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8 Effective Sales Strategies, Examples, and Best Practices for Successful Selling

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Published December 05, 2023

Updated December 06, 2023

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what is a sales strategy in a business plan

A winning sales strategy entails far more than pushing a product or service. It's about creating a comprehensive plan to help you and your sales team share goals and optimize your sales process. It should help you understand your audience, make genuine connections, foster customer loyalty and increase sales.

This guide will show you how to develop a sales strategy and refine your approach using different sales techniques, channels, and tools to improve sales.

But first, let's define what we mean when referring to a sales strategy.

Table of contents

What is a sales strategy?

Types of sales strategies, creating your sales strategy, strategic sales channels, tools to improve sales.

  • Don’t forget existing customers

Implementing your sales strategy

Sales strategy example, transform your sales strategy with clari.

A sales strategy is a detailed plan that guides sales teams on how to sell products or services and attract new customers encompassing sales goals, processes, product positioning, and team structure, and includes clear steps for selling effectively and hitting sales goals.

Some of the elements it may include are:

  • Organizational goals
  • Selling processes
  • Steps to identify qualified leads
  • Team structure and responsibilities
  • Market data
  • Customer personas
  • Product positioning
  • How you'll engage with your customers
  • Customer journey
  • Competitive analysis

Your sales strategy should include any factors you've identified necessary to acquire new customers and achieve your sales goals.

The importance of a sales strategy

A sales strategy is vital in providing clear objectives and guidance for the sales team. It gives you a long-term plan for the future with a detailed road map for achieving your sales goals while pre-empting any problems you might encounter.

It clarifies your market positioning, helping you identify your ideal customer base and how you'll speak directly to those customers.

Moreover, as your sales strategy is unique to your business, it provides a way to differentiate your business from that of your competitors.

A sales strategy shouldn't be carried out as an exercise in box-ticking. It should be a highly relevant document with practical guidance that you can use to achieve your sales goals .

An effective sales strategy can help you:

  • Improve your team's performance
  • Achieve more effective targeting
  • Achieve higher conversion rates
  • Give you a clearer understanding of your target customers
  • Provide actionable tasks for each team member
  • Increase customer retention rates
  • Improve communication and collaboration within the sales team
  • Optimize resource allocation and budgeting
  • Be consistent with your sales messaging and branding
  • Forecast sales trends more accurately

Resource download background

When we use the phrase "sales strategy" to describe a methodology or sales tactic, there are many to choose from. In this next section, we'll look at a selection of those methods and in which contexts they work best.

Inbound vs. outbound

In broad terms, sales strategies can be categorized as inbound or outbound. Their categorization depends on who initiates the sales relationship.

If the prospect reaches out to the business first, this is inbound selling; if the sales rep reaches out to the prospective customer, this is outbound selling.

Some examples of inbound sales strategies include:

  • Content marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Social media channels
  • Email marketing (can be both inbound and outbound)

Some examples of outbound marketing are:

  • Cold emailing
  • Telemarketing
  • Print advertising
  • Pay-per-click ads

In addition to the categories of inbound and outbound selling, teams can use various selling methods as part of their broader strategy. These include:

1. Value-based selling

Value-based selling is a method in which sales reps aim to provide the best solutions for their customers. It reinforces the benefits of the product or service to deliver value.

Sales representatives get to know their customers' specific needs and pain points so that they can provide the best solution possible.

This means that building customer trust is at the core of the approach. Consequently, value-based selling develops better customer relationships and a more loyal clientele. It works best when customers prioritize the solution's value over product features or price.

2. Consultative selling

Consultative selling has similarities to value-based selling in that it focuses on the specific needs and problems of the customer. However, in consultative selling, the salesperson has industry-specific knowledge, which allows them to provide expert advice to their customers.

The salesperson's role is very much an advisory role in which they may ask probing questions to fully understand their customer's needs. The emphasis in consultative selling is on building long-term customer relationships, often prioritizing this over immediate sales.

3. SPIN selling

SPIN selling is a well-established sales technique based on extensive research by Neil Rackham, the author of the book "SPIN selling." The acronym "SPIN" comes from four types of questions designed to uncover your prospect's needs and challenges:

Situation: Gather facts about your customer's current situation.

Problem: Define what specific issues your customer needs to address.

Implication: What are the consequences of these problems, and how urgently do they need addressing?

Need-payoff: What would be the value or benefits of a potential solution? Is the product that you're offering right for your customer?

This systematic approach shifts the sales conversation from a product-centric sales pitch to a customer-centric discussion, focusing on identifying and addressing the customer's needs.

4. Solution selling

Solution selling involves deeply understanding a prospect's problems and needs. It doesn't focus on pushing any particular product but instead emphasizes recommending a product or service that meets those needs.

It's best used in situations where customers need unique setups where you can offer a variety of products or tailored solutions.

5. Challenger selling

Challenger selling is based on the idea that successful salespeople challenge and educate their prospects. Salespeople first seek to understand their prospects' business and then use that knowledge to offer new ideas and solutions that the customer hasn't previously considered.

Salespeople are willing to take control of sales conversations and push their customers out of their comfort zones by challenging any preconceived ideas they might have.

Challenger selling is most commonly used in B2B selling and emphasizes the need for salespeople to become trusted advisors with in-depth knowledge and insight.

6. Conceptual selling

Conceptual selling is a sales approach based on the assumption that prospects buy for unique reasons, often different from what the seller presumes.

It's a helpful method when selling to large corporations involving high-value complex deals with multiple decision-makers.

Using this technique, salespeople must take the time to understand the prospect and their concept of what they need. This requires in-depth research of the customer to uncover any underlying perceptions and motivations behind a potential purchase.

Conceptual selling is a holistic approach focusing on how the product or service integrates with the prospect's long-term objectives. It's centered on collaboration and fostering long-term relationships.

7. SNAP selling

SNAP selling is based on the principle that customers are overwhelmed with information, distractions, and numerous responsibilities, so they need a fast, simple, and effective selling method.

SNAP stands for the four core principles of the method, which are:

Simple : Salespeople should present their solutions in a straight-forward and easy-to-understand way.

iNvaluable: They should position their products as indispensable to the prospect and themselves as a trusted partner in the sales process.

Aligned: They should ensure that their sales message aligns with the buyers' objectives, needs, and core beliefs.

Priority: They should address those issues of the highest priority to the buyer and position their product as the best solution to the needs they care about the most.

SNAP selling is most appropriate for busy prospects who value straight-forward solutions that address their immediate priorities.

8. Account-based selling

Account-based selling (ABS) is a strategic sales approach, most commonly used in B2B sales, that targets specific high-value customers.

These customers are chosen because they align closely with the seller's ideal customer profile (ICP). Once these customers are identified, the seller researches to gather deep insights into the intricacies of the target organization.

Then, a collaborative team including sales, marketing, and customer service works together to create a personalized sales package for the stakeholders within the target company.

This method focuses on building long-term relationships with all those involved in the decision-making process within the target company. By targeting their resources and providing highly personalized packages, businesses can outpace their competitors and increase their chances of securing more significant deals.

Determine your goals

Decide what you want to achieve and your specific sales goals . For example, you could decide that you want to increase sales by a certain amount, expand into a new market, or acquire a specific number of new clients.

Understand your audience

Research your target audience. Look into their age, location, income level, and buying behaviors and create a buyer persona.

Analyze the competition

Identify your main competitors and find out what they do well and not-so-well. Then, determine how you can outperform them.

Choose your sales channels

Decide how you'll sell your product or service. Which of the channels identified above might work best for your business?

Determine your pricing

Set your prices considering production costs, competitor pricing, and what your target audience is willing to pay. Think about discounts, bundles, or promotions that you might offer.

Develop your sales message

Create a sales message that communicates the benefits of your product or service and demonstrates why it's better or different from your competitors.

Decide on the sales tools that you'll use

Decide which software or tools will help you the most and give you the best return on investment.

Decide how you're going to train your sales team

Ensure that your sales team has the necessary training and resources to sell your product or service effectively.

Determine your sales methodology

Which of the sales methodologies outlined above will your sales team use?

Set a budget

Decide how much you'll make available for each component of your sales process, such as tools, training, promotions, and any other sales expenses.

There are two broad categories of sales channels: direct sales channels and indirect sales channels.

Direct sales channels sell directly to customers and include:

  • In-house sales teams: Your company employs dedicated sales teams that reach out directly to customers. B2B businesses often use this sales channel.  
  • Company stores: Apple, for instance, sells its products directly to the public through its stores.  
  • Company websites: Businesses sell products or services directly to the public through their websites. This is one of the most popular direct sales methods, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic when physical stores were forced to close.  
  • Direct mail catalogs: Although this is a less common sales channel since the growth of e-commerce, it can still serve a purpose. For instance, gardening businesses that sell seeds, bulbs, plants, and gardening tools still often sell through direct mail catalogs.  
  • Telemarketing: This is where sales calls are made directly to customers.

Indirect sales channels involve a third party, such as distributors, resellers, or agents. In indirect sales, the intermediary buys the product from your company and resells it to the final customer.

Examples of indirect channels are: 

  • Retailers: The retail business buys the product from the manufacturer.  
  • Wholesalers: These entities purchase products in bulk from manufacturers and then sell them to retailers or other businesses.  
  • Franchises: Companies grant licenses to businesses to sell their products. There are countless franchises worldwide. Some examples are McDonald's and Subway.  
  • Online marketplaces: These include platforms like Amazon and eBay, where many individual sellers list their products.  
  • Affiliates: In this case, businesses promote another company's product to earn a commission fee every time a sale is made through their platform.

The best sales channel for your business depends on factors such as your product type, target market, company size, and industry.

For example, if you manufacture standard office items such as pens, staplers, and notepads, your target market would be offices, educational institutions, and the general public. Brand loyalty would likely be low, so in this case, using an indirect sales channel would potentially have a broader reach than selling directly.

A better strategy might be distributing your products in bulk to retailers like Staples or online marketplaces like Amazon.

Using multiple channels for your sales strategy

Many companies will employ multiple sales channels. There are many benefits to this approach, for instance:

  • Increased reach: Using multiple channels allows you to reach more customers.  
  • Spreading your risk: Relying on a single channel can be risky. Using multiple channels means that if one channel isn't performing as well as expected, you have other channels to provide sales and revenue.  
  • Meeting customers' needs: Different people have different preferences, and where one sales channel might not attract a particular type of customer, another may perform better.  
  • Flexibility: Different sales channels allow your business to alter your strategy should market conditions change.  
  • More sales opportunities: You're more likely to sell if you offer multiple customer touchpoints.  
  • Brand visibility: People are more likely to recognize and remember your brand if they see it on multiple platforms and channels.  
  • Using the strengths of each channel: By using multiple channels, you can make the most of the strengths of each one.  
  • Better pricing: Set prices that suit each channel's audience.  
  • Learn more about your customers: Each channel allows for gathering customer data, such as their preferences, behavior, and demographics. These insights provide valuable information for your marketing strategy.  
  • Competitive advantage: You can gain a competitive edge by offering more ways to buy than your competitors.  
  • Better customer experience: Offering a choice of channels allows your customers to buy through the most attractive and convenient channel.

If multiple sales channels are used, ensuring the brand's message remains consistent across all your channels is essential.

In a recent survey, businesses reported that using digital technologies increased total cost savings by 8% , indicating that you should consider investing in relevant software to maximize your efficiency and profitability.

Software tools to improve sales vary in features and functions, and each tool often contains features from more than one of the categories listed below. So, one software tool may offer sales analytics features and customer relationship management, while another might provide features relating to forecasting and automation. 

The following categories aren’t strictly separate but can give you an idea of software tools' capabilities to help you design and execute a powerful sales strategy.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools

CRMs make it easier for businesses to track and manage customer relationships. They store information about customers, such as contact details, interactions, and purchase history and can track sales and automate marketing campaigns. 

Some examples of CRMs are Zoho CRM and HubSpot. Using a CRM can eliminate the need for multiple spreadsheets, databases and apps, providing a more streamlined and efficient process. 

Sales automation tools

Sales automation tools automate repetitive sales tasks throughout the sales cycle so that your sales teams can focus on selling.

Different tools work on automating various parts of the sales process. Generally, they can help you manage your sales pipeline and automate tasks such as data entry, lead assignment, invoicing, payment reminders, and follow-up scheduling.

As a result, your manual tasks are substantially reduced and sales processes become much more efficient.

Some examples of sales automation tools are HubSpot Sales and Pipedrive.

Sales analytics software

Sales teams need accurate insights about the effectiveness of their sales strategy, and recent research found that 60% of B2B sales teams are transitioning from selling based on intuition and experience to data-driven selling.

The need for reliable sales analytics software is becoming increasingly relevant. These tools accurately and automatically analyze sales trends, team performance, and customer behavior.

This helps businesses gain a better understanding of their sales processes. They then convert the data into charts and reports that make it easier to understand where improvements can be made or where particular challenges exist.

For instance, you could identify which products sell best in a particular region or how a new salesperson performs. Insights gained from sales analytics software can be used to improve your sales process and forecast future sales. This leads to better-informed decision-making and more sales.

Examples of sales analytics software are Insightly and Zendesk.

Lead generation tools

Lead generation software is a collection of tools that help you identify potential customers interested in your products or services. These leads can be gathered from various channels, such as landing pages, ads, webinars, or chatbots.

This software saves sales teams valuable time by simplifying finding and reaching out to leads.

HubSpot is one example that provides a suite of tools to capture leads from sources such as websites and social media.

OptinMonster finds potential leads by creating and displaying website pop-ups encouraging visitors to enter their details.

Sales enablement tools

Sales enablement tools allow you to create, edit, and share all of your sales materials and content in one location. This makes it easily accessible to all the members of your sales department.

It can also help onboarding new team members and getting them quickly up to speed.

By centralizing and organizing all of your sales materials, a sales enablement tool can improve the effectiveness and productivity of your sales team.

Recent research found that 63.1% of sales enablement professionals felt that the quality of their content was below par.

Sales enablement tools can help by providing insights showing how to improve the quality and relevance of your sales training content. Examples include Showpad and Highspot.

Sales forecasting tools

Sales forecasting tools enable your team to predict sales trends and potential revenue accurately within a given time frame. These insights can help you make better strategic sales decisions, set accurate sales targets, and allocate resources more effectively.

Examples of sales forecasting software include Aviso Predict and Freshsales.

Revenue operations (RevOps) software

Revenue operations software, also known as RevOps software, enables visibility and control of the entire revenue process, including various stages of the sales funnel . It can collect and analyze data, often dispersed across various software tools and spreadsheets used within the business.

Without RevOps software, it can be difficult to extract and align data from all of these various sources. RevOps software combines sales, marketing, and customer data to offer powerful insights into sales activities and performance metrics.

These insights allow for accurate sales forecasting, improving your company's performance and potentially significantly increasing revenue.

Clari is an example of a revenue operations platform. Research conducted by Forrester used financial analysis and representative interviews to conclude that Clari's platform delivered an ROI of 448% over three years.

Book a demo to see how RevOps software like Clari can help you achieve your revenue targets.

Don't forget existing customers

When writing your sales strategy, ensure that you're not solely focused on acquiring new customers. 76% of sales professionals report that prioritizing existing customers is essential to their business and provides a significant percentage of their revenue.

Loyal customers generally bring more value over their customer lifetime, and it's more cost-effective to keep current customers than it is to acquire new ones. This will save you marketing and sales expenses in the long run.

Loyal customers are more likely to recommend your products or services and be valuable ambassadors to your brand. So, satisfied repeat customers are an asset you can't afford to overlook in your business.

You can also increase revenue from your existing customers by upselling and cross-selling. Sales leaders widely recognize the value of upselling and cross-selling existing customers. One in four identify this as their primary goal for sales success in 2023.

Upselling is the process of encouraging an existing customer to upgrade to a higher-end product or service. For instance, you might offer a premium version of your software to a customer who's subscribed to your standard version.

Cross-selling means encouraging customers to buy a product or service that complements something they've already bought. For instance, if a customer of an electronics store has already purchased a laptop, the salesperson could cross-sell by recommending an external hard drive to go with it.

Don't neglect the importance of customer feedback from your existing consumer base in your sales strategy. Their feedback can give you valuable insights into how you might best improve your product or service.

Loyalty programs are additional ways to maximize revenue from existing customers. You can motivate these customers to continue to buy from you by offering them rewards, discounts, or other incentives. This helps you retain customers and deepens their commitment to your brand.

So, always consider the needs of your existing customers in your sales strategy. To avoid customer churn, include plans to communicate with them regularly with newsletters, special offers, and personalized messages.

  • Ensure that your sales team is fully trained and understands the goals and methods of your new strategy.  
  • Provide them with the necessary tools and resources, such as software and promotional materials.  
  • Break down your strategy into small, achievable goals. This makes the process manageable and makes it easier to track progress.
  • Give your team regular updates with any changes, insights, or feedback. Keep everyone aligned with open lines of communication.  
  • Encourage feedback from your sales team—they can often provide valuable insights.  
  • Use sales analytics tools to track your performance. This will help you identify what's working well and what needs improvement.  
  • Adjust your strategy based on data and feedback. You might need to tweak sales messages, change sales channels or offer new training.  
  • Celebrate achieving sales quota milestones. This boosts morale and motivates the team to push forward.  
  • Set times for periodic strategy reviews, perhaps quarterly or half-yearly, to ensure that it's still relevant and effective.  
  • Stay updated with any changes in the market, customer preferences, or new technologies. Be ready to adapt your strategy when necessary.  

Here's an example of how a sales strategy might look. It includes specific, measurable goals that the company has set according to data analysis of past sales and current trends.

The scenario

A B2B company offering cloud-based energy management solutions wants to expand its reach by taking advantage of the rise in sustainability issues in business. The business wants to increase its digital presence with real-time data tracking and energy optimization software. The software is designed to integrate with clients' existing systems.

The goal is to increase engagement with the online platform by 30% within the first two quarters. At the same time, they aim to grow the client list by 20%, targeting businesses moving away from traditional energy solutions to more sustainable, smart technologies.

Action plan

  • Launch a LinkedIn marketing campaign, delivering twice-weekly posts and articles about energy efficiency and cost savings, to increase brand presence and attract more online customers.  
  • Collaborate with five industry leaders in sustainable business practices within the next six months to expand market reach.  
  • Start a rewards program for current clients introducing the product to other businesses. Offer service upgrades or discounts on future purchases as an incentive.  
  • Hold quarterly online seminars highlighting the product's benefits and long-term savings. Establish the brand as a leader in the sustainable technology space for businesses.

The company might include any other factors mentioned above in its sales strategy, such as selling tactics, team structure, and customer personas. The strategy should be tailored to the company's unique aims and challenges.

So, to recap, your sales strategy is a long-term sales plan, encompassing all the practices and processes for your sales team and a methodology you might use as part of that long-term plan. We've discussed just a few tools to help you develop a successful sales strategy and implement it.

Because of its involvement in the entire revenue process, RevOps software such as Clari has the potential to play a significant part in your sales strategy./p>

Request a demo today to discover how Clari can help you achieve your business goals and optimize your revenue process.

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

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?

Benefits of a sales plan, how to create a sales plan, sales plan example, sales plan templates.

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

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

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.

Prospecting

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

Preparation

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.

Presentation

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.

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

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.

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What is Sales Planning? How to Create a Sales Plan

Jay Fuchs

Published: December 06, 2023

Sales planning is a fundamental component of sound selling. After all, you can‘t structure an effective sales effort if you don’t have, well, structure . Everyone — from the top to the bottom of a sales org — benefits from having solid, actionable, thoughtfully organized sales plans in place.

how to create a sales plan; Sales team creating a sales plan for the upcoming quarter

This kind of planning offers clarity and direction for your sales team — covering everything from the prospects you‘re trying to reach to the goals you’re trying to hit to the insight you're trying to deliver on.

But putting together one of these plans isn‘t always straightforward, so to help you out, I’ve compiled this detailed guide to sales planning — including expert-backed insight and examples — that will ensure your next sales plan is fundamentally sound and effective.

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In this post, we'll cover:

What is a sales plan?

Sales planning process.

  • What goes in a sales plan template?

How to Write a Sales Plan

Tips for creating an effective sales plan, sales plan examples, strategic sales plan examples.

A sales plan lays out your objectives, high-level tactics, target audience, and potential obstacles. It's like a traditional business plan but focuses specifically on your sales strategy. A business plan lays out your goals — a sales plan describes exactly how you'll make those happen.

Sales plans often include information about the business's target customers, revenue goals, team structure, and the strategies and resources necessary for achieving its targets.

what is a sales strategy in a business plan

Free Sales Plan Template

Outline your company's sales strategy in one simple, coherent sales plan.

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What are the goals of an effective sales plan?

what is a sales strategy in a business plan

And if (or more likely when ) those goals change over time, you need to regularly communicate those shifts and the strategic adjustments that come with them to your team.

Your sales strategy keeps your sales process productive — it offers the actionable steps your reps can take to deliver on your vision and realize the goals you set. So naturally, you need to communicate it effectively. A sales plan offers a solid resource for that.

For instance, your sales org might notice that your SDRs are posting lackluster cold call conversion rates. In turn, you might want to have them focus primarily on email outreach, or you could experiment with new sales messaging on calls.

Regardless of how you want to approach the situation, a thoughtfully structured sales plan will give both you and your reps a high-level perspective that would inform more cohesive, effective efforts across the team.

An effective sales org is a machine — one where each part has a specific function that serves a specific purpose that needs to be executed in a specific fashion. That's why everyone who comprises that org needs to have a clear understanding of how they specifically play into the company's broader sales strategy.

Outlining roles and responsibilities while sales planning lends itself to more efficient task delegation, improved collaboration, overlap reduction, and increased accountability. All of which amount to more streamlined, smooth, successful sales efforts.

Sales planning can set the framework for gauging how well your team is delivering on your sales strategy. It can inform the benchmarks and milestones reps can use to see how their performance stacks up against your goals and expectations.

It also gives sales leadership a holistic view of how well a sales org is functioning as a whole — giving them the necessary perspective to understand whether they have the right people and tools in place to be as successful as possible.

Sales planning isn‘t (and shouldn’t) be limited to the actual sales plan document it produces. If that document is going to have any substance or practical value, it needs to be the byproduct of a thorough, well-informed, high-level strategy.

When sales planning, you have some key steps you need to cover — including:

  • Gather sales data and search for trends.
  • Define your objectives.
  • Determine metrics for success.
  • Assess the current situation.
  • Start sales forecasting.
  • Identify gaps.
  • Ideate new initiatives.
  • Involve stakeholders.
  • Outline action items.

When putting this list together, I consulted  Zach Drollinger — Senior Director of Sales at edtech provider Coursedog — to ensure the examples detailed below are sound and accurate.

Step 1: Gather sales data and search for trends.

To plan for the present and future, your company needs to look to the past. What did sales look like during the previous year? What about the last five years? Using this information can help you identify trends in your industry. While it's not foolproof, it helps establish a foundation for your sales planning process.

For the sake of example, let‘s say that I’m a new sales director for an edtech company that sells curriculum planning software to higher education institutions. My vertical is community colleges, and my territory is the East Coast.

Once I assume this new role, I‘m going to want to gather as much context as possible about my vertical and how my company has approached it historically. I would pull information about how we’ve sold to this vertical.

How much new business have we closed within it in the past five years? How does that compare to how we perform with other kinds of institutions? Are we seeing significant churn from these customers?

I would also want to get context about the general needs, interests, and pain points of the kinds of institutions I‘m selling to. I’d look for insight into figures like degree velocity, staff retention, and enrollment.

Ultimately, I would get a comprehensive perspective on my sales process — a thorough understanding of where I stand and what my prospects are dealing with. That will ensure that I can deliver on the next step as effectively as possible.

Step 2: Define your objectives.

How do you know your business is doing well if you have no goals? As you can tell from its placement on this list, defining your goals and objectives is one of the first steps you should take in your sales planning process. Once you have them defined, you can move forward with executing them.

To extend the example from the previous step, I would leverage the context I gathered through the research I conducted about both my and my prospect's circumstances. I would start setting both broader goals and more granular operational objectives .

For instance, I might want to set a goal of increasing sales revenue from my vertical. From there, I would start putting together the kind of specific objectives that will facilitate that process — like connecting with administrators from at least 30 community colleges, booking demos with at least 10 schools, and successfully closing at least five institutions.

Obviously, those steps represent a streamlined (and unrealistically straightforward) sales process, but you get the idea — I would set a concrete goal, supplemented by SMART objectives , that will serve as a solid reference point for my org's efforts as the sales process progresses.

Step 3: Determine metrics for success.

Every business is different. One thing we can all agree on is that you need metrics for success. These metrics are key performance indicators (KPIs). What are you going to use to determine if your business is successful? KPIs differ based on your medium, but standard metrics are gross profit margins, return on investment (ROI), daily web traffic users, conversion rate, and more.

I kind of covered this step in the previous example, but it still warrants a bit more elaboration. The “M” in SMART goals (“measurable”) is there for a reason. You can‘t tell if your efforts were successful if you don’t know what “successful” actually means.

The edtech sales example I‘ve been running with revolves mostly around me assuming ownership of an existing vertical and getting more out of it. So it’s fair to assume that sales growth rate — the increase or decrease of sales revenue in a given period, typically expressed as a percentage — would be an effective way to gauge success.

I might want to structure my goals and objectives around a sales growth rate of 20% Y/Y within my vertical. I would make sure my org was familiar with that figure and offer some context about what it would take to reach it — namely, how many institutions we would need to close and retain.

Step 4: Assess the current situation.

How is your business fairing right now? This information is relevant to determining how your current situation holds up to the goals and objectives you set during step two. What are your roadblocks? What are your strengths? Create a list of the obstacles hindering your success. Identify the assets you can use as an advantage. These factors will guide you as you build your sales plan.

Continuing the edtech example, I would use the historical context I gathered and the objectives I set to frame how I look at my current circumstances. I might start by considering my goal of increasing revenue by 20% Y/Y. In that case, I would look at the company's retention figures — ideally, that would give me a sense of whether that needs to be a major area of focus.

I would also try to pin down trends in the colleges that we've already closed — are there any pain points we consistently sell on? I might take a closer look at how we demo to see if we might be glossing over key elements of our value proposition. Maybe, I would use conversation intelligence to get a better sense of how reps are handling their calls.

Ultimately, I would try to identify why we're performing the way we are, the inefficiencies that might be resulting from our current strategy, and how we can best set ourselves up to sell as effectively as possible.

Step 5: Start sales forecasting.

Sales forecasting is an in-depth report that predicts what a salesperson, team, or company will sell weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. While it is finicky, it can help your company make better decisions when hiring, budgeting, prospecting, and setting goals.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, economics has become less predictable. Claire Fenton , the owner of StrActGro — a professional training and coaching company — states, “Many economic forecasters won't predict beyond three months at a time.” This makes sales forecasting difficult. However, there are tools at your disposal to create accurate sales forecasts .

In our edtech example, I would approach this step by trying to estimate how my sales org is going to fare with the specific vertical we‘re pursuing in the time window we’ve allotted.

The method I decide to go with will depend on factors like how many concrete opportunities we have lined up — in addition to elements like the kind of historical data we have handy, how the reps working these deals tend to perform, and the degree of insight we have about our potential customers.

Let's say I consider those factors and decide to run something called a multivariable analysis. In that case, I could start by taking stock of the opportunities my reps have lined up. Then, I could look at the reps working those deals, their typical win rates, and the time they have to close — among other factors.

For instance, I might calculate that a rep working with a particularly large institution has a 50% chance of closing within the window we‘ve allotted. Using that insight, we could attribute 50% of the potential deal size to our forecast — we’d repeat that process with all of the opportunities in question and ideally get a solid sense of the revenue we can expect to generate in this window.

Step 6: Identify gaps.

When identifying gaps in your business, consider what your company needs now and what you might need in the future. First, identify the skills you feel your employees need to reach your goal. Second, evaluate the skills of your current employees. Once you have this information, you can train employees or hire new ones to fill the gaps.

Continuing the edtech example, let‘s say my forecast turned up results that weren’t in keeping with what we need to reach our goals. If that were the case, I would take a holistic look at our process, operations, and resources to pin down inefficiencies or areas for improvement.

In my search, I find that our sales content and marketing collateral are dated — with case studies that don‘t cover our product’s newest and most relevant features. I also might see that our reps don‘t seem to have too much trouble booking demos, but the demos themselves aren’t converting due to a lack of training and inconsistent messaging.

And finally, I find that a lack of alignment with marketing has prospects focusing on unrealistic outcomes our sales team can‘t deliver on. Once I’ve identified those gaps, I would start to hone in on ways to remedy those issues and improve those elements.

Step 7: Ideate new initiatives.

Many industry trends are cyclical. They phase in and out of “style.” As you build your sales plan, ideate new initiatives based on opportunities you may have passed on in previous years.

If your business exclusively focused on word-of-mouth and social media marketing in the past, consider adding webinars or special promotions to your plan.

In the edtech example we've been running with, I would likely ideate initiatives based on the gaps I identified in the previous step. I would start a push to ensure that our sales content and marketing collateral are up-to-date and impressive.

I would also consider new training programs to ensure that our coaching infrastructure is prioritizing how to conduct effective demos. Finally, I would start to work on a plan with marketing to ensure our messaging is aligned with theirs — so we can make sure prospects' expectations are realistic and effective.

One way or another, I would take the gaps I found and find concrete, actionable ways to fill them. I would make sure that these initiatives aren't abstract. Just saying, " We're going to be better at demos," isn‘t a plan — it’s a sentiment, and sentiments don't translate to hard sales.

Step 8: Involve stakeholders.

Stakeholders are individuals, groups, or organizations with a vested interest in your company. They are typically investors, employees, or customers and often have deciding power in your business. Towards the end of your sales planning process, involve stakeholders from departments that affect your outcomes, such as marketing and product. It leads to an efficient and actionable sales planning process.

This step is sort of an extension of the previous two — once I‘ve identified the key issues and roadblocks obstructing my edtech startup’s sales org, I would start identifying the right people to fulfill the necessary initiatives I've put together.

In this example, I would tap some stakeholders in charge of our sales content and marketing collateral to produce newer, more relevant case studies and whitepapers we can pass along to the institutions we're working with.

I would also go to middle management and either offer more direction for coaching on demos or bring in a third-party training service to offer more focused, professional insight on the issue.

Finally, I would connect with marketing leadership to align on the benefits and outcomes we generally stress when pitching the schools we sell to. That way, we can ensure that the institutions we're connecting with have realistic expectations of our product or service that we can speak to more clearly and effectively.

Step 9: Outline action items.

Once you have implemented this strategy to create your sales planning process, the final step is outlining your action items. Using your company's capacity and quota numbers, build a list of steps that take you through the sales process. Examples of action items are writing a sales call script, identifying industry competitors, or strategizing new incentives or perks.

In our edtech example, some key action items might be:

  • Revamp our prospecting strategy via more involved coaching and re-tooled sales messaging.
  • Revamp administrator and college dean buyer personas.
  • Conduct new trainings on demoing our software.
  • See our new prospecting strategy from ideation to execution.
  • Align with our sales enablement stakeholders for new, more relevant case studies and whitepapers.

Obviously, that list isn‘t exhaustive — but those are still the kinds of steps we would need to clarify and take to structure a more effective high-level strategy to produce different (ideally much better) results than we’ve been seeing.

One thing to keep in mind is that sales planning shouldn't end with creating the document.

You‘ll want to reiterate this process every year to maintain your organization's sales excellence.

Now that you‘re committed to the sales planning process, let's dive into the written execution component of sales planning.

Featured Resource: Sales Plan Template

HubSpot's Sales Plan Template: 10 Section Prompts for Outlining Your Sales Plan

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Outline your company's sales strategy in one simple, coherent plan.

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How To Build a Strategic Sales Plan + 10 Examples

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  • March 28, 2024

LinkedIn

Every sales team has some sort of plan, even if it’s just “sell more of the product/service that you’re employed to sell.”

A sales plan is a portfolio that includes a layout of your processes, target audience, objectives and tactics. It’s used to guide your sales strategy and predict cost and returns. 

Yet without a codified sales plan, it can be difficult to give a sales team the motivation and purpose they need to successfully engage customers and continue to generate revenue.

Not having a sales plan that’s written down and signed off on by stakeholders can lead to confusion around what sales reps should and shouldn’t be doing , which can be demotivating.

It might seem daunting or time-consuming to put together an entire sales plan, but it doesn’t need to be. Here’s how to create a thorough sales plan in 10 simple steps. 

What Is a Sales Plan? 

A successful sales plan defines your target customers, business objectives, tactics, obstacles and processes. An effective plan will also include resources and strategies that are used to achieve target goals. It works similarly to a business plan in the way it’s presented, but only focuses on your sales strategy. 

