Writing a sales plan sucks.
Actually, writing almost anything sucks.
But, writing a sales plan that serves as the spine of your entire sales strategy— and is exposed to the scorching scrutiny of every employee’s cyclopic gaze?
That was my immediate reaction to writing a sales plan.
Unfortunately, you won’t get very far as a sales manager without being able to create one.
I’ve now learned how to write a sales plan that doesn’t lull salespeople to sleep, without making myself go crazy :).
Keep reading and I’ll show you how! 💪
What is a sales plan?
A business plan sets the goals for your business. A sales plan helps you achieve those goals.
It breaks down business goals to establish a detailed plan of action.
A sales plan is more than a collection of sales goals and shallow steps.
When done right, it’s the path to a well-oiled sales machine that generates revenue.
Why do you need a sales plan template?
A sales plan describes the sales objectives, target audience, and specific steps, strategies, and tactics your business will use to hit sales and revenue goals.
It lists the “who, what, where, and why,” of your sales strategy, and explains who handles different operations at different milestones.
But, the benefits of a sales plan go beyond directly increasing sales.
A sales plan gives foresight to potential problems
Writing your sales plan ensures your goals are realistic and achievable.
And it helps you objectively compare your resources to the targets you’re trying to hit.
If you identify a problem, you can adjust your strategy and goals accordingly.
For example, let’s say landing 50 percent more enterprise leads by next year’s 2nd quarter, is a top priority. To do this, you plan to ramp up your account-based marketing (ABM) game.
However, after reviewing your sales plan, you realize that you don’t have the employee bandwidth or budget to focus on ABM.
And instead, you opt to seek higher-quality leads by focusing on scoring and qualifying leads.
You’ve now saved your company precious time and money—and found an alternate way to reach the same goal.
A sales plan can power motivation
With a sales plan, ideas are externally stored in a real physical or digital location. Why is this a big deal?
Research shows that writing, and vividly visualizing goals boosts motivation to take action.
This means something as simple as placing your sales plan in plain sight, can breathe a sense of purpose into your team’s daily activities.
A sales plan unites your team
In a study of over 150 B2B salespeople, the biggest threat to productivity was found to be misalignment between sales and marketing goals.
Not only did this demotivate reps, but it also forced them to work harder, and offer extra incentives (they otherwise wouldn’t need to offer) to close deals.
Sales and marketing are notorious for their adversarial relationship. And no, a sales plan won’t qualm the beef between them—not by itself anyway.
But, by aligning the two under one common goal and plan of action, it can get everyone on the same page.
How do you write an effective sales plan? (Hint: use templates)
Creating your sales strategy from scratch is tough.
To speed up the process of writing your sales plan, I recommend you start with a fill-in-the-blank sales plan template.
This way, you can simplify or add to your plan as needed and adapt templates to suit your needs.
Depending on your sales cycle, your template options include plans by year, month, or if you want to get granular, even weeks.
7 steps to write a strategic sales plan template that wins revenue
There is no fixed way to write (or fill) a sales plan template.
But, that doesn’t mean you can scribble anything into your plan and call it a day.
The main goal is to distill business goals into actionable sales objectives, milestones, strategies, and tactics.
This means your sales plan template will—at a bare minimum—include:
- Target customers and ideal customer profiles
- Role and responsibilities in your team
- Revenue goals and sales objectives
- Budget and resources
- Challenges and obstacles
- Key strategies and tactics
- Deadlines, milestones, and review periods
To turn that information into an effective sales plan, follow these 7 simple steps.
Step 1. Start your sales plan with revenue and sales goals
Sales goals are usually anchored to revenue or volume targets.
For example, your goal might be a revenue target of $30k in annual recurring revenue (ARR) by the final quarter.
Using a volume target, that might look like: 18 new customers per month or 200 sales by the final quarter.
For a strong sales plan, use both.
Using both revenue and volume gives you more (important) data to play with.
This is a valuable asset when you’re in the trenches and need performance, and progress updates to guide your next moves.
If you have to pick one metric in your sales plan over another, consider your:
- Available resources (staff, budget, data)
- Product type ( are your SaaS, agency, physical retailer)
It’s easy to succumb to wishful thinking at this step. So review your goals against your resources to ensure they’re realistic.
