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Sales Plan: What Is It and How to Make the Most of It

Sales Plan: What Is It and How to Make the Most of It
Yana Zatsarnaya
December 14, 2021
Last updated: December 14, 2021

A sales plan can help you to maximize your team's efficiency and boost your revenue. Using this document, you can improve your sales strategy and explain your success to stakeholders. From this article, you'll get to know how to compose a sales plan and which software you might want to use for it. Also, you'll find recommendations on making your plan more convincing and discover five efficient sales plan examples.


Sales Plan: What Is It and What Do You Need It for?


A sales plan is a document that outlines the following aspects of your sales activities:

●      Goals

●      Tactics

●      Strategies

●      Resources

●      Team structure

●      Target audience

●      Potential obstacles

●      Revenue goals

It resembles a business plan but is focused only on sales. A business plan sets the targets for your company and a sales plan explains how your team can reach these targets.

A sales plan should enable you to achieve the following goals:

●      Define roles and responsibilities of your team members

●      Measure the performance of your sales department

●      Provide strategic direction for your sales department

●      Make sure all the members of the sales department share an identical vision of your goals

The process of working on a sales plan includes the following steps:

●      Collect sales statistics from previous periods

●      Search for trends and analyze them

●      Define your strategic goals and set sales targets that meet your revenue goals

●      Decide which metrics to use to measure success

●      Analyze your current situation, identifying your main strong and weak points

●      Detect gaps that you might need to fill to achieve your goals

●      Forecast your sales for a specific period, based on historical data and demand trends

●      Remember the opportunities that you might have missed in previous years and think of how you could use these chances now

●      Consult with stakeholders from the product and marketing departments

●      Draft an action plan based on capacity and quota numbers

Once you find the ideal scheme of compiling a sales plan, you should stick to it permanently. If you apply one and the same scheme each year, it will take you less time and effort to complete the plan. Plus, it will be easier for you to measure your performance by comparing your current achievements with the results of the previous years.


A Universal Sales Plan Template


Normally, a sales plan would feature the following information:

●      Target consumers. What are the demographics, needs and preferences of people to whom you sell your products?

●      Revenue targets. The amount of revenue that you aim to bring in each period.

●      Tactics and strategies. What exact steps should you take to reach revenue targets?

●      Pricing and promotions. Your sales plan should include a list of promotions that you're planning to launch to attract more buyers. You should mention the prices of each offering.

●      Deadlines and directly responsible individuals. List your team members who are responsible for specific deliverables. Mention all the important dates.

●      Team structure. Name your team members and explain the circle of responsibility of each of them.

●      Resources. Talk about the instruments that your team uses to reach the goals stated in the sales plan.

●      Market conditions. Characterize your organization's competitive landscape and the state of your industry in general.

The exact contents and structure of your sales plan might differ depending on the specific needs of your company and the industry that it belongs to.


A Step-by-Step Guide on Writing a Sales Plan


To compile a well-structured and convincing sales plan, you might want to follow these steps.


Outline Your Mission and Background

From the onset, your audience should understand your company's mission and vision. It might be wise to include in the sales plan a brief history of your organization if it helps to better perceive your sales strategy.


Talk About Your Team Members

Any strategy makes sense only if you have enough resources to execute it. That's why you should begin your sales plan with your teams' description. How many professionals are there? What are their positions and duties? Are you planning to rely on the assistance of professionals from other departments?


Smart Tip

Instead of working on the sales plan alone, talk with your sales reps. Which challenges do they face? Which steps do they take to overcome these challenges?


Describe Your Target Market

Regardless of whether you cater to the B2B or B2C segment, your sales plan should feature exhaustive characteristics of your target consumers. Here are a few questions that you might want to ask when working in the B2B sphere:

●      Who are your best clients?

●      Which industries do they come from?

●      What is the typical size of your client company?

●      Do all your clients share identical pain points or have individual ones?

