How to Write a Strategic Sales Plan

notebook with Strategic Sales Plan teared

Drawing a Strategic Sales Plan can be difficult, and you might have several questions before you even begin writing your report. Where should I start? What should I write in it? Is there a track to follow?

Whether you are looking to increase your sales, boost your revenue or introduce a new product, our template can help you reach your goals. Here are the categories that you should include when building your foolproof sales plan:

1. Business Environment

Companies typically only update their strategic sales plan on a quarterly or yearly basis. Because of the time between updates, it’s important to take a look at your company’s current business environment to ensure your sales plan fits with its current objectives.

Statistics

  • Keeping yourself up-to-date with company statistics is always beneficial, regardless of your position in a company. But as a savvy salesperson, you know how important it is to use these statistics to set goals and impress potential clients.
  • This strategic sales plan revolves around statistics, so it's key for you to be aware of key numbers. Make a PESTEL to know your macro-environment, think about using Porter’s five forces analysis to assess the attractiveness of your industry, refresh your SWOT analysis and competitor maps. All this information will be useful to build your sales plan.

Power Statement

You should create a power statement that you and your reps can master and use. A power statement is similar to the elevator pitch, but let’s be honest, not many deals are going to close on your way from the lobby to the 13th floor, especially in outside sales.

You want your statement to tell your prospects how your company will benefit their businesses. The important parts of your power statement are:

  • Headline

The headline is where you gather your prospects’ attention. What does your company do? What's your mission statement? It's essential that you are clear and concise about the services or products your company offers.

  • Transitional phrase

The transitional phrase is what you can use to inform your prospect what kind of companies or people your business typically services. (e.g. Outside sales people use this software to…)

  • Client issue/Pain points

You want to assess what the pain points are for your prospect. This is one of the most important parts of your power statement because you want to assert why they need to buy your product or service. You should be well versed on what kind of customer your company serves and should be able to make the connection.

  • Offering

Keep this part short and sweet. It will be a little more specific than the headline and will offer a clear description of the strategies and techniques your company uses.

  • Differentiation

Why is your company different than your competitors’? Being able to effectively communicate what makes you and your product or service special will be key to winning over potential clients. You have to inform them of why your company is special in order to get their business.

2. Objectives

Before starting to think about strategies or targets, you’ll have to define your goals. Everything you’ll work on after this point will be based on the goals you want to accomplish. Think about your business needs and write concrete objectives. Here are some short notes to help you get started:

How do you chose what to focus on? Ask yourself questions about the business environment to choose your goals. How’s the market? Who are your competitors? How does your SWOT analysis look? 

But remember that you are not alone in your company. Your department's objectives should integrate with your corporation’s strategies. Make sure to communicate between silos so that the whole company can profit from your developments. Understand the marketing department’s needs, take into account a budget before implementing your Sales Strategic Plan etc.

After drawing a list of goals revolving around time, budget and priorities. In business, resources are always limited. It's best to focus on a short list of goals and realize them, rather than distribute your energy among too many projects. Select your goals with the triple constraints triangle in mind to ensure the quality of your deliverable.

triple constraints management triangle

To keep your feet on the ground, we advise you set measurable, timed, and attainable goals like:

  • Increase your company’s market share by 10% until the end of Q3.
  • Sell 500k of Product A by the end of the year.
  • Implement new strategy to get 150% new leads.  

Although sales is the greatest department within a company, you must be conscious of the entire company. The next steps are extremely helpful.

  • The action sales plan should rely on a collaborative price strategy. Work closely with the financial department to understand the budget for implementing new strategies. It's time to go into details and think about all the items you want to add to your sales strategy.
  • Make predictions on your long-term results and short-term effectiveness. Look at your revenue history to be more accurate so you can fund your strategy. Make analyses and draw worst cases scenarios to be able to face any situation.

If you successfully choose realistic goals; the following steps will be much easier to accomplish.

3. Relationship with Clients

Understanding your clients is important to not only keep them happy, but also sign new clients. By understanding current clients, it becomes easier to expand those accounts while also capitalizing on other key opportunities.

SWOT Analysis

Doing SWOT analyses of your customer relationships allows you to analyze each unique relationship and how it can be improved.

