths and weaknesses not only of the team, but also of the approach and the business development plan itself. A sales plan should define the specific needs of the team to be successful and define an action plan that the team can follow.

Sales Plan Template

Sales development plans vary widely depending on organization, team, personalities, industry and a host of other factors, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a sales plan. However, you can choose from a variety of online sales plan templates. Some are simple and outline a list of sales targets, while others are much more detailed. Choose the one you like the most to increase your chances of success.

Here’s a basic plan I created to show what yours might look like. As you can see, it doesn’t have to be complicated – just show the types of actions you expect from your team and the associated deadlines. You can add more details if you want, but it gives you an idea of ​​the general structure.

A sales plan in tabular form outlining goals, responsibilities, tactics, and timelines.

Sales plans can be simple or quite complex depending on the company. Image source: author

How to create a sales plan for your small business

Creating a sales strategy plan sounds like a daunting task, but it’s actually a simple process that will give you and the members of your organization clarity about your business plan.

1. Determine your target market

The first step is to determine which market you are trying to enter. Identify the demographics of your target customers and create a customer profile. Understand what your typical customer’s overall income and budget levels are, as well as their buying habits.

Do you sell jeans to general consumers or do you run a small IT company that sells specialized services to small business CEOs? Consider all external impacts of your market’s business landscape and consider anything that may influence buying habits – for example, a decline in the real estate market leading to a drop in demand for a video production service for real estate agents.

Key questions to ask:

  • If you had to define your ideal client, what would it look like?
  • What position would they occupy?
  • How much income would they earn?
  • What do they appreciate the most?
  • Why would they buy from you?

2. Set your income goals

With an identified target market, you need to set your revenue goals. As a general rule, quarterly is your best bet, as weekly or even monthly goals can fluctuate widely. Choose the metrics you’ll use to gauge the success or failure of your plan, and review previous quarters for guidance on what you can realistically project for the upcoming quarter.

You need to be flexible because every business faces unforeseen obstacles. If you are missing or exceeding your goals, examine why and consider those strengths in the next quarter.

Key questions to ask:

  • How much revenue do you need to grow at the rate you want as a business?
  • How many sales would that take each week? Each month? Each quarter ?

3. Describe your strategies and tactics

Now you need to establish your battle plan. Create a strategy to generate leads and achieve your revenue goals. Look at some past campaign approaches and how they fared to get ideas on what you could do differently to further improve sales.

Constantly re-evaluate your approach and focus your efforts on what works while cutting out what doesn’t. Again, flexibility is key – you can’t stick to a rigid plan in the business environment, especially when it comes to sales. Do what works, not just what you want to work.

Key questions to ask:

  • Where are you currently struggling and therefore need to spend more time?
  • Should you generate more leads?
  • Should you spend more time qualifying these leads?
  • Should you make more calls?
  • Should you schedule more dates?
  • Should you attempt more closures?

4. Determine the deadlines and the people directly responsible

Assigning certain Directly Accountable Persons (DRIs) is key to the success of the sales plan. These DRIs are responsible for ensuring that certain tasks are performed. Choose one or more team members who will be responsible for certain tasks such as making a certain number of calls per day.

Give them clear deadlines that are realistic but still give a sense of urgency. Use clearly defined timelines and responsibilities to ensure everyone on your team is accountable. Be flexible and ready to reassign team members to other tasks as needed.

Key questions to ask:

  • What are the skills of each member of your team and what tasks are they best suited for?
  • What is a realistic timeline for accomplishing certain tasks?
  • Are you aggressive enough with your goals to motivate your team?

5. Evaluate your results

By the time you reach the end of the quarter, you should have collected solid data on your performance. Use this data to evaluate the results of your sales plan and determine if it is working as you hoped or if it needs to be adjusted for the upcoming quarter.

Measure results against the metrics you defined earlier and evaluate the performance of your team members. Compare this performance with previous quarters to see how it stacks up. Reward team members who have performed exceptionally well. Then identify ways you could improve. Should you spend more time qualifying leads? Should your sales team focus on making appointments?

Key questions to ask:

  • What data tells you the most about how well your sales plan is performing against the goals you set?
  • Is there data you should be tracking that you’re not tracking?

Try CRM software first before writing a sales plan

A sales plan is useless if you don’t collect the data you need to refine it, and that’s where CRM software comes in. This software will collect information on the number of calls your team makes, the time they spend prospecting or qualifying leads, and how much revenue each salesperson brings in. They also have important features such as lead tracking or sales roadmap.

The first step to take is to select the software you will use to execute the plan, as many software options allow you to design your sales strategy directly through the software itself. Browse through some of the best software options to see which appeal to you the most and try a few.

With a selected software platform, you can start following the steps outlined above to define the sales strategy, and with the new software, you will be able to track your progress from start to finish.

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