If you have several products, you should compile the characteristics of the target market for each of them.

A common mistake consists in the following: when composing a new sales plan, managers would copy and paste the characteristics of their target market from the previous year's plan. However, many aspects might change in twelve months. Your product and strategies might evolve, as well as your customers' tastes and demands. If your products become more expensive, you might need to update your client base almost from scratch.


Select Powerful Software

To make the most of your sales plan, you should use dedicated software, such as Bitrix24. It's a large and highly reliable system with versatile functionality: a CRM, an in-built contact center, a website builder, instruments for generating analytical reports, time, task and project management tools and many other useful functions.

In the Bitrix24 CRM, you can set sales targets of two types: the number of deals that you need to win over a certain period of time or the desired sales volume. The CRM Analytics can deliver an individual sales plan for each of your reps — and you'll be able to easily track their progress. Bitrix24 allows you to set monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or yearly goals for your sales plan. You can filter sales targets by employee or pipeline — or you can view company-wide targets. The system enables you to set access permissions to sales targets.

Your reps should appreciate the opportunity to get in touch with consumers right through the Bitrix24 dashboard. When you want to discuss the sales process with your team, you can use the chat, document sharing, voice calling and videoconferencing opportunities of the system. Bitrix24 allows you to distribute tasks among your team members, timely detect potential bottlenecks and take measures to prevent them. The system can generate reports that can help you to improve not only your sales strategy but many other aspects of your work too, be it marketing, communication or designing landing pages.

The basic functionality of Bitrix24 is available for free. But to make the most of your sales plan, you might need paid features. The Bitrix24 pricing is very affordable. The Professional plan with the most extensive functionality costs $199 per month — but you might get it at a cheaper price thanks to frequent discounts. Bitrix24 is available in a cloud format, as an on-premise solution and a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Over 10 million businesses from all over the world use this product.

Bitrix24 has a highly intuitive interface. It should take your reps very little time to get used to this product. Whenever you have a question, the polite and professional support team will be glad to attend to you. Moreover, Bitrix24 is famous for its excellent knowledge base. Without third-party help, you'll be able to find answers to frequent questions, step-by-step guides, screenshots and other valuable content.


Think of the Positioning

This part of the sales plan should be focused on your competitors. How many of them do you have? What are the strongest ones? Which market share belongs to each of them? In which aspects do they outperform you or vice versa? How much do your products and prices differ? What can you do to perform better than your competitors? Round up this part of your sales plan by talking about market trends that all businesses from your niche should take into account.


Compose a Marketing Strategy

Here is an example of what this section of your sales plan might look like:

●      Product 1: Increasing price from $55 to $66 on May 5 (3% drop in monthly sales)

●      Product 2: No change

●      Product 3: Decreasing price from $320 to $300 on June 3 (10% increase in monthly sales)

●      Product 4: Free upgrade if you refer another client from June 2-12 (15% increase in monthly sales)

You should list the pricing and promotions that you're planning to use to generate leads and boost brand recognition. Don't forget to mention the impact that the steps you take should have on sales.


Make a Prospecting Strategy

Imagine that your marketing strategy helped you to get many new leads. How should your sales reps qualify them? At this stage of your sales plan, you should list the characteristics of those clients whom your reps should try to contact. Plus, you should recommend optimal inbound and outbound sales methods to your reps, based on customer characteristics.


Draft an Action Plan

You need a sales plan not only to set goals. You should also describe how exactly you can achieve these goals.

Here are two examples:

  1. Goal: Increase referral rates by 20% this quarter

●      Run a referral techniques webinar and an offline workshop

●      Organize a referrals contest

●      Raise commission on referral sales by 3%

  1. Goal: Close 20% more deals on a new market

●      Carry out research to better understand the consumers' demands from that market

●      Fine-tune the product so that it better meets those demands

●      Introduce a new compensation system for reps who work with that market

In this section of your sales plan, you shouldn't go too deep in details — but you should be very concrete when listing the steps.