A sales plan should include the following three components: 

  • Ideas: If you use specific business methodologies, you may choose to outline key principles and examples of them in action within your sales plan. An example could be conversation tactics when pitching your product to your target customer. 
  • Processes: In order to streamline productivity and business strategy, you’ll want to make sure your processes are defined within your sales plan. Your sales team should be able to refer to the sales plan when they’re in need of direction. 
  • Tools and tactics: The most effective sales plans include not only high-level business strategies, but also step-by-step approaches for your sales team to utilize. These tools can include key conversation pieces for your sales reps to use when pitching a product or content to close out a deal. 

Solidifying a sales plan is crucial for a strong business model. Taking the time to narrow in on the components above will set you and your business up for success down the road. 

Sales Planning Process

Sales Planning Process

It’s important to keep in mind that sales planning isn’t just about creating a sales plan document. A sales plan should be a go-to item that’s used every day by your team, rather than sitting on your desk collecting dust. Creating an effective sales plan requires high-level strategy.

You should: 

  • Decide on a timeline for your goals and tactics
  • Outline the context
  • Write out the company mission and values
  • Describe the target audience and product service positioning
  • Include sales resources
  • Draw out an overview of concurrent activities
  • Write an overview of your business road map
  • Outline your goals and KPIs
  • Outline an action plan
  • Create a budget 

 Below we dive into each of these steps to create your ideal sales plan. 

1. Decide on Your Timeline

Setting goals and outlining tactics is not going to be productive if you’re not working toward a date by which you’ll measure your efforts.

Determining the timeline of your sales plan should therefore be your number one consideration. When will you be ready to kick-start your plan, and when is a reasonable time to measure the outcomes of your plan against your SMART goals?

Remember that you need to give the plan a chance to make an impact, so this timeline shouldn’t be too restrictive. However, you also want to make sure that you’re flexible enough to adjust your plan if it’s not producing the desired results.

Most sales plan timelines cover about a year, which may be segmented into four quarters and/or two halves to make it a little more manageable.

2. Outline the Context

Use the first page of your sales plan to outline the context in which the plan was created.

What is the current state of the organization? What are your challenges and pain points? What recent wins have you experienced?

Do you have tighter restrictions on cash flow, or does revenue appear to be growing exponentially? How is your sales team currently performing?

While you’ll discuss your business plan and road map later in the document, you can also outline the long-term vision for your business in this section. For example, where do you want to see the business in five years?

Tip: Comparing the current situation with your vision will emphasize the gap between where you are now and where you need to be. 

3. Company Mission and Values

It’s essential that you put your mission and values at the heart of your business. You need to incorporate them into every function – and this includes your sales plan.

Outlining your mission and values in your sales plan ensures that you remember what the company is striving for, and in turn helps ensure that your approach and tactics will support these objectives.

Remember: A strong brand mission and authentic values will help boost customer loyalty, brand reputation and, ultimately, sales.

4. Target Market and Product/Service Positioning

Next, you’ll need to describe the market or markets that you’re operating in.

What is your target market or industry? What research led you to conclude that this was the optimal market for you?

Who within this industry is your ideal customer? What are their characteristics? This could be a job title, geographical location or company size, for example. This information makes up your ideal customer profile .

If you’ve delved further into audience research and developed personas around your target market, then include them in here, too.

5. Sales Team and Resources

This step is simple: Make a list of your sales resources, beginning with a short description of each member of your sales team.

Include their name, job title, length of time at the company and, where appropriate, their salary. What are their strengths? How can they be utilized to help you hit your goals?

You should also include notes around the gaps in your sales team and whether you intend to recruit any new team members into these (or other) roles.

Tip: Communicate the time zones your team members work in to be mindful of designated work hours for scheduling meetings and deadlines. 

Then, list your other resources. These could be tools, software or access to other departments such as the marketing team – anything that you intend to use in the execution of your sales plan. This is a quick way to eliminate any tools or resources that you don’t need.

6. Concurrent Activities

The next step in creating your sales plan involves providing an overview of non-sales activities that will be taking place during the implementation of your sales plan.

Any public marketing plans, upcoming product launches, or deals or discounts should be included, as should any relevant events. This will help you plan sales tactics around these activities and ensure that you’re getting the most out of them.

7. Business Road Map

For this step, write up an overview of your business’s overall road map, as well as the areas where sales activities can assist with or accelerate this plan. You’ll need to collaborate with the CEO, managing director or board of directors in order to do this.

In most cases, the business will already have a road map that has been signed off on by stakeholders. It’s the sales manager’s job to develop a sales plan that not only complements this road map, but facilitates its goals. 

Tip: Highlight areas of the road map that should be touchpoints for the sales team. 

Ask yourself what your department will need to do at each point in the road map to hit these overarching company goals.

8. Sales Goals and KPIs

Another important part of the sales plan involves your sales goals and KPIs.

Outline each goal alongside the KPIs you’ll use to measure it. Include a list of metrics you’ll use to track these KPIs, as well as a deadline for when you project the goal will be achieved.

It’s vital to make these goals tangible and measurable.

A bad example of a goal is as follows:

Goal 1: Increase sales across company’s range of products and services.

A better goal would look something like:

Goal 1: Generate $500,000+ in revenue from new clients through purchases of X product by X date.

9. Action Plan

Now that you’ve laid out your goals, you need to explain how you will hit them.

Your action plan can be set out week by week, month by month, or quarter by quarter. Within each segment, you must list out all of the sales activities and tactics that you will deploy – and the deadlines and touchpoints along the way.

Tip: Organize your action plan by department – sales, business development and finance. 

While this is arguably the most complex part of the sales plan, this is where sales leaders are strongest. They know which approach will work best for their team, their company and their market.

Budgets vary from team to team and company to company, but whatever your situation, it’s important to include your budget in your sales plan.

How are you going to account for the money spent on new hires, salaries, tech, tools and travel? Where the budget is tight, what are your priorities going to be, and what needs to be axed?

The budget section should make references back to your action plan and the sales team and resources page in order to explain the expenditures.

6 Strategic Sales Plan Examples 

You can create different types of strategic sales plans for your company, depending on how you want to structure your sales plan. Here are a few examples.   

Customer Profile 

A customer profile outlines your ideal customer for your service or product. It will usually include industry, background, attributes and decision-making factors.  

Creating a customer profile helps narrow in on the target customer your sales team should focus on while eliminating unproductive leads.  

Buyer’s Guide

A buyer’s guide is an informational sheet that describes your company’s services or products, including benefits and features. This document is useful both for your sales team but also for a potential customer who requires more information on the product before purchasing. 

30-60-90-Day Plan

This plan is organized based on time periods. It includes outlines of goals, strategy and actionable steps in 30-day periods. This is a useful sales plan model for a new sales representative tracking progress during their first 90 days in the position or meeting quotas in a 90-day period. 

This type of sales plan is also ideal for businesses in periods of expansion or growth. It’s helpful to minimize extra effort in onboarding processes. 

Market Expansion Plan

A market expansion plan clarifies target metrics and list of actions when moving into a new territory or market. This sales plan model is typically used with a target market that resides in a new geographical region. 

You’ll want to include a profile of target customers, account distribution costs and even time zone differences between your sales representatives. 

Marketing-alignment Plan

Creating a marketing-alignment sales plan is useful if your organization has yet to align both your sales and marketing departments. The goal of the sales plan is finalizing your target customer personas and aligning them with your sales pitches and marketing messages. 

New Product/Service Plan 

If your organization is launching a new service or product, it’s best to create a sales plan to track revenue and other growth metrics from the launch. You’ll want to include sales strategy, competitive analyses and service or product sales positioning. 

Sales Plan Template

4 additional sales plan templates.

Here are some additional templates you can use to create your own unique sales plan. 

  • Template Lab 
  • ProjectManager

5 Tips for Creating a Sales Plan 

Now that you’ve seen and read through a few examples and a sales plan template, we’ll cover some easy but useful tips to create a foolproof sales plan. 

  • Create a competitive analysis: Research what sales strategies and tactics your close competitors are using. What are they doing well? What are they not doing well? Knowing what they are doing well will help you create a plan that will lead to eventual success. 
  • Vary your sales plans: First create a base sales plan that includes high-level goals, strategies and tactics. Then go more in depth on KPIs and metrics for each department, whether it’s outbound sales or business development . 
  • Analyze industry trends: Industry trends and data can easily help strengthen your sales approach. For example, if you’re pitching your sales plan to a stakeholder, use current market trends and statistics to support why you believe your sales strategies will be effective in use. 
  • Utilize your marketing team: When creating your sales plan, you’ll want to get the marketing department’s input to align your efforts and goals. You should weave marketing messages throughout both your sales plan and pitches. 
  • Discuss with your sales team: Remember to check in with your sales representatives to understand challenges they may be dealing with and what’s working and not working. You should update the sales plan quarterly based on feedback received from your sales team. 

When Should You Implement a Strategic Sales Plan? 

Does your organization currently not have a sales plan in place that is used regularly? Are you noticing your organization is in need of structure and lacking productivity across departments? These are definite signs you should create and implement a sales plan. 

According to a LinkedIn sales statistic , the top sales tech sellers are using customer relationship management (CRM) tools (50%), sales intelligence (45%) and sales planning (42%) .

Below are a few more indicators that you need an effective sales plan. 

To Launch a New Product or Campaign 

If you’re planning to launch a new service or product in six months, you should have a concrete marketing and sales strategy plan to guarantee you’ll see both short- and long-term success. 

The sales plan process shouldn’t be hasty and rushed. Take the time to go over data and competitor analysis. Work with your team to create objectives and goals that everyone believes in. Your sales plan should be updated formally on a quarterly basis to be in line with industry trends and business efforts. 

To Increase Sales

If your team is looking to increase revenue and the number of closed sales, you may need to widen and define your target audience. A sales plan will help outline this target audience, along with planning out both sales and marketing strategies to reach more qualified prospects and increase your sales conversion rate. 

Now that you’ve seen sales plan examples and tips and tricks, the next step after creating your sales plan is to reach those ideal sales targets with Mailshake . Connect with leads and generate more sales with our simple but effective sales engagement platform.

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How to create a sales plan in 7 Steps

Sales plan

A sales plan is the first step toward defining your sales strategy , sales goals and how you’ll reach them.

A refined sales plan is a go-to resource for your reps. It helps them better understand their role, responsibilities, targets, tactics and methods. When done right, it gives your reps all the information they need to perform at their highest level.

In this article, we outline what a sales plan is and why it’s important to create one. We also offer a step-by-step guide on how to make a sales plan with examples of each step.

What is a sales plan and why create one?

Your sales plan is a roadmap that outlines how you’ll hit your revenue targets, who your target market is, the activities needed to achieve your goals and any roadblocks you may need to overcome.

Many business leaders see their sales plan as an extension of the traditional business plan. The business plan contains strategic and revenue goals across the organization, while the sales plan lays out how to achieve them.

The benefits of a sales plan

A successful sales plan will keep all your reps focused on the right activities and ensure they’re working toward the same outcome. It will also address your company's specific needs. For example, you might choose to write a 30- , 60- or 90-day sales plan depending on your current goals and the nature of your business.

Say your ultimate goal for the next quarter is $250,000 in new business. A sales plan will outline the objective, the strategies that will help you get there and how you’ll execute and measure those strategies. It will allow your whole team to collaborate and ensure you achieve it together.

Many salespeople are driven by action and sometimes long-term sales planning gets neglected in favor of short-term results.

While this may help them hit their quota, the downside is the lack of systems in place. Instead, treat sales processes as a system with steps you can improve. If reps are doing wildly different things, it’s hard to uncover what’s working and what’s not. A strategic sales plan can optimize your team’s performance and keep them on track using repeatable systems.

With this in mind, let’s explore the seven components of an effective sales plan

1. Company mission and positioning

To work toward the same company goals, everyone in your organization must understand what your organization is trying to achieve and where in the market you position yourself.

To help define your mission and positioning, involve your sales leaders in all areas of the business strategy. Collaborating and working toward the same goals is impossible if those goals are determined by only a select group of stakeholders.

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To get a handle on the company’s mission and positioning, take the following steps:

Collaborate with marketing: Your marketing teams live and breathe the positioning of your company. Take the time to talk to each function within the department, from demand generation to performance marketing to learn what they know.

Interview customer success teams: Customer support reps speak with your existing customers every day. Interview them to find common questions and pain points.

Talk to your customers: Customer insights are a foundational part of any positioning strategy. Speak directly with existing and new customers to find out what they love about your product or service.

Read your company blog: Those in charge of content production have a strong understanding of customer needs. Check out blog articles and ebooks to familiarize yourself with customer language and common themes.

Look for mentions around the web: How are other people talking about your organization? Look for press mentions, social media posts, articles and features that mention your products and services.

These insights can provide context around how your company is currently positioned in the market.

Finally, speak with the team in charge of defining the company’s positioning. Have a list of questions and use the time to find out why they made certain decisions. Here are some examples:

What important insights from the original target audience research made you create our positioning statement?

What competitor research led us to position ourselves in this way? Does this significantly differentiate us from the crowd? How?

What core ideals and values drove us to make these promises in our positioning statement? Have they shifted in any way since we launched? If so, what motivates these promises now?

How to communicate mission and positioning

In this section of the sales plan, include the following information:

Company mission : Why your company exists and the value you’re determined to bring to the market.

Competition: Who your direct competitors (those who offer similar products and services) and indirect competitors (brands who solve the same problem in different ways) are.

Value propositions: The features, benefits and solutions your product delivers.

https://www-cms.pipedriveassets.com/Brand-Positioning.png

What is brand positioning: The ultimate guide with 4 examples

2. Goals and targets

Define your revenue goals and the other targets sales are responsible for.

As mentioned earlier, sales goals are usually aligned with business goals. Your boardroom members typically establish the company’s revenue goals and it’s your job to achieve them.

Revenue goals will shape your sales strategy. Use them to reverse engineer quotas, sales activity and the staff you need to execute them.

Break your big-picture revenue goal down further into sales targets and activity targets for your team. Activities are the specific actions you and your reps can control, while sales targets are the results provided by those activities.

9 steps to creating the perfect sales strategy (with free template)

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10 predictable revenue hacks to grow your sales

Use data on sales activity and performance from previous years to calculate sales targets. You should break this down by pipeline stage and activity conducted by reps across all functions.

For example, how many cold emails does it take to generate a deal? What is the average lifetime value (LTV) of your customer?

Breaking down these numbers allows you to accurately forecast what it will take to achieve your new revenue goal.

This part of your sales plan might include setting goals like the following:

200 total cold emails sent per day

200 total cold calls made per day

25 demos conducted per day

5 new sales appointments made a day

100 follow-up emails sent per day

Breaking down your goals into specific activities will also reveal the expertise needed for each activity and any required changes to your organizational structure, which will come into play in the next step.

How to communicate goals and targets

Within this section of the sales plan, include the following information:

Revenue goals : Reverse engineer the boardroom revenue goals to identify achievable sales goals and the number of staff needed to reach them. Sales targets : Use data on sales activity and past performance to define quotas and metrics for each stage of the sales pipeline.

Expertise needed for each activity: What qualities and attributes do your staff need to achieve these predefined activities? How much experience do they need vs. what can be learned on the job?

3. Sales organization and team structure

Identify the talent and expertise you need to achieve your goals.

For example, a marketing agency that depends on strong relationships will benefit more from a business development executive than a sales development representative (SDR) .

Use the targets established in the previous section to identify who you need to hire for your team. For example, if the average sales development rep can send 20 cold emails a day and you need to send 200 to achieve your goals, you’ll need around ten reps to hit your targets.

Include the information for each team member in a table in your sales plan. Here is an example.

Sales development representative role

Visualizing each role helps all stakeholders understand who they’re hiring and the people they’re responsible for. It allows them to collaborate on the plan and identify the critical responsibilities and qualities of their ideal candidates.

You want to avoid micromanaging , but now is a good time to ask your existing teams to report on the time spent on certain activities. Keeping a timesheet will give you an accurate forecast of how long certain activities take and the capacity of each rep.

How to communicate your sales organization and team structure

Team structure: These are the functions that make up your overall sales organization. The roles of SDR, business development and account teams must be well-defined.

Roles and responsibilities: These are the roles you need to hire, along with the tasks they’re responsible for. This will help you produce job descriptions that attract great talent.

Salary and compensation: How will the company remunerate your teams? Having competitive salaries, compensation schemes and sales incentives will attract top performers and keep them motivated.

Timeline: Attempting to hire dozens of people at once is tough. Prioritize hiring based on how critical each role is for executing your plan. Take a phased hiring approach to onboard new reps with the attention they deserve.

https://www-cms.pipedriveassets.com/Building-a-Sales-Team.png

Building a sales team: How to set your group up for success

4. Target audience and customer segments

A sales plan is useless without knowing who to sell to. Having clearly defined customer personas and ideal customer profiles will help you tailor your selling techniques to companies and buyers.

Whether you’re looking to break into a new market or expand your reach in your current one, start by clearly defining which companies you’re looking to attract. Include the following criteria:

Industries: Which markets and niches do you serve? Are there certain sub-segments of those industries that you specialize in?

Headcount: How many employees do your best accounts have within their organization?

Funding: Have they secured one or several rounds of funding?

Find out as much as you can about their organizational challenges. This may include growth hurdles, hiring bottlenecks and even barriers created by legislation.

Learn about your buyers within those target accounts, learn about your buyers. Understanding your buyers and personalizing your sales tactics for them will help you strengthen your customer relationships.

These insights will change as your business grows. Enterprise companies may wish to revisit their personas as they move upmarket. For small businesses and startups, your target audience will evolve as you find product-market fit.

It’s important to constantly revisit this part of your sales plan. Even if your goals and methodologies are the same, always have your finger on the pulse of your customer’s priorities.

How to communicate target audience and customer segments

Profile: Include basic information about their role, what their career journey looks like and the common priorities within their personal lives.

Demographics : Add more information about their age, income and living situation. Demographic information can help tailor your message to align with the language used across different generations.

Attributes: Assess their personality. Are they calm or assertive? Do they handle direct communication themselves or have an assistant? Use these identifying attributes to communicate effectively.

Challenges: Think about the hurdles this persona is trying to overcome. How does it affect their work and what’s the impact on them personally?

Goals: Analyze how these challenges are preventing them from achieving their goals. Why are these goals important to them?

Support: Use this insight to define how your product or service will help these people overcome challenges and achieve their goals.

https://www-cms.pipedriveassets.com/blog-assets/behavioral-segmentation-marketing.png

Behavioral segmentation: What is it and how can it drive engagement and loyalty

5. Sales strategies and methodologies

Define your sales approach. This includes the strategies, techniques and methodologies you’ll use to get your offering out to market.

This part of your sales plan may end up being the largest. It will outline every practical area of your sales strategy: your sales stages, methodologies and playbooks.

Start by mapping out each stage of your sales process. What are the steps needed to guide a prospect through your deal flow?

9 essential sales stages

Traditionally, a sales process has nine sales stages :

Prospecting and lead generation : Your marketing strategy should deliver leads, but sales reps should boost this volume with their own prospecting efforts.

Qualification: Measure those leads against your target account criteria and customer personas. Ensure they’re a good fit, prioritizing your time on high-value relationships.

Reaching out to new leads : Initiate emails to your target customers to guide new leads into the sales funnel. This outreach activity includes cold calling and direct mail.

Appointment setting: Schedule a demo, discovery call or consultation.

Defining needs: After the initial meeting, you’ll understand your prospect’s problems and how your product or service can solve them.

Presentation: Reveal the solution. This can be in the form of a proposal, custom service packages or a face-to-face sales pitch .

Negotiation: Dedicate this stage to overcoming any objections your prospect may have.

Winning the deal: Turn your prospects into customers by closing deals and signing contracts.

Referrals : Fostering loyalty is an organization-wide activity. Delight your customers and encourage them to refer their friends.

Not all of these stages will be relevant to your organization. For example, a SaaS company that relies on inbound leads may do much of the heavy lifting during the initial meeting and sales demo . On the other hand, an exclusive club whose members must meet certain criteria (say, a minimum net worth) would focus much of their sales activity on referrals.

Map out your sales process to identify the stages you use. Your sales process should look something like this:

Sales process diagram

To determine your sales methodologies, break each sales stage down into separate activities, along with the stakeholder responsible for them.

With your sales activities laid out, you can do in-depth research into the techniques and methodologies you need to execute them. For example, if you sell a complex product with lengthy sales cycles , you could adopt a SPIN selling methodology to identify pain points and craft the best solution for leads.

Finally, use these stages and methodologies to form your sales playbooks . This will help you structure your sales training plan and create playbooks your reps can go back to for guidance.

How to communicate sales strategies and methodologies

Within this section of the sales plan, include the following:

Sales stages: The different steps required to convert prospects into paying customers.

Sales methodologies: The different practices and approaches you’ll adopt to shape your sales strategy.

Sales playbooks: The tactics, techniques and sales strategy templates needed to guide contacts throughout each stage of the sales process.

6. Sales action plan

You have the “who” and the “what”. Now you must figure out “when” to execute your sales plan.

A well-structured sales action plan communicates when the team will achieve key milestones. It outlines timeframes for when they’ll complete certain projects and activities, as well as the recruitment timelines for each quarter.

The order in which you implement your sales action plan depends on your priorities. Many sales organizations prefer to front-load the activity that will make a bigger impact on the bottom line.

For example, when analyzing your current sales process and strategy, you may find your existing customers are a rich source of qualified leads . Therefore, it would make sense to nurture more of these relationships using a structured referral program.

You must also consider how recruitment will affect the workload in your team. Hire too quickly and you may end up spending more time training new reps and neglecting your existing team. However, taking too long to recruit could overload your existing team. Either can make a big impact on culture and deal flow.

To complete your sales action plan, get all stakeholders involved in deciding timelines. When applying this to your sales plan, use GANTT charts and tables to visualize projects and key milestones.

A GANTT chart shows you the main activities, their completion dates and if there are any overlaps. Here is an example:

GANTT Chart

By prioritizing each activity and goal, you can create a plan that balances short-term results with long-term investment.

How to communicate your sales action plan

Key milestones : When do you aim to complete your projects, activities and recruitment efforts? You can map them out by week, month, quarter or all of the above. Let your revenue goals and priorities lead your schedule.

Short- and long-term goal schedules: With a high-level schedule mapped out, you can see when you will achieve your goals. From here, you can shape your schedule so that it balances both short- and long-term goals.

7. Performance and results measurement

Finally, your plan must detail how you measure performance. Outline your most important sales metrics and activities, how you’ll track them and what technology you’ll need to track them.

Structure this part of your plan by breaking down each sales stage. Within these sections, list out the metrics you’ll need to ensure you’re running a healthy sales pipeline.

Performance metrics can indicate the effectiveness of your entire sales process. Your chosen metrics typically fall into two categories:

Primary metrics act as your “true north” guide. This is commonly new business revenue generated.

Secondary metrics are those that indicate how well specific areas of your sales process are performing. These include lead response time and average purchase value.

The metrics you select must closely align with your goals and sales activities. For example, at the appointment setting stage, you might measure the number of demos conducted.

Each team also needs its own sales dashboard to ensure reps are hitting their targets. Sales development reps will have different priorities from account executives, so it’s critical they have the sales tools to focus on what’s important to them.

Finally, research and evaluate the technology you’ll need to accurately measure these metrics. Good CRM software is the best system to use for bringing your data together.

How to communicate sales performance metrics

Sales stage metrics : Identify the metrics for each specific sales stage and make sure they align with your KPIs.

Chosen sales dashboard: Explain why you chose your sales dashboard technology and exactly how it works.

Performance measurement: Outline exactly how and what tech you will use to measure your team’s activities and metrics.

https://www-cms.pipedriveassets.com/blog-assets/1164x609-1.jpg

How to track, measure and improve your team’s sales performance

Developing a sales plan involves conducting market research, assessing current sales performance , identifying sales opportunities and challenges, setting measurable goals, creating a sales strategy, allocating resources and establishing a monitoring and evaluation framework.

To write a sales business plan, include:

An executive summary

A company overview

A market analysis

A target market description

Sales strategies and tactics

Financial projections

A budget and timeline

Make sure that you clearly articulate your value proposition, competitive advantage and growth strategies.

Final thoughts

An effective sales plan is an invaluable asset for your sales team . Although you now know how to create a sales plan, you should remember to make one that works for your team. Writing one helps with your sales strategy planning and aids you in defining targets, metrics and processes. Distributing the sales plan helps your reps understand what you expect of them and how they can reach their goals.

Providing supportive, comprehensive resources is the best way to motivate your team and inspire hard work. When you do the work to build a solid foundation, you equip your reps with everything they need to succeed.

what is a sales strategy in a business plan

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8 steps to craft a winning sales strategy

8 steps to create your winning sales strategy, according to industry leaders

Courtney Chuang

Former Senior Editor, Intercom

Courtney Chuang

@courtneychuang

Main illustration: Sonny Ross

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Developing a successful sales strategy (or plan) is one of the core activities every business will have to undertake. You can delay it until you’ve acquired your first 100 or 1,000 customers, but at some point, you’ll need to find sustainable traction in the market — and increase sales.

A well-defined sales strategy is your path to meaningful, sustainable growth . Get it right and watch your company’s growth trajectory go up and to the right. Go without one and risk seeing your business flame out.

When done correctly, your sales strategy will help your sales team execute with focus – SMB or enterprise, inbound or outbound, hunting or farming. The key is to experiment and iterate on it with discipline, so you can zero in on the one that’s right for your business. Studying sales strategy examples from successful companies is a great way to get started.

That’s why we’ve curated advice from industry leaders at and outside of Intercom for this article. They share their winning sales strategies and the lessons they’ve learned scaling sales.

Want more advice like this? Get your free copy of The Sales Handbook and Intercom On Sales .

But first . . .

What is a sales strategy?

A sales strategy is an organized plan to maximize sales of a product or service. Sales strategies are typically driven by specific underlying principles that are based on a company’s competitive advantages, with the aim of acquiring new customers and growing existing ones. Whether your sales team is five or 500 people, a great sales strategy is crucial filling your sales pipeline and closing deals quickly and predictably.

“Put simply, your sales strategy is how you’ll drive revenue”

Generally, your sales strategy should align things like your target market, ideal customer profile and buyer personas, go-to-market positioning, sales motions, methodology, and channels. It should identify customer pain points and demonstrate how the product/service will solve them. Keep in mind, as your business matures from startup to scale-up, your sales strategy will need to evolve too.

8 steps and examples to develop a winning sales strategy

  • Understand what it takes to attract your target customer
  • Know when to add sales to a self-serve business model
  • Establish clear, differentiated roles on your sales team
  • Define your ideal customer profile
  • Act like a consultant and advisor to your prospects
  • Be deliberate when moving upmarket
  • Experiment with your sales strategy – before you pivot
  • Use channel partners to accelerate growth, not create it

1. Understand what it takes to attract your target customer

Des Traynor , Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Intercom

Strategy to attract your target customer to sell to

Many startups, when using this model to define themselves, end up in the bottom-left quadrant because it’s the easiest one to scale in. The problem is that being in the lower left means you usually end up with a high amount of low-value customers. This limits how you can acquire customers. Spending $300 to acquire customers for a $99 product isn’t economical.

Examples of companies selling using the three different strategies

So depending on what industry you’re in, picking the wrong quadrant could leave you dead before you even start building anything at all. Here are some examples:

  • Some industries are notoriously hard to reach, e.g. content marketing isn’t as effective for dentists as it is for developers. This means you might need to pay to acquire customers.
  • Some industries deal in annual contracts, NDAs and SLAs. This means you need to invest in a sales process.
  • Some industries are used to PowerPoint sales presentations, handheld onboarding and onsite training. This means you need a high contract value to profit on a customer.

Evaluating if you’re able to offer a self-serve experience or a complex sales process and then determining if there’s a high or low-value for each user helps you decide how you should approach the customer. Excerpt from Intercom on Starting Up .

2. Know when to add sales to a self-serve business model

John Barrows, Sales Trainer

If you’re selling something that has a super low Average Contract Value (ACV), say, $1,000 for the year, it’s hard to justify having sales in that equation whatsoever. But, if you’re in somewhat of a complex sale that involves a sales cycle longer than 20-30 days, and at least two or three calls with multiple people, sales is a critical part of that to make sure it goes right.

“You can only automate and educate people so much before they want to talk to somebody”

You can only automate and educate people so much before they want to talk to somebody. Maybe $5,000-$10,000 is when people get more uncomfortable putting their credit card online and buying without talking to people. But that threshold exists. As heard on the Inside Intercom podcast.

3. Establish clear, differentiated roles on your sales team

LB Harvey , SVP of Sales, Intercom

One of my guiding principles as a sales leader is focus breeds excellence. Sales reps, especially new ones, struggle to be fabulous at multiple sales motions. That means when you’re formulating your sales strategy, you need to be explicit about creating the right, differentiated roles on your sales team and ensuring you’re incentivizing and prioritizing the right motions within those roles.

Let’s take inbound sales and outbound sales, for example. Inbound and outbound require vastly different skills and workflows. The managers on an inbound team need to be obsessed with analyzing top-of-the-funnel trends – the marketing and social media channels bringing in qualified leads – and increasing the conversion rate from lead to opportunity with tactics like live chat and conversational marketing . Managers on an outbound team, on the other hand, need to be able to get sales reps gunning to go out and evangelize the product’s amazing benefits for customers. The point is they’re different teams, different reps, different motions. Whichever model you choose, it’s important for you go into it with personal conviction. Every model has its strengths and its weaknesses. Your job as a sales leader is to lean into its upsides.

4. Define your ideal customer profile

Tomasz Tunguz, Partner, Redpoint Ventures

The Ideal Customer Profile. The perfect customer. Can you describe it for your startup? The more precisely you can describe it, the better. That will simplify disqualification. But articulating the ICP well isn’t enough.

Vague ICPs are problematic. The company will focus on too broad a customer base, waste time and effort prospecting unqualified leads, and blunt their sales pitch with irrelevant value propositions.

Clear ICPs can also be problematic. A clear but useless ICP might be: a disenchanted thirtysomething mechanic who likes to play German board games, read Nietzsche and watch MMA. I can clearly articulate my ICP to myself and others. The target market is clear (and niche!)

But how would I identify this person if I’m looking to sell to him? Where would I begin generating leads? Mechanics meetups? Board game conventions? Nihilist forums?

“To grow, startups must scale and distribute Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) identification from one to ten to hundreds of people”

A good ICP must serve three purposes:

  • The ICP should enable me to identify a good prospect quickly.
  • I should be able to simply convey the ICP to someone else in such a way that they can find other ICPs.
  • The ICP should be defined so systems can be built to identify them.

A better ICP is:

  • VPs of Marketing in GDPR-affected regions.
  • Heads of sales with teams larger than 50 people in technology.
  • CEOs of profitable pool supply companies.

These ICPs are much easier to identify using lead generation tools. They can be communicated to teammates simply and computer systems can be tooled or trained to identify them at scale.

To grow, startups must scale and distribute ICP identification from one to ten to hundreds of people. A narrow, clear and identifiable ICP is a crucial ingredient in that growth. Excerpt from “An Often Forgotten Characteristic About Your Startup’s Ideal Customer Profile.”

5. Act like a consultant and advisor to your prospects

Mark Roberge, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Business School, and former Chief Revenue Officer, Hubspot

When folks ask, “What’s changing in sales; how is it different?” the common theme is that it’s going more and more inside. Twenty years ago, you had to actually talk to sales reps just to do your buying process. They had information that you needed, and the best reps were very skilled at withholding that information in exchange for the information they wanted from you – who’s the decision maker? How much budget do you have? What are your needs?

But today, I can be in my slippers on Saturday night, after I put the kids to bed, and I can find the top five vendors in a space. I can find out what they do, how are they different from one another, and how much they cost. I can try many of the products for free, and I can buy many of them right on the site. Why we need sales becomes a huge question, right?

“We need to do a better job, when we engage with someone, to engage with them in their context”

Those of us in sales have to step up our game in order to add value to that whole ecosystem:

  • Be there as consultants and advisers to our buyers.
  • Do a better job, when we engage with someone, to engage with them in their context.
  • We need to do a better job understanding their specific sales goals and the specific challenges they’re trying to solve, and translating the generic marketing strategy on our website to their business.
  • Tell the story from their perspective.
  • Don’t forget the follow-up.

That’s the skill the best reps now possess when deploying an effective sales strategy. Excerpt from “Hubspot’s Mark Roberge Talks Inbound vs. Outbound Sales, Transparency and Big Data.”