  • Strengths

What are the strengths of this relationship? Is it recurring revenue? A short sale cycle? Does the company have to make constant purchases? A short decision process? 

These strengths will allow the entire sales team to match together other accounts and use similar strategies if need be.

  • Weakness

Be honest about the account's weaknesses. Does it lack communication? You can emphasize this to your sales team. Has this account made a complaint regarding the product? You can make sure to nurture the account more. 

These weaknesses are key to ensuring your current customers remain happy. There is usually strong emphasis on acquiring new customers, but retaining customers is just as important.

  • Opportunities

Does the account come with more opportunities? Perhaps new management, a future IPO or tremendous growth. Being aware of these things will directly affect how you will approach the account.

  • Threats

Is there a possibility that you might lose this customer? What are those reasons? Is there a new competitor in the industry? Was the customer displeased with the product? Knowing the the threats to the account will help prioritize the type of attention that is needed.

Doing a SWOT analysis for the top customers, and even accounts that seem “less” important, can change the dynamic of the sales team. Your management tactics and strategies can help determine the type of plan you make for your team.  

Understanding Client Hierarchy and Decision Making  

As a manager, it's important to understand which accounts take longer or more effort to persuade. Identify the right person to contact and the business relationship you’ve built with them. Use your CRM to report history with each customer and highlight key accounts.

Design a pyramidal structure to remember who’s in charge and which interest they have in your company. The more you understand your clients, the more you can customize your message and reach out to them. After this you will be able to communicate the exact message your customer wants to hear from your company and close more deals. This will help save time on your end and allow your customers to save time in their decision making processes.

levels of management 4-Lead Generation

It can be complicated finding new leads when your daily tasks keep you away from searching for targets. Reps are generally so busy taking care of their current clients that it becomes next to impossible to take time to visit prospects.

While writing your strategic sales plan, you should make time to plan how to get new prospects. Your report should describe how you are going to find new leads. Ask yourself questions to seek new prospects: who would be interested in your product/service ? How can you help someone with what you do the best?  

Finding new leads and business avenues requires a good amount of time, energy and imagination, but is essential to both a successful sales plan and growing your client base.

Once you’ve found new opportunities of doing business, you have to go further and select a segment to focus your efforts on. Understand which prospect would have the most interest in your business, and which clients are in your best interest to target. When it comes to lead generation, it is most important to set priorities to the best opportunities using market assessment tools to get optimized results.

person will fall into one of these four categories:

  1. Low value to the company–low value to the customer. Neither the customer or the company are interested in one another, there is no point in doing business. Ex: Young population and a real estate agency.
  2. Low value to the company–high value to the customer. Your product is attractive to a group of the population you have no interest in targeting. This may occur for various reasons such as financial, age, etc.... Try to reverse your thinking, why aren’t they valuable to you? How can you make them valuable? Ex: working class and a luxury watch brand.
  3. High value to the company–low value to the customer. This segment of population is not interested in your product or service, although your company is targeting this profile. As a solution you can invest your resources in marketing to convert these people while also helping create an interest in your product or service. Ex: Private plane owner and a first class airline service
  4. High value to the company–High value for the customer. Your core target is located in this win-win situation and should constitute your client base. Your product or service is easy to sell, since this population wants what you’re selling. Ex: Fashion oriented Athlete and Nike.

market opportunities matrix

Using this market opportunities matrix is a great way to understand which customer to target on your next steps for your sales strategic plan.

Time Management When Prospecting

Create a  plan of attack with your sales reps. Ensure that they realize the importance of establishing a schedule for each day. On a day to day basis, they should schedule a time to prospect, research companies, and do calls. Scheduling consistent times allows a sales rep to strictly focus on one thing, which may be difficult, especially in this day and age with all the information and entertainment at our fingertips.

5 - Sales Team Structure

It is key to determine what kind of sales team strategy is going to be used. Depending on your business, an outbound or inbound approach might lead to the best results. Each strategy requires its own unique structure due to the different interactions with prospects.

sales team structure

Inbound Flow

Inbound generated lead flow is when all sales and prospects are derived from actions that generally come from the marketing department activities. This can include webinars, email marketing, event leads, case studies or any other technique provided by the company. The prospect is responding to the marketing provided by the company. They, in one way, shape or form, agree with or like the message being relayed by your marketing team and share their contact information. This initial contact marks the beginning of the sales cycle.

