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How to Create a Sales Plan: Strategy, Examples and Templates

Written by: Aditya Rana

Mar 25, 2024

how to create a sales plan: strategy, examples, templates

The difference between a company struggling to drive sales and one that’s hitting home runs often boils down to a well-crafted sales plan.

Without knowing how to write a sales plan, your sales reps will lack vision, not understand the market, and be ineffective at engaging potential customers.

Most businesses fail in sales planning because they don’t focus on their unique value. If you’re struggling with sales, here’s what you need to do: define your goal(s), create customer personas, and create an action plan for success.

One of the best ways to organize this information in one place is to use sales planning templates. In this post, I’ll show you how to write a sales plan (…with plenty of template examples included of course!).


Click to jump ahead:

What is a sales plan?

A sales plan is a strategic document that outlines how a business plans to convert leads into sales. It typically details the target market, customer profile, and actionable steps that must be taken to achieve revenue targets.

Here’s a great example of a sales plan that includes all these elements neatly packed into one document.

Colorful Food Retailer Sales Action Plan

Benefits of a sales plan

Every company needs a sales plan, but have you ever wondered why?

Why should businesses invest time and resources in creating sales plan when they could…well…be focusing on sales?

Sales plans are worth it because they tell sales employees what to do.

Without a sales plan, your sales efforts will end up becoming a disorganized mess. Let’s explore the benefits of sales plans in detail.

Help you identify and target the right market

A sales plan helps you figure out the target market that’s most likely to be responsive to your messaging.

I mean do you really want to waste your time trying to sell to someone who has no need for your product or isn’t interested in your offering?

But if you know who your customer is, you can target their pain points.

Cream Purple Customer Range Pictograms Charts

Help you set goals

All great sales plans require you to set goals that are actually attainable and budgeted for.

Without goals, your sales team essentially operates in the dark unsure of what success looks like and how to achieve it.

One of the best ways to set goals is by conducting a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) to understand the market landscape.

Sales SWOT Analysis

Help you forecast sales

Since sales plans require you to study historical sales data, you have the ability to understand trends, seasonality, and customer buying patterns.

This information can be used to accurately forecast future sales performance.

And when you chart it out visually like in this example, you can make data-driven decisions to optimize your sales strategy.

Sales Projections Line Chart

Help you identify risks

Because sales plans require you to study the market, you’ll be able to uncover risks such as market saturation, competitors, and shifting customer needs.

With this knowledge, you have the ability to be flexible in your approach.

Besides market risks, sales plans also help you pinpoint risks within your company such as a lack of qualified leads or unclear communication between departments.

Risk Management Plan Templates

Improve customer service

It may sound counterintuitive but creating a sales plan also actually improves your customer service.

Researching and trying to understand customer needs means new insights that you can share with the customer service team which allows them to tailor their approach.

Incorporating tools like a VoIP cellphone service can enhance communication, enabling sales service reps to anticipate questions and concerns so that they can communicate effectively..

Increases sales efficiency

Sales plans help standardize sales tactics and ensure sales reps follow the same best practices to reduce inconsistencies and improve effectiveness.

One of the best ways to standardize practices is to use a flowchart like in this example to make sure everyone knows what to do when facing a decision.

Sales Flowchart

Increases your profits

Sales plans generally guarantee a boost in profits because it allows sales team to laser-focus on high-value opportunities instead of being headless chickens.

Reducing wasted effort and a higher frequency of closed deals is a win in my book any day.

One of the best ways to measure changes in profits is to use a simple template to review performance like in this example.

Free Bar Graph Template

Help you understand customer needs

Contrary to what you might think, sales plans aren’t just about selling but also about understanding customers at a deeper level.

The process of creating a plan forces you to analyze customer data, buying habits, and pain points, all of which will help you understand what makes your customers tick and build trust and loyalty.

Here’s a great example of a customer persona you can edit to include in your sales plan.

Purple Persona Guide Report

How to create a sales plan

A sales plan is a document that helps you maximize profitability by identifying valuable segments and outlining strategies to influence customer behavior.

Common elements most sales plans include:

  • Sales goals: Information on revenue, market share, and more.
  • Sales strategy: Information on how to reach potential customers and convert them.
  • Target audience: Information on ideal customers and their needs.
  • Metrics: Methods to track progress.
  • Resources:  Tools, budget, and personnel needed to achieve sales goals.

Let’s take an in-depth look at how to create a sales plan.

(Note: You don’t need to include each of these points in your sales plan but I recommend you cover most of them to build a plan that’s well-rounded).

Define your business mission and positioning

Before you jump into tactics, build a strong foundation by defining your company’s mission and positioning.

Here’s why this step is a must-do:

  • Your mission statement defines your company’s purpose and values and gives your sales team and customers something to relate to.
  • Your positioning statement defines how your product or service meets a specific need and sets you apart from the competition.