6. Be deliberate when moving upmarket

Joel York, CMO, Accellion

As a SaaS startup evolves from a small business into a mature SaaS business, growth aspirations naturally lead to the desire to expand marketing strategy to reach new prospects and to expand product footprint with current customers. The SaaS startup that enters the market with a customer self-service SaaS sales model represents the origin of a natural evolutionary path.

strategy to sell up the value chain

Maintaining the simplicity of the customer self-service model as a successful SaaS startup introduces more complex product s and purchase processes in close proximity to the originally simple, self-service product and purchase process requires careful planning and execution. Should the products be separate offerings or modules of a single offering? Should transactional sales arise by skimming the cream of customer self-service prospects, or should entirely new lead generation vehicles be put in place? Are enterprise customers just transactional customers who are all grown up, or an entirely different species?

It is often said that moving upmarket is easier than moving downmarket. This is probably true, but it is NOT easy to move up without inadvertently abandoning the down. Excerpt from “SaaS Startup Strategy | Three SaaS Sales Models.”

7. Experiment with your sales strategy – before you pivot

Elizabeth Cain, Partner, Venture OpenView Partners

Sometimes a sales leader, or founder or even CEO gets too excited by too many new ideas. Every new idea is a GREAT idea that he or she wants the entire company to chase. Moving too quickly, all in different directions, and pivoting regularly creates confusion – you hamper your own progress. The most common risk I see? Moving to enterprise. Companies close one or two enterprise customers and get big deal fever. They pivot their entire business strategy and point the outbound team at ONLY enterprise meetings.

A culture of experimentation needs to be established at the top and pushed down into an organization. It takes guts to test things, fail and go again. Leadership teams need to create room for this and encourage creativity without repercussions.

So how do you actually run a disciplined experiment? It starts with a hypothesis – what are you here to test? Then you need to identify the different factors, design a process, agree to a timeline and be crystal clear on the goals, metrics and KPIs you will track to determine if it worked. After you run the experiment, you need to be rigorous in your review. If it worked, the next step is to figure out how to cap out this option – how far can it scale?

Experiment with differing strategies for your sales, before you pivot

8. Use channel partners to accelerate growth, not create it

Steli Efti, CEO, Close

First, let’s get the basics out of the way: If you’re trying to get your first 10 or 100 customers, resellers and sales channel partnerships aren’t the right channels for you.

If you’ve only just built a minimum viable product that you’re trying to sell so you can learn from real customers, these aren’t the right channels for you.

If you don’t have a steady and stable stream of customers and monthly income coming in, these aren’t the right channels for you.

Here’s why:

  • Resellers and sales channel partners are strategies to accelerate and speed up existing growth, not to create it from scratch.
  • They are only good at selling something that already works. Their incentive is to keep their clients happy and make money. And if your product doesn’t help them do that – if you can’t prove that your product brings tremendous value to its users – then they’re not going to put in the effort.

However, if you’re six months to a year in; have a product that already has traction and growth; have experimented with and found success with content marketing, paid ads, and inbound and outbound sales; and are bringing in hundreds of thousands or millions in revenue, then it’s a different story.

You want to only engage with them when the time is right and you’re ready for that type of scale. Never before.

Excerpt from “When (and how) to scale your business with resellers and channel sales partners.”

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  • Steps to Build a Winning Sales Strategy [+16 Examples that work!

Sales strategy

A genie in a bottle? A wishing well? Or an all-knowing crystal ball?  

That’s how far we’d go to help you double down on your sales targets in 2024. Unfortunately, I haven’t found those yet, but I have the next best thing for your sales teams.  

The top 16 sales strategies from sales leaders and experts to help you overachieve your quotas in 2024!  

What is a Sales Strategy? 

A sales strategy is a plan or unique way in which a business can improve the sales of its products and services. The aim is to generate more sales with strategies that work at different stages of the company’s growth. In line with that, figuring out the most effective sales strategy is not an easy feat. 

To start off, you should watch our webinar, Secrets to Sales Success in 2024 , where Amit Sharma, the CEO of Dishah Consulting , shared the best sales management strategies for the coming year.  

The sales strategy depends on a lot of factors—the product/service, its price, the buyer persona, and most importantly, your business’ sales methodology.  

Based on your team’s strengths and your business’ vision, you can opt for an inbound or outbound sales strategy. Here’s how you can decide which sales strategy your team needs to focus on.

Inbound vs. Outbound Sales Strategy  

Inbound sales strategy Outbound sales strategy  
Definition Businesses use an inbound sales strategy to attract organic leads into the .  An sales strategy requires salespeople to reach out and engage with potential customers actively.
Focuses on  Converting interested and marketing qualified leads into customers.  Creating an (ICP), building a relationship with them, and generating interest in a product.
Lead channels  Website, Landing pages, free trial offers, and marketing activities such as emails and webinars.  LinkedIn outreach, cold emails, cold calls, and offline visits to scope out potential opportunities.

Choosing between inbound and outbound can be a tough call. But if you’re wondering what’s the most effective approach, the answer is both. Agreed that outbound and inbound have different pros to support their cause, but with appropriate resources and workforce, businesses can strike a balance between these two approaches.  

It’s also a sure-shot way to integrate sales and marketing teams for the highest ROI.  

The leads may be generated via an inbound or outbound approach, but closures and other sales-related activities still prove challenging for over 66% of salespeople who attended our webinar. Let’s dive right into the steps to build an effective sales strategy.  

PS, don’t forget to check out the 16 most-actionable sales strategies at the end of this article.  

3 Steps to Plan an Effective Sales Strategy 

Whether you aim to start meeting your sales quotas , increase your sales revenue, or decrease churn , you first need to review and tweak your sales strategy. Here’s how you do that.  

1. Analyze goal setting  

“When 10%–20% of salespeople miss goals, the problem might be the salespeople. But when most salespeople miss, the problem is their goals.”   Andris A. Zoltners , Harvard Business Review

Goal setting can be challenging for sales managers who create targets and also help their teams meet them. Usually, the goals are set in a top-down approach where the CEOs and top management set sales goals based on previous performance.  

This approach generally aims to grow sales teams faster, but it does the opposite. Unrealistic expectations and targets set too high often lead to a lack of motivation and rapid employee attrition (around 35%, much higher than any other business team).   

Amit prefers the SMART strategy, instead of the top-down approach, to set measurable, time-bound goals.  

1. Specific:

A high target shouldn’t be your priority while setting goals. Managers need to focus on identifying particular challenges in their sales cycle stages. Every customer-forward sales stage is an opportunity to identify these challenges at a granular level.   For example, an expensive product or service generally has long sales cycles. So, the goal for your sales team shouldn’t be to double the sales in the quarter. Instead, the team can focus on shortening the sales cycle by half.  

“The whole idea is to go specific and focus on one problem every quarter. It’ll add a lot of momentum to your sales process .”   Amit Sharma, CEO, Dishah Consulting

2. Measurable:

“In most cases, sales goals are communicated to the teams, but they’re not broken down into daily activities. The sales team continues to carry out the same activities as they did a year ago, but they’re chasing a higher goal this time. The gap is quite clear; you can’t achieve different goals with the same activities.” Amit Sharma, CEO, Dishah Consulting 

While setting goals, it’s crucial to ensure that your team’s progress toward meeting them can be measured. Amit advises sales teams to implement the OKR formula, where O bjectives are broken down into K ey R esults. Google also adopted this formula in 1996 when their team had just 60-100 employees. Implementing the OKR method helped them grow to where they are today.  

Each precise KPI should be closely aligned with your sales objective.  For example, if your objective is higher conversions, a key result would be the number of calls each salesperson makes or the number of emails they send. These daily targets can be made visible to ensure that your team knows what to work on.  

3. Attainable:

Sales targets are always challenging, but they must also be attainable. A manager must understand his team and what motivates them to set achievable targets. The motivator may be additional earned leaves, incentives, or even a promotion.  

“ Spend more time with people rather than reports so that you can listen to people and ask them a lot of questions to identify their personal motivations.” Amit Sharma, CEO, Dishah Consulting 

Along with motivation, managers also need to keep the team’s skillset into account while setting goals.  

“To identify the skillsets your team needs to be trained on, you can list each stage in the sales process along with the conversion rates at that stage. Your target skillset is linked to the stage with the lowest conversion rate.” Amit Sharma, CEO, Dishah Consulting 

4. Realistic :  

An unplanned and unrealistic target can completely throw your sales and marketing teams off their course. They might not have the right resources, skillsets, or personnel to meet targets . A couple of ways to set a realistic target are:  

  • Take the month-month growth percentages into account while setting their targets, instead of setting a high annual goal.  
  • Sales quotas can be set by considering the previous year or quarter’s achievements while forecasting a higher yet rational target. 
  • Involve the salespeople in the process while setting sales goals since they can estimate achievable growth accurately. They can also voice their concerns and requirements for any additional resources.  

The definition of a ‘realistic goal’ also depends on the kind of product, the selling price, and the sales cycle length. But in most cases, the important factors in determining the goals for sales and marketing teams are: 

  • Number of inquiries  
  • Inquiries to demo ratios  
  • Resources required to meet the targets

5. Tools and training :

Even if everything’s in place, the lack of the right sales tool can hinder your team from meeting their targets. Before deciding which tool to implement, you can divide your sales activities into productive and non-productive activities.  

Productive tasks—sales calls, follow up emails, product demonstrations, etc.—directly impact conversions. Whereas unproductive tasks—generating reports, updating the CRM, etc.—are important but don’t impact sales conversions directly.  

Unproductive activities take up 65% of the sales representative’s time. And from a LeadSquared poll during the webinar, our audience shared that sales productivity is the most accurate measure of sales success.  

sales KPIs to target which improve sales strategy

So, how can businesses ensure that sales productivity hits an all-time high without letting go of unproductive tasks? The solution here is the AD model.  

AD = Automate or Delegate.  

Implementing automation or delegating non-essential tasks instantly boost sales productivity as it allows salespeople to focus on the most productive tasks.  

Automation: A comprehensive and extensive sales tool , such as LeadSquared CRM , helps teams automate reporting, dialing, nurturing, lead distribution , lead qualification , and more. With automation, hours of work is carried out with just a few clicks in under 5 minutes. To know how a CRM can help your sales team, you should book a consultation with our CRM experts today!  

Delegation: Transfer a few sales-related tasks to other teams, such as marketing for lead generation or presales for lead qualification.  

Coming to the training aspect of sales strategy, Amit recommends that sales managers organize customized training sessions for their team based on their skill sets and motivators.  

“Business leaders can help customize training sessions by creating a chart with each team member’s strengths and weaknesses. This chart helps the training company provide highly-personalized, performance-driven training.” Amit Sharma, CEO, Dishah Consulting 

2. Focus on building a healthy sales culture  

A healthy sales culture keeps the team motivated and decreases employee attrition in the sales team. The managers need to give their teams a bigger purpose, such as becoming the best team in the company.  

Backed with this purpose, your sales team will develop innovations and ideas to perform better. A buddy program is another way to boost a healthy environment. Pair a high-performer with a new sales member so that they can help their buddy out.  

Lastly, a lack of motivation in sales is also closely linked to the fear of non-performance. Managers must instil confidence in their teams with a skill vs. will method. Here, the skill-related challenges are the manager’s job where they help their sales team, but the will or motivation factor is the sales representative’s responsibility.  

“Managers need to recognize and encourage initiatives such as coming up with new ideas or helping their team out. These initiatives should also be evaluated while discussing promotions and incentives.” Amit Sharma, CEO, Dishah Consulting 

3. Communicate feedback for faster results  

A sales team that doesn’t understand each other or can’t share feedback internally often struggles to do the same with their customers. Feedback is always great, but the way it is delivered can make or break a sales team’s trust in their manager.  

According to 42% of salespeople, enabling a two-way communication channel is also one of the best ways a manager can support their sales team.  

poll: Tips for managers to support their sales teams

A few best practices to deliver feedback effectively are:  

  • Set clear expectations from the start. Whether you’re assigning a task or at the start of the quarter, the salesperson should know what is expected of them.  
  • Don’t wait till appraisals share your feedback. Utilize feedback as a proactive and preventative mechanism instead of a post-disaster activity. With multiple deals running parallelly in the pipeline , it’s only wise to make your reviews and feedback sessions frequent so your team can improve faster.  
  • Identify erratic behaviors early on. It might be due to a lack of motivation or something you’re completely unaware of as a manager. Ask your sales teams questions about what is affecting their performance and provide them with a behavior improvement plan to rectify their shortcomings.  
“Sales leaders need to get in touch with their teams to understand their problems. I advise them to praise their teams in public but always criticize them privately to keep the morale high. While criticizing them, the conversation should always move towards building a well-defined improvement plan.”   Amit Sharma, CEO, Dishah Consulting

Now, lets get to the most exciting bit that you’ve been waiting for. We did the work for you and talked to three sales experts to bring you 20+ years of experience condensed into a list of the 16 most actionable sales strategies for 2024. But first, meet our experts:  

1.  Murali Krishna, Vice President – Sales, LeadSquared   2. Piyush Sharma, Manager – Business Development & GTM, CloudSEK   3. Amit Sharma, CEO, Dishah Consulting  

16 Examples of Winning Sales Strategy that Drive Conversions  

After experimenting with a lot of sales strategies at LeadSquared, and talking to sales experts, we’ve come up with a comprehensive list of 16 sales strategies that’ll transform your sales outcomes.

16 sales strategy examples for 2024:

  • Improve the first point of sales contact
  • Don’t stick to a specific sales process
  • Focus on generating your own leads
  • Proactively review sales outcomes
  • When something breaks, go back to the basics 
  • Align your sales and marketing teams
  • Inform your prospects instead of convincing them
  • Learn to prioritize sales opportunities
  • Don’t forget to target niche markets
  • Shorten your TAT with automation
  • Make the most out of your CRM  
  • Improve hiring and onboarding for your sales team
  • Introduce and manage multiple touchpoints 
  • Close deals with confidence  
  • Enable self-service options for customers  
  • Build and update sales enablement resources

Now, let’s get into the specifics and the actionable tips our experts have for you!

1. Improve the first point of sales contact    

 Whether it’s an email, a cold call, or a pre-sales call to book a meeting, the first impression sticks, and unfortunately, it’s tough to recover from a bad interaction. Each customer-facing interaction can be improved if the salesperson understands the product in-depth.

Statements like “ I will have to get back to you on that” , “I’m not sure” , and “ My colleague may know better” aren’t appreciated and will make the potential customer lose interest in your offering.  

So, even your BDRs and SDRs should understand the specifics of the product, the market scenario, and competitor analysis before they get on a call with the client.    

 2. Don’t stick to a specific sales process    

Hear me out! The sales process is considered the holy grail to convert leads but following it blindly doesn’t guarantee a 100% conversion rate. There’s a lot of unexplored scope to achieve better results by just experimenting with your sales process.  

“Look beyond the step-wise basics of the sales process to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. Salespeople who are self-learners perform a lot better than process followers. I advise my team to be curious about the solution we offer and understand how it helps our buyers sell better.”   Piyush Sharma, Manager – Business Development & GTM, CloudSEK

Salespeople should also look around and understand what their peers are doing differently and their managers can help them scale up the high ROI activities for the entire team. For example, Piyush realized that one of his sales representatives was going beyond the script to understand the customer’s organizational hierarchy and internal process. These questions helped them get in touch with the right people and shorten the sales cycle.   

3. Focus on g enerating your own leads   

As we discussed, a balance between inbound and outbound lead generation is key for any business. But the specific channels vary across industries. For example, outbound strategies aren’t the best way to sell a product with a high-ticket size but deliver results for services that aren’t too expensive.  

 A few ways in which salespeople can generate their own leads are:  

  • Focussing on referrals: Referrals are a low-cost lead generation source to increase the value of your pipeline . A referred customer is four times more likely to make a purchase and has a 37% higher customer retention rate. 
  • Targeted outreach: Personalized and well-segmented approach over email and LinkedIn can help salespeople generate hot leads for quick conversions. With the right connections on social media, salespeople can implement ABM (Account Based Marketing) initiatives to land on qualified leads.  
  • Utilize social media platforms: High-performing sales folks leverage their connections to meet their targets. Thought leadership and social selling are two skills that salespeople can pick up to boost their conversions. [Here’s a quick guide to get you started on social selling: The Ultimate Guide to Social Selling + Expert-Tips by Top BDRs ] 

You can also rely on the leads that your marketing teams generate, but when salespeople get in touch with qualified ICPs , the sales cycle becomes shorter, and before you know it you’re just a few deals away from exceeding your targets .  

4. Proactively review sales outcomes    

Monthly and quarterly meetings don’t work for fast-growing teams. Sales leaders must have all hands on deck weekly to increase the win rates. This means generating weekly reports, setting weekly targets, and reviewing them.  

For example, if you notice that you’re losing your customers to competitors in a weekly meeting. You can act on it immediately to take measures that prevent churn.   

“Weekly reviews help businesses get control over their sales activities and experiment new strategies much quicker. It decreases your reaction time and improves pipeline forecasting as well.”     Murali Vice President – Sales, LeadSquared

5. When something breaks, go b ack to the basics   

When your sales performance seems shaky it’s time to anchor your boat by reviewing the core of your sales process. Here are the four Ps of your sales process that you need to get to the bottom of to find any leaks:  

  • Prospect: Review your ICP (Ideal customer profile) based on previous successful deals. For B2Cs, an ICP may be defined by gender, age, geographical location, income, etc. Whereas for B2Bs, it may be the designation of the decision maker or the industry you’re targeting. 
  • Product: Do you understand every feature and use case of your product/service? If not, get to work till you know your product in depth.  
  • Proposal: Does your proposal cater to the customer’s needs, and are you adding any value to their business? You can also prepare a list of customer pain points your product solves and use it as a resource to customize proposals. It’s also an excellent time to review pricing and discounts.  
  • Pitch: Listen to the recordings of your previous sales pitches to see what worked and what didn’t. As a salesperson, you can also ask your managers or peers to share their feedback on your pitch.  

6.  Align your sales and marketing teams  

The quality of leads matter just as much as the quantity of leads generated by the marketing team. Salespeople have a much better idea of the right ICPs and buying intention, whereas the marketing team understands how these leads can be attracted and nurtured till conversions.  

The power-packed sales and marketing duo can help you beat your targets easily. You also need to implement a feedback mechanism between these two teams to decrease the scope of any miscommunications.  

7. Inform your prospects instead of convincing them  

“No one likes being sold to, not even salespeople themselves. Try to cater to your prospect’s interests before reading out your entire pitch to them. This challenge arises during demos when salespeople forget that the customer is looking for a solution and not a list of random features that they don’t understand.” Piyush Sharma, Manager – Business Development & GTM, CloudSEK 

38% of salespeople wish to focus on consultative selling in 2023. And our experts believe it’s high time for salespeople to start solving their customers’ challenges in the product demo itself. 

poll: A sales strategy that you want to implement in 2023

Salespeople can customize product demos to highlight just 1-2 features of the product or service that solve the user’s challenges. For example, an EdTech that coaches students for competitive exams can focus on how impactful their mock tests are for students.  

The critical skills salespeople can develop for consultative selling are active listening and attention to detail. These skills help them identify the challenge and take a deep dive into solving it.  

[Also read: Consultative Selling: a Key to Win Big Accounts [with Real Life Examples]]  

8. Learn to prioritize  sales opportunities

“Being able to identify the customer’s need is one of the most important sales functions. They must differentiate whether the situation is a burning point for the customer or they’re just exploring a few ways to improve their business.” Murali Krishna, Vice President – Sales, LeadSquared. 

Along with skill, salespeople can utilize data using lead scoring functions that most CRMs offer to prioritize hot leads over cold ones. It’s beneficial because it automatically structures sales activities for faster results. You might just meet your target by focusing on ten hot leads instead of sifting through hundreds of cold leads aimlessly.  

 9. Don’t forget to target niche markets

A targeted approach is the most consistent theme across various sales strategies. It’s extremely relevant for teams with multiple product offerings catering to different buyer segments.  

If you run such a business, you have more than one ICPs  to cater to, which means that your sales team also needs different kinds of training, pitches, and relevant resources to share with the customers. Throwing wider nets to close deals may not be the best option here.  

You can try switching to a vertical approach instead, where sales representatives develop niche skills to focus on just one segment of buyers. The training and sales process differs for each vertical, and it might seem like a lot of work initially. Once you have refined your business for the vertical segments, scaling up will eventually seem a lot easier.  

You also need to segregate and distribute your leads to the different segments of sales representatives based on their knowledge of the industry and specific skill sets. A CRM can help you with automated lead distribution based on different kinds of lead tags and segmentation .  

10. Shorten your TAT with automation

Turnaround time (TAT) is a super important KPI for B2C businesses because you don’t want your competitors to swoop in and steal your customers. To win a deal, you need to be the first one to contact them with the most relevant solution.  

Ideally, your TAT should be under ten minutes, and at most, the first interaction should happen the same day. Manual lead distribution, dialing, and noting down customer information add hours to your TAT for no reason. Here’s how intelligent CRM technology helps businesses decrease their TAT:   1.   Automate sales workflows   2. Track and monitor TAT as one of the sales performance KPIs   3. Enable alerts and reminders as escalation options for tasks.  

11. Make the most out of your CRM   

Even though 91% of businesses with more than 10 employees use a CRM , it’s usually underutilized when sales leaders don’t realize its potential. At its basic level, a CRM helps you track sales data, measure sales performance, forecast deals, manage pipelines and completely automate workflows .  

But that’s just the bare minimum that you get from a CRM. To use it effectively, you need to explore each data source and report that your CRM offers. It helps you track the lead journey and drop-off points across each stage in the sales cycle . Salespeople can also use the call notes to improve their pitches.  

“The call notes in a CRM can help sales teams uncover many details, such as the points of objection, the sales cycle stages with the highest and lowest conversion rates, and the customer’s initial response to your product. Call notes along with the feature to monitor sales teams and the best features of a CRM, which are ironically also the most underutilized.” Piyush Sharma, Manager – Business Development & GTM, CloudSEK

12. Improve hiring and onboarding  for your sales team

Sales is competitive. But this competition extends out to hiring the best talent too. When you lose out on a star performer, the deals they were working on tend to have a higher chance of churn.  

The first step is to identify and hire the right talent. And the second step is to onboard and train them to avoid underperformance. The initial onboarding process is crucial to sales success. The sales team is trained on the sales process and the skills required to perform well.  

Businesses can create a well-defined 30-60-90-day onboarding plan for their sales teams, and implementing it will improve sales revenue. Here’s a checklist to ensure that your new joiners in the sales team are ready to face any challenges.

Sales onboarding checklist: A tool to incorporate in your sales strategy

You can also download this  editable pdf checklist  to share with your team.   

13. Introduce and manage multiple touchpoints  

A LeadSquared study found that it takes 5-10 touchpoints to complete a sale. But some salespeople give up after a few attempts. These touchpoints span various online and offline channels such as in-person meetings, follow-up emails, sharing resources, and much more.  

poll: Average number of checkpoints from discovery call to sales

Salespeople struggle to manage multiple deals simultaneously without losing the context of what was discussed at the previous touchpoint. Businesses can try to bridge the gaps between the touchpoints to improve the customer journey and prioritize the most important contact points.  

Unfortunately, each touchpoint adds another task to your salesperson’s overflowing list. Using a sales CRM, helps salespeople track conversations and automate a few tasks at the same time. What’s better than getting the job done without overworking your sales staff?  

14. Close deals with confidence  

35% of salespeople find closures to be the toughest stage in their sales process . Closing a deal needs a lot of skill and technique, which you can train your sales teams on. At the same time, the process can be optimized by creating templates for closures or setting standardized closure statements.  

Closure statements can either be a discounted offer, such as “ I should let you know that we have a special [X%] discount available for those who signup within this week. I wouldn’t want you missing out”   or a question like “ Considering all your requirements, I think these two products would work best for you. Would you like to go with [X] or [Y]?”  

You don’t have to look any further; check out closing techniques and scripts that have worked for our team LeadSquared: 15 Smart Sales Closing Techniques [Scripts and Examples]  

15. Enable self-service options for customers  

As the buying trends shift, customers are now looking for self-service options to make a purchase. This redefines the term ‘sales’ since businesses need to investigate alternative selling options, such as informative landing pages and chatbots, that allow users to explore and understand the product even before they talk to a salesperson.  

For example, for education or edtech businesses, a chatbot can guide the students through the course plan, curriculum, and other details. Using a student portal also allows them to fill in their information based on their convenience and then complete the payment without any external assistance.  

While enabling a self-service option, businesses invest a few resources into setting up automated workflows that make it convenient for the user. But eventually, the self-service source becomes a high ROI machine that generates easy-to-convert leads.  

16. Build and update sales enablement resources  

Helping your sales team goes beyond just training them or sharing feedback. You also need to enable them with the tools and resources to sell better.  

“A list of FAQs, checklist of topics to cover in a pitch, battle cards against competitors—all prove to be cheat sheets that can be displayed on the screen for salespeople while on a call. These are just a few ways to make your team feel better equipped to deal with objections.” Murali Krishna, Vice President – Sales, LeadSquared 

The sales team can collaborate with marketing efforts to work on resources such as case studies, eBooks, and decks that help them nurture their prospects effectively. These resources help the sales team decrease the length of the sales cycle and maybe even introduce opportunities to upsell their offerings.  

And that brings us to the end of this article. While these are all the tips we have for you, this list isn’t exhaustive because sales strategy isn’t the same for everyone. You might even adopt a different set of strategies next quarter itself.  

The thrill of it lies in experimentation. You just need to identify where your sales process or team may be lacking, and that’s where I can help you.  

LeadSquared helps sales leaders monitor and track sales performance, pipelines, and customer journeys. At the same time, it automates workflows and tasks for your team. That’s all the ammunition you need to build an explosive sales strategy!  

Get started by booking a consultation with our CRM experts today.  

Instead of relying on Excel sheets, businesses can implement a CRM to improve reporting and automate sales tasks. You can even revive cold leads with email automation or send invoices to customers—the possibilities are endless. The reports on a CRM tool can help you understand the sales process and your team’s skillset, which gives you an edge over your competitors.

The following sales performance KPIs shape sales strategies: 1. Sales conversions   2. Length of the sales cycle   3. Sales value   4. Deal profitability   5. Customer lifetime value   

Defining the sales target is a strategy that works well for newly launched products, especially for small businesses. The preliminary target should be to generate interest from prospects and communicate the offerings. The teams can meet your customers and share relevant information to build the  pipeline . By doing so, you’ll have a few people who are interested and excited to try out your product.  

To strategize a sales plan, you need to work with and for your sales team. Here are three steps to get started: 1. Re-evaluate your goals: Are the targets too high? Have you accounted for market fluctuations? Sales can get demotivating if your targets are unrealistic. 2. Build a sales-friendly culture: Managers need to enable and motivate their team to sell better, and it’s easier if your sales strategy accounts for it. This includes sales incentives, training sessions, and building resources for your team. 3. Collect feedback from your sales team: You can’t strategize a new sales plan without knowing what was wrong with the previous one. Always collect insights and perspectives from your team before making any changes. The success of your sales strategy majorly depends on this step.

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Kritika is a content writer at LeadSquared. She loves reading and is trying to learn more about sales. Through her writing, she wants to make sales easier for everyone. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or write to her at [email protected].

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Strategic Sales Plan Examples: 13 Sales Plan Templates

Strategic Sales Plan Examples: 13 Sales Plan Templates

Casey O'Connor

What Is a Strategic Sales Plan?

When you should implement a strategic sales plan, what to include in your sales plan, 13 sales plan template examples, put your sales plan into action with yesware.

A strategic sales plan is a must-have for any business looking to increase their sales, amp up their revenue, bring a new product to market, or branch into a new territory.

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about strategic sales plans: what they are, when to create one, and exactly what they need to include. We’ll also show you a handful of real-life, tangible sales plan template examples and tips for implementation. 

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • When You Should Implement a Strategic Sales Plan 

A strategic sales plan is designed to guide a sales organization through their overarching sales strategy. It provides them with access to the resources needed to prospect, pitch to, and close new accounts.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: action plan

Strategic sales plans can include any combination of the following:

  • Ideas: If you utilize a certain sales methodology — consultative selling or target account selling , for example — you might outline its key principles and a few tactical examples of it in action in your strategic sales plan. Your strategic sales plan should also include an overview of your target customer.
  • Processes: In order for your sales team to reach maximum productivity, it’s important that your sales processes are clearly defined and standardized. Your sales team — both new hires and seasoned vets alike — should be able to refer to your sales plan for a repeatable, scalable process that’s backed by solid metrics. The processes should provide direction to sales reps that allow them to contribute to the company’s goals.
  • Tools & Tactics: The best strategic sales plans are more than just high-level strategy and goals. They also include specific, step-by-step strategies that sales reps can implement in sales conversations, as well as the specific tools and content that reps need to close more deals.

Sales plans also typically spell out the organization’s revenue and overall business goals, as well as the KPIs and benchmarks that sales managers and other stakeholders will monitor to determine whether or not those goals are being met.

They should also outline management’s strategic territory design and quota expectations, with specific indicators and data to back those decisions. 

Finally, these sales plans should take into account your current team’s sales capacity and specifically address the acquisition plan for any resources that are not yet available but may be necessary for future growth.

If your sales team doesn’t already have a strategic sales plan in place — that is, one that’s referenced and updated regularly and the product of careful data analysis and inter-team collaboration — you may want to consider creating one. 

Research shows that the majority of the highest-performing sales teams operate under a formalized, closely monitored sales structure. 

On the other hand, most underperforming sales teams lack this structure. 

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: sales structure

It’s clear that a well-defined sales plan is one of the prerequisites to optimized sales productivity and success; every salesforce should strive to create and adopt one if they want to meet their sales goals more efficiently.

That being said, there are a few key indicators that signal a need for more urgency in putting a strategic sales plan in place. 

You’re Trying to Increase Sales

what is a sales strategy in a business plan

A strategic sales plan will help your sales and marketing teams align their processes so that your outreach efforts are tailored to your target audience. 

You’re Looking to Amp Up Your Revenue

For startups and small businesses, attaining as many new customers as possible is usually the name of the game.

For larger or more established businesses, however, the business plan may instead emphasize revenue goals. In other words, the deal size starts to matter much more than deal volume. 

A sales strategy plan can help salespeople target and nurture higher-value accounts. Sales planning can also boost your revenue by illuminating untapped potentials for revenue growth within your existing customer base through cross-selling, upselling , and referrals .

You’re Gearing Up to Launch a New Product

A sales strategy plan is crucial for businesses that are preparing to bring a new product to market.

Strategic Sales Plan Example: Go-To-Market Strategy

One last note: for businesses that already use strategic business planning (or for those on their way after reading this article), be sure to update your plan at least yearly. Many businesses at least review their plan, if not update it more formally, on a quarterly basis.

Ultimately, your strategic sales plan will be unique to your company and its specific goals.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: The Buyer's Journey

Consider including the following components in your strategic business plan. 

Mission Statement

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: mission statement

Industry & Market Conditions

Great sales planning cannot be performed in isolation. Your plan must take into account the current market conditions, including any challenges, recent disruptions, or upcoming notable events.

Organization Chart

A sales org chart can range in scope from very simple, like the one above, to more complicated. Some go as far as naming individual employees and outlining their specific responsibilities. 

A detailed org chart is especially helpful for efficiently onboarding new hires.

Product Info & Pricing

No sales plan would be complete without a one-sheet that outlines the features, benefits, and value proposition of your product or service.

It’s also helpful to include information about pricing tiers, as well as any discounts or promotions available for leverage at a sales rep’s discretion.

Compensation Plan

While we have no doubt that you’ve hired only the most intrinsically motivated salespeople, remember the bottom line: cash is king.

Money is the primary motivator for most salespeople, regardless of how truly loyal and hard-working they may be.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: golden rules of sales compensation

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to include your company’s compensation plan and commission structure in your sales plan. This is a surefire way to motivate your team to continuously improve their sales performance. 

Target Market & Customer

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Personas

Sales Enablement

With the tremendous rise in content marketing, it can be challenging for salespeople to keep track of the various materials available for generating new business.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: sales enablement

Branding & Positioning

The strategic sales plan should offer at least a high-level overview of your brand and messaging specifics, including social media presence. Take the time to optimize your company’s LinkedIn presence — it’s a goldmine of new business opportunities.

Marketing Strategy

In today’s day and age, it’s unlikely that your sales and marketing team are working in isolation from one another. At a certain point, sales and marketing strategies start to flow together until they (ideally) perform in harmony.

Still, it’s important to outline the perspective of the marketing team within your strategic sales plan. This will help your salespeople fine-tune their sales pitch and speak more meaningfully to the needs of the customer. 