Inbound Team Structure

This sales structure begins with the head of marketing. They decide what kind of message is going to be relayed to the potential customers. Once the head of marketing makes those decisions, the Manager of Lead / Demand Generation strategies and implements a certain demand generation program. The inbound leads from here go to the sales reps for them to nurture the prospect and make them a paying customer.

Outbound Flow

Outbound generated lead flow is different because the prospects’ first interactions with the company are from direct contact with the sales team. This can come from cold calls, direct emails, referrals, networking at events or any other form of communication from sales reps. Unlike the inbound approach, there is no reaction to the marketing activities. They directly enter the sales cycle.

Outbound Team Structure

The generation of leads begins with the VP of Sales. They are in charge of formulating the type of outreach that will occur. They also create the team of reps to execute their plan. The Sales Development Rep (SDR) and the Sales Rep work together to create leads and gather people into the sale cycle.

6 - Implementing Your Sales Plan

Now that you’ve created your sales plan and designed it to align with specific management goals, it’s time to share this with your sales team. Too often, different types of managers managers don’t effectively communicate their strategic sales plans with their sales teams, causing confusion and disorganization.  It’s essential to have your team and reps on the same page so they  know the company’s sales plan on an in-depth level. Below are different techniques and strategies that can be implemented to ensure your entire team is aware and motivated to follow the plan.

Explain

Although it sounds very obvious, clearly explaining the sales plan to all sales levels is the first thing you need to  do. Keyword: clearly. As a sales manager, you must ensure that the team is not only aware of the sales plan, but willing to change their way of doing business to adhere to this plan. After you draw your product and report strategies, 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.

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. This is essentially you selling to your sales team! Just like approaching a prospect, you must approach your team with the benefits such as commission.

Train

Training is something that often gets overlooked.  In order for your sales plan to succeed, you need to have a specific and structured training session for your sales team so they can correctly implement the new strategic elements. You 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 yourself.

Reward

The reward system is fantastic to not only ensure your sales team reaches their quota, but that they also follow the new strategy and technique. For instance, giving each member of the sales team a gift card for doing their first 200 cold calls with the new script is a way of assuring they are using the new script. Verbal praise also has positive results. Even a simple email or letter with a nice “congratulations” can change your rep’s the attitude.

7-Performance Tools & Quality Control

Implementing your personalized strategic sales plan is not an easy task. It requires time, attention and forethought to make sure your team is on the right track. To ensure the effectiveness of your project it is essential to have two kinds of control; a quality control process and performance tools process.

Quality control is a process that must be ensured from the beginning to the end of your project. Set up milestones to control your achievements and track your advancement. Control must be part of every step to be certain before you go forward that your bases are rock solid. When you’re experiencing slow sales growth or diverging from your projected sales trends, don’t be afraid to redirect your team accordingly.

Find objections to your prediction and strategy to make your ASP infallible. Using a foolproof technique is a great way to be able to make sure the sales rep won’t misuse the strategy they need to implement. It helps you troubleshoot possible issues in the future. Create two teams to debate and grow arguments.

With performance tools you should be able to make a clear statement about the success or failure or your project. Here is a list of tools that can assist you for your process, pick the most relevant one to your project to integrate into your management:

  • Key Performance Indicator
  • Milestones
  • Gantt Chart
  • Management Dashboard

Quality control and performance tools are keys of best practice in project management. Don’t skip over this important step,  or your sales results will suffer.

Following all these steps, you should be able to write your own Strategic Sales Plan. To help you write your strategic sales plan on one page, you can download our template.

The Best App for Field Sales People

Learn how you can maximize your sales routes & sell more with Badger Maps

See Badger in Action

Check out our full walkthroughs

Request a Demo

See what Badger can do for you

Try Badger with your Team

See how your sales team can sell more

Support & Legal
Support Status Privacy Policy HIPAA Compliance Terms of Use Data Processing Addendum Contact Us