Step 2. Outline your mission and sales plan objectives
Get your company mission and vision statements on paper. Then write down what you aim to achieve with the sales plan.
It doesn’t have to be lengthy Shakespearean prose that draws applaud.
You’re simply writing a summary of what’s ahead, and why it’s included in your sales plan, that’s it.
Include a brief history of the business too, if possible. This provides context as the plan matures in detail and complexity.
Step 3. Map out key sales plan milestones, deadlines and review periods
Deadlines, milestones, and review periods are a key part of your sales plan template.
Your third step is to tie sales and revenue targets to 30-60-90 day goals, and set a schedule to review performance with your team.
This peppers your plan with a little urgency, signals when you’re falling behind quota, and keeps your sales team on track.
Step 4. Attach an ideal client profile to your sales plan
An ICP is a strict definition of an ideal customer.
Including your ICP in your sales plan helps align sales and marketing strategy. It gives insight into what lead generation approach to use.
Let’s say you’re a SaaS company that offers analytical tools to digital marketers. And some of your customers are freelancers and in-house teams.
But, large 50+ employee agencies who buy premium subscriptions are your ideal clients.
And, according to your historic sales data, the best way to reach them is account-based marketing.
You can now invest in ABM tools like Leadfeeder and training for reps, without wondering if it will generate a return.
Sign-up for Leadfeeder in seven simple steps:
Step 1: Begin a free 14-day trial by signing up here.
Step 2: Click the blue button to connect your Google Analytics account.
Step 3: Select the Google Analytics account.
Step 4: Select the Google Analytics view.
Step 5: Confirm your company details and create your account.
Step 6: Add additional company information.
Step 7: You’ve completed the sign-up for Leadfeeder. Data will be pulled twice a day from Google Analytics.
Step 5. Take stock of your sales CRM, tools, and budget
Digging a hole is hard without a shovel.
Navigating new land borders on the impossible without a map.
And, it’s almost futile to attempt cold outreach, reach decision-makers, and close deals without the right tools and resources for the job.
That’s why a summary of your main CRM software, sales tools, budget, and any other predictable expense should be included. This will include things like:
- Budget allocation
- Specific tools and resources
- What CRM will be used
- Salary, commission, and incentives
Step 6. Delegate roles and responsibilities
List the members of your team and the roles they will play in your sales plan template.
- Who is responsible for prospecting, or warming leads up?
- Who will handle meetings and appointments?
- Who will be presenting product demos/training?
Then, link those answers to deadlines, milestones, and KPIs.
If your strategy requires indirect sales activities—like creating content or developing sales material—write that into your sales plan template too.
7. Bring your sales plan template to life with an action plan
The final step is a goal-based action plan.
Carrying the weight of previous steps in your sales plan template, the action plan is where the rubber hits the road.
It brings your sales plan to life by explaining exactly how you’ll meet your objectives.
For example, if your objective is:
Objective: Increase premium subscriptions by 20 percent this quarter, and raise monthly recurring revenue by 2 percent.
Your plan will look like this:
- Create 3 case studies that convey the benefits of a premium subscription.
- Use paid ads and content marketing to promote premium subscriptions.
- Create a lead scoring system to focus on leads with high purchase-intent.
- Bump referral discounts to premium subscriptions up by 10 percent.
Examples of strategic sales plan templates
The one-page sales plan
Your sales plan doesn’t need to delve into exhaustive detail.
If you’re an agile small business, a one-page sales plan template will help you hit the ground running and lead your small team.
The weekly sales plan template
This granular template is great for companies with shorter, transactional sales cycles.
The 30-60-90 day sales plan template
The 30-60-90 day template is a standard choice for most teams.
It helps write a sales plan that covers short, medium, and long-term goals.
The 90-day sales plan template
If you have a product that requires demos, meetings, and runs through multiple decision-makers, using a 90-day sales plan for your long sales cycles is a good idea.
A B2B sales plan template, for you
A B2B sales plan is more than a list of corporate targets to glance at while entering the office.
It’s your company’s custom playbook for sales success.
It unites your team, resources, and efforts under realistic objectives.
It creates the magic behind successful businesses: sales and revenue.
If you’re serious about generating leads and sales, invest the time into creating one.
To help get you started, I created this sales plan template for you.
Download our B2B template now and get started today.
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