Prospecting Strategy

Most salespeople report that their number one challenge in lead generation is attracting qualified leads. 

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: B2B lead generation challenges

Prospecting can certainly be daunting, but it’s worth the effort to get it right. Tweak and fine-tune the process until you’re sure it’s as efficient as possible. Make sure it’s repeatable and scalable, and map it out within your sales plan. 

Action Plan

Any good strategic sales plan will also include a step-by-step section, much like a playbook. Here, you’ll outline the specific tactics and processes — including scripts, demos, and email templates — that have been proven to move prospects through the sales funnel . 

Be as specific as possible here. This will act as a blueprint for the day-to-day sales activities for your team.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: SMART Goals

It can be tempting to leave the numbers with the finance department, but financial transparency can go a long way in creating a culture of trust among your sales team.

You don’t need to go through every line item in the spreadsheet, but it’s not a bad idea to include a high-level look at where the dollars are flowing. 

KPIs, Metrics, and Benchmarks

Be sure to give your team a snapshot of how they’re currently performing, with real numbers to back it up.

By doing so, you help them self-initiate regular SWOT analysis of their own sales actions and processes. This will give them an opportunity to right the course if things aren’t going according to plan. 

Tip: Looking to fuel your sales plan with data-backed findings? Grab our free ebook below.

Sales Engagement Data Trends from 3+ Million Sales Activities

Remember that your company’s strategic sales plan will be highly unique. It may take some time and tweaking to find the components and format that best meet the needs of your business.

Here are 13 sales plan templates to help you get started.

1. Product Launch Plan Template

Sales and marketing teams create a product launch plan when they’re preparing to launch a new product. 

Product Launch Sales Plan Template

A product launch plan should include your product’s positioning statement , a SWOT competitive analysis, detailed market analysis, sales strategies and tactics, and details about the target market. 

2. Ideal Customer Profile Template

One way to avoid wasting time on unproductive leads is to include an ideal customer profile (ICP) in your sales plan. Here’s a sample : 

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: ideal customer profile template

This will help ensure your prospecting campaigns are targeted and attract only the most qualified leads from the get-go. 

3. Microsoft Word Sales Plan Template

Here’s a great example of a sales plan goals template , easily accessible through Microsoft Word. 

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: sales plan template

4. 30-60-90 Day Sales Plan Template

30-60-90 Day Sales Plan Template

5. Buyer’s Guide Template

A buyer’s guide is a short, simple information sheet that describes your product or service, its features and benefits, and its use. Below is an example of a buyer’s guide from Wayfair . 

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: Buyer's Guide Template

In many cases, this document is as useful internally as it is for the customer. 

6. Marketing Alignment Sales Plan Template

If your company hasn’t already formally aligned sales and marketing, start with this type of sales plan template (basic example below), as most traditional sales plans already assume that these two teams collaborate regularly. 

Marketing Alignment Sales Plan Template

One key component of a marketing alignment sales plan template is the presence of an ideal customer profile and buyer personas. 

The marketing alignment sales plan template should also focus on cohesive, on-brand messaging between marketing campaigns and sales conversations . 

This type of sales plan template helps keep everyone on the same page, increases efficiency, and improves sales effectiveness. 

7. Battle Card Template

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: Battle Card Template

8. Territory Design Template

Well-designed sales territories see a 10% – 20% increase in sales productivity. Be low is a basic example of a territory design map.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: Sales Territory Map

9. Market Expansion Plan Template

A market expansion plan outlines the strategies, tactics, metrics, resources, and more that teams will use when expanding into a new market or (more commonly) a new geographical territory. 

Market Expansion Sales Plan Template

Market expansion plans also need to include details about distribution expenses and timelines, time zone variations, industry notes or important compliance information, local/cultural expectations and laws, and sometimes more. 

10. Compensation Plan Template

Your compensation plan (including a specific commission structure) is one way to motivate your sales reps.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: compensation plan template

While it may seem controversial or sensitive, the compensation plan is an important component of a strategic sale plan.

11. Sales Funnel Template

The sales funnel is a visual representation of the sales process. 

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: Sales Funnel Template

12. Marketing Plan Template

Your salespeople should be extremely familiar with the marketing strategies your company is using to attract new leads. Here’s a great example of a template you can use in your sales plan that outlines the different campaigns at work.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: Marketing Plan Template

This kind of resource will help your reps know who to contact, when, and with what kind of content throughout the sales cycle .

13. B2B Sales Strategy Template

A B2B sales strategy template helps sales teams outline their goals, as well as the specific methodologies and tactics they will use to achieve them. Here’s an example :

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: B2B Sales Plan Template

The B2B sales strategy plan will vary widely depending on your team’s specific goals and strategies, but most teams include at least the categories highlighted in the template above. 

Yesware is the all-in-one sales toolkit that helps you win more business. It can be an invaluable resource for putting your sales plan into action in a way that’s streamlined, productive, and intuitive.

Communication

Yesware’s meeting scheduler tool helps you skip the back-and-forth when scheduling meetings.

Meeting Scheduler integrates with your Outlook or Gmail calendar and helps your clients automatically schedule meetings with you during times of availability. New events will automatically sync to your calendar. 

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: meeting scheduler

​ It can also create meeting types for common calls, like a 30-minute intro call or a 60-minute demo call. These templates can be automatically saved and generated with custom descriptions and agendas so everyone can come prepared. 

Prospecting

One of Yesware’s most popular features is its prospecting campaigns .

This feature enables salespeople to create automated, personalized campaigns with multi-channel touches. 

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: prospecting campaigns

The tool tracks communication and engagement throughout the process and helps move prospects through the pipeline with little administrative effort from the sales team.

Yesware’s attachment tracking feature helps you find your winning content by tracking which attachments are most often opened and read by your prospects.

You can use these insights to sharpen your content and increase your engagement.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: presentation report

The reporting and analytics tools are also extremely valuable in optimizing your sales plan.  These reports enable salespeople to use data to win more business. The feature generates daily activity, engagement data, and outcomes to show you what is/isn’t working across the board.

Try Yesware for free to see how it can help your team carry out your sales plan today.

This guide was updated on March 6, 2024.

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Stratechi.com

  • What is Strategy?
  • Business Models
  • Developing a Strategy
  • Strategic Planning
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Growth Strategy
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SALES STRATEGY

The big picture on sales strategy.

Conceptualize, measure and understand the opportunities to improve your customer pipeline and journey.

SALES STRATEGY: "HOW DO WE GET MORE CUSTOMERS TO BUY OUR STUFF?"

Growing Customers with Sales Strategy

WHAT DOES A SALES STRATEGY LOOK LIKE?

Sales Strategy Template

SALES IS SIMPLY A SERIES OF INTERACTIONS & CONVERSATIONS

When you strip out all of the noise, from a customer's point of view, their journey to purchase is a series of interactions and conversations. A customer is trying to solve a problem, and in their journey to solve it, they may become aware of your potential solution, show interest by seeking more information, consider the solution versus other competitors, and hopefully convert into a customer and a loyal repeat customer.

These interactions could be through a company's website, app, online content, stores, salespeople, partners and distributors, and other customers. You can conceptualize this series of customer & company interactions in two ways. From the perspective of the customer, you can codify the interactions in a customer journey map. From the perspective of a sales team, you can conceptualize the interactions in a  sales pipeline.

The first step in developing a strong sales strategy is to abstract the performance of the sales pipeline by applying a series of longitudinal metrics to each stage of the pipeline. How many potential targets are there, suspects, prospects, customers, or repeat customers? How long do they stay in each stage? How many drop off in each stage? How valuable are they in each stage? How have the metrics evolved over time?

Like any process , if you can't measure it, it becomes challenging to improve it. High-performing sales teams automate much of this data through a well-utilized and updated sales CRM system. If your company can't systematically report on the sales pipeline, then developing the capability, infrastructure, and discipline to measure and improve the pipeline should be an initiative in your sales strategy.

Sales Pipeline

TAKING SALES INSIGHT TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Benchmarking Sales Strategy

THE 4 WAYS TO GROW SALES

There are four ways to grow sales through a customer pipeline:

  • Increase Addressable Market - put more people through the mouth of the funnel
  • Accelerate Deal Velocity - make each step/stage shorter for the customer
  • Improve Stage Gate Success - have the customer say yes to the next step more often
  • Increase Deal Size - upsell and focus efforts on the larger deals

Understanding how these four growth metrics evolved over time is a good starting point for diagnosing customer pipeline issues and opportunities.  These four growth metrics are outputs of the sales growth drivers, which we go into next.

4 Ways to Grow Sales

THE 3 SALES GROWTH DRIVERS

Sales growth comes down to better customer interactions and conversations, more of them, along with a better value proposition and marketing . To make these things a reality, there are three main components to a strong sales strategy:

1. Improving the alignment between the target customer , the differentiated value proposition , marketing, and distribution

2. Incorporating corporate growth strategy initiatives in the sales strategy

3. Developing a strong sales team strategy to improve the sales process and interactions executed by the salespeople, infrastructure, and partners

Sales Growth Strategy

1. DON'T PASS GO UNLESS YOU HAVE A KILLER VALUE PROPOSITION

Many CEOS misdiagnosis their weak sales by concluding, "it must be the sales team."  

A strong sales team is important, but the most important driver of sales is a killer value proposition that creates more value than the competition for target customers. Once you have a killer value proposition, then you need the right messaging, marketing, and distribution that clearly amplifies the value proposition to the target customers.

So, the first thing any sales strategy should address is to make sure there is a clearly defined and articulated target customer, a killer value proposition for the target customer, and impactful messaging, marketing, and distribution focused on the target customer. Alignment on a target customer will make everyone's efforts more focused, efficient, and effective, while differentiation will make customers say yes more often.

Seriously, don't overlook this point. Pretty much every company that grows for decades and becomes a leader in their industry has and continually improves a killer value proposition that creates more value than competitors for the target customers. It is the heart that makes the sales flow for any strong sales team.

Now, we often hear, "well, that isn't under my control."  Well, you better figure out how to influence it, because, without alignment and differentiation, the customer will more often than not choose not to do business with your company.

Sales Alignment Strategy

2. WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THE BIG PICTURE STRATEGY STUFF?

Hopefully, you have a killer value proposition and aligned marketing and distribution, now what? Well, you need to think through how the high-level corporate growth strategy is going to affect sales and the sales team. Is the company expanding into new markets , customer segments, and geographies? Are there new and improved products , services, and pricing ? Are there new distribution channels or marketing campaigns? While it may be a lot to think through, growth expansion initiatives can have a significant impact on sales and the sales team.

Now, a few words of caution. First, be careful not to go after too many options , which can quickly overextend the sales team and the entire company. Companies that fail often go after too many new markets , customer segments, and geographies at the same time. Inevitably, the ambitious agenda creates fragmented efforts, massive complexity , opportunity cost , and ultimately failure. Second, while sales leadership should have a sizeable role in shaping the corporate growth strategy, it should not lead the effort. We see too many companies that try to say yes to everything sales wants to do, which often leads to a lot of running in place and going nowhere. Successful companies have a strong and balanced leadership team stewarding the big decisions and execution around corporate growth strategy.

Growth strategy initiatives are significant inputs into the last part of sales strategy, which is the sales team strategy. The big question is how growth strategy initiatives will affect sales and the sales team. Is there a need for new processes, people, partners, and technology? What is the expected impact on sales, quotas, customer metrics, and pipeline dynamics? This is one of the reasons why sales strategy is so complicated since there are so many dimensions that ultimately need to be addressed by the sales team, with the ultimate goal of having better customer interactions and conversations and more of them.

Corporate Growth Strategies

3. WHAT THE HECK ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH THE SALES TEAM?

Now to the heart of sales strategy, which is the sales team strategy. Any team, including a sales team, is simply a collection of processes executed by people, infrastructure, and partners. And, strategy is simply the goals we choose and the actions we take to achieve those goals. So, sales team strategy comes down to the sales team goals and the portfolio of initiatives to improve the processes, people, infrastructure, and partners to a level necessary to achieve the goals.

Below are some options to focus those sales team strategy initiatives on. We'll go over the high-level framing of some of the strategic options .

Sales Team Strategy

GET THE PROCESS RIGHT AND THE SALES WILL FOLLOW

Everything every member of a sales team does is a process, whether acknowledged as one or not. Has your sales team documented their processes, measure them? If not, that is a great place to start.

There are four main levels of a sales process outlined below.

Sales Process Strategy

At the highest level is the sales team governance , which includes the processes that strategically manage the sales strategy, forecasting, opportunities, overall pipeline, and sales operations. It typically involves weekly or monthly pipeline reviews, quarterly business reviews, and annual strategic planning , budgeting, and forecasting. The better the governance , the better the accuracy of forecasts, sales strategy, performance, and understanding of cause and effect.

The next level of the sales process is the customer journey, which includes every aspect of the journey customers take through an organization's processes to discover, evaluate, purchase, and consume the company's services and products. Strategic initiatives typically target reducing customer effort (e.g., self-help, automation , digital enablement), leaning out the customer processes, and increasing the rate of success on prioritized pipeline stages.

The sales methodology is one of the most critical processes for a sales team. The sales methodology is the overall sales approach between sales team members and customers to drive deal velocity and success. Most sales books focus on sales methodologies, such as spin selling , solution selling , MEDDIC , key account selling , GAP selling , and many others. We'll go a little deeper and synthesize all those books into a handful of important questions to quickly qualify and accelerate a deal.

The last level of the sales process to solve for is the daily, weekly, and monthly activity at the team and individual levels, which typically includes the day-to-day activity management and reporting to drive productivity and deal velocity through the pipeline.

ANSWER THE BASIC QUESTIONS TO ACCELERATE & CLOSE DEALS

There are hundreds of good books on sales methodology, but most of the methodologies come down to answering the basic 5 Ws (who, what, where, why, when) and 1 H (how) questions of a deal to qualify, accelerate and close the deal.

Once again, sales growth is driven by better customer interactions and conversations, and more of them. Weaving these questions into customer interactions, and recording and addressing the answers will help deals get through the pipeline. If you don't have a strong sales methodology, then start developing one that asks and answers the basic customer questions necessary to get a deal done.

Sales Methodology Questions

TAKE A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO THE PEOPLE PART OF A SALES TEAM STRATEGY

For many B2B companies, sales expense, in the form of salary and commission, is often their largest financial expense, making it especially important to elevate and realize the potential of salespeople and the collective sales team.

There are many questions to answer about the people part of a sales strategy, which all fall into the various categories of our people strategy framework:

  • Org Design ( Mission , Corporate Strategy, Structure, Roles & Competencies)
  • Employee Journey (Recruiting, Hiring, Onboarding , Development, Evaluation, Advancement)
  • Culture (Comp & Benefits, Environment, Norms, Values )

For a complete overview, visit our entire section on organizational strategy , hr strategy - org design , and hr strategy - employee journey & culture . Below, we'll cover some of the more unique elements of sales team strategy.

Org Strategy Framework

WHAT SHOULD THE SALES ORG LOOK LIKE?

A challenging question that typically comes up is, "what should the sales org look like?" 

There is a lot of art and science in answering this question. Regarding the size of the sales org, utilize benchmarks on revenue productivity per sales team member and percent of sales spend to revenue. You should also analyze the span of control, where each manager should have 8-12 direct reports. You also need to solve for the right amount of levels to the org, the fewer, the better. Finally, there are the actual roles and accountabilities , which we'll get into a bit more next.

Sales Org Design Strategy Questions

HOW SHOULD WE ORGANIZE THIS SALES TEAM?

For many sales teams, better customer conversations and interactions necessitate a high level of specialization to address the needs of specific customer segments , markets, geographies, or stages within the sales funnel. This specialization leads to sales teams organizing around one or more of these dimensions (customer segments, markets, geography , sales funnel stages). What dimensions to organize around is a function of the customer experience, specialization, economics, and complexity.

Many companies are constantly reorganizing their sales team from one dimension to another, such as reshuffling the team from a segment focus to a geographic focus. These reorganizations often fail, due to the ensuing chaos. Most existing sales teams have optimized and refined their multitude of internal and external processes based on their existing organizational dimensions. When a sales team reorg happens, a sales team has to reconfigure its processes, infrastructure, and partners. If the change management of the sales reorg isn't stellar, often the customer journey and sales team devolves into a bit of chaos.

Different Ways to Organize Sales Team

THE LOW HANGING FRUIT OF A SALES TEAM STRATEGY

The adage goes "it's all about the people."   We like to expand that to it's all about the recruiting, hiring, onboarding, development, evaluation, and advancement of the people. Improving the employee journey is essential in any sales strategy. The first place to start is to establish best practices in recruiting and hiring. The lowest hanging fruit is typically increasing the number of candidates you recruit and interview while professionalizing the interview and hiring process with standard interview guides and scorecards, group and immersive interviews, and team decision-making .

When it comes to the rest of the employee journey , one of the most impactful exercises is to survey team members about their employee journey, which not only creates a baseline but also solicits good ideas while providing built-in buy-in to improvements. Furthermore, there are a ton of established best practices in each stage of the employee journey.

sales team journey

YOU GET WHAT YOU REWARD

sales compensation strategy options

CREATING A SALES STRATEGY

In developing a sales strategy, always keep in mind you are solving for two things: 1.  the goals the sales team will strive to achieve, and 2. the strategic sales initiatives necessary to achieve the goals.

Whether it takes a few days, a few weeks, or a few months, there are typically four steps in developing a sales strategy, which is:

  • Generate insights into the sales pipeline, customer journey, corporate growth strategy, sales team, and overall alignment & differentiation.
  • Develop opportunities on how the sales team can improve the processes, people, partners, and infrastructure.
  • Prioritize the potential initiatives based on value & benefit versus cost & effort.
  • Set the goals and roadmap of the portfolio of sales initiatives

Given the breadth of possible analyses, gaps, opportunities, goals, and initiatives, it is imperative to assemble the best possible internal strategy team to develop and execute a very focused and impact-oriented project plan .

developing a sales strategy

STEP 1: GENERATE SALES STRATEGY INSIGHTS

In developing a strong sales strategy, there are five main areas to generate insights on 1. the sales pipeline, 2. the customer journey, 3. corporate growth strategy initiatives, 4. alignment & differentiation, 5. the sales team (processes, people, infrastructure and partners).

A focused set of hypotheses and analyses will generate a ton of insights, otherwise, a team can "boil the ocean," wasting precious time and resources on things that don't matter. Focus on answering the key questions below, utilizing some of the typical strategic analyses and tools. By doing so, the team will generate the big "aha" insights that will guide the entire strategy project.

sales strategy project plan

STEP 2: DEVELOP SALES STRATEGY OPPORTUNITIES

Once you have foundational insights for the sales strategy, then you enter the "create options" phase, where you need to come up with and develop the improvement opportunities that will drive sales to the next level. This phase drives the overall value of the strategy, since the number and quality of options limits strategies. Make sure you solicit ideas from as many places as possible and get the most creative and knowledgeable people involved to push the thinking.

There is always the opportunity to improve the customer journey, internal sales processes, and cross-functional processes. The lean toolkit , automation , and digital strategies will help sprout and nurture the best ideas. Solicit ideas and feedback from the entire sales team. A simple survey with both structured and open-ended questions will do the trick. There are also hundreds of best practices to improve the maturity of the sales processes , methodologies, people, and infrastructure.

strategy options for sales

STEP 3: PRIORITIZE THE GREAT IDEAS

Hopefully, at this stage of the project, you have more improvement ideas than resources and budget to execute.  Now, we are in the prioritization phase of the project. Before diving into prioritizing the ideas, you first want to see how much you can simplify , rearrange and combine the ideas into some larger potential initiatives.

Now, we get to the fun and collaborative stage of decision-making. Utilize some sort of prioritization or decision matrix to problem solve and debate the potential value/benefit , and cost/effort of each initiative. Get the right leadership and stakeholders in the room to have this robust debate, and potentially have a few rounds to refine and improve the thinking. In the end, focus the strategy on those "no brainer" ideas that are high value/benefit and low cost/effort with a shorter time horizon (3 months to 1-2 years).  For the "big bet" initiatives, figure out the timing, budget, dependencies, etc., before making a decision.

One of the most difficult challenges for sales team leadership is deciding on the right portfolio of initiatives. The first part of this challenge is getting enough skilled talent mobilized to successfully execute the initiatives and change management . The second part of the challenge is understanding the amount of change the sales team can realistically handle.

Whatever your decision-making governance , by the end you should have a strong portfolio of initiatives, budgets, owners, timing, and a pretty clear idea of the potential impact on the core metrics of the sales team.

prioritizing sales strategies

STEP 4: SET THE SALES GOALS, FINALIZE THE ROADMAP, AND EXECUTE

Strategy comes down to setting goals and executing the portfolio of improvement initiatives necessary to achieve the goals.  You should distill all of the strategic analyses, problem solving , collaborating, and decision-making into one page of sales goals and initiatives. Of course, there should be a lot more detail (e.g., project plans, resource plans, change management plans, budgets, spreadsheets) behind the one page. However, as you think about communicating the big sales strategy to upper management, the internal sales team, external stakeholders, and partners, one page is always best.

One last thought, invest the time, resources, and commitment to change management . The hardest part of executing any strategy is the necessary behavioral change at the individual level. Thinking through the change management framework for each initiative will pay dividends in driving the change you are seeking.

If you want to talk about your sales strategy with an experienced strategy coach, set up some time with Joe Newsum , a Mckinsey Alum, and the author of this content and website.

setting sales goals

DOWNLOAD THE SALES STRATEGY PLAN PRESENTATION TEMPLATE

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THE $150 VALUE PACK - 600 SLIDES 168-PAGE COMPENDIUM OF STRATEGY FRAMEWORKS & TEMPLATES 186-PAGE HR & ORG STRATEGY PRESENTATION 100-PAGE SALES PLAN PRESENTATION 121-PAGE STRATEGIC PLAN & COMPANY OVERVIEW PRESENTATION 114-PAGE MARKET & COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS PRESENTATION 18-PAGE BUSINESS MODEL TEMPLATE

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Building and developing a sales strategy plan is arguably the most crucial activity your business will engage in. Whether focused on B2B sales strategy, inbound, outbound, small-to-medium business (SMB) or enterprise, the company needs a dependable source of income to survive.

The key to achieving dependable revenue is in tying specific sales activity to solid, thoughtful, and data-backed objectives formed with the company’s long-term goals in mind.  

While proponents of the adage  stop planning, start doing  have a point in case (no sales strategy plan succeeds without execution) I would argue it’s akin to the famous idiom  shoot first, ask questions later.   

Without a sales strategy plan in place, sales reps and directors make decisions based on what is in front of them at that given time. Not because they’re careless or foolish, but rather unaware of the company’s long-term goals. As a result, it becomes challenging to tie sales activity to specific data-backed objectives.     

So, to create dependable, long-lasting growth throughout the business, sales directors need a strategy. And that, ladies and gents, starts with a solid sales strategy plan.

What is a sales strategy plan?

A sales strategy plan is a company’s roadmap for securing dependable, long-term revenue through the retention and acquisition of new and existing customers. 

They typically encompass everything from specific tactics, market strategy, processes, objectives, forecasting, budgeting, and timeline. Also, plans vary in length, often spanning over a year, maybe two, with an added focus to each fiscal quarter.       

Most businesses’ sales strategy plans are top-down, with revenue targets commonly stipulated by investors, shareholders, and other C-Level executives with a vested financial interest in the company. These are either achieved through the increase of revenue, reduction in expenses, or a combination of both.     

How to develop a sales strategy plan

As I just mentioned, its those at the top that generally implement sales strategy plans. Someone decides on an arbitrary revenue or growth figure based on external factors, divides the number evenly amongst sales territories, and hits the trigger button. 

The problem with this approach is that it’s far too simplistic . It fails to take into account which markets and territories could support the most growth, the continually evolving customer journey, competitors, market maturity, etc.

Consequently, these poorly-planned strategies lose traction over time, create confusion amongst the sales team, and fail to achieve their overall objectives.

So, to build a successful sales strategy plan directors should follow this five-stage sales strategy plan template:  

  • Put the customer at the center of your business
  • Align with overall business goals

SWOT Analysis

  • Go-to-customer strategy

Setting goals

Customer centricity.

Every company starts and ends with its customers. Period. This is why how you hold your customers, or the customer experience you want to create, is the driving force behind all sales strategy plans. 

While customer experience isn’t exclusively a sales issue, we inevitably find ourselves communicating with them daily as they build their primary relationships with our brand. 

Therefore, the experience they have with the sales team shapes their opinion of the company, and in extension, how they share that experience with their peers or through social networks, either good or bad.

As a result, customer experience is critical to the success of the sales strategy plan, forcing sales teams to think about:

  • How they want their customers to view the brand?
  • Around which fundamental values do they want to build their customer experience?
  • Are the field reps aware and communicating appropriately during their face-to-face visits?

What I’m trying to say is, before engaging in budget talks, sales forecasting , and annual sales objectives, the entire organization and sales team need to put the customer at the heart of everything. They need to take an outside-in approach to the sales plan and consider what kind of experience they’d like to create. 

Corporate alignment

The sales team is responsible for executing the corporate strategy. Sure, marketing, customer success, and other internal and external communication programs play a part in creating awareness around the brand, but it’s sales that get the job done.

It’s important to note that this means more than just hitting target revenue. Senior executives are concerned about market positioning, maturity, customer perception, and what they stand for as a brand. As a result, they will have various goals other than pure revenue, such as:

  • Increase market share
  • New product line revenue
  • Increase share of wallet
  • Territorial expansion

The “big picture” enterprise goals must be taken into consideration when building a sales strategy plan. If not, the entire future of the organization is put in jeopardy.

Let me give you an example.

Imagine you are given an annual target revenue of $99m at a company with three primary service plans. 

The first represents your traditional business model, the one your sales team has sold for years. It’s a maturing market, and your company has a solid reputation and an established client base.

The second service plan is an ambitious entry into a new vertical and market segment. It’s a potentially lucrative gamble being a relatively unexplored segment, but the sales team lacks experience and reputation. 

The third and final service plan requires expansion into a new sales territory . Again, this is an unexplored ground that senior executives have earmarked for potential in the future.

As the sales director, you have two options to hit your target revenue of $99m. You could:

  • Focus on your traditional service plan . Your sales team knows the market well, has an established reputation amongst industry leaders, and with a bit of luck, could reach target revenue without worrying too much about the success of the new service plans.
  • Develop a sales strategy plan balanced across all three . You might decide to split your annual revenue target into three, smaller $33m pieces – one for each service plan. You choose to reallocate resources and training budget to help with the two untested plans.

If it were you, what option would you choose? Option 1 or Option 2?

Hopefully, you avoided the potential trap of Option 1. 

While it may bring you short-term success (your target is to hit $99m after all), the long-term future of the company is at risk. Investments made within these new divisions that widen the organization’s revenue plan may be forced to scale back or shut down completely, severely impacting the company’s long-term growth strategy. 

Another critical step in building a sales strategy plan is SWOT analysis . This tactic is handy when assessing the challenges your organization faces when venturing into a new market or under pressure from increasing competition, by looking at a company’s:

Opportunities

By analyzing each of these areas, businesses can build on their strengths, mitigate their weaknesses, uncover new opportunities while blunting the various threats that may crop up down the line.

So how do you undertake a SWOT analysis?

First of all, you will need to allocate an hour, maybe two, to gather a diverse group of colleagues (both internal and external if possible) as well as company leadership. This diversity is critical in providing differing perspectives on each of the four points of your SWOT analysis.

Once you’ve gathered everybody, I recommend handing out a pad of sticky notes and asking each person to come up with five separate points for each quadrant. Doing this exercise first gives every member of the team a voice while reducing the pressure of “group think.”

To help in your analysis mull over some of the following questions: 

  • What are your most substantial assets?
  • Which of those assets would you consider the strongest and why?
  • What is unique about your company?
  • What advantages do you hold over your competitors?
  • How skilled are your sales team?
  • Which of the business processes are most successful?
  • What are the potential areas for improvement?
  • What is it customers are saying they would like to see more of?
  • Are there any physical or tangible assets the company lacks?
  • Are there skill gaps within the sales team?
  • Where do your competitors have an edge?
  • What are some of the current market trends?
  • Is the market expanding or constricting?
  • Are there any upcoming industry events?
  • Do you need to consider any upcoming regulatory changes?
  • Is your chief competitor losing traction with their customer base?
  • Is there something clear and obvious missing from your market?
  • Are there any competitors that could be a potential threat in the future?
  • Is the current customer base satisfied with your services?
  • Is the sales team happy?
  • Is customer behavior changing?
  • Are there any legal threats facing the company in the near future?

Once you’ve completed this exercise, you should end up with a prioritized list of points up for debate amongst the leadership group. You can then convert these points to real-time strategy and add actionable objectives to the sales strategy plan.

Go-to-Customer Strategy

This section of the sales strategy plans focuses on how, as an organization, you can most effectively reach your target customer base.

Figuring out the pros and cons, risks, and costs to all the possible routes to your customers is an extremely time-consuming, complex task. Sales directors must look at:

  • Field sales
  • Inside sales
  • Channel partners

Each route also has its subset of implementations, such as SDRs, territory account management, product specialists, outsourced lead scoring, the primary account managers…the list is truly endless!

What’s more, the go-to-customer strategy is a continually evolving process that needs constant revision to match real-time market changes.

Fortunately for us, sales author David Brock came up with three questions to help analyze core issues within the customer-go-to strategy:

  • How do we find and engage all our target customers?
  • What’s the most effective method in engaging them?
  • How can we achieve this at the lowest possible cost/risk?  

So let’s start by answering our first question. 

To do that, we need to know who our customers are. Now, this doesn’t include everyone; you need to identify your company’s “ sweet spot .” What is your company the absolute best at doing in the world, and who benefits from it?

As soon as we begin to move away from that sweet spot, the quicker the win rate plummets and the costlier the sales cycle becomes.

To answer the second question, we need to look at our customer’s buying process. How do they initiate contact with the business? Is the first touch online, or through outreach via the outside sales team? How do they want to buy from us? 

The simplest and easiest way to find out is by asking your customers. 

Finally, after settling on the customer’s preferred method or process of engagement, how can we achieve this with the lowest cost/risk? The most economic risk deployment model is rarely the cheapest, so strike a balance between both customer and budget allowance.

Now that we’ve taken an in-depth look at our organizational objectives, market positioning, customers, and devised a go-to strategy, it’s time to put this all together with some actionable goals.

Setting  goals for sales reps  is mandatory. Not only as necessary incentives that push them to the limit, but also for keeping their activity aligned to overall business objectives.

This is why all sales goals should follow the SMART principle:

TIME-SENSITIVE 

The more specific you can be when setting sales goals, the more likely your team is to hit them. 

Their primary goal is probably to increase revenue. So instead of giving them an arbitrary figure, ask yourself how much would you like to increase revenue? By when? Why? And How? The more specific you can be, the better.

To evaluate your field sales team’s progress, asses them against some form of quantitative yardstick. If not, how can we know they’re on track or, more importantly, if they are falling short, how we can interject and provide the necessary support?

When setting goals, directors need to toe a fine line between ambition and reality. Yes, we want ambitious objectives that force our reps to go above and beyond what’s expected, but on the flip side, set them too high, and it has the opposite effect – demoralizing and alienating the team from management.

Find that sweet spot somewhere in the middle, and you’ll find your reps much more driven to carry out your sales strategy plan.

The sales goals directors and managers set have to be tied to a relevant, quantitative objective. It goes back to the point I made earlier regarding corporate alignment. If the sales strategy plan fails to execute the bigger picture set out by the company executives, then its future success and longevity are put in jeopardy.

Let’s take a look at a quick example.

Imagine our corporate team tasks us with increasing market share by 20% over the next financial year. 

As sales directors, we must decide on the most cost-effective yet risk-averse strategy to achieve that goal. One option would be to increase our Share of Wallet by  boosting customer retention  figures or reducing churn. 

Now, an actionable sales objective for our reps would be to improve our customer satisfaction ranking, or in other words, where a customer places us against our competitors in loyalty and satisfaction.

Setting relevant sales goals

Time-Sensitive

Finally, our sales goals need an expiry date. If sales reps believe they have all year to hit their objectives, then where’s the incentive? Again, it will need to be achievable as I alluded to earlier, but with just enough stick to get things moving at the business end of the quarter.

Well, I hope that’s given you a head start when developing your next sales strategy plan! Just remember, there is no one-size-fits-all sales plan. Customize the sales strategy plan template provided to fit your needs, those of the organization, and their goals. 

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  • Marketing and Sales Strategy
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10 Steps to Create a Complete Sales and Marketing Business Plan [Templates included]

Jump to the end of the post to get access to our free sales and marketing business plan templates.

