What Is A Sales Plan? | How To Create Your Own + Sample Sales Plan Template
Find out what a sales plan is and learn how to create your own sales plan template with this guide.
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In this article:
- What Is a Sales Plan?
- Who Creates and Benefits from the Sales Plan?
- Why Do You Need a Sales Plan?
- Where Does the Sales Plan Fit Within Your Business?
- When Should You Create and Update Your Sales Plan Template?
- How Do I Create My Own Sales Plan?
- Sample Sales Plan Template
- Other Sales Plan Templates
How to Write a Sales Plan Template
What Is a Sales Plan?
A sales plan is a strategy wherein you lay out your objectives, tactics, potential challenges, and target market. Here, you also identify what steps you’ll execute to meet your objectives.
Typically, a sales plan template has the following parts:
- Target market
- Revenue and/or volume targets
- Deadlines and Directly Responsible Individuals (DRIs)
- Team structure
- Strategies and tactics
- Pricing and promotions
- Market conditions
What Is The Difference Between A Sales Plan And Business Plan?
A business plan describes the financial and operational objectives of a business. A sales plan is similar to a business plan, but it zeros in on the sales strategy.
In other words, a business plan outlines the goals and a sales plan specifies how to reach those goals.
Who Creates a Sales Plan?
Sales professionals are in charge of creating sales plans. Whatever position you hold, as long as you’re working within sales, it’s essential to be familiar with how to create a sales plan.
Ideally, sales reps should have the task of creating an individual sales plan as part of their training. This will give them an idea of how to write and work with a sales plan template.
Sales executives, sales managers, and entrepreneurs all benefit from having a sales plan. This is a very useful guide for your business, department, or sales team.
Why Do I Need a Sales Plan Template?
Having a sales plan template will help you:
- Identify your business’ sales targets
- Choose sales strategies that fit your target market
- Come up with tactics that will enable your sales team to execute your strategies
- Determine the budget you need for your sales efforts
- Activate and motivate your sales team
- Evaluate your goals regularly so you can improve your approach
Your strategic sales plan will keep your business and your sales team in check. This will also serve as your benchmark to assess your goals and accomplishments.
Perhaps the most important role of a sales plan is to act as your compass in terms of meeting your prospect and customers’ needs.
Where Does the Sales Plan Fit Within a Business?
Your sales plan template can be a part of your marketing plan, or it can also supplement it. As mentioned earlier, a sales plan is similar to a business plan, but it focuses more on strategy.
These three — the business, marketing, and sales plans — all serve the purpose of directing your sales team’s efforts. You map these out during the start of the fiscal year, for instance, and then build on them throughout the year.
When Should I Create and Update My Sales Plan Template?
A lot of businesses develop and improve their sales plan template when necessary. Some do it every 6 or 12 months.
Generally, you’ll update your sales plan as new information becomes available. For example, your sales team has expanded or a competitor has left the market.
You and your team should treat your sales plan as a live document that you can build and adapt when needed.
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How Do I Create My Own Sales Plan?
All good sales plans have one thing in common, it’s based on real data. Before you create a sales plan do research and collect updated information to base your plan on.
Do a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) to assess your current position and incorporate your findings into your sales plan.
Once you have done your research complete your sales plan with these basic elements:
1. Executive Summary and Scope
Not everyone will read every page of the sales plan. In this section, give an overview of the document.
The aim here is to provide context for your plan. Include the most important goals and strategies as well as the time frame specified in your plan.
2. Goals and Timeline
Next, it’s time to set your sales goals, which could be revenue or volume-based. Make sure you set realistic goals so that in turn, your sales plan is doable.
When goal-setting, you need to factor in the following:
- Product price
- Total addressable market (TAM)
- Market penetration
Most likely, you’ll have more than one goal. The key is to identify which ones are high-level, and which ones will enable you to achieve those high-level goals.
As you prioritize each goal, set a timeline to achieve them. This will let you know if you’re ahead, on track, or behind in meeting targets.
If applicable, identify who the directly responsible individuals (DRIs) are. For instance, set quotas for your individual sales reps so they can all contribute to a common objective.
In some cases, identifying the DRIs will let you avoid replicating work and shifting blame, as each person has a specific task relevant to the goal.
