How to Create a Strategic Sales Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide

Salespeople know full well how proper planning can benefit their performance.

It can help them focus on priorities, align with other departments, accomplish their objectives, and give them a clear advantage over their competitors.

In this blog, we'll go beyond the same, dated techniques that you’ll find elsewhere and put the spotlight on the most up-to-date field sales techniques that will elevate your team's performance. 

With a well-crafted strategic sales plan in place, you will be able to ignite your team's success and help drive your business to reach new heights. 

strategic sales plan

What Is a Strategic Sales Plan?

A strategic sales plan is a comprehensive document that clearly outlines a company's approach to achieving its sales objectives, ensuring the sales team stays on track and focused as they look to attain them. 

With this type of document at hand and easily accessible for everyone in the organization to read, everyone involved can align toward common targets, fostering a cohesive team effort and sense of purpose.

The Importance of a Strategic Sales Plan

Without a solid plan in place, your field sales team will end up wandering aimlessly, missing out on crucial opportunities that are passing them by due to a lack of planning. 

Embracing a well-crafted strategic sales plan will set the foundation for revenue growth and market share expansion, all of which will help you surpass your sales targets.

This type of sales planning will be reassuring for salespeople as they will be able to follow a clearly defined process as they work towards achieving common goals and objectives.

Adapting to Your Business Environment

The business landscape is in a constant state of flux and always evolving. That means your sales strategy should be also. 

Companies typically only update their strategic sales plan on a yearly basis, meaning they could be a year behind in making important changes to their processes.

That’s why it’s vital you stay ahead of the curve and continuously tweak your sales plan as you see fit. 

Keeping an eye on what’s working and what’s not will ensure you are covering all of your bases, helping you pull clear of your competitors who are still working on last year's strategies. Checking out other companies' sales strategy examples will also offer you an insight into their successes and failures.

However, the old saying if it’s not broke don’t fix it rings somewhat true here. You don’t need to be chopping and changing your strategies at random. A measured, analytical approach works well in sales planning as you want to be making data-driven decisions, not decisions based on your emotional response to a situation.

Setting Clear Objectives and Goals

Defining your goals and objectives is a key tenet of a strategic sales plan. With specific and targeted goals laid out in front of you, everyone can work together strategically to accomplish them.

But what are some of the most important objectives and goals you should be focusing on?

Revenue Growth

Increasing revenue is a primary goal for most sales reps. But it’s not always plain sailing and there will inevitably be some bumps along the way. That’s why it’s crucial to set your revenue growth goals as soon as possible to ensure everyone is working towards a common objective. 

Revenue growth is a great way of measuring performance as the arrows will either be trending upwards, downwards, or flatlining. 

Upwards gives you the chance to see what you’re doing well, giving you some breathing space where maybe you can check out some better-performing competitors, try out new ideas, or hone in on your current strategies that are proving to be successful. 

If the arrow is trending downwards, you now have a clear indication that what you’re doing isn’t working and provides you with the opportunity to rectify your sinking ship. It may be a case of getting some fresh faces on board. Or you may need to change up your strategy completely and start afresh. Whatever it is, if you start to notice a downward trend in revenue, it’s time to put your thinking cap on!

Leveraging the opportunities you are given is key to being successful in sales during a recession. Check out this blog with strategies that will help you prosper even in uncertain economic times.

If you are experiencing neither an upward nor a downward trend in your revenue growth, stay calm! You are in a sweet spot where if you think positively, the only way is up! So take your time, and formulate some plans that will get you trending north, not south! 

One sales tool that can help field salespeople drive revenue is Badger Maps. 

Badger Maps is a route optimization tool that allows reps to automatically plan, route, and maximize their time in the field by cutting down driving time by 20%.


"After getting Badger Maps, weekly meetings per rep jumped from 12 to 20. This led to a 22% increase in annual revenue."

Brad Moxley

Business Development Manager, Cutter & Buck

Badger Maps was specifically designed with field salespeople's needs in mind and that's what sets this route planner apart from the rest. 

With Badger Maps, the average sales team of 10 reps saves $11k per year in gas. They also sell $936k more the year, using that extra time they saved on driving to meet with more customers. 


Sales Reps using Badger Maps sell at least 22% more and drive 20% fewer miles.

See the potential return on investment you can get by using Badger Maps with your field sales team.

Having the option to create a route with multiple stops gives reps the opportunity to easily plan for the week ahead. Less time spent behind the wheel will mean more time spent in front of customers, providing reps with ample opportunity to drive revenue growth.   

Badger Maps can help field sales teams optimize the time they spend on the road. Sign up for a free trial today!