Turning an idea into a functional business requires laser-sharp focus. You must take care of development, marketing, sales, customer success, and whatnot. 

While most entrepreneurs start with some form of a plan, they often forget about it soon after. 

Blame it on changing dynamics, trial and error to find a product-market fit, or blatant ignorance. But overlooking the planning process is a sure shot reason for failure — as the common saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.

An essential part of this document is the sales and marketing segment. The sales and marketing plan outlines everything you need to do to promote your products and generate revenue for your business. 

Why do you need a sales and marketing plan? 

Having a revolutionary product that solves a genuine problem is great. But it won’t mean anything if people don’t know about you. 

A sales and marketing plan helps you get discovered, structure your activities, and move forward with your growth goals. 

It’s more or less like a roadmap about what you should do to make things work in your favor. 

Your sales and marketing plan will help you: 

  • Identify the bridge between where you are today and where you want to reach your business goals. 
  • Get much-needed clarity and avoid conflicts and confusion in case of any disruptions.
  • Gain and document insights about your target audience, industry, trends, costs, etc. 
  • Justify your business model in front of investors and lenders in case you need to raise funds.
  • Stay focused on a north star metric, improvise growth tactics and achieve harmony between various growth activities. 
  • Promote sales and marketing alignment.

Your sales and marketing plan would also help you avoid distractions and save time and money lost. 

And you know how easy it is to lose direction and get distracted when starting or running a startup. Documenting everything as a plan will help avoid confusion and add clarity to your everyday affairs and long-term mission. 

However, different companies need different plans based on the stage of operations and their unique growth goals. 

Pre-revenue (Pre-seed and seed stage) , finding product-market fit, generating the first set of customers.
Growth (Growth and Fundraising Stage)Reduce churn, expand your team, optimize processes, and justify your spending to investors.

A clear marketing and sales plan promotes alignment between marketing and sales departments at every stage . This reduces resource waste and creates fewer “blame-game ” occasions in your meetups. 

What to include in the marketing & sales plan? 

Planning is a subjective activity. 

You’d receive several different answers if you read, talk to, and consult multiple experts on what to include in your marketing and sales plan. 

So, how should you decide which elements to include in your marketing/sales plan? 

Let’s take a step back and understand the “why” of planning. 

You need a plan so you don’t get confused and can keep walking towards your goal.

Your plan should: 

  • Serve as a roadmap for everything related to sales and marketing for the first few months if you’re just starting. 
  • Outline and articulate the core strategies you’ll experiment with, the desired outcome, and the KPIs to measure performance. 
  • Set realistic KPIs, outcomes, and objectives based on market understanding, competition, funding requirements, and your target audience’s pain points. 

Marketing plan for your startup: The what and why

In an ideal world, every penny you spend in marketing should enhance your visibility, take you closer to your audience,  and increase your conversion rates. 

But in reality, it takes a lot of effort, time, and investment to make it happen. 

A marketing plan helps you navigate through the tricky maze called marketing without getting lost in the process. 

Basically, you build a marketing plan to gain enlightenment about how you’ll promote and stay relevant to your audience. 

You do it beforehand so that when things get tricky, you have a directional beacon to guide you.  

Creating any plan should start with an understanding of the purpose. The same applies to marketing, too. Try to find the reason behind marketing your product – why are you working towards your goal. 

Knowing your why would help you gain clarity – an essential element for the success of any activity on the planet. Before you begin, you should try to find answers to the following questions: 

  • Why are you making the marketing plan?
  • What do you want to accomplish with the marketing?
  • What will be the value proposition? 
  • What are the goals that we want to achieve?

These answers will allow you to think better and prepare for strategizing your plan with a better perspective. 

Also, while at it, remember that your marketing plan is not a rigid document etched in stone. Instead, it’s a result of an iterative process that depends on five fundamental aspects: 

1. Product: What are you marketing? 

The product section should explain what you are selling exactly. 

  • What do you sell? 
  • How is your offering different from your competitors?
  • What are the benefits your potential customers would derive from your offerings? 
  • What is your core USP? 

Answering these questions would help you craft a great positioning statement and marketing message for your marketing campaigns. 

2. Place: Where are you available? 

This section should outline where you will sell or market your products. How will you get customers to reach out to buy your product or service? 

Though this will depend on the nature of business — online or offline, manufacturing or services, answers to the following questions would help you gain clarity: 

  • Where will you be available for your customers? 
  • Which distribution channels would you use to be more accessible to customers? 
  • What percentage of sales/conversions do you expect from different distribution/marketing channels? 

3. Price: How much will you charge? 

This is an essential part of your planning process. Your pricing decisions would decide how you will generate revenue for your startup . 

Your pricing decision should be based on market analysis, competition, value offering, buying behavior, etc. 

  • What will be the pricing model you’ll adopt to generate revenue? 
  • What is the most favorable price point that your customers are ready to pay for your offering? 
  • Will you make any profit/loss at this price point? 
  • How soon can you break even based on your pricing strategy? 

4. Promotion: How will you promote your offering? 

You can have the best product, but no one would care if you’re not promoting it. 

Moreover, one of the primary reasons to create a marketing plan is to help you promote your offering. 

  • Who is your target audience? 
  • How will your reach your target audience? 
  • What strategies will you adopt to convert your audience into customers? 
  • Which channels of promotions will you use to promote your offerings? 
  • How much will you spend on promotions and marketing? 
  • What will be your team structure for the next quarter, year, and long term?
  • How will you track the marketing effectiveness? 

5. People: Who will do the marketing?  

While most marketing plans you see out there would cover the traditional 4Ps of marketing, often the fifth P, people, is ignored. 

And you know there’s no growth or promotion without your team – your people. 

This aspect should help you understand your current capabilities and the resources needed in your team. Think about how you will find them, their responsibilities, and where they stand in the big picture. 

  • Who will do the marketing for you? 
  • What do you look for in a human resource?
  • At what point do you start expanding the team? 
  • Who are you going to hire first?
  • How do you plan to hire for marketing? 
  • What will be the core responsibilities and KPIs for your team? 
  • How will you set KPIs/OKRs and analyze your team’s performance? 

Sales plan for your startup: The what and the why

Your sales plan would help you generate revenues from your marketing efforts by completing the journey from generating leads to turning them into customers. 

A sales plan defines your sales goals, the strategies you’d bet on, your desired results, your challenges, the solutions you have for them, and the structure (people, budget, process, and tools) you need.

Your sales plan would cover everything you need to register sales and generate revenue for your business. 

A sales plan is created to: 

  • Provide a strategic direction to your sales team
  • Define the core objectives and goals in terms of sales 
  • Outline roles and responsibilities
  • Analyze and measure your wins in terms of sales. 

These reasons help you succeed more than experimental businesses that beat around the bush while trying to make things work in a world where everyone’s selling something. To ensure your sales plan is effective, it should include: 

1. Sales goals — What do you want to achieve? 

Like any other activity in the world, your sales planning process should also revolve around the end goals for sales

Saying that you want more customers is a generic goal that doesn’t have any tangible metrics attached. Moreover, saying that you wish for more sales is too broad a goal that would involve outlining several action steps. 

So, it’s always better to have a SMART goal and break it down into tangible, measurable, and KPI-driven objectives. You can say that you want to: 

  • Nurture 10% more MQLs into SQLs, and ultimately, customers.
  • Reduce your churn rates by 5% before the end of Q1.
  • Expand your sales team with 3 people to nurture and convert leads faster — reduce time to conversion by 5 days.
  • Increase the customer lifetime value through upsells or cross-sells by $200.
  • Expand your sales activities into new territories or regions.
  • Optimize your pricing strategy to improve your conversion rates by 8% for new accounts.

2. Tactics — The process and activities

This segment will include the specific tactics, processes, and activities you’ll use to generate revenue for your business . 

A solid understanding of your target audience, goals, and capabilities would help you discover exciting and profitable tactics for your industry. 

Try to pick and choose the tactics in line with your ideal customer profile. You can conduct a survey and get insights from your marketing team to align your sales efforts accordingly. 

An aligned sales and marketing team will help you accelerate sales enablement and strike gold with more leads, higher conversions, and better results. 

Interested in exploring new sales tactics? Read this blog on popular sales strategies and techniques for your business. 

3. Timelines — The time you’ll need to make things happen

A plan without a timeline is just a wish. You must link your goals, tactics, and sales strategies with realistic deadlines. This will ensure that everyone’s motivated to work towards your goals. 

Keep all the stakeholders in the loop by developing a realistic growth goal and attaching a practical timeline to it. 

While you’re at it, don’t forget to assign one person who’ll be responsible for ensuring compliance. 

This tactic is known differently in business circles. 

Some call it a key Point of Contact (POC) for an activity; others call this person a Directly Responsible Individual (DRI). 

Another popular approach includes assigning OKR (Objective and Key Results) to an individual in a team who owns up the responsibility of making this happen. 

Whatever you may do, make sure you are realistic, practical, and sensible in creating achievable deadlines for your sales teams. 

Failure to do so would lead to dissatisfaction among sales team members, ultimately harming your bottom line. 

4. KPIs — the metrics you’ll track to determine success 

KPIs will help you understand if your sales tactics align with your revenue generation goals. These metrics help enhance sales teams’ performance, optimize the sales funnels, and improve conversion rate. 

If you want a solid sales plan, you need to tie everyone (and everything) to a tangible sales metric. 

You also need to ensure proper sales and marketing alignment so that all your marketing spends get attributed to some kind of improvement in KPIs. 

Here are some questions and corresponding KPIs you can think of adding to your sales plan: 

Is your business growth steady? MRR, ARR
Are you setting sales targets and tracking them? Closed deals, close rate velocity
How much does a new customer cost? Cost
What is your average revenue per user?Average Order Value or Average Revenue per Order
How much do you expect to earn per customer?Customer Lifetime Value
How many customers do you lose in a particular period?Churn Rate
How long is your current sales cycle, and how to shorten it?Average Sales Cycle Length 
Is your lead quality adequate?Lead to Opportunity Ratio
How many qualified leads end up becoming paying customers?Opportunity to win ratio
Are you converting enough leads into paying customers?Lead conversion ratio 

If you track these KPIs well, you’ll understand the challenges better, predict future problems, and get better at generating revenues from your sales activities. 

Moreover, the answers you gather and the KPIs would help you keep an eye on the overall efficiency of the sales process and build a strong sales team. 

Apart from these standard inclusions to your sales plan, you can also add the following information: 

  • Team structure: How big your sales team should be, and what will be the responsibility (job role and KPIs) of each member of the team? 
  • Resources/tools required : What tools and resources do you need to execute the sales tactics and strategies you’ve planned? 
  • Current market trends: How is the present market regarding customer interest in your product, competition landscape, and overall sentiment in your industry? 

Rethinking the traditional plan for digital businesses, service companies, and SaaS startups 

The traditional ways of creating a sales and marketing plan are geared more toward the product economy. 

Today, most businesses don’t even have a physical “product”.

Distribution and conversion cycles are not so simple, too.

The sales and marketing ecosystem has transitioned from a single-sales mindset to a culture of lead nurturing , upsells/cross-sells, and experiences to enhance the customer’s lifetime value. 

Even users don’t look at companies, products, and solutions like they used to anymore. 

Don’t you think the old ways should be reimagined? 

In his book, Subscribed, Tien Tzuo mentions how the world economy is transitioning to a digital era powered by subscription-based startups and digital businesses.

Naturally, with changing consumer mindset, the traditional business planning models (including sales and marketing plans) should change, too. 

There has been a hot debate about reimagining marketing and sales operations for the future — digital businesses, SaaS products, and the subscription economy. 

PADRE is a promising framework with all the elements of a traditional business plan, reimagined for the modern digital economy. 

The PADRE framework keeps the customer at the heart of everything and divides all activities (including sales and marketing) into eight subsets: 

  • Position: How will you create awareness, turn it into demand for your product and build a pipeline of leads? 
  • Acquire: What is your ICPs buyer’s journey? How will you address their pain points and turn them into customers? 
  • Deploy : How will you onboard , service, and delight your customers as efficiently as possible so they can use your product, service, or SaaS quickly?   
  • Run:  How will you ensure that your customers get what they expect (and deserve) from your product or service? 
  • Expand: How will you grow your company through retention, growth, and customer advocacy? 
  • Product: How will you evolve your product, service, or offering and manage everything? 
  • People:   How will you recruit, onboard, train, and retain the best talent to serve your customers? 
  • Money: Where and how will you fund and fulfill your need for running and growing your business most efficiently? 

If you look at the PADRE model carefully, it has almost all the elements discussed above for sales and marketing plans, just in a different way. This differentiation makes more sense for a dynamic digital business than the traditional sales and marketing business plan. 

You can take ideas from the PADRE model to create your version of a dynamic business plan based on your unique business idea. 

10 steps to create a solid sales and marketing plan

Regardless of your approach to creating a business plan, you will have to gather data, make some important decisions, and collate everything together. 

Remember, your sales and marketing plan is a living document that should be revisited repeatedly for optimization. 

Here are the steps you can take to create an actionable plan based on the insights shared above: 

Step 1: Gather data based on company insights and external trends

“Always measure the depth of the pool you’re diving in!” 

Before you start planning your sales and marketing observing and documenting macro-level industry trends is a must. It will give you an understanding and insight into what to expect in the future. 

You can use industry insight to strengthen your assumptions, understand the market, add clarity to your sales and marketing mix, and refine your plan. 

Always look for industry insights around sales and marketing trends — what worked in the past, how things are changing, and what future trends will drive growth. While industry trends are not a full-proof solution, it gives you a direction to provide a concrete shape to your plans. 

Use industry trends to add “meat” to your hypothesis, and see if you can get data about: 

  • Consumer behavior and psychology that drives sales. Use the Facebook Ads manager audience tool to find your audience’s topics of interest and behavior trends.
  • Psychographic analysis of your target audience.
  • Marketing effectiveness of different channels. You can use platforms like Similarweb to peak into the traffic sources of your competitors and get an estimated idea of the volume.
  • Sales trends of lateral and complimenting businesses. 
  • Competitor analysis, including their past financial performance and effectiveness in generating revenue. 
What to look for?Compare your past performance with salient industry trends to identify potential for improvement in your marketing and sales tactics.Competitor performance in sales and marketing to identifying industry benchmarks to define your key metrics and goals
Where to look for data?Your previous year’s balance sheet
P&L statement
Budgeting charts
Past sales/marketing plans
Industry reports 
Competitor analysis reports 
Industry reports and trend charts 
Secondary research sources like market studies 
Personal interviews and case studies with entrepreneurs in the same niche 
Financial and systematic analysis of competitors in the same niche

Step 2: Create your ideal customer profile (ICP) 

As a business owner, you must know everything about your target audience. 

Without a deep understanding of your ICP, you could end up like a door-to-door salesman trying to sell but end up annoying everyone. 

This information helps you take the necessary steps to add context and relevance to your marketing and sales plan. 

You should break up your ideal customer persona (ICP) into several sections covering all aspects of your persona’s — the demographic profile, what they think, believe, and trust in, their needs, motivations, drives, and psychographic profile. 

Sample questions for building an Ideal Customer Profile

DemographicPsychographic
Who is your ideal customer? 

Where do they live?

What do they do? 

What age group they’re in? 
What do they believe in? 

What motivates and drives them to take action?

Have they ever boycotted a brand because they’ve acted unethically?

Do they pay more attention to the price or quality of the items you buy?

Where do they go for advice on which products to buy?

Do they prioritize their family, work, or social life?
Which activity do they do most often when they have free time?

Do they actively seek new experiences or prefer to stick with what they know they enjoy?

Knowing your audience allows you to talk the way they want to be talked to. Also, you get to understand what makes them buy, their problems and pain points, and where they spend most of their time. All this is crucial for creating an effective marketing strategy. 

You can even use this knowledge to segment your audience personas and personalize your marketing campaigns — a powerful tactic to market your brand in 2022. 

Step 3: Assess your current situation 

Once you’ve gathered data and foresight, start the self-introspection process. 

Ask yourself where you stand in your startup journey. 

✓ How is your business performing right now? 

✓ Are you performing according to your revenue estimates and KPIs? 

✓ Do your business and revenue generation efforts align with market and industry trends? Do they need to align?

✓ Are you marketing and selling where your customers are looking for options? 

✓ What are your strengths and weaknesses? 

✓ What challenges are you facing in getting your business to the next level? 

✓ Is there any better way of doing things than you do now? 

All these questions will give you ideas to start the actual planning process. Moreover, you’d understand if whatever you did was even worth it. 

Step 4: Define metric-driven objectives and goals

Have you ever traveled without a destination? 

Well, maybe you have. But that’s not how you run a business. You need to have an exact destination in mind — where you’re headed to. 

That’s why having an objective and goal is essential for making a sales and marketing plan. Tangible and realistic goal-setting should be the #1 priority of anyone trying to succeed as an entrepreneur. 

Your goals will will allow you to track if you’re making a real impact on your business. Plus, having a metric-driven goal gives you an understanding of what you need to do for success. 

Your goals and objectives should be tied to your business vision and mission.

Often, we see there’s a misalignment between sales and marketing objectives. That leads to confusion and, thus, poor performance. Hence setting a SMART goal is critical for ensuring clarity.

SMART objectives for your sales and marketing plans should be: 

  • Specific: The goal is clearly defined, and everyone within your team understands the goal and its importance. 
  • Measurable: The goal/objective should be tied to key performance indicators (KPIs) and visibly measurable.
  •  Achievable: Being realistic is an important factor in setting an attainable goal. Look at your team’s ability, budget, and current situation to ensure the goal is within your limits. Setting the bar too high will only lead to disappointment and wasted time and effort. 
  • Relevant: Your objectives should be aligned with your business vision and mission. If your marketing and sales aren’t aligned to your bigger picture, it will lead to losses (and potential conflicts). 
  • Time-bound: Any objective you define must have a clear timeline, which means there should be a start and end date. Without that, your goal is just a wish. 

Step 5: Determine metrics for success (KPIs) 

You know you need to measure your goals and objectives in real-time. 

That would ensure everything’s on track and help you red flag any deviations from your desired path. 

But setting a measurable KPI for any business is a tricky business in itself. Especially when there’s a lot to plan in sales and marketing, and every business is different. 

KPI or key performance indicators should be planned based on industry best practices, prevailing marketing trends, and taking stakeholders in confidence. 

You can align standard industry KPIs with your business or marketing/sales goals to create your version of KPIs that will objectify your success figures. 

Standard Goals and KPIs you should track

Increase sales total number of first sales calls your sales department completed

total number of closing calls your sales department completed

number of contracts sent to prospects

total number of contracts signed versus sent
Grow brand awarenessNumber of guest posts on relevant websites with good DA 
Percentage increase in referral traffic 
Generate leads  : total number of new leads brought in

: percentage change in lead generation compared to other time frames.

: amount of money spent to acquire one new lead

: percentage of your traffic that becomes a lead after visiting your website

: total number of leads that marketing accepts as qualified.

: total number of leads that sales accepts as qualified.
Improve website performance number of visits to your website

the number of unique people who visit your website

average number of pages a website visitor views on your website

percentage of website visitors who leave your site after viewing only one page

the average amount of time that website visitors stay on your site
Increase social media engagement the number of new followers/fans acquired over a certain period.

number of comments on your social posts 

number of times your social content was shared

number of leads generated through your social campaigns and posts

percentage of your website traffic referred by social media sites
Acquire New Customers Customers acquired over a certain period

Percentage change of new customers compared to other time frames.

the amount of money spent to acquire a new customer

percentage of leads that become paying customers
Increase the customer lifetime value number of customers who return to buy something from you

percentage of customers who renew their subscriptions 

average amount customers spend on buying your products or services over their lifetime.

Always ensure that each KPI you track links to the bigger picture — where and how it contributes to your business’s mission and mission. This will add relevance to your sales and marketing plans giving you more accurate insights for the future periods.

Step 6: Build a forecasting model

Forecasting is an activity that predicts what your sales and marketing efforts will lead to on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. 

Creating a sales or marketing forecast involves taking the opinions of industry leaders, financial consultants, CPAs, marketers, sales managers, and your team members. It also will involve studying and analyzing the insights you gathered in step one.

A forecast will help you make better hiring decisions, budget for your expansion in a better way, and linearly predict your revenues. You can also add dynamic variables to the forecasts to analyze how your KPIs would perform under real-life situations. 

Creating a forecasting and budgeting model for your sales and marketing team is highly essential to keep things in check. However, it would be best if you didn’t fall into the lure of creating forecasts for more extended periods as things are changing quite rapidly, especially after COVID-19. 

Better to create a forecast for a quarter, review it based on actual expenses and performance, and keep iterating. You can also take advantage of popular forecasting tools for more accurate models. 

Step 7: Identify gaps within your assumptions 

By this step, you’d have a clear idea about your capabilities, the goals you want to achieve, the industry trends and the forecasts for the future.

This will give you an opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of your sales and marketing activities in terms of your revenue growth. 

You can use this information to plug in gaps because of your assumptions and biases, analyze what’s required and the challenges you’d face to make things happen. 

Identifying gaps between your existing situation and your goals based on forecasts would help you make informed decisions. 

You can choose to hire more people in sales and marketing, increase your budget, try new marketing tactics, or even start an entirely different lead generation and nurturing channel to achieve your goals. 

Step 8: Create a team structure and involve stakeholders. 

The most important part of the planning process is to understand your capabilities. If you’ve assessed your current scenario correctly, you’ll have a clear picture of who’s responsible for growth, marketing, sales, etc. 

And if you’re just starting, this is a great time to start planning a structure for your marketing and sales team, starting with: 

  • How many people will be needed for each team? 
  • Who will be responsible for specific KPIs?
  • What will be the responsibilities of each member of the team? 
  • How will teams communicate with each other and ensure alignment between efforts? 
  • How will the performance be measured? 
  • What are the challenges marketing and sales teams face in your company (or industry)? 
  • How will expansion needs be identified?  

Remember, if you’re just starting to build a team and have existing team members, take them in confidence and involve every stakeholder before creating a structure.

The more aligned and closely knit your sales and marketing, the faster you achieve your growth goals. 

  • Build a Strong B2B Marketing Organization Structure for Modern Teams
  • Sales Operations Responsibilities: Roles, duties, and obstacles
  • Revenue Operations Roles: Who do you need to build a RevOp team?

Step 9: Outline action items 

By this step, you’re almost done with the planning. You just need to answer two more questions:

  • What do you need to do to achieve your goals? 
  • How will you do what you need to do? 

This means outlining action steps, developing marketing and sales tactics, and finalizing the cogs required to run your marketing/sales engine. 

You can start by putting together a rough draft of all the insights you’ve gathered, the available resources, the budget, best industry practices, trends, and growth projections. This will give you foresight into what can work in your favour. 

Build a list of action steps that you need to take to move in the direction of your goals. 

1. Create marketing collateral 

2. Set up analytics and UTM parameters

3. Strategize a marketing campaign 
1. Write a sales call script 

2. Utilize sales enablement tools 

3. Increase the number of upsells 

Step 10: Identify and implement tools and systems

Okay! This is the last step of the planning process. After this, you will be left with the exact steps you need to take daily to achieve your KPIs. 

But don’t take this step lightly. Think of this as the building blocks of a bridge that would take you from “here” to “there”. 

You’ll need to make a list of tools, systems, and solutions you’d need to make things happen. 

For example, if you’ve concluded that you need to set up a lead nurture campaign , you need a tool or platform that makes that happen. 

You’ll need to evaluate the available options and pick a tool that aligns with your goals and budget. 

While picking up any tool, make sure that it should: 

  • Save time, money, or effort for your marketing and sales team members.
  • Have prominent success stories and case studies that closely relate to your goals, tactics, and life stage.
  • Is reliable and doesn’t use any under-the-hood tactics to make things happen. 
  • Has an active developer and customer success team.
  • Is supported by a thriving public community of happy users. 

Make sure that whatever tech stack you’re finalizing has a solid mechanism to track success and your KPIs. 

This will help you ascertain success quicker. Also, communicate with all the stakeholders about the tools and success metrics. 

Ready-to-use sales and marketing plan templates

To make things easy for you, we have prepared comprehensive templates for both your sales and marketing plans. To download the template click on the links below and duplicate the document. Then, fill in the blanks.

Download the Marketing Plan Template

Download the Sales Plan Template

Your sales and marketing plan is a living document. Keep revisiting! 

If you’ve come this far with your planning, you should have a functional plan for supercharging your marketing and sales operations in the coming weeks and months.. 

But remember, sales and marketing planning isn’t a one-time activity. Keep optimizing your plans with fresh insights to stay on track with changing dynamics. And don’t forget to track the right metrics and KPIs.

A marketing automation platform like Encharge can help you to execute your marketing and sales plans. Don’t believe us. Check the success stories to see how others businesses are amping up their marketing and sales game now.

Meet your new marketing automation platform

“encharge helped us visually redesign our onboarding flow resulting in a 10% increase in our trial activation rate .", leveraging data to understand and reduce customer churn in b2b saas.

In the fast-paced world of B2B SaaS, keeping customers on board can be quite the hurdle. According to KBCM’s Survey,

Product Screen Shot

14 Best Sales Strategies, Examples & Templates to Close More Deals

14 Best Sales Strategies, Examples & Templates to Close More Deals

Well, well, well. Is this yet another blog post serving up lukewarm sales strategies like “All ways be closing!” and all that jazz?

Maybe we’re trying to convince you of the one, perfect, top-secret sales strategy that’ll take your business from $1,000 in monthly sales to $1 billion in just three easy steps! 

Nah, we’re not doing that one either. 

Wanna know what I’ve learned in more than a decade of both selling and leading sales teams? Neither of those two BS approaches make any sense in the real world.

The truth is, an effective sales strategy is much more than just a single activity. It's a combination of understanding your audience, using tactics that appeal to them, and testing to see how those strategies help you reach your sales goals .  

It’s not sexy and it doesn’t lend itself to flashy headlines, but it works.

Whether you’re perfecting your cold email outreach , aligning with your marketing team, or learning how to follow up and increase your close rate—all of these strategies need to feed into your larger plan to actually close more deals.

Stick around. We’re about to break down how the best companies create winning sales strategies with real examples and free templates you can actually use. 

What is a Sales Strategy?

A sales strategy is a combination of the methods and tactics sales reps use to strategically close deals. It includes planning who you'll sell to, how you’ll engage with them, and what the buying process will look like.

A sales strategy includes things like:

  • Having clear buyer personas
  • Knowing which sales pitch and value proposition to use
  • Developing a plan to identify qualified leads
  • Planning out the steps in your sales pipeline
  • Setting realistic sales goals

In short, sales managers can create an effective strategy by testing and implementing different sales tactics and showing their team how to use them to get the best results. It’s not groundbreaking, but it does require you to know what the hell you’re doing. 

What are the Benefits of Using a Clearly Defined Sales Strategy? 

If this still feels a little hard to put into practice, stick around. We’ll talk specific strategies in a bit. But first, let’s talk about the benefits. A well-defined sales strategy results in: 

  • Higher conversion rates ✅
  • A clearer understanding of your target customers ✅
  • Actionable tasks for each team member ✅
  • Easier reporting on team performance within the sales strategy ✅
  • Improved sales training and hiring initiatives ✅

Types of Sales Strategies: Inbound vs Outbound

Ah, yes. The inbound vs outbound dilemma. Do you go out and grab prospects—or wait for them to come to you? 

Whether you’re a small business serving local customers or a SaaS company looking to drive B2B sales , you’ll want to consider both an inbound and outbound sales plan . These are the two main ways to sell, so getting this right is the first step. 

An inbound sales strategy should be used when new leads come organically into your pipeline via a form on your website, email, or free trial signup. Align your sales tactics with your marketing strategy, and new potential customers will flow easily through the sales funnel to become qualified leads (and eventually, customers!)

Moreover, several  recent data privacy statistics  suggest that consumers are more likely to support companies that prioritize data privacy. Thus, make sure the way you collect data from inbound sales follows all applicable data privacy laws. Also, you should post a privacy policy on your site so users know what data you collect and how and why it’s being used.

An outbound sales strategy is best when you don’t have a bunch of leads coming in already. It involves actively contacting potential customers through cold emails, cold calls, social selling, and more.

The trick? It’s not an either-or situation. A great sales strategy includes a bit of both , but the best option will depend on the demographic you sell to and your team’s capabilities.

Create professional and effective cold emails with our cold email generator . Try it to get real-world-ready emails you can use today!

Free Download: Sales Strategy Template 

Want to create your own sales strategy or simply revamp the one you’ve got? You’re in luck—we’ve made a free sales strategy template just for you. With this, you can:

  • Develop an ideal customer profile
  • Create a clear value proposition
  • Establish sales benchmarks with clear KPIs
  • Set up a process for qualification and closing

Go ahead and download it now, and throughout the rest of this article, we’ll show you exactly how to take these strategies across the finish line.

14 Best Sales Strategies From Top Sales Leaders & Entrepreneurs

Some sales strategies come and go with the bestselling book of the week or the rise of new tech. Others are here to stay—rooted in hard psychological principles that explain what really motivates people to buy.

My advice? Don’t fall into the shiny objects trap. While testing new sales strategies is a good thing, getting distracted by every new strategy is a death sentence for your company. Instead, use a mix of new strategies and the old faithful ones (like lead scoring or value-based selling.) 

Today, we’ll share 14 proven sales strategies that real entrepreneurs and successful startups use to grow their brands , plus sales strategy examples so you can see these strategies in action. 

Moreover, understanding how to effectively sell products internationally online emerges as a pivotal factor in augmenting sales in today's global marketplace.

1. Target Small, Niche Markets

When starting out, it’s tempting to think, “Our offering is for everyone!” After all, any customers are good customers, right? 

Gonna have to drop a hard truth on you—more isn’t better. (At least not always. I’ll take more revenue, please.) 

Instead of attacking prospects of all different shapes and sizes, find customers who share a common pain point—one that you can uniquely address. Then, target those specific niche markets. Your sales team can develop a niche-specific pitch and dramatically increase the effectiveness of their cold outreach .

Worried that niching down too early could limit your options? Entrepreneur and marketer, Pat Flynn shares, “It’s great to think big and shoot for the stars, but when it comes to niche selection, you can get more results, faster, by thinking specialized.”

Here’s an example of a company that made this sales strategy work in the real world:

2. Use Lead Scoring to Prioritize Prospects

Think about the last time you looked at your sales pipeline. Did you get overwhelmed by all the emails you need to send, calls to return, and meetings to set up? 

If that sounds familiar, you might need to focus on lead scoring to prioritize your sales activities. 

While qualifying your sales prospects , lead scoring helps prioritize your prospects based on the strongest possibility for closing the sale quickly—before beginning your outreach efforts. This lets you spend more time focused on leads that are likely to close. 

Lead scoring is a process of ranking inbound leads on a scale of 1 to 100 based on their characteristics and behavior. Ranking factors might include:

  • Job title or role
  • Specific actions that indicate intent
  • Company size

After you’ve scored your leads, prioritize the highest-scoring leads. These people should be in your target audience and have given some indication they'll make a purchase.

We recommend contacting new sales-qualified leads (SQLs) within 24 hours. That way, you can answer their questions, overcome their objections, and walk them through how your offering can help them reach their goals.

Pro tip: Automate a “hot list” for fresh leads that are shared with your team. Our team uses Smart Views in Close to make sure that inbound leads get contacted quickly. Try it yourself with a free 14-day trial .

Here’s an example of one sales team using lead scoring to prioritize outreach:

3. Develop Effective Sales Sequences for Follow-Ups

The best follow-up strategy: keep reaching out until you get a response. 

I’m going to say that again, just for good measure: follow up until you get a response. 

Following up is the backbone of any good sales strategy. Having a couple of good sales calls with your prospect only to let them silently drop off the face of the planet is a death spiral for your sales strategy.

To build a follow-up strategy that’s measurable and effective, you can create template sales sequences. Inside your CRM, like Close, you can build out a series of emails and SMS messages that are sent to your prospect at a regular frequency. You can even include phone calls in your sequences, and the assigned rep will be prompted to make the call when the time comes.

workflow-to-dos

TRY WORKFLOWS IN CLOSE WITH A FREE 14-DAY TRIAL→

Here’s an example of this sales strategy put into practice :

4. Build a Consultative Selling Strategy

You’re not just a salesperson—you’re a problem solver for your prospects. When you take this approach, you shift from being “just a salesperson” to becoming a consultant, a friend, a trusted source of information. 

Your primary objective— be helpful.

Focus on customer experience . How do customers feel when they’re using your product or service? How do they feel when you’re talking to them? Hell, offer them value even if you don’t think it will help you close the deal. 