3. Team Members
Enumerate who your team members are and what roles they have. If you’re anticipating to add to that headcount, include the following as well:
- The number of employees you want to add
- Each employee’s job title
- When you plan to onboard them in the team
RELATED: 7 Ways to Boost Sales Effectiveness
4. Target Market
Knowing who your target market is for every product or service is crucial. When working on this, imagine what your ideal customer would be like.
While it’s important to have a single buyer persona, be open as well to the possibility of having different buyer personas for each product or service you offer.
Your target market can change over time as your sales strategy and business solutions evolve. As you go along, you’ll eventually learn which market fits a product or service better.
This is why it’s important to be consistent in evaluating and updating your buyer personas.
Your sales plan template should also include the list of resources, tools, and software your sales team will utilize to achieve your goals.
This also means including what your salespeople will use to accomplish their jobs. Some examples of these are training, sales enablement tools, and sales reports, among others.
6. Market Position
In this section, you will list down who your competitors are. Explain here how your offers compare to theirs — both the pros and cons.
You should include the pricing comparison between you and your competitors as well. Also, don’t forget to discuss the current trends in the market, and try to predict what kind of impact they will have on your business.
7. Marketing Strategy
Here you will dive further on two marketing mix elements — price and promotion. Describe your pricing strategy and go into detail on the promotions you’re planning to run.
What tactics will you implement to increase awareness for your brand and to generate leads? While you digest on this, don’t forget to figure out how this will impact your sales.
What will be your strategy when it comes to prospecting? List down the criteria that your sales reps need to look for in leads and prospects before they reach out.
Along with this, you should also identify the sales methods your sales team will employ to close more deals.
9. Action Plan
You now have your goals, so it’s time to come up with action plans that will help you reach them. This is basically your game plan to hit the revenue targets you set.
To create an action plan, follow this simple process:
- Set an objective
- List down the tasks that will help you accomplish the objective
Lay out the costs that will come with hitting your sales goals. To make sure that your sales plan budget is accurate, compare it with your sales forecast.
Tips To Keep In Mind When Writing Your Sales Plan
- Set practical and reasonable goals.
- Look at historical performance data to help set achievable targets.
- Do in-depth research and use this to identify problems and opportunities.
- Get input from your sales team.
- Be specific and concise.
- Don’t forget to monitor the progress of your sales plan. Your plan should adapt and evolve to fit the current situation (Unexpected changes in the market, new sales members etc.)
Sample Sales Plan Template
Here’s a handy sales plan template based on the elements mentioned above. Fill in each part as a starting point in creating your own template.
Name of Company:
I. Executive Summary and Scope
Write 3-4 lines to summarize the rest of the document.
II. Goals and Timeline
Sample Sales Goals and Timeline
- April 2020: $10,000
- May 2020 $10,000
- June 2020: $12,000
III. Team Members
- Name — job title
Describe the role, including tasks and expectations. Also, include information about onboarding.
IV. Target Market
Thoroughly describe who this person is — basic demographics, what their lifestyle is like, interests, etc.
Make a list of resources, tools, and software employees need to perform their tasks and for the team to achieve the sales goals
VI. Market Position
Similarities and Differences Between Products/Services
Current Market Situation
Include information about any market or industry trends that may impact you or your competitors.
VII. Marketing Strategy
Sample Pricing and Promotional Strategy:
- Pricing Strategy: Lower price from $500 to $450 on June 1.
- Sales Impact: Increase monthly sales by 10%
- Promotional Strategy: Run a customer referral incentive from June 15-30.
- Sales Impact: Increase monthly sales by 15%.
Identify sales methods reps will use to close deals.
Criteria to Qualify Leads:
IX. Action Plan
- Sales Tools and Resources
- Travel Expenses
Other Sales Plan Templates
If you’re stuck with your own sales plan template, try going by any of these templates:
- One-Page Sales Plan by The Balance
- Free Sales Plan Template by Fit Small Business
There is no one-size-fits-all sales plan. Take your time to identify opportunities and ways to overcome challenges.
Lastly, remember to monitor your progress and to update your strategic sales plan to optimize performance.
What challenges do you experience when creating a sales plan? Tell us in the comments section below!
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- Xant Team