Trying to sell without any alignment to company values will lead to inconsistent messaging and damage your brand reputation.

Here’s a great example of a sales plan template you can customize with your own brand’s mission and positioning statements.

Dark Sales Action Plan

Define your target market

Unless you think you can sell to every person possible, you’ll need to define your ideal target market.

Study your customer base and ask questions like: do most of the customers belong to a specific industry? Or do they all face the same pain point?

Also, keep in mind that target market can change over time due to changes in your product, pricing, or factors out of your control, so it’s important to review and update your target market frequently.

Market Infographic

Understand your target customers

This step often gets mixed with the previous one, so pay close attention.

Your target customers are those who your business wants to target because they’re most likely to make a purchase.

You can figure out who your target customers are by creating customer profiles by breaking down your target market into smaller groups based on geography, behavior, demography, and more.

Here’s a great sales plan template where you can edit in your own customer persona.

Food Customer Sales Action Plan

When making your buyer personas, make sure you answer the following questions.

  • Motivations and challenges: What are customer pain points? What drives purchasing decisions?
  • Behaviors and preferences: How do customers research products? What communication channels do they prefer?
  • Goals and aspirations: What are your prospective customers trying to achieve? How can your product or service help them get there?

Define sales objectives and goals

Setting clear, measurable goals gives you a method to measure performance of your sales strategies.

More importantly though, they give your sales team targets to aim for which then allows them to work in a structured and focused manner.

Your sale goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This is to make sure they’re realistically achievable within a set timeframe.

Here’s a comparison of good sales goal setting vs a bad one.

  • ✅Drive $100,000 in sales of product X by Y date using Z tactics
  • ❌ Increase overall sales in each product line

You can organize this information using a template like in this example, especially if you have multiple product lines.

Vintage Food Retailer Sales Action Plan

Define your value proposition

Your value proposition is a concise statement that explains why a customer should choose your product or service over the competition.

Here’s an example of a value statement:

“For busy small business owners, we provide a user-friendly accounting software that saves you time and money, allowing you to focus on growing your business.”

Then, it doesn’t matter if you own a restaurant, have developed a bike rental service, run a gym, or created hotel management software. Your value proposition must clearly convey unique benefits and show how your product stands out.

Here are some tips on defining your value proposition:

  • Identify customer needs: What are the core challenges and pain points your ideal customer faces? Understanding their needs allows you to position your offering as the solution.
  • Highlight your unique benefits: What sets your product or service apart? Focus on benefits you deliver that address the customer’s needs.
  • Quantify the value: When possible, quantify the value you offer. Can you demonstrate a cost savings, increased efficiency, or improved outcomes?

Map out the customer journey

Unless you’re extremely lucky, no one is going to purchase from you during the first interaction.

That’s why it’s crucial for you to know the steps a customer takes from initial awareness to purchase. Mapping out their journey allows you to personalize messaging and influence behavior.

Here are some tips on how to create a customer journey map:

  • Identify the stages: Break down the journey into distinct stages, such as awareness, consideration, decision, and post-purchase.
  • Define touchpoints: Pinpoint the different touchpoints where your customer interacts with your brand (example: website, social media, customer reviews).
  • Understand customer needs at each stage: What information are they looking for at each stage? What are their concerns and motivations?
  • Identify opportunities to engage: Identify opportunities to engage with your potential customers and move them along the buying journey.

Want some help creating customer journeys?

This customer journey map template is an excellent way to bring customer journeys to life.

Purchase Customer Journey Map

Gather existing sales data

This step involves collecting and analyzing all available data on past sales performance.

This data is critical in helping you spot trends, patterns, and areas for improvement in your sales operations.

Blank 5 Column Chart Template

Perform sales forecasting

Sales forecasting is the practice of estimating future sales which can be presented as a report highlighting expected sales volume weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Though not always 100% accurate, sales forecasting is key to writing sales plans because it’ll provide you with a clear picture of the ground reality which leads to better decisions on budgeting.

Here’s a template you can use to perform sales forecasting to makes the sales planning process effective.

Monthly Sales Report

Define your sales KPIs

KPIs are a fancy way of saying that you need to set metrics to track effectiveness of your sales strategy and team’s performance.

Some example KPIs you can include in sales plans are:

  • Number of sales
  • Sales revenue
  • Average deal size

This sales report template is a great example of how you can include KPIs in your meetings to test performance and adjust strategy.

Weekly Sales Report

Identify gaps in the sales process

This step is all about analyzing your current sales process to figure out gaps and/or potential obstacles preventing you from achieving goals.

When you identify a gap, brainstorm potential solutions so that you can create a specific action plan.

Understand the sales stages

When writing a sales plan, make sure you cover each stage of the sales cycle. If you’re unsure of what the sales stages are, here’s a quick recap.