SaaS founder and co-host of The Startup Chat podcast Hiten Shah says, 

“The best salespeople have always been helpful. When you're selling a product or service, it's hard to go wrong if you're genuinely looking to help the other person. That's really when selling becomes more than just sales. It becomes all about building a genuine, meaningful relationship instead of just selling what you have to someone.”

A good sales strategy is long-term; there’s no substitute for making a positive lasting impression. Don’t miss out on a future potential sale because you weren’t helpful.

Sometimes, being a consultative salesperson means saying no to a deal. Here’s one real-world example:

Check out this video for two more examples of consultative selling in the real world:

5. Use the PAS Framework for Outreach 

I like frameworks—they’re kind of like bumpers in a bowling alley that help you hit the mark every time. One of my favorites is PAS. 

P-A-S stands for Problem-Agitate-Solution. In this sales strategy, your goal is to identify the prospect’s biggest problems and position your product as the best possible solution to them—if indeed that’s true. The three stages of the PAS framework are: 

  • Problem : Identify and clearly state the #1 problem your product solves for prospects.
  • Agitate : Highlight how dangerous the problem is and remind prospects about all the negative implications it can have.
  • Solution : Position your product as the solution to their specific problem.

Remember: the PAS framework isn’t about generating false problems or convincing people to buy into your business idea out of misplaced fear. Instead, the goal is to identify business problems, show what could happen if those problems aren’t solved, and explain how your product can genuinely help them.

Here’s an example of a company using this formula to state its business mission in a short, clear way that resonates with its target audience:

6. Develop a Value-Based Selling Strategy

A value-based sales strategy puts the needs of your customer base ahead of everything else. Which, honestly? This is how it should always be. Sellers using this method focus on education, not sales, and put in extra time to listen to their prospects' needs and wants.

The point is to add value in one of these four ways:

  • Money saved
  • Risk reduced
  • Qualitative value

Of course, value-based selling isn’t for everyone—to do it right, you’ll need to invest some serious time getting to know your prospects and customers. That said, it works really well for sales organizations selling to large accounts , and research shows that 87 percent of high-growth companies use this strategy. 

Here’s an example of a value-based selling strategy in action:

GET YOUR FREE SALES STRATEGY TEMPLATE→

7. Create Real Urgency

“But wait! If you buy now, we’ll include TWO super plush, self-healing, self-washing bathrobes for just $19.99!” 

Sounds lame, right? That’s not what creating a sense of urgency should look like. 

Creating a real sense of urgency means helping your prospect realize why they need your solution right now, and helping them take action by making the next step easy. 

Most people don’t buy until the last possible moment—until they absolutely need your product. After all, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Fair enough—but not great for your bottom line. 

Here are some foundational strategies for creating (real) urgency:

  • Limited enrollment: Offer to get them into your limited program of 10 clients testing a new product.
  • Upcoming price increases: An improved product brings higher value to customers, and you should increase the price . Announce price increases in advance to encourage quick buying decisions.
  • Custom offers: Consider offering a special service, consultation, training sessions, or plan upgrades in exchange for making a decision today.
  • Target decision-makers close to a purchase point: For example, if you sell recruitment services, look for companies who are actively hiring, as they have a more urgent need for what you’re selling.

Here’s a real-life example of using urgency effectively:

8. Upsell Existing Customers

If you could spend $5 to get a new customer, or $1 to keep an existing customer , which would you choose? Unless you’re bad at math, you’ll likely choose the latter. 

Studies show that keeping your customers is five times cheaper than getting new ones, but too many companies are still hustling for new customers while leaving their existing ones in the dark. That math ain’t mathin’. 

Your customers already gave you money. You already have a relationship with them. So, part of any effective sales strategy would include trying to upsell or cross-sell those customers.

For example, if you’re a SaaS company, do you have customers who would benefit from purchasing a higher subscription tier? If you’re running a hair salon, would your regulars want to purchase some of the products you use on their hair? Would your consulting clients benefit from additional training on a new tool in the market?

The goal is to help your customers and clients purchase something that provides real value, or even something that helps them get more value from what they’ve already purchased.

Here’s an example of a business using upselling as a basic sales strategy:

9. Use Free Trials Intelligently 

Incorporating a free trial into your company’s sales strategy can lead to massive gains in paid signups—if you do it right . The goal here isn’t to give your awesome solution for free—rather, you want to give prospects a taste that gets them excited to try the real deal. 

Here are two keys to using a free trial the right way: 

  • Keep it short: The goal of a free trial is to help the right customers commit quickly to a paid plan. Keep your plan short—no more than 14 days—and you’ll increase the likelihood of prospects taking it seriously and truly evaluating your product. Plus, you’ll help tighten that sales cycle .
  • Invest in onboarding: Don’t just leave your customers to poke around alone. Create an onboarding flow with a clear, simple goal to help your prospects get their first small win with your product.

When you limit the timeframe and help prospects experience real results with your product, your conversions will go up, and you can earn more from your free trial. After that—follow up. Reach out to your expired trials to answer any questions, talk through their objections, and help them convert. 

Here’s an example of a company making sure their customers get the most out of their free trial:

10. Develop Consumable Product Demos  

Consider this scenario—you’ve been talking to a sales rep for a few days and they send you an email. “Hey, do you have time this week to schedule a 60 to 90 meeting to do a demo?” 

Sounds exciting, right? Not even a little bit. 

In today’s age, folks don’t want to spend an hour on a meeting to watch a long demo. That’s because today’s sales conversations happen much later in the buyer journey . As your B2B sales force focuses more on selling to Millennials , they’ll see that these buyers are extremely informed and less likely to sit through a drawn-out product demo.

“B2C understands that Millennials just don’t have the attention span for marketing and sales. B2B is trailing behind here,” says Noam Horenczyk of Walnut.io .

The solution? Create short, actionable product demos that meet customers where they are in the buyer’s journey. Weave your discovery questions into your demo, and ramp up your sales process to the speed your customers want to travel.

Here’s an example of a company that took this sales strategy one step further:

close-demo-cta

11. Build Relationships With Key Partners

A partner program can be pretty easy to set up—all you need is people who love your product, and a reasonable incentive to motivate them to promote it. 

Sounds easy enough, right? The right partnership program isn’t just an easy way to expand your business—it can have a huge impact on your bottom line and overall brand awareness. 

Here are two types of partners to look for: 

  • Brand evangelists inside your current customer base: Do you already have raving fans who love your product and regularly recommend it to their network? Take the time to hop on a call with these people and develop a more structured relationship with them.
  • Complementary businesses who would benefit from recommending your product to their customers: Here at Close, these include sales consultants and business coaches who recommend Close as a CRM for their clients. They benefit by getting compensation for every new customer they refer, but also because they can help their clients succeed with a CRM that fits their needs.

JOIN THE CLOSE PARTNER PROGRAM→

Just remember, partnerships are long-term relationships that evolve over time. Be a resource to these partners, and give them extra support on a product level. When you help resolve their issues time and again, you’ll solidify that relationship and help them do their job better while building more revenue for your business.

Here’s another example of a fantastically executed partnership program:

12. Invest Time to Get Social Selling Right

Most prospects all but live on social media. They use it to decompress, research, or just stay entertained during that boring weekly staff meeting. 

Helping your team develop an intelligent social selling strategy can help them reach folks when their guard is down. That might include:

  • Setting up social listening tools so sales reps can join relevant conversations at the right moment
  • Enabling your reps to become thought leaders in the industry
  • Helping your team plan specific time and strategies to do cold outreach on social media networks like LinkedIn

This sales strategy really works—here’s an example:

13. Segment Customers for Personalized Outreach

Segmentation involves creating separate groups of customers or prospects based on specific criteria. For example, if you serve different industries or different use cases, it might make sense to segment those different types of customers so you can personalize the way you reach out to them via email or phone calls.

Think of it kinda like sorting laundry—all your whites go in one load, delicates in another, and darks get their very own load. (Unless you like to live on the wild side and throw them all in at the same time, you monster.) 

While segmentation is always a good idea, there must be a clear strategy and goal for this. Using clear segments to create personalized outreach is a strategy many startups use today to close higher-quality deals.

Start by asking yourself “What common ground do my customers share?” Take the time to understand your best customers and what ties them together. Doing this exercise might naturally surface the groups you need to segment. 

When your segmentation has a clear, actionable goal, you’ll see better results.

Here’s an example of segmentation in the real world: 

14. Blend Inbound and Outbound Strategies

I’m going to share a (possibly) unpopular opinion—inbound and outbound sales strategies shouldn’t live in separate silos. In fact, mixing them together creates an incredibly powerful sales strategy. 

Inbound strategies involve attracting customers to your business, while outbound strategies involve reaching out to them directly. You can blend that by doing a bit of both—build up a library of valuable content on your website, track how your audience reacts to your posts on social media, while you also spend time building a list of leads based on your target audience.

Overall, working these strategies side-by-side helps maximize the effectiveness of each strategy since different channels complement each other better.

Here’s an example of a business using both an inbound and outbound sales strategy:

How to Build Your Own Successful Sales Strategy in 6 Steps (Framework)

Ready to build your sales strategy? It’s not complicated. In fact, you can do it in just six simple steps. (P.S.: Don’t forget to grab the free sales strategy template !)

1. Develop S.M.A.R.T. Sales Goals

You know you need sales goals. But developing solid sales goals (and sticking to them) is easier said than done. 

I am going to make it a little easier—your sales strategy should include: 

  • Long-term goals that are aligned with the company’s mission
  • Short-term goals that focus on getting enough deals closed this month or quarter

Just two types of goals. Now, you will need different goals for each strategy, but realizing there are just two types of goals tends to make this process a little more manageable. 

Your sales goals should also be SMART:

Here’s what I want you to do—sit down with your sales team to discuss goals. Set business goals, not only for the sales organization in general. but also for each step in your strategy. As you plan new initiatives, create goals to tell you whether they succeed. For example, if you implement lead scoring, you might track whether time to close is shorter. 

Then, plan time to review your results and compare them with the original goals that you set. Usually, you’ll want to review and reset goals either monthly or quarterly and then annually. 

2. Create (or Reevaluate) Your Ideal Customer Profile

I know this feels basic, maybe even too basic. This step is so important it’s worth mentioning. Having a clear view of who you’re selling is essential to implementing the right sales strategies. It will help you understand which strategies might be effective and how to adjust them to fit your audience. 

Say you want to try social selling. The same strategies won’t work for both SMB SaaS companies and small mom-and-pop restaurants. 

Take time to understand which customers are most successful with your product, and which traits they have in common. If you have an ideal customer profile but haven’t looked at it in a while, it's time to take a second look. 

3. Evaluate the Different Types of Sales Strategies

The type of sales strategy you choose to pursue will depend on how your team is built, how customers typically find out about you, and where you can best engage new customers in the buying process.

For example, if you get a high number of new leads that find you organically through word-of-mouth or your website, you might spend more time on inbound sales strategies. On the other hand, if your business is new and has a limited web presence, you may want to focus on both developing new business through outbound sales and a proper SEO checklist .

4. Develop a Clear Sales Process to Follow (and Execute on Your Sales Strategy)

Your sales process serves as a guideline that leads your team through the steps of a sale from first contact to signed contract. Think of it like a rope line in a dark cave—your team can hold on and move step by step through to the close. 

Normally, a B2B sales process includes:

  • Initial outreach
  • Qualification and discovery
  • Sales meeting or product demo
  • Negotiation

If you really wanna increase revenue, include upsell opportunities or new customer onboarding as part of your sales process.

Through each stage, choose the specific sales strategies sales reps should use. For example, is their initial outreach through cold emails, or calls? Will they invite new leads to jump on a Zoom call, or will they try to schedule a product demo right away? Where do referrals happen?

Can you close deals without a sales process? Sure. You can also shovel your driveway with a spoon if you want. It's just going to take you a hell of a lot longer. 

5. Build Your Sales Stack and Documentation

My best tip for implementing sales strategies is really simple—write shit down. 

You can only execute the right strategies if they are clearly documented, and your team has the right resources to complete them.

First, create your minimum viable sales documentation , including a clear value proposition, your sales pitch, and anything else you consider absolutely essential to your sales team.

Next, plan out your sales stack . Which tools will your team use for prospecting? How will they communicate with prospects and with each other? Link each strategy to the right tool, and you’ll have a great plan in place.

6. Track and Analyze Sales Data to Adjust Your Sales Strategy

Whether you love data or hate it, keeping track of key sales metrics like conversion rates, team activity, customer lifetime value , profit margin, and sales velocity is critical to seeing what works and what doesn’t. Ongoing sales analysis is how you'll monitor your team's overall performance and the effectiveness of the strategies you're implementing.

close-sales-funnel

What’s the Most Effective Sales Strategy?

The most effective sales strategy is the one that works for you. Whether you’re running a startup of your own or trying to increase your organization’s sales effectiveness, the right sales strategy can be the difference between closing more deals (and popping more bottles of champagne) or a slow steady crawl toward closing your doors. 

The good news? There is no shortage of new sales strategies to test. Think about which sales strategies in the list above will work best for your business, and use our free template to start setting up your first sales strategy.

Ready to scale your sales? Our free Sales Success Kit features templates, checklists, worksheets, and step-by-step guides to make your life easier.

Ryan Robinson

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How to develop a strategic sales plan for your business

what is a sales strategy in a business plan

With the rise of remote work, evolving workforce demographics, and consumer behavior changing by the minute, there’s no doubt that any business’s sales tactics need to be adaptable — that means changing your sales tactics to meet buyers where they are (and your sales team where they are, as well).

To do that effectively, you need a strategic sales plan. A sales plan tells you and your entire sales team how to approach sales to maximize revenue, improve customer retention, and meet other sales goals.

In this article, we’re diving deep into strategic sales plans. We’ll cover what they are, why you need one, and how to build one in just 5 steps.

What is a strategic sales plan?

A strategic sales plan is a collection of documents, processes, and other information that defines how your business approaches sales. Your strategic sales plan can include guidelines for prospecting, lead generation, marketing, and more. Essentially, a strategic sales plan provides a roadmap to help you meet your goals. It also provides a framework for adapting to new industry trends.

For instance, 44%  of millennials say they don’t want to interact with a sales rep during the B2B buying process:

a graph of generational skepticism of sales rep claims

( Image Source )

As a result, your strategic sales plan should identify ways to minimize sales rep interactions — while still maintaining or increasing revenue.

Why does your company need a strategic sales plan?

Think about all the components of your company’s sales process. From outreach management to lead scoring to relationship management, there are tons of moving parts.

Here are a few other things your strategic sales plan should include:

  • Sales goals and KPIs
  • Buyer personas for your target market
  • Lead scoring criteria
  • Primary sales channels
  • Marketing strategy
  • Prospecting criteria
  • Relationship management strategy
  • Inbound sales vs outbound sales strategy
  • Sales presentations, contracts, and other documents

In 2022, it’s also important to consider your virtual selling strategy. Fifty percent  of buyers say working remotely made purchasing easier, which means it’s critical your business maintains that level of ease.

Try monday sales CRM

Find the right CRM system for your sales strategy plan

Before we get into the steps for creating a strategic sales plan, let’s talk about CRMs. CRM software is an invaluable tool to help you manage your entire sales process, from sales planning to lead scoring to the sale.

As we go through the strategic sales planning steps in the next section, a CRM tool will help you stay organized and share your process with your entire team.

Some CRMs, like monday.com, even have a Supporting sales materials template  to help you get started.

monday.com supporting sales materials template

Your CRM is essential to every part of your sales process. LinkedIn reports that most salespeople only spend 37%  of their time actively selling, with the majority of their time taken up by digital paperwork —  manual or unnecessary tasks.

A CRM with workflow automation — like one built on the monday.com platform — increases the amount of time your sales reps can spend actually selling, which will drive increased revenue for your business.

Your CRM should support your strategic sales plan. Here’s what to look for:

  • Contact and lead management
  • Sales pipeline tracking
  • Prospecting and outreach management
  • Contact and customer relationship history
  • Integrations with old CRMs or other tools
  • Workflow automation

monday.com real estate crm template

monday.com’s Work OS platform allows you to build exactly the CRM you need. You can customize any template or board to fit your sales strategy.

Here’s how it works:

5 steps to build a strategic sales plan

To help you build your strategic sales plan, we’ll look at the main steps to creating one for your sales team. Along the way, we’ll also look at how to use the monday.com CRM as you develop your sales plan.

Set the right sales goals

To create a roadmap, you need a destination. That’s why the first step in any strategic sales planning is to determine your sales goal for the upcoming month, quarter, or year.

Your sales goal should follow the SMART  method. Record these goals and be sure to share them with your sales team.  You can track your sales goal progress in a sales dashboard in your CRM. You’ll get up-to-date information on your sales performance , while anyone in the company who needs sales data can always access a single source of truth.

monday.com campaign dashboard template

Tracking your sales data is really important for strategic sales planning. Sales data helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses and optimize every part of your sales process to return the best results.

Strengthen your customer personas

Understanding your audience is the key to an effective sales strategy. When you know what they want and need, where they spend time online, and how they prefer to buy, you can craft a sales strategy based on personalizing your approach to your customers’ needs.

For example, 77%  of B2B buyers state that their latest purchase was very difficult or complex. If you’re a B2B seller, you can focus on ways to make your sales process simpler than your competitors to attract new buyers.

Data is your friend when it comes to sales personalization. In fact, 56% of sales professionals use data to target customer accounts. Take your findings and craft buyer personas to help your sales team understand your key audience segments. As you create these and other sales documents, you can track your progress in a monday.com project management board .

monday.com document storage template

Don’t rely solely on personas, though — continuously building unique relationships with your customers to deliver an even higher level of personalization is more important than ever.

Outline your sales pipeline

This is possibly the most critical step of your strategic sales plan: list every stage a prospect will go through before they become a sale. Outlining your sales pipeline is important for a few reasons. First, knowing the customer journey makes it easier to identify problems early and pivot to meet sales goals.

But it’s also key to creating efficient processes for your sales team. As you list your sales pipeline stages, make note of the following key points for your internal sales team:

  • When does a prospect become a lead?
  • What counts as a conversion?
  • Are some touchpoints more valuable than others e.g. an email open vs. a social media ad view?
  • When do sales development reps (SDRs) hand off leads to sales executives?
  • When does the marketing team hand off leads to the sales department?

When you build your sales pipeline in a monday.com CRM template, you can create custom labels and columns to note exactly where each lead stands.

monday.com CRM template

You can even automate lead handoffs based on certain actions, such as a certain number of touchpoints or email opens, by integrating your other data tools with monday.com.

Choose your sales tactics

Next, you need to decide what methods you’ll use to sell your product or service. To do this, think about what will work best based on your audience. You’ll likely come up with a list of tactics that work best based on different audience segments or other factors.

Your strategic sales plan can include guidance for when it’s appropriate to use each type of sales tactic and how to choose the right one.

Here are just a few sales tactics you might choose at different stages of the sales funnel :

  • Find targeted leads
  • Leverage retargeting with online marketing
  • Display social proof
  • Ask for referrals
  • Follow up consistently

You might also adopt some consistent sales tactics or values, such as positioning sales reps as knowledgeable consultants. Consider that 88%  of today’s buyers think of sales reps as trusted advisors in their industry, and figure out how to meet that expectation for your customers.

Your strategic sales plan should also include tactics for customer retention . 70%  of sales professionals say they are prioritizing retaining existing customers, making it worth spending time and energy on following up with leads.

It’s important to continue honing your customer relationships even after closing the sale.

monday.com’s contact management template helps you track your entire communication history in each customer profile , so you can find the right time to follow up or offer new deals based on your prior interactions.

monday.com contact management database

When combined with automation and sales and marketing tools like MailChimp, your monday.com CRM can take care of a lot of your customer relationship management for you by sending follow-ups, scoring leads, and more.

Implement and refine your strategic sales plan with your CRM

Once you’ve finalized each component of your strategic sales plan, it’s time to share it with your team and hit the ground running.

Make sure your sales team can access your sales planning documents and the right boards and views in your CRM. Provide any necessary sales training on the CRM or new sales tactics.

In the early stages of your new sales plan, ask for lots of employee and customer feedback. Use this information to refine and update your sales goals, tactics, and plans to align with what’s best for your business, your team, and your customers.

As your business and customer base grows and evolves, your strategic sales plan will too. Consistently track the impact of your plan so you can stay effective.

To help you do this, invest in a CRM that grows and changes with you. monday.com adapts right along with your business and makes it easy for everyone to get up to speed.

Build your strategic sales plan today

When you look at the facts, it’s simple. Building a strategic sales plan can help your business close more sales and earn more profits. By understanding your customer journey and creating clear guidelines around your sales strategy plan, your team can become more effective and profitable than ever.

Start using a platform like monday.com to build all the tools you need to execute your strategic sales plan perfectly. Try out the monday.com CRM today.

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Create a Sales Plan That Actually Works (Tips + Template)

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  • January 21, 2021

True success always starts with a plan. And for sales success, nothing beats a strategic sales plan.

Designed specifically to help your sales team drive more sales, a sales plan can show you where you’re at, where you want to be, and even more important, how to get there.

The question, of course, is how to create a sales plan that actually impacts sales. Keep reading for tips and a template to quickly and confidently create a strategic sales plan for your business.

Table of Contents

What is a sales plan, what is included in a sales plan, sales plan examples: there’s no one right way, the benefits of a sales plan, how to write a sales plan, 7 tips to help you create a sales plan, sales strategy template, selling your sales plan, final remarks.

A sales plan is a strategy document that lays out a company’s plan for improving sales results in a specified time period. A sales plan makes it possible for everyone on the sales team to see the big picture, share the same overall objectives, and work the same plan to achieve them.

It usually includes:

  • Specific revenue and performance goals for a given period
  • The strategies for achieving them
  • The resources and activities required to carry out those strategies

A sales plan covers a lot of important aspects of business growth: revenue goals, selling methods and metrics, target customers, current sales force capabilities, and more.

Specifically, it covers 9 pieces of strategic information.

1. Executive Summary and Scope of The Sales Plan

This section gives a short summary of the document, focusing on goals and the strategies to achieve them. It also states the specific period and other parameters covered by the plan.

2. Business Goals and Revenue Targets

This section clearly establishes revenue targets and may include associated business goals (e.g., optimize lifecycle value through customer success programs, etc). Classifying revenue figures based on different categories (such as line and territory) helps clarify the document.

3. Review of Prior Period Performance

This section presents a recap of the prior period’s performance, identifying mistakes as well as decisive actions that led to a positive outcome. The overarching goal is to optimize the sales plan by adopting inputs and techniques that work.

4. Market and Industry Conditions

This section provides a summary of the market trends that have a high likelihood of influencing sales performance.

5. Strategies, Methodologies, and Tactics

This section recommends the best selling techniques, communication sequences, and playbooks for the specific company.

6. Customer Segments

This section cites all the potential revenue-generating, omnichannel opportunities available for the brand, such as the following:

  • Cross-sells
  • New Prospects
  • New Segments

The document should describe new segments of the addressable market when they arise.

7. Team Capabilities, Resources, and Upgrades

This section provides a summary and describes the current state of all production inputs (human resources, tech software, specialized sales team, etc.,) required to process and close sales details.

8. Action Plan For Teams and Individuals

This section assigns tasks, activities, and responsibilities to different teams and individuals. Tasks include prospecting activities, meeting appointments, and product demos/presentations.

9. Performance Benchmarks & Monitoring

This section lays out performance metrics to track the systems and processes that help monitor these metrics.

What usually comes to mind when you think about sales plans?

If you’re like most people, it’s the annual sales plan or weekly sales plan — broad strategic and tactical documents mapping out the plan for everything sales-related.

But there are as many different types of sales plans as there are needs for a sales plan.

We’ll go over a few sales plan examples to get you started in the right direction.

30-60-90-day Sales Plan

There’s the 30-60-90-day sales plan. This is designed to help a new salesperson or sales manager get up to speed quickly in their first quarter on the job. The plan includes milestones they’d need to achieve at the 30th, 60th, and 90th day of their ramp-up.

Generally, the  30-60-90-day sales plan  can be broken down into 3 sections:

Day 1 to 30: 

Learn and understand everything you can about a company from their processes, customers, products, the competition to procedures.

Day 31 to 60:

Evaluate and put your plan into action. Analyze their current processes and assess changes.

Day 61 to 90:

Optimize and make the plan better. It is time to take action. Initiate an action plan. Implement any new strategies and procedures you’ve come up with.

Sales Plan For Specific Sales

A sales process involves using different tactics to approach and convert a prospect into a paying customer.

Another type of sales plan you’ll see a lot is an individual sales plan for specific sales tactics, such as prescribed call sequences,  email follow-up  frequency, and meeting appointments. This type of plan is similar to an annual/weekly sales plan, but it focuses on measuring and improving results for just one goal or task.

Territory Sales Plan

Meanwhile, sales managers who oversee a geo-location or region often use territory sales plans to give sales directors and VPs more visibility into their sales efforts.

This is a workable plan used to target the right customers and implement goals to increase the income generated and sales over time.

A good territory sales plan will:

  • Make your team more productive
  • Reduce operational costs
  • Increase the number of generated sales
  • Improve your customer coverage
  • Improve working relationships between clients and managers

Note: It is essential to work on your territory sales plan and avoid making constant changes. Unnecessary changes can tamper with your productivity and your ‘territory’ in general.

Sales Training Plan

And there are sales plans for every area of sales. Sales Enablement might have a sales training plan, for example, and  Revenue Ops  might have a sales compensation plan.

A sales training plan can be used as a roadmap for different sales training programs. It can be grouped according to positions held in an organization, assets, sales record etc.

A sales compensation plan is an umbrella for base salary, incentives and commission that make up a sales representative earnings.

Therefore, you can schedule a sales training plan to talk to your sales team about the importance of a sales compensation plan and how they can use it to increase revenue and drive performance.

Sales Budget Plan

Lastly, a sales budget plan gives you a  sales forecast  for a given period based on factors that could impact revenue — like industry trends and entry to a new market segment. Similar to a traditional sales plan, they cover the staff, tools, marketing campaigns, and other resources needed to generate the target revenue.

A good sales budget plan  should include the following:

Sales forecasting: 

The process of estimating future sales by predicting the number of units a salesperson or team can sell over a certain period, i.e. week, month, year, etc.

Anticipated expenses: 

Include the number of costs your team is likely going to incur. Remember to have even the smallest expenses to estimate the average sales.

Expect the unexpected: 

Always leave room for unforeseen circumstances in your sales budget. For example, new packaging expenses, new competitive market strategies etc.

A sales plan does deliver side benefits (such as promoting discipline and diligence), but it’s really about making sure your sales don’t dry up over time. Which means it’s not optional.

The reality is this: Most of us aren’t planners. We talk a good game, but nothing happens until we’re accountable.

Without a written plan, it’s just talk.

So the first benefit of a sales plan is that it helps you execute on all your best ideas. But that’s not all. A good sales plan will also help you:

  • Keep your sales team on the same page, aiming for the same target and focusing on the same priorities.
  • Clarify your goals and revenue objectives for a given period.
  • Give your team direction, focus, and purpose.
  • Adopt a unified set of strategies and playbooks to reach your business and revenue goals.
  • Know what your team capabilities are and be able to isolate your needs, from tools to talent and other resources.
  • Inspire and  motivate  stakeholders.
  • Track your progress and optimize performance over time.

A sales plan is a pretty straightforward document. It doesn’t need to be written in a formal language or pass your compliance review. It just needs to outline your plans for the coming period, whether that’s a year, a quarter, or a month.

While there are 9 sections in the sales plan template, much of the document simply validates your ideas. The most important pieces of information are:

1. Your goals

Setting smart goals for you and your team  is an essential part of creating a sales plan. I believe the biggest mistake you can make when setting goals is solely focusing on numbers.

Smart sales goals should be actively focused on. If it helps, use goal-setting and planning frameworks such as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). Create goals that stretch your capabilities, but that seems doable based on your new strategy.

2. Your SWOT analysis

SWOT — short for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats — is one of the best frameworks for analyzing your sales team’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and strengths. It helps you to build a bulletproof wall around your plan.

You’ll be able to address what you’re lacking, the areas that need improvement, identify your USP (Unique Selling Point),  come up with Value-Based Selling , and your most vital points and how you can exploit them to your advantage.

3. Your strategy

Your sales strategy should be documented to help position your products and services to differentiate your solution from competitors.

A good strategy will help you address your customers’ needs in every stage of your sales plan. For better sales, you can balance  inbound and outbound sales strategies  for even higher sales.

4. Your tactics

Be aware, though, it’s not just a wish list or a collection of ideas. Your sales plan should be based on actual field data and only use benchmarks and quantities that are measurable. Be clear. Be specific. Be actionable.

Which brings me to another point: A good sales plan is realistic.

It’s fine to have a 5-year goal of hitting $10B. But what about now? Figure out exactly what your current numbers are, and set your targets based on those numbers.

I already mentioned that your sales plan doesn’t have to be a formal document. But it does need to be clearly written, so all team members and stakeholders understand the plan.

Tip #1: Base it on in-depth and up-to-date research

You need relevant  statistics  and trends in your niche, industry, and ideal customers. Remember, markets and customers are in a constant state of flux. There’s nothing worse than stubbornly chasing prospects who aren’t a good fit anymore while ignoring entire market segments that show a rising demand for your solutions.

Tip #2: Use data and statistics

Use the data from your in-depth research to identify problem areas, find points of opportunity in your sales process, and validate your assumptions and ideas.

You can also use the data to come up with accurate metrics and figures to help predict your sales plan’s outcome.

Tip #3: Verify your facts

Accuracy matters!

Don’t rush! Facts and figures are essential, especially to stakeholders. One simple mistake and your entire plan come tumbling down.

Ensure you take time to review your facts, figures, and forecasts before finalizing the document.

Tip #4: Get tactical

Break the overall sales action plan into tactical plans for individual areas of sales:

  • SDRs and account executives
  • Sales operations
  • Sales enablement
  • Customer success

This may require collaboration with  cross-functional teams  such as marketing, customer support, and product teams.

Tip #5: Use Historical Performance Data

In sales, you can use the past to dictate the future. Historical data will help you set targets for the current period. For example, what were your previous revenue targets? Did you hit them? Why or why not? This information can help you set achievable goals for your current sales plan and know the mistakes to avoid.

Tip #6: List The Tracking Methods You’ll Use

Highlight the tracking methods you’ll use to keep your plan moving forward. That includes performance metrics, monitoring techniques, software, tools, and  selling strategies  for your business model.

Tip #7: Build a Strong Case For Your Proposed Budget

Stakeholders and superiors are impressed with cold-hard facts. Therefore, having a strong detailed case for your budget will help your sales plan smoothly sail through.

Not only will you outline your plans for the coming period for your budget, but you’ll also need to detail the costs. Be sure to include an ROI analysis for any new tools or talent you think you’ll need.

Are you ready to write your own sales strategy? Here is a sales plan template to help you get started. Here’s how to use the sales plan template to make it useful to you:

Start by using the Sales Plan Template we’ll give you in the next section. Just follow the prompts in the template, so you know what information is needed in each section. Don’t try to be fancy. Use simple language. Focus on being specific and clear.

Then share information in whatever format works best. That may be text paragraphs, tables, lists, charts, graphics, or screenshots. You can also adapt it as needed to suit your business, your sales team, and your needs.

A sales plan should contain the following sections:

1. Executive Summary

This is your opening ‘statement’. It is a formal summary that sum ups the contents of your strategy.

When writing your executive summary , keep it short, and precise. It should be one page or two. Ensure it gives an overview of what is included in your plan. It should talk about:

  • The strategies you’ll implement to achieve your goals
  • The time-frame you expect to achieve your plan
  • The scope of your plans

2. Business Goals With Revenue Targets

This section talks about the revenue target and associated business goals. You can  classify revenue figures  according to different categories to clarify the sales strategy.

For example, for each goal, you can enter the current outcome and targeted outcome as illustrated in the table below:

sales strategy template

3. Review of Past Performance

Take a trip down prior period performance . Note the mistakes that negatively affected the outcome and their strengths which positively impacted the general outcome.

Your goal is to identify the strategies and tactics that work.

4. Specific Strategies, Methods, and Playbooks

List the  specific sales strategies,  methods, and playbooks you’ll use to achieve the goals listed above.

5. Customer Segments/ Buyers Persona

This section talks about potential  revenue-generating streams  and different opportunities available for the company and new markets. Remember to include upsells, referrals, and renewals.

6. Team Capabilities and Resources

Here, provide a summary and describe the current  production inputs required in the sales process , i.e., human resources, specialized software, sales team, etc.

7. Action Plan

The action plan requires you to set  specific strategies and supporting tactics  that will be used to achieve a particular goal, i.e. new acquisition. Assign different activities and responsibilities to teams who will run that particular action.