Drive 20% Less. Sell 20% More.

Market Share Expansion

Growing your presence in your market is crucial if you wish to stay ahead of your competitors. The market is always brimming with competition and every few months a new kid on the block will come along to disrupt things. 

That’s why it’s vital for you not to stand still and always be on the lookout for new ways to increase your market share. With technology developing at a groundbreaking speed, being wise to any innovative changes you can implement can be a game changer.  You will need to really be privy to the inner workings of your current market. See what’s working for others, and what’s not. 

Position yourself as a unique solution that no one else can offer. Maybe your product is very similar to the competition. But you can’t position yourself that way. You need to let people know that your product is the best on the market because it can do XYZ that no one else can.

Customer Retention

Increasing your sales is difficult enough in its own right that retaining your current customers can often be forgotten about. Your current customers have needs and desires that they rely on you to fulfill and if they see that you are not fulfilling them, they will take their business elsewhere.

Studies have shown that the probability of making a sale to an existing customer is around 60 – 70%. While the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. So the benefits of customer retention are obvious.

Block time in your calendar to focus on these existing customers as a reminder to perform regular check-ins on their satisfaction levels

Customers want to feel as if they are valued and appreciate you taking the time to check in on them every now and again. Keeping track of them will give you an inside view of the untapped potential that already exists in your accounts.

Work diligently on maintaining healthy relationships with your customers as this will show them that you truly care about them.  

One sales tool that can help you with this is Badger Maps. Keeping track of your customer interactions so you always have the right information at hand is crucial if you want to improve both your connections and your retention rates with your customers.

The Badger Maps Check-in feature can do this by logging customer interactions as soon as they take place, helping keep both reps and managers on the same page as they work their territories. 

Badger Maps can also help you keep track of who you need to reach out to by setting up follow-up reminders. You can easily prioritize your accounts based on the last time you’ve contacted them. This ensures you’ll never miss an opportunity because you forgot to contact a prospect on time.

Check out this Outside Sales Talk podcast episode with Alice Heiman to discover actionable customer retention tactics to drive repeat sales!

Efficiency & Productivity

To really make the most out of your strategic sales plan, you need to ensure your efficiency and productivity levels are high. There’s no room for error here as if you start to let standards slip, eventually you will start to watch your numbers take a nosedive.

Having well-laid-out plans and strategies will help you here as when people have the opportunity to follow the guidelines, it will make it easier to accomplish their goals.

Making use of sales tools can also lead to increases in both efficiency and productivity as they can oftentimes provide that extra push that simply isn’t possible alone.

Cross-functional Goals

But remember that you are not alone in your company and that your sales team's objectives need to integrate with your overall company strategy. Make sure to communicate between departments so that the whole company can work in unison. 

After drawing up your list of goals and objectives, it’s wise to remember that in business, resources are always limited. It's best to select your list of goals and objectives while keeping the Triple Constraints Triangle in mind.

This concept revolves around three key factors that are interrelated but often at war with each other.  

Scope centers around the tasks needed to be completed in your project. This will define your goals and objectives.

Time refers to the timeline or schedule for your project to reach completion. This can include various deadlines you have set. 

Budget represents the financial resources you have at your disposal. This can factor everything from employee wages to petty cash.

You must learn to carefully balance these three factors in order to reap the benefits of your strategic sales plan. Don’t forget that changes to one can have a significant impact on the other two.

How to Build a Strategic Sales Plan

Not all strategic sales plans are alike and you will need to adapt your sales strategy to fit with your company's unique goals. 

There are a few key elements you need to ensure you have a robust plan in place.

strategic sales planning

Crafting an Impactful Mission Statement

The first step in building an effective strategic sales plan is to create your mission statement. 

Your mission statement will clearly define your company's purpose, the types of markets it serves, and the objectives it aims to achieve.

This needs to succinctly answer the question of why you are in business. What is your purpose? Your mission statement will serve as the benchmark for what you set out to achieve. With a clear idea in place for what you want to accomplish, things will start becoming more clear to you as you move forward into putting your plan together.

With your purpose taken care of, you will then be able to lay out company-wide standards that need to be adhered to. This will create consistency across your sales team and ensure everyone is aligned. With that being said, salespeople are human, and sometimes standards will slip. That’s why you need these standards in place as a reference point. So if something happens, you can always refer back to your plan to re-establish working standards.

Your mission statement also needs to explain your company's vision. What does it hope to achieve in the future and what is it putting in place to achieve it? Having a clearly defined vision for your sales team to look towards can help motivate them as goal setting is a sure-fire way to help sales teams hit their targets. Over 1000 studies, yes 1000 studies, have shown that goal setting is linked to increased task performance, persistence, and motivation. 