Set the Goals

A typical sales plan is focused on revenue goals. You might state that your goal is to reach annual recurring revenue of XXX thousand dollars.

Or, your sales plan may feature a volume goal, such as XXX deals closed or XXX new clients attracted. To make sure you set realistic goals for your team, you should keep in mind the following factors:

●      The price of your product

●      Total addressable market

●      Market penetration

●      Resources

The primary goal of your sales plan should correlate with the overall strategy of your organization. Let's imagine a situation where your business strives to expand internationally. In this case, you might set a goal of attracting XXX new clients from specific countries.

A sales plan might feature multiple goals. Then, you should rank them by priority. To measure your success at achieving each particular goal, you might resort to segmentation. For instance, if you're expanding to several territories, you should measure the number of new customers acquired for each separate territory.

Lay out your timeline and adjust your benchmarks to it. Let's imagine that the demand for your company's services is seasonal. You might have little sales in colder months, a bit more in April and May and you reach the peak in July and August. In this case, your sales goals for May should be higher than for February but lower than for July.

You might consider assigning a specific quota for each of your sales reps. For instance, a top-performing rep should strive to sell 30 units within a specific time period — and a trainee who has just joined your company might need to sell 10 units with the same characteristics over the same period. Thanks to such an approach, your team members won't replicate each other's efforts. Plus, if the team fails to meet the targets, your reps won't be shifting blame around.


Tips for Compiling a Top-Notch Sales Plan


When composing a sales plan, you might consider following these recommendations:

●      To make your sales plan more convincing, back it up with industry trends. Explain to your stakeholders the significance of these trends and accentuate your readiness to adjust to them.

●      Mention the tools and systems that you used to collect data for your sales plan. It might be a CRM, a dashboard and so on. Stakeholders should understand which instruments you relied on to get the metrics.

●      Make sure your budget proposal is based on hard facts and numbers. Quote your previous sales forecasts and assess how efficiently you have achieved your goals. By the way, not every sales plan should feature a clearly defined budget.

●      Consider composing a specific sales plan for each of your teams. Such an approach should enable each of your teams to focus on their respective KPIs.

●      Conduct in-depth competitive analysis. Your sales plan should help your reps find methods of outperforming competitors. To achieve this goal, you should be perfectly aware of what other businesses from your niche are doing.

●      Get marketing's input. Your sales plan can be successful only if it aligns with your marketing efforts. The more input you get from marketing, the better you can use this data for your lead generation, prospecting and nurturing efforts.

The above-listed tips for compiling a sales plan should be helpful for companies of nearly any industry and size.


Examples of Common Types of Sales Plan


Most frequently, a sales plan would belong to one of the following five types:

●      30-60-90-day sales plan. This one is defined by its time frame. You set goals that you're planning to achieve in one, two and three months, respectively. You can concentrate on any KPI that is important for you — for instance, minimizing client churn by a certain percentage or closing a certain number of deals.

●      Marketing-alignment sales plan. Typically, a sales plan is already aligned with marketing — and if not, you should do it. You should identify the characteristics of your ideal client and fine-tune your marketing messages so that they hit the target very precisely.

●      Business development strategic sales plan. This one should help you to attract new business by networking with other organizations, sponsoring events and doing outreach. You should establish KPIs for each type of activity to assess your performance.

●      Market expansion sales plan. It comes in handy when you expand to a new territory or market. Such a sales plan features a task list and target metrics that are relevant for that specific market. When compiling it, you should keep in mind time zone differences between your sales reps and target consumers, distribution costs and other logistical factors.

●      New product sales plan. When releasing a new product, you might want to compose a sales plan that would help you to maximize the revenue from the new launch. You need to conduct a competitive analysis, draft a sales strategy and enhance your brand positioning. If you switch to a channel sales model, you should also secure channel partners.

Hopefully, you found this article informative and now you better understand what a sales plan is and how to compose it!

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