Below is an example of an action plan table:

sales plan template

8. Sales Tools

Go ahead and list the  tools you’ll use to ensure the sales plan runs smoothly  and all sales processes will be managed using these tools.

what is a sales strategy in a business plan

9. Performance Benchmarks

This is the last section of your sales plan. It  lays out the performance metrics  to track the process systems to help and monitor these metrics.

Also, list and provide links to used sources. Explain how the report will be generated and stored. Finally, talk about how the report will be used to review the progress made.

sales plan example

Okay, your sales plan is written. Great! But you’re not done yet.

Your next step is to present it to the sales team, management, and stakeholders. That’s because you need buy-in to make it happen.

When your sales team is on board, they’ll be pumped about doing their assigned tasks. When management is on board, they’ll be excited about giving you the budget you need to turn your plan into a reality. With buy-in as your top priority, it’s important to be prepared to give a solid presentation. In other words, sell it.

One final note: There are lots of reasons you may not get everything you ask for. There may be plans in the works you don’t know anything about yet. Or the budget may need to favor another initiative.

If you don’t get the budget you asked for, be sure to update your sales plan accordingly. The goal is to stretch your team’s capabilities, not do the impossible.

Sales don’t happen without a good sales plan. Fortunately, they’re not as hard as they might seem.

Take your time identifying your biggest challenges and problem-solving to overcoming them. Once that’s done, your sales plan is simply the document that organizes your ideas.

What’s your biggest hang-up when it comes to creating a sales plan? Have you found any tricks that help? Let me know in the comments below.

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Sales Strategy Plan – How to Create a Winning One

Updated On: 14 Apr, 2023

white paper with sales strategy written, with pens & calculator

Selling is crucial to the sustenance and success of a business. The sales strategy plan directs the sales activities of the business in alignment with the sales goal.  

  • Why Create A Sales Strategy Plan? 
  • What Does The Sales Strategy Plan Describe? 
  • Building Blocks Of A Sales Strategy 
  • Bringing It All Together 

Why Create A Sales Strategy Plan?  

Picture your sales team selling your product or service without a clear understanding of what successful selling means for the organization. What do they focus on? What are the outcomes expected from a specific sales activity? Where do they aim to get to?

A sales strategy plan provides the sales team with direction and guidance on achieving the sales goal. Without a defined sales path, a sales team is like a rudderless ship that drifts about without reaching its destination.  

Yellow infographic on the common business challenges that the sales plan can address

A sales strategy plan is necessary to address six common business challenges: 

1. Stagnating revenue : Sales performance is a driver of consistent revenue 

2. Start-up traction : A good sales strategy plan helps get a start-up business off the ground 

3. Unite sales forces : Sales teams need to follow one strategy 

4. New product introductions : The revenue-boosting strategy of launching new products can only fructify with a sound sales plan 

5. New competitors : A successful sales strategy plan keeps the team on its toes to effectively counter the threat of new entrants 

6. Market expansion : A sales strategy plan is essential when the business is expanding and diversifying into new markets  

What Does The Sales Strategy Plan Describe?  

The sales strategy plan is a blueprint for sales success. Accordingly, it describes how a business will win, retain and develop customers.

In a sales-driven organization, the plan will emphasize planning, existing knowledge and intuition, and elaborate design development. A lean start-up will include aspects of experimentation, customer feedback, and iterative design in its sales strategy plan.  

A sales strategy plan is different from a marketing strategy, which deals with the company’s approach to marketing its products. A marketing strategy plan focuses on building a competitive advantage by positioning and differentiating its products by managing the 7Ps (product, price, promotion, people, place, process, and physical evidence). Jointly, the sales and marketing strategies work in tandem to achieve the sales goal.  

Building Blocks Of A Sales Strategy  

A sales strategy plan – whether developed for B2C or B2B selling – has eight building blocks.  

1. Goal And Objectives  

A goal is a broad, long-term outcome, whereas an objective is a short-term outcome achievable through specific actions and measurable steps.  

The team should have clear, planned, and trackable goals and objectives. SMART , an established tool for goal-setting, can guide their efforts in the right direction:  

Specifi c : What exactly do you want to achieve? 

Measurable : How will you measure success? 

Achievable : Is it realistic and manageable, given the time, resources, and other factors 

Results-oriented : Will it lead to the desired business results? 

Time-bound : When will it be done and is it trackable over time? 

With the goal and objectives well understood, attention can shift to defining the target market.  

2. Target Market  

Businesses build products or services that solve the challenges or meet the needs or desires of a specific type of customer. Going into detail about the typical customer is helpful in formulating the best possible sales (and marketing) strategies .

The sales strategy plan documents customer profiles, personas, and buying behaviors. 

Customer Profile vs Persona  

A customer profile and persona are different ways of describing the target market. Customer profiles contain basic information such as age range, household income, geographic location, whether the family has kids or pets, and so on. In the B2B context, the customer profile includes business information such as market services, annual sales, and the number of years in business.  

Customer profiles are more commonly a part of traditional sales and marketing approaches that tend to focus on whether someone has the money to buy the product and not necessarily on whether they’re interested in buying it. As a profile is made up of generic information, it doesn’t do a deep dive into customers’ values or the basis of their purchase decisions.  

This is what the customer persona is for, it is a detailed representation of the target customer. The persona is semi-fictional and based on research of your desired or existing audience. This individual has a name, photograph, values, preferences, dislikes, and motivations – the more detailed the description, the better the customer persona.

The totality of details not only tells you what the typical customer does but why they do it and why they choose certain products over others.  

Knowing who you’re selling to at a granular level is important to know how to talk to them. You can ensure that all activities involved in acquiring customers are tailored to the target buyer’s needs. This is true regardless of whether you’re selling to a business or an individual. 

3. Product  

Making a sale is less challenging when you have a good product or service and deep insights into your target customer. The sales strategy plan brings these two aspects together by answering the question ‘What is the sales value proposition ?’ This is a statement summarizing why a customer would choose your product or service.  

You can create a powerful sales value proposition and communicate it effectively with a clear understanding of: 

  • Target user needs or pain points  
  • Product function (what is the product able to do) 
  • How the product addresses users’ needs or pain points  

Refer to the customer persona and buying behaviors you’ve documented to guide the framing of the value proposition for your offering. 

Yellow image with black text and images describing the factors involved in an efficient sales strategy.

4. SWOT Analysis  

Once you’ve built out customer personas and determined the sales value proposition, you’re ready to take a look at your competitors and gauge your advantage over them. This is where SWOT analysis comes in handy. 

Infographic on SWOT Analysis

Identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) is useful in a number of scenarios. It helps you take stock of challenges facing your organization when you’re planning to enter a new market or facing a threat from increasing competition or thinking about potential future competition.  

An analysis of these areas allows you to further develop strengths, reduce weaknesses, uncover new opportunities, and deal with new competitors that emerge with time.  

5. Route-To-Market  

Route-to-market is a strategy to make the product or service available to the customer. The purpose is to bring the right product to the right point of sales at the right time. 

There are, of course, various ways to make a product available to its target market. A retailer sells directly to customers via a sales team or uses telesales or the internet. A manufacturer may use channel partners or intermediaries, such as retailers or local distributors.

Apart from offline routes, most businesses use online sales channels such as websites, social media, affiliate programs, and Google ads. Some exist exclusively online, such as e-commerce stores and SaaS providers.  

The sales element of a go-to-market plan focuses on aspects such as making a sale, managing orders, developing outlets/sales channels, and money collection activities (electronically/in-person).  

6. Selling Process   

The selling process is how you will bring about a sale.

Generally, the process follows these steps:

Prospect –> approach –> present –> close –> determine objections –> handle objections –> close –> follow-up  

There are different types of selling situations (salesperson to customer/salesperson to buyer group/sales team to buyer group/consultant selling) and sales presentation methods such as memorized (structured), persuasive (semi-structured), need-satisfaction (unstructured) and problem-solution(flexible).  

The sales strategy plan contains a top-level view of the selling process. Sales managers add more particulars to the process that are tailored to the business and able to be standardized. Sales teams contribute ideas to improve the sales process, such as finding better tactics to handle objections or closing sales faster.  

7. Resources And Capabilities  

What are the resources (time and money) required to sell? This will depend on the size and type of organization. A services company typically has a longer sales cycle , and this reflects in the higher cost of products and services. The sales budget shows how resources should be allocated over a given period to achieve the forecasted sales.  

The sales strategy plan also includes the skills and capabilities (sales planning, data analysis, product knowledge, and account management) required to sell. In addition, it lays out how will you develop sales teams’ capabilities (on-the-job training/certifications/workshops/coaching).  

8. Sales Management  

Briefly, sales management is how a company directs and controls selling activities to achieve or surpass sales targets. It covers key areas such as: 

Infographic on Key areas of sales management

Setting The Sales Target 

Is it top-down, bottom-up, or negotiated by management and sales staff? Regardless of how you establish sales targets, you need to communicate them clearly to teams and ensure that every salesperson understands them and how to go about achieving them.  

Reviewing Sales Performance  

The outcome of sales efforts must be measured and reviewed on an ongoing basis. The main sales measures include sales by period, sales by product, channel, new vs existing customers, sales per order, and sales by previous marketing activity such as a previous social media or search engine optimization campaign. Sales managers can communicate key points from the review at sales meetings.  

Facilitating Coaching  

Coaching from managers and external professionals helps salespersons polish their performance and keep up with new trends in selling. Management can plan performance incentives to motivate staff to improve continuously. Commonly, sales compensation is given as a salary plus a bonus or commission.  

Right Tools And Software  

Technology is a sales driver. Sales technologies help develop relationships with the ideal buyer and maintain ongoing relationships with customers in a consistent and efficient way. A sales strategy plan highlights the importance of utilizing the sales technologies vital to generating revenue, and the types of technologies to purchase for sales activation. The must-have sales technologies are: 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software  

The basic function of a CRM is to store contacts, deals, sales opportunities, and plans in one place. In doing so, it helps salespersons effectively qualify and follow up on leads, and prioritize their sales activities.  

Knowing what customers want and reaching out to them at opportune moments is at the heart of successful sales. The customer-related data stored in a CRM enables salespersons to analyze customer needs and anticipate their problems.

Growing businesses can benefit from a CRM that allows them to create multiple tailored sales pipelines, and boost customer engagement with call logging, mobile call tracker, and meeting set-ups directly from the app.  

Video Conferencing  

Remote sales presentations are convenient for geographically distant business clients/prospects. They became somewhat of a necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The next best thing to meeting potential clients in person, video-conferencing is an effective way to build rapport and trust as it attaches a face to the salesperson. Features such as screen-sharing, file-sharing and simultaneous annotation help keep discussions productive and engaging.  

Social Networks  

Virtually all sales strategy plans promote the use of social media sites for marketing and sales. Facebook and Instagram are common B2C sales channels while LinkedIn and Twitter are preferred for B2B sales.

Sales and marketing efforts unite on social media sites, where great content and regular conversations help build healthy sales pipelines. It goes without saying that salespersons should be conversant with social selling techniques and the ins and outs of the social networks they use for business.  

With businesses moving further online, sales technologies such as chatbots and the internet of things have become ripe for adoption. A good sales strategy makes room for the addition of new sales techniques, tools, and approaches that can boost revenue.  

Bringing It All Together  

The sales strategy plan sets the direction for how a business should pursue sales. It is complete and detailed to the extent that it covers top-level information on the target market, product, route to market, competitive advantages, selling process, sales management, sales capabilities, and performance review and incentives.

Information contained in the plan can be used to create a sales strategy canvas, a visual tool conveying the key elements of the sales strategy. Sales managers can build on the various dimensions of the sales strategy canvas, describing the goals and selling activities that sales teams will follow.  

With the right sales CRM software , you’ll be able to automatically capture and record lead information instead of manually entering data. Not just that, a sales CRM also enables you to nurture leads through various sales campaigns, so that you can provide value to your clients by sending relevant content or promotional offers. 

Are you on the lookout for an easy-to-use CRM to optimize your sales strategy? Click here to sign up for a Demo with Kylas CRM.

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Shagun Sharma

Shagun is a content marketer at Kylas, extremely well-versed in all things Marketing. She works closely with the sales team to create best-in-class content for our readers. Her experience combined with her thorough research skills makes all her blogs very in-depth and insightful. In her leisure time, Shagun enjoys hiking, gardening, and immersing herself in music.

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How to create an effective sales and marketing strategy

Olivia McGill

Olivia McGill provides a comprehensive guide on how SMEs can develop an effective sales and marketing strategy.

Sales and marketing are two essential functions of any business. They play a crucial role in driving business growth. Small and medium-sized businesses need to leverage a blend of traditional marketing techniques and digital tools to stand out.

This approach ensures a broad reach, caters to diverse customer preferences, and drives sustainable growth.

“Begin with thorough market research”

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how SMEs can develop an effective sales and marketing strategy.

Understand your market and customers

Knowing the preferences of your market will give you an advantage as you can target your marketing to those specific needs. Understanding what the customers in your market want and need will also help you develop new products and expand your business offerings.

Begin with thorough market research. This includes surveys, interviews with current and potential customers, and analysis of market trends, competition, and customer behaviour. Utilise free tools like Google Trends and SEMrush to gain deeper insights.

Segment your customers based on demographics, psychographics, behaviour, and purchasing patterns. Create detailed buyer personas to tailor your marketing efforts effectively.

Set clear objectives and goals

Setting business goals and objectives is important to your business’s success.

They help you identify and manage risk, increase team performance, get buy-in from employees and implement strategy.

They’re also a great way to measure your business’s performance. Using the SMART goal framework (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound), is an effective strategy for creating specific and attainable goals.

Develop a multi-channel marketing strategy

Establishing a meaningful connection with consumers requires a well-crafted multi-channel marketing strategy, created with a clear understanding of your audience, objectives, and key performance metrics.

It should include traditional channels such as print, TV, and radio, as well as digital methods such as email, social media, SEO, and PPC or pay-per-click advertising. This way customers can engage with your brand through their preferred platform, improving their overall experience and creating sales conversions.

Traditional marketing includes print advertising such as newspapers, magazines, and flyers targeting local audiences to build brand awareness. Direct Mail sends personalised offers and newsletters to your customer base.

Telemarketing is included here as it can engage potential customers through calls promoting products or services directly. Events and trade shows are an important part of marketing by allowing you to network and showcase your offerings. Local sponsorships are a great way to support community events while enhancing brand visibility and community engagement.

Digital marketing

Social media marketing allows a brand to insert itself into ongoing conversations on channels such as X (Twitter), Facebook, and Instagram.

Best practices for effective social media marketing include creating interesting content that links back to your website and replying to questions and comments to engage your audience.

What social media platforms offer

On Facebook you can run targeted ads, engage with followers through posts and live videos.

On Instagram use visuals and stories for product showcases and possible influencer partnerships. Use LinkedIn to share industry insights, network with professionals, and for B2B marketing. X (Twitter) is good for engaging in real-time conversations, and customer service.

Marketers use TikTok to create short, engaging videos to reach younger audiences.

Search Engine Optimisation

Ensuring your website is user-friendly, fast, and mobile-responsive is crucial for sales and marketing. Make sure all marketing materials are SEO friendly, which means using keyword research to optimise content, using meta tags and backlinks.

Tools like Google Keyword Planner , Ahrefs  and SEMRush have features to find keywords, audit your site, and generate backlinks for free. Optimise for local SEO search by claiming your free Google My Business listing, and getting local backlinks.

Use content that adds value to your prospective customers. Blogs should address customer pain points and showcase expertise. Writing guest blogs for other industry-related websites is a good way to reach new audiences. Create videos for YouTube, social media, and your website to explain products or services, and share customer testimonials.

Enterprise Ireland provides sales and marketing programmes to help businesses improve their online presence and connect with a wider audience. Businesses can avail of a grant of 50% of costs for engaging a digital marketing agency or consultant, developing a digital marketing strategy and training in digital marketing strategy development.  

Integrate marketing and sales efforts

Use CRM software like Salesforce, Zoho or HubSpo t , which has a comprehensive free version to track customer interactions, and manage leads and sales pipelines.

Provide sales teams with marketing materials, case studies, product demos, and other resources to make sure they have all they need to help make sales. They should also be trained on using social media and digital tools for outreach.

Measure and optimise performance

Track marketing metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, conversion rates, and sales performance. Use free tools like Google Analytics , Facebook Insights , and CRM reports. Gather customer feedback through surveys, reviews, and direct interactions. Then adjust strategies based on feedback and performance data.

Budget and resource allocation

Allocate budget across different marketing channels based on expected ROI and business goals. Prioritise cost-effective channels that offer the best returns.

Determine whether to use in-house teams or outsource to agencies or freelancers. Make sure that staff are trained in both traditional and digital marketing techniques.

By understanding your market and customers, setting clear goals, and developing a multi-channel marketing strategy, your business can achieve substantial growth.

As you stay updated with the latest trends and continuously refine your strategies, your business will be well-positioned to navigate the dynamic market landscape well into the future.

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What Is Sales Planning?

Joseph Tsidulko | Content Strategist | July 15, 2024

what is a sales strategy in a business plan

In This Article

Sales Planning vs Sales Plan

Sales planning explained, why is sales planning important, role of sales planning in the business, elements of successful sales planning, 5 sales planning best practices and tips, sales planning process: how to create a sales plan, improve efficiency and increase revenue with oracle sales planning, sales planning faqs.

Markets remain erratic, supply chain snags linger, inflation remains stubbornly high, and sales activity continues its shift away from conventional channels. With this kind of uncertainty, drawing up a sales plan on a spreadsheet won’t cut it anymore. These cascading challenges have pushed sophisticated sales planning practices, and the technology solutions that support them, to the forefront. Businesses want to formulate and revise their sales plans quickly. They want to set attainable revenue targets and push those targets to a chief revenue officer to assign territories and set quotas for sales reps. They want to track performance at a granular level, as well as adopt compensation models that motivate everyone to execute and succeed.

But achieving those goals takes a lot more than breaking away from the spreadsheets of old. Businesses need to holistically implement time-tested strategies and best practices, make decisions based on data and not just instinct, and deploy cloud-based applications designed to overcome the many stumbling blocks in the sales cycle. Modern sales planning strategies and methodologies help sellers win the trust of customers by nurturing interpersonal relationships. And in a world where more and more deals originate and close online, they must also provide visibility into accounts entirely lacking a human touch.

Sales planning entails developing and documenting a strategy for how the sales organization allocates its limited resources to best achieve revenue targets and broader company objectives. The process yields a sales plan that outlines the steps toward optimizing sales team performance. The steps involve include establishing revenue goals, identifying target markets, assigning sales territories , setting quotas and compensation models for sales reps, evaluating consumer buying trends and market dynamics, and consistently collecting data to evolve the plan over the lifetime of a sales campaign.

Sales planning is a process used to create yields a sales plan that clearly documents sales targets, goals, and strategies over a fixed period. But a sales plan is never carved in stone. Sales planning is an ongoing process where sales leaders continually monitor real-world results, assess evolving market conditions, and create new forecasts based on shifting data and models. And when these results and forecasts stray from initial expectations, planners will amend the existing sales plan accordingly.

Key Takeaways

  • Sales planning is the process by which sales professionals develop and document the strategy they think is most likely to achieve targets.
  • These prescriptive steps are documented in a sales plan that sets out territory assignments, quotas for regional teams, commissions for sales reps, and the tools the reps should use to achieve the outcomes expected of them.
  • The global pandemic—with its travel bans, lockdowns, and social distancing mandates—has drastically disrupted typical sales motions. B2B and B2C sales activity has surged online, and sales teams need to adjust to that enduring reality.
  • Sales planners have traditionally used cumbersome spreadsheets to document their sales execution plans. But cutting-edge tools, including those with built-in AI, can provide sales leaders with greater visibility into sales performance so they can model scenarios and stay on track to achieve their targets. Such applications also make it easier to adjust projections and quotas based on frequently shifting goals and risks; they also deliver more reliable forecasts.

Sales planning is a multifaceted process that yields a detailed, prescriptive plan to drive sales for a company’s products across geographic regions and target markets.

The process usually starts with financial leaders, ideally in consultation with sales leaders, setting revenue targets that are both ambitious and realistic. Finance pushes those targets to the sales organization, often through the office of the chief revenue officer.

The CRO and his or her management team must then formulate a plan to achieve the desired results. That starts with identifying markets that are likely to prove fruitful with sales resources dedicated to them. The CRO also sets quotas for broad regions, localized teams, and individual sales reps, as well as commissions that incentivize everyone to execute and succeed.

Sales plans need to be precise, yet flexible enough to adjust to changing market conditions. Sales leaders must track multiple performance metrics on a granular level—including conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, and customer feedback—to know when to change up their plans.

Sales planning is important because it has an outsized impact on a product’s success in the market. An effective plan can increase revenue by positioning sales reps to close more, and larger, deals, by applying data-driven insights to assign territories, targets, and quotas to optimize sales results. This has the added benefit of motivating existing sales reps and boosting their productivity, while also attracting talented sellers with earnings potential, thus further fueling into the sales motion. A well-conceived sales plan also helps with customer relations in that it ensures that knowledgeable sellers are accessible to the largest number of potential and existing customers and that regional teams are staffed and equipped to service important accounts.

Sales planning can depend on, and affect, many separate company divisions. For that reason, the sales org should never be siloed. Because sales leaders have unique visibility and insights into sales volumes, they should work closely with financial leaders to establish revenue targets. Targets set too high can engender dissatisfaction and turnover on the sales team; targets set too low don’t take advantage of a team’s full potential.

The sales org also needs to coordinate with HR to structure commissions. Sales leaders might have a good sense of what profit margins on which products and in which regions will best motivate their teams, but they don’t directly control the payroll.

And it’s vital for the sales org to be aligned with marketing when it comes to generating customer interest. Marketing campaigns lay the groundwork for successful sales motions. Meanwhile, sales reps who interact directly with customers often develop unique insights as to where demand lies, where marketing resources can best foster product awareness, and which campaigns are proving effective. Sales and marketing are highly interdependent—success depends on these teams articulating common messaging.

Ultimately, sales planning should draw from the instincts of seasoned sales leaders, supported by rigorous data analysis, to advance the sales force’s mission of driving revenue. However, the following time-tested tactics and tools are common to most successful sales strategies.

  • Set realistic targets and quotas : Sales planners should work hand in hand with financial leaders to make sure revenue targets are ambitious, but attainable. Unrealistic revenue targets get converted into unrealistic sales quotas that can demoralize talented sellers. The quotas that sales reps are expected to meet should be based on the specific products they’re selling and the markets they’re selling into. Everyone, from regional managers to team leaders to individual reps, should understand what’s expected of them and feel empowered to share input.
  • Identify target markets and key accounts : In their plans, sales planners should strive to methodically identify and clearly document the geographic and demographic markets most likely to be receptive to specific products, as well as their key accounts within those markets. That requires a rigorous analysis of consumer dynamics, market trends, seasonal shifts, and regional and global events that could impact consumption, among other factors.
  • Evaluate the competition : Understanding the approaches that successful competitors are taking to sell comparable products is extremely valuable when developing a sales plan, especially for companies launching new products. Planners should study competitors’ sales data and try to glean insights from the various strategies they employ.
  • Carefully consider compensation : Compensation incentivizes success. The commissions kept by sales reps, and the margins that determine them, can motivate reps to work harder and pitch products more effectively. Healthy commissions also make it more likely that a company will recruit and retain top sales talent. But setting required margins too high can hurt sales, particularly in a highly competitive market, and ultimately eat away at profits. The margins set in compensation models should be thought through carefully and fine-tuned in line with metrics for specific products and regions.
  • Coordinate across departments : The sales org should never operate independently of other business departments. Sales teams that don’t closely coordinate their planning with finance, HR, and marketing are bound to fall short of their potential.
  • Embrace AI : Artificial intelligence gives planners a powerful new tool for forecasting sales and analyzing deals. Applications that leverage AI algorithms trained on contextual data can help sales organizations better allocate resources for the next quarter or year, reevaluate customer opportunities, align with broader company objectives, and highlight the most effective sales methodologies.

Even as sales activity is increasingly moving to online platforms, the following tried-and-true approaches to sales planning remain highly effective.

1. Align with finance

Sales execution plans should align with financial plans to best achieve the strategic goals of the business. That means sales leaders need real-time visibility into the CFO’s targets for margins and revenue—when they’re first set and as they’re updated—so they can rapidly adjust forecast models and reallocate resources accordingly.

2. Coordinate compensation with HR

The CRO has to motivate sellers with compensation plans. However, structuring sales margins that vary among products and regions, and that ultimately determine each sales agent’s commissions and total salary, are decisions that must be closely coordinated with the HR department.

3. Coordinate with marketing

Businesses are best served by a synergistic process in which marketers generate customer interest that redounds to sales reps closing deals. Conversely, sales reps interacting with customers in the field can share unique insights with marketers regarding where demand lies, where to invest marketing resources to drive product awareness, and which marketing campaigns are having the greatest impact.

4. Forecast proficiently

Trying to look into the future can seem like a fool’s errand, but sales leaders need to predict sales performance to effectively set quotas and allocate their resources. Naturally, the intuition of experienced sales professionals plays a key role here. However, contextual data, market trends, and customer behavior—analyzed with cutting-edge AI and big data tools—can significantly improve accuracy. With these resources, educated guesses can become intelligent forecasts, and gut feelings and intuition can be corrected, or corroborated, by advanced computational methods.

5. Equip with technology

Effective sales plans rely on visibility into key performance metrics, the careful analysis of large amounts of public and internal data, and close collaboration within sales teams and across business divisions. Modern cloud applications help sales planners accomplish all of the above. Sales planners need to have a clear line of communication with the IT department to make sure that the people who oversee software acquisition, deployment, and spending will provision them with the right tools to get the job done.

The process of creating a sales plan typically originates outside of the sales org.

The finance department sets revenue targets for a fiscal quarter or year, while executive management articulates broader company objectives such as the market penetration of a new product or expansion into new markets for an existing one.

Sales planners need to convert these financial targets and company objectives into clear sales goals. These goals and quotas don’t always prioritize maximum total sales. In fact, there are times when companies want to intentionally limit availability of their products at a given price, either to invoke the prestige of owning something scarce or to avoid overwhelming existing production capacity.

The next step is to define an actionable strategy to realize sales goals. That involves identifying specific markets, both by region and demographic, that will be fertile ground for the product being sold—if you’re selling surfboards, for example, you probably shouldn’t dedicate resources to landlocked states. Sales leaders should lean on the experience and insights of their teams when targeting markets, while also incorporating large amounts of market research data and analytics.

Sales planners must then take stock of the resources they have available to get the job done. They will be working within an allotted budget that limits how much they can spend on hiring sales managers and reps, generating leads, visiting customers, and provisioning sales tools. They’ll need to intelligently deploy those resources across geographic areas, product lines, and accounts based on potential returns. Sales orgs might also shuffle territory assignments, or hire new reps to fill gaps, as they shift focus to new products or implement new plans.

The sales plan should set quotas for regions, teams, and individual reps. It should also prescribe selling tactics, including cold-call scripts, tips for working with resellers, guidance on how to shepherd deals that originate on online platforms, and the rules for entertaining prospects. The sales plan should stipulate how reps receive training in these tactics and product functionality, how they’re allocated leads, and how they’ll access selling systems to help them collaborate and review their metrics.

To motivate success, sales leaders set margins for each product that will determine the commissions that reps receive when they close a deal. Insufficient margins might frustrate reps and fail to attract selling talent to the org, but overly high margins could turn off customers and eat into revenue and profits.

Finally, it’s important to remember that a sales plan isn’t static. Plans should always be adjusted to the reality in the field—or be abandoned altogether if they fail to yield results. To that end, sales leaders must ensure they’re collecting quality performance metrics. That means tracking leads, deals, revenue, and satisfied clients at the level of reps, teams, and regions.

The latest and greatest sales planning tools, if siloed, will fall short of delivering the benefits they promise. Point solutions and fragmented systems can’t adequately meet the complex needs of sales orgs in increasingly complex markets.

Oracle Sales Planning and Oracle Sales Performance Management , part of the Oracle Customer Experience suite of applications, connect seamlessly with finance and workforce planning modules included in the Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) suite. These sales planning tools provide real-time visibility into the performance of sales teams. With these tools, sales leaders can set, analyze, and adjust quotas for large teams and individual reps. They can also use the applications to sharpen forecasts, optimize territory assignments, generate leads, clear bottlenecks, identify effective tactics, and align with other business divisions. Oracle’s cloud-based sales planning solutions harness the power of data and AI to deliver a degree of insight that sales leaders could once only dream of.

How did sales activity change during the COVID-19 pandemic? With the pandemic’s lockdowns, social distancing measures, and travel restrictions, the shift to online sales accelerated. While some lament the declining interpersonal dimension, the torrent of data streaming in from an ever-increasing share of deals done online can be a boon to sales planners.

How does sales planning extend outside the sales org? Sales planners need to work closely with finance leaders to make sure the revenue goals set by the CFO translate into achievable sales quotas. They need to coordinate with HR to provide compensation packages that incentivize sales reps. And they need to work with the marketing department to ensure common, unified messaging that generates customer interest.

How are sales quotas set? Sales planners set quotas for regions, teams, and individual reps based on the revenue targets passed down from the finance department and executive management.

Which technologies are revolutionizing sales planning? The increasing complexity of the sales motion is spurring adoption of cloud-based planning solutions integrated with the larger estate of enterprise finance, HR, marketing, performance management, and other applications. Once the sales org has populated these integrated applications with quality data culled from sales automation platforms, they can then unleash AI to hone forecasts, improve execution plans, and deliver insights valuable to the field reps who are still schmoozing with clients over dinner.

what is a sales strategy in a business plan

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What Is A Sales Strategy? 5 Steps to More Efficient Selling

  • 14 minute read

What Is A Sales Strategy - 5 Steps to More Efficient Selling

Imagine trying to lead your B2B sales team without a clear roadmap—it’s like setting out on a road trip without a map. You might eventually reach your destination, but you’ll likely get lost, distracted, and miss opportunities. 😞

So don’t run a business without a sales strategy—it’s the key to reaching your destination faster, more efficiently, and with less stress.

Sales strategies give your team a clear direction.😃 It helps you identify the highest-quality prospects to target, set realistic objectives you can achieve, and give your sales reps the tools and support they need to perform.

➡️ In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to create a strong sales strategy—its definition, benefits, and the top tools for implementing one. We’ve also included some examples of B2B sales strategies to help you get up and running quickly.

🔑 KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • A sales strategy is a detailed plan that outlines how a company’s sales team will position its products or services, target customers, and execute sales processes to achieve revenue goals.
  • Developing a sales strategy includes setting up a sales process, implementing sales tactics, optimizing sales performance, and many more. 
  • Businesses need a sales strategy as it increases profit & sales efficiency, improves the onboarding process with real-time data visibility, and more. 
  • The popular sales strategy types are inbound, outbound, account-based, and SPIN selling. 
  • Enhancing your sales strategy requires essential tools such as CRM software, AI-powered solutions, and sales engagement tools.

Table of Contents

What is a sales strategy?

A sales strategy is a detailed plan of business actions to sell their products or services effectively . It outlines the approach, tactics, and processes the sales team will use to meet sales targets and achieve revenue goals. 

The main purpose of sales strategy is to improve team performance, effectively target more customers, and increase the ratio of closed-won deals. It provides a roadmap for generating leads, closing deals, and growing the business.

Some of the best sales strategy examples include creating a FOMO, social selling, and more.

Why do you need a sales strategy?

A well-defined sales strategy is crucial for the success and growth of any business.

These are the top reasons why sales strategies are essential:

1. Increased profits

A well-defined sales strategy can increase customer acquisition, raise average order values, and improve customer retention . It helps you to identify your target market, understand their needs, and develop effective sales tactics to meet those needs.

Moreover, a sales strategy allows you to allocate your resources more efficiently, focusing on the most promising sales opportunities and channels. This leads to a higher return on investment (ROI) for your sales and marketing efforts, ultimately driving increased profits for your business.

2. Increased sales efficiency and faster onboarding

An effective sales strategy provides a clear roadmap for your sales team, outlining the processes, tools, and best practices they should follow. This consistency and structure can increase sales efficiency, as your team members can quickly adapt to the continuous workflows and focus on closing deals. 

Additionally, a well-structured sales strategy can facilitate faster onboarding of new sales team members. With their standardized approach, new hires can quickly understand their roles, responsibilities, and the steps they need to take to succeed. This can lead to a shorter ramp-up time and a more productive sales team, ultimately driving better results for your business.

