As Alexander Graham Bell once said: “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”. This certainly applies to business success, and one of the most important preparation methods in business is the sales plan. A sales plan is a document containing your sales objectives and strategies, but for those who aren’t sure where to start, there’s good news. A sales plan template can help you to organise your objectives and develop strategies so that your sales plan document becomes a guide for your sales team and all other relevant parties.
A sales plan helps you establish the most sensible route to increased revenue. It will contain sections in which you can define your current positioning, as well as your sales goals and important customer attributes; it also contains sections for you to define your tools, metrics, and budgets. Finally, it assists you in establishing best strategies and reviewable action plans.
Once you have created your sales strategy document, you will essentially have a functional guide to your business’ goals, vision, and mission. The document allows relevant teams to be clear on what is expected – from whom and by when – so that optimum revenue is achieved, regardless of market conditions.
How a sales plan can benefit your business
Generally speaking, since potential customers tend to be quite suspicious of salespeople, a well-considered sales plan document helps sales teams to direct their efforts (and therefore your business resources) most appropriately.
In short, a sales plan can do the following for your business:
- Cultivate a positive culture of focus, alignment and discipline with teams
- Improve problem-solving capabilities based on past performance
- Help you create successful sales pitches for your teams to use
- Quantify and expedite future success
When you use a sales strategy template to coordinate your vision, mission, and an action plan, your teams, direct reports and executives have a practical working document to help them achieve those aims. Your sales plan will establish areas of support required, as well as facilitating constant improvement since past performance can be used to indicate smart next steps.
How to create a sales plan
Thankfully, there’s no reason why a sales plan needs to be particularly complicated. The main priority is that you carefully assess all areas of the business before creating the plan. Firstly, it is the responsibility of the business owner (or perhaps the sales leadership) to decide upon worthy objectives, long-term vision and goals for growth.
Once this these are decided, it would be useful to include the thoughts and ideas of others involved; for instance, sales and marketing staff, and even any consultants or agencies that could make valuable contributions. Basically, anyone who will have a part to play in the execution of the sales plan should contribute. This part is important because these people are likely to have fresh ideas or the ability to spot issues within the strategy. They are also the people most able to decide upon realistic performance measurements.
To create a sales plan document, here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Define your company (including location, size, age and product range), as well as your mission and vision statements
- Describe your sales department (including its structure and teams), plus the leadership of the department and recruitment plans
- Identify your target market, including industry and prospect locations, and buyer personas
- Define your company’s position in the market, including analysis of your company and competitor analyses
- Assess your sales software situation to understand the resources at your disposal and which new sales tools will benefit the sales process ongoing
- Describe your inbound and outbound sales strategies, including lead qualification
- Review and plan your budgets
- Define your sales goals, including revenue, deals, units sold and other sales metrics
- Create an action plan with sales tactics and staff responsibilities
- Review your tactics at scheduled dates
We have created a helpful sales plan example in the form of a word template that you can download here for free. This sales plan template takes the hard work out of it so you can design a sales strategy quickly and easily… why not download your template now to get the ball rolling?
Note that reviewing performance at regular intervals is vital so that any necessary modifications can be made. Our customers find that using our CRM software Act! Growth Suite to review progress and measure sales performance, keeps their sales plans on track at all times. Feel free to get in touch with any questions about this, as we love to do whatever we can to help your business go from strength to strength.