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If you’re in sales or marketing, then you know that having a good sales plan is key to success.
Creating a sales plan is an essential part of any successful marketing strategy, and it’s important to develop a plan that aligns with your sales goals, sales process, and sales team.
What is a sales plan? Why is it important? And how to create one that is effective and achievable?
In this post, we’ll take a look at the sales plan definition and some of the key elements that go into it. We’ll also share some tips for creating sales plans along with some templates that you can use to guide your sales planning process.
What is a sales plan?
Let’s start with the basics, and define what a sales plan is. A sales plan is a document that outlines the sales activities and objectives for your business over a specified period of time.
It includes plans for:
- Sales channels
- Tactics and strategies for sales follow-up and outreach
- Sales goals and targets
In addition to sales activities, sales plans often include other operational aspects of sales, such as sales training, sales metrics, sales forecasting, and sales performance management.
Think about it this way: a sales plan sets up a sales process and specifies the sales activities involved in your sales cycle.
You can even boost your sales plan’s efficiency by using it in conjunction with a sales automation tool like LaGrowthMachine!
Thanks to our tool, you’ll be able to automate all these sales activities:
- Automate your Multi-Channel workflows
- Enrich your leads‘ information automatically
- Manage your leads Effectively
- Analyze your performance with precise data
- And integrate whatever CRM you use in one click
- And more…!
This means that you’ll have better sales visibility and you’ll achieve your sales goals and objectives more effectively.
Why do you need a sales plan?
There are many reasons why sales planning is important for sales and marketing teams.
Basically, sales planning helps sales professionals:
- Clearly define sales goals and strategies
- Guide their sales activities, ensuring a consistent sales process across the team
- Align sales process and sales activities with sales goals and targets
- Prioritize sales resources, making sure that sales activities are focused on high-value sales leads
- Use sales metrics to measure and improve sales performance management
- Track sales progress and sales results, which helps you course correct when needed
- Communicate sales goals and targets to the rest of your team, including sales managers, marketing teams, sales support staff, and others.
The sales team exists to help sales managers and sales directors achieve sales goals. And sales planning is the first step in achieving those sales goals.
By having their workload organized into sales plans, they are better able to focus their sales efforts and sales resources on high-value sales leads.
In addition, sales planning helps marketing teams align their sales and marketing efforts with sales goals and sales activities, ensuring that they’re providing sales teams with the right sales collateral, promotional materials, sales training resources, and sales support tools.
Overall, sales planning is essential for sales success because it helps sales professionals and sales teams focus their efforts on the right sales activities, and it helps sales leaders understand which sales activities have the biggest impact on sales performance.
So how do you create an effective sales plan?
How to create and use a sales plan?
Now that we’ve defined sales plans and why they’re extremely important to your sales team, let’s go over some tips for creating sales plans that work.
1. Start with sales goals and targets.
When you’re creating a sales plan, it’s important to start by setting sales goals and sales targets for the sales period you’re planning for.
This helps align sales activities with sales goals and ensures that sales teams are pursuing sales leads that have high-value potential.
Make sure that you really drive your targeting efforts towards sales leads with high potential, rather than sales activities that are easier and less time-consuming.
Here at LaGrowthMachine, we always emphasize the importance of targeting! Use LinkedIn’s advanced search filters, lead scoring models, sales analytics software, etc… to prioritize sales activities and sales leads based on sales potential. This will help you focus your sales efforts where they’ll be most effective, and it will help sales managers understand where sales resources should be allocated.
In fact, our tool allows you to feed your leads into your CRM according to qualification triggers: for example, if a lead responds to you, you can qualify them as a hot lead. If they click on a link in your email, you can qualify them as a warm lead.
And so on.
2. Set sales KPIs. for your sales plan
KPIs, or key performance indicators, are sales metrics that you use to measure sales success and sales progress.
This part aims at evaluating the results of your sales strategy, in order to know if you are on the right track or need to adjust something. This assessment is done through different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you would have established with your objectives.
Some of the business KPIs you can track are
- Conversion rate
- Average basket
- Retention rate
- Churn rate
- Customer Lifetime Value
- and so on…
Depending on your results, you should (rather, you must!) adjust your sales strategy by implementing new actions, or by stopping those that are not producing the expected results.
3. Properly define your sales process(-es)
Your sales process is how your sales team works through sales leads to close sales. It’s a series of steps or sales activities that your sales team follows in order to convert sales leads and sales opportunities into sales.
This process can be complex, consisting of multiple stages or phases for each sales opportunity. Or it can be a simple linear sales process, with just one sales stage or phase for each sales opportunity.
Make sure you tailor your sales processes according to your sales funnel and sales strategy, to ensure that you make sales at every stage of the sales cycle.
4. Invest in sales automation tools
To support your sales efforts, you should invest in sales automation tools that can help you plan sales effectively, prioritize sales activities and sales leads, track sales progress and sales results, and so on.
Something like our own LaGrowthMachine platform can go a long way in helping sales teams achieve sales success.
Our solution is especially great for B2B professionals, it’s perfectly designed for your needs and helps teams reduce the whole B2B sales process’ time and complexity.
Whether you’re you want to use it as a B2B lead generation tool or as a way to close more deals, our platform helps businesses streamline their operations and improve their results.
You simply need to import your B2B leads from any source (CSV files, Customer Relationship Management –CRM software, LinkedIn search, etc.) in the tool.
It will enrich your data automatically with more information such as email address, position in the company, industry, etc.
Then, you can set up your sales outreach campaigns through different channels such as sales emails, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc…
With a few clicks, you’ll be able to send thousands of personalized messages and get more and more leads!
5. Feedback and iteration
Every strategic sales plan should be a work in progress. Strive to continually improve your sales processes and sales results through regular feedback and iterations.
Specifically, try to review sales metrics regularly -weekly, monthly, even quarterly depending on the nature of your sales activities.
Analyze this data to identify trends and patterns that can help you optimize your sales efforts going forward. And don’t be afraid to make changes or adjustments as needed in order to achieve sales success. With this in mind, you’ll improve your sales plan and find ways to optimize sales results for the long term.
What to include in your sales plan
Now that you know what a sales plan is and how to create one, let’s take a look at some of the key elements that should be comprised in sales plans.
A typical sales plan includes:
- Team structure: Who will be in your sales team and how will they work together? How will you streamline communications and sales processes to maximize sales performance?
- Your target audience: Marketing and sales leads you will be targeting and how you plan to identify them.
- Your sales funnel: The specific sales stages/phases that sales leads must pass through in order to be qualified and closed, along with sales strategies that go with each sale funnel stage.
- Outlined sales activities: what sales actions (pitching, networking, hot calling or cold calling, social outreach, etc.) your sales team will be responsible for, how they’ll fit into the sales process, and how sales activities will move sales opportunities forward
- Sales goals & metrics (KPIs): Track your revenue target, sales conversion rate, pipeline coverage, sales forecast accuracy, etc. to effectively follow your sales performance and sales results
- Tools and resources: Sales tools, CRM systems, sales training programs, and sales books and blogs that you’ll need to succeed.
In short, a sales plan is a comprehensive roadmap for sales success. It helps sales teams identify and pursue sales opportunities, engage with leads, and reach sales goals more effectively!
By including the aforementioned key elements in your sales plan, you ensure that you have a clear strategy for success.
Create your own sales plan now!
Whether you’re just starting out or are looking to improve an existing sales strategy, a sales plan is an invaluable tool that will help you achieve your sales goals and maximize sales results over time. So why wait? Start creating your sales plan today and start seeing real results!