Conducting Market Analysis

All the strategic sales planning in the world will ultimately lead you nowhere unless you understand the marketplace you are entering into.

A good market analysis will inform you of who your customers are and their most important needs. Maybe you believe you have a great product and that it can be beneficial to a lot of people, but if your research is telling you that your product may be lacking a certain feature of functionality, you will be able to readjust and implement changes that will appeal to your target audience. 

This analysis will also provide you with insights into market trends, helping you spot what people are looking for when it comes to a product in your niche. If you have a keen eye for detail, you will be able to predict customer behaviors and capitalize on them. 

With a customer-centric approach, you will create an environment where planning isn’t done just once a year and that’s that. Tweaking and adjusting your sales plan as you go will form a part of your strategy, allowing you to consistently stay ahead of the rest of the market who are blindly sticking to outdated plans. 

Applying Effective Sales Strategies

Now you know both your goals and your customers' needs, it’s time to join the two with a well-rounded strategy. An effective strategy will provide you with the tactics you need to successfully implement your sales plan. 

But remember, not all sales strategies will be the same. Maybe you're a salesperson who works in B2B sales. In this case, you will need to create a strategy that focuses on building solid relationships with your customers, and one that offers value for them going forward. B2B sales can often be long, drawn-out procedures. So taking the time to nurture your customers is key here. 

B2C sales, or D2D, on the other hand, will involve different strategies. These types of sales usually tend to have a shorter sales cycle as consumers are normally driven by immediate needs and desires, meaning they can make decisions a lot faster than a business would. 

Here you can also play into the emotional behaviors of your customer. People love a good story and by crafting a compelling sales pitch for your product, you can engage with them on a deeper level. 

There are dozens of different strategies out there ranging from consultative selling to social selling, so make sure you do your research and find the best sales strategy plan that fits your needs!

Check out this Outside Sales Talk podcast episode with John Chapin to discover the secrets to building relationships in outside sales!

Measuring Your Performance

Once you’ve put your strategy into practice, you will now need to start measuring your performance. Gathering metrics, although easily disregarded, is a vital component of your sales plan. Why? Without it, you will never learn both why your strategies have been successful, and also why you have failed to pull them off. 

These metrics will provide you with key data points such as the sales performance of your team, customer insights, product feedback, and a multitude of other information that you may have missed otherwise. They will help you make more informed decisions, enabling you to quickly adapt to different situations as they arise.

Remember that in the sales world standing still can often be a death knell. The very best sales teams know that an environment of continuous learning is a key element of success. Without it, they will be quickly left behind and forgotten about.

Training for Effective Sales Planning

Before you get started training team members on what’s involved in your sales plan, you first need to explain to everyone what’s involved. You must ensure that the team is not only aware of the sales plan but willing to change their way of doing business to maximize the potential of all of your strategic sales planning. 

After you draw up your plan, create a sales presentation to pitch to your reps. Include all the sales techniques they could use, from the slides to the final sales pitch, making sure that every message is tailored to your sales reps’ specific targets.

You must be able to convince the team why this new plan or strategy is better than the pre-existing one.

You also can’t assume that every employee is at the same level, so it’s important to either meet with your employees one-on-one or have an audit-type session to assess what training they need.

Listen to this Outside Sales Talk podcast episode with Joel Stevenson to learn how you can lead with productivity as a sales manager!

Motivating your Sales Team

Now that the team is aware of why this new strategy is better, it is time to motivate them and get them supportive of the vision. Just like approaching a prospect, you must approach your team with the benefits involved such as increased commissions and higher monthly revenue.

The reward system is fantastic to not only ensure your sales team reaches their quota, but that they also are more receptive to following the new strategies and techniques that are involved in your strategic sales plan. 

For instance, rewarding each member of your sales team with something like a gift card for achieving an objective is an excellent way of assuring they are following the plan. Verbal praise also has positive results. Even a simple email created using email template creator or letter with a nice “congratulations” can change your rep’s attitude.

90% of top-performing companies reward their sales reps using incentive programs, providing them with added motivation to hit their sales targets.

Remember - motivated sales teams are more likely to be open to new ideas and eager to deliver exceptional results. 

Start Building Your Strategic Sales Plan Today!

There you have it! A comprehensive guide to creating a strategic sales plan that will help you fuel your success. 

Remember, this is not just any sales plan; it's your personalized roadmap to conquering the sales landscape.

With the right amount of sales planning and determination, nothing can stop you from achieving your sales goals! 

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