This is the foundation of the sales process where you identify potential customers who might be a good fit for your product or service.


Once you have a list of prospects, you need to research their needs, challenges, and buying habits.


This is all about how you contact and communicate with prospects.


This section is your opportunity to showcase the value proposition of your product or service. Tailor your presentation to address the prospect’s specific needs and demonstrate how your offering can solve their problems.

Handling objections

Identify common objections your sales team might encounter related to price, features, competition, or need. Develop clear and concise responses to address these concerns proactively.


Equip your sales team with effective closing techniques to secure commitments from prospects who are interested but might hesitate.


Plan your follow-up strategy based on the prospect’s decision timeline and the stage of the sales cycle. For longer timelines, periodic updates and information sharing through digital sales rooms can maintain engagement and provide valuable resources conveniently.

Organize the sales team

Organizing the sales team entails defining roles and responsibilities clearly to cover all aspects of the sales process effectively.

This might involve segmenting the team based on product lines, customer segments, or territories.

Here’s an example of how it might look:

Sarah — Sales Director — will lead the sales team, set overall strategy, goals and direction.
Michael and Jessica — Business Development Executives — will focus on prospecting new leads. They will research potential customers, identify those who might be a good fit for the product, and qualify leads by gathering information and assessing their needs.
William — Sales Development Manager — will manage the business development executives and ensuring they follow best practices.
Chris and Lisa — Account Executives — will handle qualified leads. They build relationships with potential customers, present product demos, address objections, and close deals.

Using an org chart like in this example is a great way to visualize this information.

Simple Corporate Organizational Chart

Outline the use of sales tools

Sales tools play a crucial role in streamlining the sales process and enhancing productivity.

For example, incorporating digital account opening into your sales strategy can simplify the onboarding process for new customers, reducing friction and increasing conversion rates.

Make sure you outline the tools your team will use, how they fit into different stages of the sales process, and any training required to maximize their utility.

This ensures that your team has the resources needed to engage effectively with prospects and customers.

Set the budget

Setting the budget involves allocating resources efficiently across various sales activities to achieve your objectives without overspending.

This includes expenses related to personnel, marketing initiatives, customer entertainment, and tools like CRM software, automation, cybersecurity solutions, and even a corporate travel platform.

A well-planned budget balances investment in growth opportunities with the overall financial health of the business.

Create a sales strategy and action plan

Now that you’ve laid the groundwork of what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it, it’s time to bring it all together into a single view.

Create an action plan which not includes your strategy but also concrete steps.

Your action plan should outlines specific activities for each stage of the sales funnel from prospecting (lead generation channels) to closing (structured process and follow-up strategy with timelines) and everything in between.

Vibrant Sales Action Plan

Performance and results measurement

Last but not least, your sales plan should present a clear and quantifiable means to track the effectiveness of sales activities.

How are you going to measure outcomes against predefined targets?

Performance measurement is key because it builds accountability and allows you to always have a pulse on customer behavior, preferences, and trends that’ll help you make decisions based on data.

Sales plan example

If you’ve made it this far, give yourself a pat! I’ve covered A LOT on elements that you can include in a sales plan.

However, in most cases, you don’t always need to go that in-depth and instead should aim for brevity so that anyone in your team can stay up-to-date without having to worry about the nitty gritty details.

Here’s a sales plan example that’s brief but highly effective. It includes a summary of all you need in one document, a target market analysis, a customer profile, and an action plan.

Red Customer Sales Action Plan

Sales plan templates

Want even more sales plan templates for design inspiration or to customize and make your own?

This 30-60-90 day sales plan provides a great way to organize goals, priorities, performance goals, and metrics of success over three three timeframes: first 30 days, first 60 days, and first 90 days.

30 60 90 Day Plan Template

This sales plan is structured around key components that drive the sales process: objectives, strategies, tactics, and key metrics. It emphasizes a multi-channel approach to sales,, with a strong focus on measuring performance through metrics.

Territory Sales Plan Template

This sales roadmap is a great way to visualize activities such as defining strategy and generating leads to more advanced steps.

Blue and Orange Sales Roadmap

Conclusion: Save time on designing and updating sales plans and focus on growing your business with Venngage templates

Though there’s no secret formula for effective sales plan design, it’s good practice to include the basics or information on the target market, a customer persona, and a strategy on how you plan to sell.

What you definitely shouldn’t do is write a sales plan and then never look at it again.

And trust me, I know how time-consuming and frustrating it can be to edit your sales plan especially if you don’t have design skills. One small change might make the icons or numbers go all out of whack.

That’s why I recommend customizing our sales plan templates instead so that you can focus your energy on strategy.

About Aditya Rana

Adi is a word slinger and loves to fiddle around with SaaS. When not living online, you'll find him outside in nature with a book.