How To Create a Sales Plan (Definition, Types and Template)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 9, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many successful businesses excel by improving sales, remaining competitive, and increasing profits. While it's essential you have targets, creating and planning sales strategies can increase your likelihood of success. If you work in sales or marketing, learning the process of creating a sales plan can be the first step to increasing sales and reaching targets. In this article, we define and explain how to create a sales plan, discuss helpful tips, and provide a template and sample to help you create one.

What is a sales plan?

A sales plan is a document containing sales goals and how to reach them within a timeframe. It describes how to convert leads into customers and make more sales to existing customers. Like a business plan, it considers possible challenges to implementing a sales strategy and how to resolve them. While a sales plan is typically for an entire company, you may create one for a specific department, team, or individual. Here are questions creating a sales plan can help you answer:

  • Who are the individuals, competitors, and businesses in the market?

  • What products or services do you offer?

  • Where do you plan to identify customers, and how do you intend to contact them?

  • In what timeline do you intend to attract new customers and complete sales?

  • Why would an individual or business want your product or service?

  • How does your product or service appeal to your target audience?

How to create a sales plan

If you're looking to increase sales, follow these steps on how to create a sales plan:

1. Outline your sales goals and the plan's scope

Writing your SMART sales goals is typically the first step to creating a sales plan. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based. Whether you're looking to sell a number of business offerings or reach a specific group of prospects, it's essential you have a target. Depending on why you're creating a sales plan, you may also start with a mission statement. For example, you may draft a mission statement if you're creating a sales plan for a company. Defining the plan's scope also involves identifying individuals or teams responsible for fulfilling it.

Related: How to Develop a Strategic Business Development Plan

2. Define your value proposition

A value proposition is an outline describing why a prospect would choose your product or service over one from a competitor. As part of setting sales goals, it's important you clearly define what value your product or service offers. Completing this process can offer insights into ways to make a sales pitch to prospects.

3. Define your target market

Next, outline who your potential customers are and analyze their information, such as their ages, interests, and locations. Defining your target market can direct your sales efforts to prospects who are more likely to purchase your product or request your service. You may use social networking sites, online search engines, and business groups to identify prospects. It may also help to attend business events and collaborate with the marketing department to define leads who you can convert to customers.

4. Define your sales resources

Identify the sales tools and resources you have to reach your goals. For example, you may use a customer relationship management (CRM) software or scheduling application to organize appointments with new leads. Sales contests, budgeting tools, and documentation are also resources you may include in your sales plan.

5. Review the market and industry conditions

Performing industry and market analyses is an important step for ensuring success. Identify your primary competitors and analyze their strengths and weaknesses to write a positioning statement. Next, examine the industry's outlook and trends. You also want to understand your competition's position in the market by analyzing their prices and comparing your business offerings with their products and services.

Related: How to Write a Positioning Statement in 7 Steps (With Examples)

6. Define your strategies, methods, and action plan

Next, identify what strategies and methods to implement. For example, you may use promotions, ads, loyalty bonuses, and referral programs. Ensure the strategies you select are sustainable and relevant to your goals. While marketing strategies explain how to promote business offerings, prospecting strategies outline ways to qualify leads generated.

Related: Create an Effective Work Plan for a Successful Project (With Template)

7. List milestones and deadlines

You can typically reach your sales goal by dividing it into milestones and setting a deadline for each. For example, suppose your goal is to make 300 sales by the year's end. You can have milestones for each quarter. As you progress through each milestone, you may improve your efforts to reach your sales goal for the year.

8. Measure your progress and define budgets

Defining key performance indicators (KPIs) can guide your sales efforts. Many sales professionals use specialized tracking software to track sales for a timeframe. By measuring your progress, you can identify what sales strategies to continue implementing, improve, or change. It's also essential to recognize your budget, so you can develop strategies that can stay within this amount.

Types of sales plans

Here are the common types of sales plans you can create:

  • 30-60-90 day sales plan: involves developing sales targets after 30, 60, and 90 days. This type of sales plan prioritizes reaching milestones you create.

  • Business development sales plan: focuses on attracting new business for a company.

  • Market expansion sales plan: reaches sales targets when targeting new prospects based on their demographics, such as location.

  • New product sales plan: focuses on generating revenue for a new product or service.

Tips for sales planning

Here are the best practices to help you write an effective sales plan:

Conduct extensive research

Extensively researching sales strategies, tactics, and methods can help you make informed decisions. It's also essential you find helpful information about your market position and competitor's offerings. You can also use sales data from previous periods and sales forecasts. For example, suppose collaborating with strategic partners worked in previous years. This information can validate your decision to continue collaborating with them.

Anticipate challenges

When creating a sales plan, consider potential issues or challenges you may experience. For example, you can develop alternative strategies if your promotion is yet to reach the milestone you set. Similarly, you may anticipate industry changes that may affect your ability to reach sales goals.

Consult with experts

While many aspects of a sales plan involve sales and marketing professionals, you may request feedback and information from other essential personnel. For example, finance professionals may provide budget insights, and upper management may offer feedback on past sales and revenue expectations. You can also review your sales plan with industry experts and encourage constructive criticism.

Sales plan template

Review this template you can use to create a sales plan at work:

Mission
[Define the company's mission, including its background information]

Sales goals
[Create the sales targets you intend to reach]

Target market
[Define the prospects and their demographics]

Tools, software, and resources
[List all available resources for reaching a sales goal]

Positioning
[Identify the industry and competition in detail]

Marketing strategy
[Discuss ways to promote the product or service]

Prospecting strategy
[List how to qualify leads and contact potential customers]

Action plan or milestones
[Outline the steps for reaching the sales goals]

Budget
[Present the budget based on the sales goals]

Example of a sales plan

Here is an example of a detailed sales plan to help you gain more insights into how to craft one:

Simple Dreams Marketing Firm

Mission
To enhance individual and business marketing efforts using excellent promotional techniques.

Sales goals

  • increase revenue by $45,0000 over the next fiscal year by providing affordable marketing packages

  • sell 900 marketing packages by the end of the calendar year

Target market
The target prospects are adults aged 24 to 35 who live in suburban areas of the city. These potential customers are eager to increase individual or business brand awareness and make at least $45,000 per year.

Tools, software, and resources
The sales team would use CRM software to monitor sales, budget, and total leads. They would also use scheduling software to create appointments with new leads.

Positioning

  • primary competitors: United Marketing Hills Inc. and Adams Marketing Blue Firm

  • competitor strengths: established presence in the market with over 15 years of service

  • competitor weaknesses: currently use older marketing strategies and tactics

  • industry outlook: online marketing strategies are prevalent with advancements in technology and social media use

Marketing strategy

  • free promotion in August for current customers

  • increase the price of marketing packages by $150 in November to encourage purchases

  • free marketing feature with customer referral

Prospecting strategy

  • lead receives call-to-action (CTA) landing page

  • lead inputs their email into the CTA

  • lead receives introduction email

Action plan or milestones

  • train marketing and sales team by February 01, 2021

  • schedule two sales professionals to attend an advanced training seminar by March 25, 2021

  • increase marketing packages by $150 by November 01, 2021

Budget

  • salary and commissions: $45,000 per month

  • resources and tools: $7,000 per month

  • travel expenses: $5,000 per month

  • training expenses: $6,000 per month

Explore more articles