3. Real-time visibility of the sales data

A comprehensive sales strategy also utilizes sales tracking software and analytics tools . These tools provide real-time visibility into your sales pipeline, allowing you to monitor key metrics such as lead generation , conversion rates, and ROI.

This selling approach enables you to track real-time market trends, identify areas for improvement, and optimize your sales processes for better performance. By clearly understanding your sales data, you can make more strategic decisions, allocate resources more effectively, and respond to market changes more quickly. 

4. Consistent messaging

Sales strategy ensures your sales team delivers a consistent message to your target audience. This advanced approach allows your customers and prospects to receive valuable insight regarding their concerns from the sales team. 

Consistent messaging also helps to align your sales efforts with your marketing and branding initiatives, creating a seamless customer experience. This alignment can lead to higher conversion rates, as your customers are more likely to perceive your offering as a reliable and trustworthy solution to their needs.

5. Improved resource allocation

A sales strategy lets you identify your most profitable sales channels, target markets, and customer segments . By understanding where your sales efforts are most effective, you can allocate your resources more efficiently, such as time, budget, and personnel.

This strategic approach to resource allocation can lead to a higher return on investment (ROI) for your sales and marketing activities. You can also focus on the areas most likely to generate the highest revenue and profitability while optimizing less productive areas.

Types of sales strategies

These are the key types of sales strategies:

1. Inbound selling

Inbound selling is a strategy for attracting potential customers to your business through marketing efforts and providing them valuable insight into their problems. It uses many marketing approaches, including content marketing, social media, and other digital channels. 

By providing valuable information and resources, the sales team can position themselves as trusted advisors and build relationships with prospects interested in their product or service.

2. Value-based selling

Value-based selling is a customer-oriented approach that focuses on understanding the customer’s needs and pain points and presenting a solution that provides tangible value. 

This strategy emphasizes the product or service that benefits rather than just its features. You can build trust and establish a long-term relationship by demonstrating how your offering can solve the customer’s problems or improve their situation.

3. Outbound selling

Outbound selling is when sales reps contact prospects and generate leads who haven’t interacted with your company before. They reach out to potential customers through cold calling , email campaigns,  networking events, and more.

Outbound selling can be effective in certain industries, but it requires a skilled and persistent sales team to overcome potential objections and build rapport with prospects. 

4. Challenger selling

Challenger selling is a sales process that empowers sales professionals to take control of the sales conversation and drive better outcomes. This methodology is particularly well-suited for complex B2B sales environments, where customers are already well-informed and seeking a more consultative sales experience.

This innovative sales strategy challenges the traditional sales paradigm by equipping salespeople with the skills to provide unique insights, tailor their messaging, and confidently guide the sales process.

5. SPIN selling

SPIN Selling is a sales methodology that asks strategic questions to uncover the prospect’s situation, problems, implications, and needs of a payoff. It shifts the sales conversation from a product-centric pitch to a customer-centric discussion.

By identifying and addressing the customer’s true needs, the sales professional can position their solution as the best fit for their specific requirements.

6. Account-based selling

Account-based selling (ABS) is a strategic sales approach targeting high-value customer accounts. This selling strategy involves deep research and personalization to tailor the sales process to each account’s unique needs and decision-making processes.

Account-based selling often requires close collaboration between the sales and marketing teams to deliver a cohesive and compelling value proposition.

7. Solution selling

Solution selling is a methodology that emphasizes deeply understanding the prospect’s problems and needs and recommending a tailored product or service that provides the best solution. 

This sales strategy mainly focuses on identifying and addressing the customer’s challenges and satisfying each customer’s unique requirements.

5 Steps for developing a sales strategy

An effective sales strategy drives business growth and achieves revenue goals. Here’s a step-by-step guide to developing a sales strategy that works:

1. Set up a sales process

Start by setting clear, measurable sales goals aligning with your business objectives.  The five steps to set up a sales process include:

  • Define B2B sales goals: First, determine the revenue target, number of deals to close, or market share you want to achieve. Then, break down these goals into specific targets for your sales team to work towards.
  • Create a sales model that drives growth: Establish a well-defined sales process pipeline with clear stages and guidance for moving prospects through the pipeline.
  • Identify your ideal customers: Analyze your existing customer profile to determine the characteristics of your best customers. You should consider factors such as industry, company size, location, and growth stage. 
  • Define your total addressable market (TAM): TAM represents the total revenue opportunity for your product or service within a given market. With it, you can focus your sales efforts on the most promising prospects and allocate resources efficiently. 
  • Manage a sales pipeline: Establish a consistent set of stages that align with your sales process, such as prospecting, qualification, proposal, negotiation, and closing. 

2. Implement sales tactics

In developing an effective sales strategy, you need to implement strategic sales tactics that align with your objectives and resonate with your customers.

 Here are some key sales tactics to consider in the sales process: 

  • Lead qualification: Implement a robust lead qualification process to identify the prospects most likely to convert and allocate your resources accordingly. This may involve researching potential customers. 
  • Cold calling: To optimize your cold calling efforts, provide training on effective communication techniques and objection handling for your team members. 
  • Social selling: Encourage your sales team to actively engage on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and others to share valuable content, participate in discussions, and identify potential leads.
  • Video prospecting: Send the personalized video to a customer to effectively introduce the sales team, highlight the unique value of your offering, and address any specific concerns the prospect may have.
  • Negotiating and closing: After calling a prospect, you can send a product demo and close the call with a polite tone.

3. Optimise sales performance

The optimization of sales performance is also an important step when developing a sales strategy.

Look at the top tips to accomplish your long-term sales optimization goals:

  • Track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Identify the most relevant KPIs for your business, such as win rate, average deal size, sales cycle length, and customer lifetime value.
  • Analyse Sales Data: Collect and analyze data from your sales activities, such as calls made, emails sent, and meetings held. Use this data to identify patterns, trends, and areas where your sales team excels or struggles. 
  • Conduct Regular Sales Meetings: Hold regular meetings with your sales team to discuss performance, share best practices, and address any challenges they may face. 
  • Continuously Refine Your Strategy: Review and refine your sales strategy based on performance data, customer feedback, and market trends.

4. Measure performance

Developing an effective sales strategy requires a data-driven approach to measuring performance. By measuring the right metrics, you can gain valuable insights into your sales team’s activities, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions to drive better results. 

Here are some key steps to measure sales performance:

  • SDR metrics : For your sales development representatives (SDRs), focus on metrics that capture their prospecting and lead generation efforts, such as outreach activity, lead conversion rate, response rate, and many more. 
  • AE metrics: Track metrics for your account executives (AEs) that reflect their ability to close deals and drive revenue, such as win rate, average deal size, sales cycle length, and more. 
  • Team metrics: Besides individual metrics, it’s important to track overall team-level performance, such as total revenue, pipeline score, customer retention rate, customer satisfaction score , and more. 

5. Adopt sales tech

At last, you should choose the right sales strategy technology to empower your sales process:

Here are three types of software you’ll need to get started:

  • CRM tools: CRM platforms like Salesforce , HubSpot, and Microsoft Dynamics help you centralize customer data, manage the sales pipeline, and automate various sales tasks.
  • Data analytics and reporting: Sales analytics and reporting tools give you the visibility you need to track key performance indicators, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions. 
  • Sales intelligence tools: Some sales intelligence tools, like ZoomInfo and DiscoverOrg, help you gather detailed information about your leads, including their job titles, contact details, and firmographic data. 

B2B sales strategy examples from popular brands

When developing an effective B2B sales strategy, it is helpful to look at examples from companies that have achieved remarkable success. 

1. Shopify: people-first approach

Shopify is a popular e-commerce platform that has experienced remarkable revenue and GMV growth of 54% yearly. The main key factor behind success is the utilization of sales strategy.

When hiring sales development representatives, Shopify doesn’t just look for experienced reps—it seeks out individuals with great potential. They look for intelligence, a work ethic, a history of success, creativity, entrepreneurship, and competitiveness.

Additionally, Shopify has embraced a data-driven approach to sales. Their sales teams and individual reps closely track key metrics such as average deal size, average sales cycle length, conversion rate, calls per day, and the size of their sales pipeline. 

Therefore, this data-driven mindset helps them to make the right decisions and optimize their sales processes.

As a leading B2B software company, HubSpot has achieved remarkable success. It generates around $510 million in annual revenue and boasts a valuation of over $23.81 billion . HubSpot’s sales strategy is focused on hiring and training sales representatives.

HubSpot employs a well-established and repeatable hiring process to evaluate and onboard new sales reps. HubSpot also prioritizes empowering its sales reps to understand its customers’ pain points and challenges deeply. 

By encouraging its sales team to “ walk in the customer’s shoes ” and utilizing a customer-centric mindset, HubSpot’s sales team has succeeded in engaging prospects, building trust, and driving successful outcomes.

Essential tools to improve your sales strategy

There are multiple sales strategy tools, but certain tools are requisite for improving performance and increasing sales. 

Here are five types of sales tools that are necessary to improve your sales strategy:

  • CRM software: CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is a centralized platform that helps businesses manage and nurture customer relationships throughout the sales cycle. This tool identifies sales opportunities and provides data-driven insights to optimize sales processes. This will help improve the customer experience and boost productivity. 
  • AI-powered tools: AI-powered sales tools use Artificial intelligence algorithms to enhance various aspects of the sales process. They can analyze customer data to predict future sales and identify high-value leads. AI-powered chatbots can engage with customers 24/7, providing instant support and gathering valuable information. 
  • Sales engagement tools: Sales engagement platforms streamline communication between sales reps and customers across multiple channels, including email, phone, and social media. These tools provide features like email templates, call scripts, and activity tracking to help sales teams engage with prospects more effectively. 
  • Email tracking: Email tracking tools provide valuable data on how recipients interact with sales emails, such as open rates, click-through rates, and reply rates. They offer advanced features like scheduling, templates, and automated follow-ups to enhance email productivity. This information helps sales reps to tailor their customer outreach accordingly. 
  • Sales training and coaching tools: Sales training and coaching tools provide interactive learning modules, role-playing scenarios, and performance analytics for developing sales reps skills. These tools also enable sales managers to identify areas for improvement, provide targeted feedback, and track the progress of their team members.

A Sales Strategy is essential for developing meaningful connections with customers, improving conversion rates, and leading to long-term loyalty. This strategy allows businesses to engage customers at every touchpoint of their journeys.

There are several benefits of implementing a well-defined sales strategy. You will experience increased efficiency, reduced waste of time , and ultimately, a significant boost in your conversion rates. Moreover, you can build strong customer relationships and understand their needs deeply.

Following the above five sales strategy steps helps identify the highest-quality prospects to target, set realistic objectives you can achieve, and facilitate tools such as CRM, sales engagement, email tracking tools, and more. In addition, Shopify, Hubspot, and many others are the best examples of B2B sales strategies. 

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Dinesh Silwal

Dinesh Silwal is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of KrispCall. For the past few years, he has been advancing and innovating in the cloud telephony industry, using AI to enhance and improve telephony solutions, and driving KrispCall to the forefront of the field.

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9 Sales Management Strategies to Optimise Your Sales Process

  • Learn about different sales management strategies
  • Optimise your current sales process and boost revenue

Fahad Abdullah

July 12, 2024

6 mins read

sales management strategies

If you are here that means either:

You are behind on your sales targets

Your current sales management strategies have gone stale

Or your team is either overwhelmed or not performing to their potential

If any of this sounds familiar, you have come to the right place. We have compiled nine best sales management strategies that will not only help you boost your sales but also increase the productivity of your team and build a winning sales process.

Before we jump right in, let’s get one thing straight.

What is a sales management strategy?

A sales management strategy is a roadmap that helps align your team’s sales goals with your organisation’s core objectives. It includes everything from training and development of your sales reps to optimising your current sales process to achieve better business outcomes. If planned and implemented well, sales management strategies can make your job a whole lot easier.

9 sales management strategies to extract the best out of your team

9 sales management strategies to extract the best out of your team

Selling isn’t something your team can master overnight nor is it a one and done process. It takes patience, focus and clear goal-setting — understanding your leads’ problems and pitching your product or service in a way that doesn’t come across as too pushy. Therefore, you need a solid plan and the right set of strategies to help your team succeed. 

With the strategies we’ve rounded up for you, you will not only improve your current selling efforts but also increase your conversion rates considerably. Let’s begin!

1. Continual education and training

Continual education and training

The first step to an effective sales management process is to get your new sales reps up to speed with how your company operates and what is expected of them. Then, it’s important to keep encouraging them to upskill themselves on the job. Here’s how you can extract the best out of your sales reps.

Set clear initial expectations: From day one, clearly outline what you expect from your new hires in terms of their daily tasks, sales performance and customer interactions. Explain how their roles fit into the bigger picture (company goals). This clarity from the outset helps prevent confusion and lays a strong foundation for their development and success.

Utilise recorded sales calls for training: After your new reps have settled in, give them access to recorded sales calls. This is an invaluable resource which allows them to hear firsthand how seasoned team members handle objections, steer conversations and close deals successfully. They will also pick up on diverse selling styles and techniques from such call recordings.

Regular feedback sessions: Sit down with your new sales reps, review the calls they have made and provide balanced feedback — highlighting both strengths and areas for improvement. This helps them see what they are doing well and where they need to get better. Drawing parallels to the tactics used in the recordings can accelerate their learning curve and boost their self-confidence.

2. Clear (but realistic) goal-setting

Clear (but realistic) goal-setting

Setting clear goals isn’t about throwing an arbitrary number and hoping your team hits that target. It’s about setting specific, realistic targets that everyone agrees to and feels motivated to achieve. Here’s how you do it:

Define SMART goals: Start by discussing and setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) goals with your team. For instance, rather than vaguely aiming to “increase sales”, ask the team to “increase sales by 15% within the next quarter”. This clarity helps everyone understand exactly what is expected of them.

Break down large goals: Large goals can be overwhelming, so break them down into smaller, manageable tasks. If the goal is to boost sales, outline the steps necessary to get there. This could involve hiring additional sales reps, ramping up training for current staff or tweaking the marketing strategy. Dividing the goal into smaller pieces makes it more accessible and less daunting for the team.

Engage in regular dialogue: Maintain regular communication with your team to monitor the progress of these goals. Frequent check-ins allow you to celebrate successes, no matter how small, and address challenges as they arise. This sort of collaborative dialogue is essential for better decision-making, quickly adapting to new strategies and ensuring everyone is on the same page.

3. Regular communication and performance monitoring

Regular communication and performance monitoring

Think of regular communication as the oil that keeps the engine of your sales team running smoothly. It’s all about creating opportunities for your sales reps to talk, share and listen — every single day.

Have daily check-ins: These don’t need to be lengthy meetings; a quick five-minute discussion where each member outlines their main task for the day helps set a positive tone and keeps everyone on the same page.

Hold weekly meetings: Use this time to discuss the previous week’s successes and challenges, discuss any significant customer feedback and brainstorm ways to enhance strategies. This is a crucial time for you to connect with the team and for them to freely express concerns or suggestions. It’s about developing a two-way communication channel where everyone’s voice is valued and heard.

Maintain an open-door policy: Encourage team members to approach you with any issues as they arise. Being accessible and approachable means problems can be addressed promptly, preventing minor issues from becoming major obstacles.

4. CRM and tech integration

CRM and tech integration

Next up is to get your team familiar with CRM or sales management software or any other tech tool you want your sales team to use. Getting your team up to speed with CRM and other sales tools your company uses isn’t just about giving them a cursory product walkthrough. It’s about fully integrating these tools into their daily routine so that they become second nature to them. This means diving into how the CRM can help them make calls more effectively, track customer interactions from start to finish and automate follow-ups.

Master the basics: Begin with ensuring everyone on the team is comfortable with the fundamental functionalities of your CRM. They should know how to navigate the system, update records and retrieve essential information quickly. This basic knowledge forms the foundation of their tech proficiency.

Leverage advanced features: Once the basics are covered, introduce your team to more complex capabilities of the CRM. Teach them how to generate and analyse reports or use sales data to understand customer behaviour patterns. For instance, show them how to identify a customer’s buying patterns or potential pain points from the CRM data, significantly enhancing the effectiveness of their sales pitches.

Integrate third-party tools: Tech tools like advanced analytics platforms, communication tools and other digital marketing software should integrate smoothly with your CRM software. This integration creates a unified system where all customer-related information is accessible in one place, making it easier to track engagement and analyse response rates. For example, integrating email marketing tools with your CRM will show you not just who responded, but also how many leads opened your emails, helping you track engagement and response rate at every step.

Develop a strategic plan: Identify any shortcomings in your current technological setup and find solutions that not only bridge those gaps but also integrate smoothly with your existing CRM. Plus, incorporate regular training sessions to ensure all team members are proficient at and comfortable using these integrated systems.

Pro Tip: Learn details about the different functions of sales management for a better understanding of how management works efficiently in sales.

5. Skill development workshops

Skill development workshops

Keeping your sales team performing at their best is a lot like keeping a vehicle washed and serviced. Your car or motorcycle needs regular visits to your nearest service station to ensure they don’t break down during the middle of a road trip, right? The same goes for your sales team. Skill development workshops are like those tune-up sessions where your team gets to sharpen their skills and stay ahead of the curve.

Start with the basics: Initially, focus on providing them with a deep knowledge of your product or service and understanding the customer’s journey. These workshops should cover fundamental skills, from initiating a conversation to confidently closing a deal. But there’s more to it than just sales techniques; it’s also about learning to handle objections, nurturing strong customer relationships and staying composed during challenging negotiations.

Take it to the next level: Once the basics become second nature, introduce more sophisticated strategies. Enhance the workshops with expert guest speakers, role-playing exercises and competitive simulations mimicking real-world scenarios. This approach keeps the sessions exciting, encouraging active participation and engagement.

Develop continuous learning: Encourage an environment where questioning, sales strategy experimentation and peer learning are the norm. The aim is to ensure that learning never stops. As your team masters new skills and tactics, they won’t just meet their sales targets — they will consistently exceed them.

6. Mentorship programmes

Mentorship programmes

Think of mentorship programmes as the fast lane on the highway moving towards success in sales. When you pair up the new recruits with your seasoned reps, you are not just giving them a mentor — you are giving them a personal coach. These seasoned professionals have been where the newcomers are, know the common pitfalls and have learned a few tricks working their way up the ladder that you won’t find in any training manual.

Begin with the fundamentals by ensuring every new team member is matched with a mentor who complements their style or has expertise in areas they need to develop. This relationship should be more than just meeting up for coffee once a week, it should encourage:

Regular check-ins

Opportunities for newcomers to shadow their mentors to take cues from their actions along with real-time feedback sessions

Creating a supportive dialogue where the new sales professionals can ask questions they might not feel comfortable asking in a larger group

Getting hands-on guidance and gaining insights into the practical aspects of their jobs

To really make these mentorship programmes successful, set clear objectives for both mentors and mentees. Maybe it’s improving the mentee’s closing rate, boosting their confidence in pitching or refining their customer engagement tactics. Regularly review these goals, celebrate their achievements and recalibrate as and when necessary. This structure helps accelerate the growth of the mentee and keeps the mentor motivated thanks to their extra contributions.

7. Customer segmentation 

Customer segmentation 

Customer segmentation personalises selling by going beyond just knowing your customers’ names or faces — it’s about understanding their behaviours and preferences so deeply that you can almost anticipate their next move. Here’s how to leverage customer segmentation effectively:

Break down customer base: This step involves breaking down your customer base into smaller groups that share similar characteristics, like age, location, buying behaviour or even interests.

Collect and analyse data: Begin by gathering as much data as possible from different sources like sales reports, customer feedback and analytics. Use this information to spot trends and patterns. You might discover, for example, that young professionals prefer one type of product, while families consistently choose another.

Customise your approach: Once you have identified your customer segments, tailor your marketing and communication strategies to meet the distinct needs of each group. Addressing your leads with names, providing them with product details they are interested in, etc. This personalised approach ensures that your messaging resonates more deeply with different segments.

Keep segments updated: Refresh and refine your customer segments on a regular basis. As the market changes and new trends emerge, so too should your understanding of your customer groups. Regularly update your team with these insights and encourage them to adjust their sales tactics to align with the latest data.

8. Employee incentive programmes

Employee incentive programmes

Your sales teams could use some extra motivation every now and then and incentive programmes are great for keeping your team’s morale high. These aren’t just about handing out bonuses (though that’s always nice), it’s about recognising and rewarding the hard work your team puts in every day. Here’s how you go about setting up a successful incentive programme:

Set clear targets: Begin by defining clear and achievable goals that align with your company’s objectives. Whether it’s achieving a sales target, securing a big client or receiving outstanding customer feedback, these goals should be realistic and challenging.

Choose meaningful rewards: Decide on the incentives. These could range from cash bonuses and gift cards to extra days off or public recognition of achievements. The key is to choose rewards that your agents will truly value.

Regular and relevant rewards: Make incentive payouts a regular event, either monthly or quarterly, to maintain motivation throughout the year. This way each deal closed or milestone achieved will feel that much more special.

Personalise the incentives: Whether it’s a weekend getaway, exclusive discount vouchers or special merchandise, personalising rewards shows you value and appreciate each team member’s efforts.

9. Sales process optimisation

Sales process optimisation

Getting your sales process just right is key to maximising your team’s efficiency and success. Here’s how you can fine-tune your approach to ensure no bottlenecks impede your team’s progress towards achieving their targets:

Map the process: Start by clearly outlining each step of your sales process. Identify where there might be hold-ups or redundant steps that could be streamlined for better efficiency.

Automate repetitive tasks: Look for opportunities to automate manual tasks. If your team spends too much time on manual data entry, implement software that integrates with your CRM to have sales automation in your business.

Engage your team: Your sales team knows the ins and outs of the daily grind. Involve them in a brainstorming session to gather insights on potential improvements. They might suggest a more effective method of scheduling follow-ups or highlight the need for better tools to track customer engagement.

Regular reviews: Constantly review and refine every stage of your sales process. Market trends change so what worked a few months ago may not be the best strategy today. Be flexible with your approach to maintain optimal performance at all times.

Drive incremental improvement: Encourage honest feedback and suggestions from your team. This not only keeps your process relevant but also helps in sharpening focus, improving results and maintaining high motivation levels across the board.

That’s a wrap

So those were all the sales management strategies that we think could completely change the trajectory of your team and your company’s bottom line. Here are the key takeaways to keep in mind:

Continuous learning and feedback: Instil a culture of incremental improvement through regular skill development workshops and feedback sessions, so that your team always performs at their very best

Embrace technology: Integrate CRM solutions like Telecrm ( sales CRM ) to simplify your processes, track every interaction and automate repetitive tasks, allowing your team to focus on just selling and not get bogged down by mundane non-selling or customer relationship-building tasks

Motivation through incentives: Keep your team driven with employee incentive programmes that reward your agents’ achievements and milestones

Implementing these strategies will not only help you boost your sales numbers but also build a highly resilient, efficient and motivated sales department. If you are wondering how you would put these strategies into action, book a demo of Telecrm and see how it simplifies bringing your vision to life.

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Why every business needs a full-funnel marketing strategy

You could say that marketing has a split personality. On one side is traditional brand building, driven by TV ads and other broad-reach vehicles. Many old-guard marketers who have risen through the ranks excel at this. The other side is performance marketing, or the data-driven measure of online activity. The young guns of marketing who have grown up in the digital age dominate this discipline.

For many companies, this split is inhibiting growth aspirations. Budget and impact conversations often become contentious: performance marketers tout their ability to drive clicks while brand builders argue for longer-term investments, although they often struggle to demonstrate the near-term value their teams generate. In recent conversations with two dozen top marketing executives, less than a fifth report having a very strong understanding of how their brand-building campaigns are performing. “It’s tough to measure either the short-term or long-term impacts of brand campaigns,” says one marketing executive. “We attribute increases in sales to them because of correlation, not necessarily causation.” This is troubling for CMOs because 83 percent of CEOs look to marketing as a growth engine for the business.

Brand building’s measurement problem has obscured its importance. As a result, many CMOs shift too much of their marketing spend toward the easy-to-justify capture of customers at the bottom of the funnel at the expense of the less tangible generation of customer demand and attention at the top. This skew toward bottom-of-the-funnel campaigns has significant implications for long-term value: data from three large marketers in media and apparel retail industries indicate that customers who have an emotional connection to a brand tend to be more loyal and valuable over time than those who arrive at a site because of a generic keyword search or social media ad.

To redress this imbalance, leading organizations are moving toward “full-funnel” marketing, an approach that combines the power of both brand building and performance marketing through linked teams, measurement systems, and key performance indicators (KPIs). By adopting full-funnel marketing, companies can become more relevant to their customers, develop a fuller and more accurate picture of marketing’s overall effectiveness, and generate more value without having to spend additional marketing dollars. This approach isn’t just about doing more across each stage of the funnel. It’s about understanding how each of the stages impacts the others for a complete customer experience—how media spend on addressable TV, for example, can boost the impact of personalized emails, or how social-media ad campaigns can drive online and in-store visits.

In our experience, a thoughtful and data-driven full-funnel marketing strategy can drive significant value. By shifting greater media allocation to areas with higher returns and employing test-and-learn optimization for demand-generation campaigns, marketers can achieve a 15 to 20 percent lift in marketing ROI. Additionally, many marketers have found that incorporating both brand building and performance elements  in a campaign often increases the overall return on ad spend compared with spending on performance channels alone.

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While the idea of full-funnel marketing has been around for years, most companies have been unable to overcome the organizational and technological barriers to actually implementing it effectively. There are several reasons why now is a critical time for marketers to lean into full-funnel marketing. For one, performance-marketing returns have recently plateaued or declined, thanks to inflation in digital-media costs and customer saturation in some highly targeted ad markets. 1 eMarketer Forecast Database, eMarketer, February 11, 2021, emarketer.com. In addition, widely available automation tools have commoditized the execution of performance marketing, making it difficult to secure a significant competitive advantage.

Driving full-funnel marketing is particularly necessary given the dramatic changes in customer behavior seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, more than 60 percent of consumers tried a new shopping behavior  in response to economic pressures, store closings, or changing priorities, one-third of whom experimented with a different brand of product. Our data make clear that customers' expectations of brands are shifting, with many citing a brand’s purpose as a key reason for buying. This wave of data on new behaviors has provided marketers with a windfall in terms of developing a better understanding of what their customers want and how they make decisions across the entire funnel, offering an opportunity to both win new customers and ensure the loyalty of existing ones.

Four essentials of full-funnel marketing

The contours of a full-funnel marketing program will be different for different marketers across the spectrum. But whether CMOs are launching a new product or brand, repositioning a legacy brand, or simply trying to drive in-quarter sales, they will want to embrace four common and essential elements:

1. Brand-building measurement

Traditional TV ads , the backbone of many brand-building campaigns, have long suffered from a tracking problem. They offer the potential to reach large numbers of consumers and elicit powerful emotional responses, but their inflexibility prevents marketers from collecting detailed insights on how exactly the campaigns are impacting consumer behavior.

This is starting to change. Consumers are increasingly moving toward internet TV and digital streaming services, including audio. These options allow marketers far greater visibility into who is seeing their ads and allows them to show different ads to different households that are watching or listening to the same program. This trend has accelerated during the pandemic. Some 33 percent of consumers in Europe and 41 percent in the United States say they have begun or increased their usage of online streaming channels this year. 2 McKinsey & Company COVID-19 Europe Consumer Pulse Survey 6/18–6/21/2020, n = 5,645, across Italy, France, Germany, Spain, UK, and Portugal, sampled and weighted to match European general population 18+ years; McKinsey & Company COVID-19 US Consumer Pulse Survey 7/30–8/2/2020, n = 2,024, sampled and weighted to match the US general population 18+ years.

In addition, many new measurement approaches to brand campaigns have taken off in recent years, allowing marketers to move beyond such coarse methodologies as brand trackers and reach/frequency metrics:

  • Addressable TV and audio. Even for linear TV viewing, set-top boxes and smart TVs can now provide visibility into who has viewed particular ads, via content-recognition technology that works with unique IP addresses. This enables advertisers to establish a much more direct link between ad exposure and consumer actions.
  • Digital ‘brand lift’ surveys. Unlike traditional brand trackers, these surveys, often on mobile devices, allow marketers to measure upper-funnel metrics, such as brand awareness and favorability, on a near-real-time basis and tie them to specific ad exposure at scale. They can also isolate the impact of ads by separating recently exposed populations from unexposed groups.
  • Attribution tools. Using ad logs, these tools correlate the specific time and location in which a cohort of consumers sees an ad with the actions those consumers take. For instance, in the minutes after a TV spot airs in a particular geography or is seen by a particular demographic, do search queries, website visits, or social-media mentions increase? Unlike qualitative surveys, these “correlated outcomes” don’t suffer from discrepancies between consumers’ stated and actual behavior.

Performance branding and how it is reinventing marketing ROI

Performance branding and how it is reinventing marketing ROI

2. a unified set of kpis.

Linking KPIs between channels and stages of the funnel to actual business results, such as conversions or leads, allows companies to better understand the real impact of their marketing and then create messages that will elicit the best responses. For instance, if unaided brand awareness is increasing, what effect, if any, is that having on website traffic or digital purchases? Are brand-building efforts leading more consumers to make branded search queries, which have a lower cost per click than generic product-category searches?

This unified view also helps marketers figure out how different touchpoints throughout the funnel affect each other and to identify the metrics that matter most. If brand-building campaigns, for example, are leading to more website conversions or branded search queries, these are clear signs that investing in more brand building will likely pay off. Only when marketers have linked KPIs can they identify the interactions most tightly tied to business value and start making smart decisions to adjust or rebalance their marketing spend.

3. An updated media mix model for integrated spending

Many marketers now rely on media mix models (MMM) to measure the impact of their campaigns and determine how much money they should spend on different types of advertising and marketing. While MMMs have proven useful for making allocation decisions, they fall short in a number of ways. Because they require long look-back periods to estimate the impact of each type of spend, they aren’t responsive to short-term changes, such as shifts in campaign performance, or changes in shopping behavior due to external factors, such as those we are seeing today. They also don’t get very granular in their spending recommendations and can fail to capture the nuances of actual channel behavior. For example, a model may recommend spending increases for paid search ads on branded search terms even though a brand is already showing up in close to 100 percent of results.

MMMs also don’t offer granular data on which channels or platforms should get credit for customer conversions. Some 30 percent of marketers admit to being held back by these difficulties, including those with budgets of more than $500 million.

To make MMMs more reliable and better suited to a full-funnel marketing strategy, organizations need to modernize them with additional inputs, such as those from incrementality tests and multitouch attribution (MTA) models. Doing regular incrementality tests, which involve running a structured experiment with a control group of consumers who aren’t shown ads, can provide a cleaner verification of a particular channel’s performance, as well as insights that are closer to real-time and more granular data on campaigns. This helps marketers assess the true impact of their efforts and adjust the attribution for a channel accordingly. Recent technology and analytics advances have made such incrementality tests simple and inexpensive, although they are time consuming to run at scale across channels.

Advances in analytics have also helped improve the process of determining where credit for a customer conversion should go in MTA models. Combining this with audience-propensity scoring helps further define how valuable a particular channel or tactic is. If a campaign on a particular social-media platform, for instance, converts consumers who already have a high propensity to purchase, that channel would be assigned a lower “incrementality multiplier.”

4. A full-funnel operating model

Full-funnel marketing requires a complete top-to-bottom integration of the function; it can’t simply be tacked onto existing daily processes. That starts with rethinking how work gets done across functions. While the transformation of an operating model requires changes across almost all elements of the marketing function, four areas are the most important to get right:

  • Incentives for full-funnel performance. To help make measurement rigor a core part of marketing’s culture, marketers should be held accountable and rewarded for their ability to deliver on well-defined engagement or revenue goals. These should be based on both a unified set of KPIs tied to full-funnel performance, such as total brand awareness and total visitor traffic, and KPIs that measure incremental value, such as extra traffic coming from A/B testing or additional revenue driven by brand campaigns according to the MMM.
  • Cross-functional collaboration. Full-funnel marketing can’t be done effectively without close collaboration among all stakeholders, including brand managers, performance-marketing leaders, analytics marketers, and finance. To ensure productive interaction, some companies have created weekly huddles, where insights are shared from across the funnel and decisions are made jointly on everything, including KPIs, spending levels, and which audiences to target.
  • Deeper collaboration between media agency and partner. Marketers often have an incomplete understanding of what their agencies actually do and what value they are accountable for. Correcting this involves not just more active agency management but also closer collaboration. This includes ensuring that the marketers, not the agency, own their user-level data, insisting on collaboration for rapid testing and iteration, and pushing media companies to create integrated ad buys that leverage their brand-building and performance-marketing channels.
  • Adoption of test-and-learn capabilities by brand marketers. The dynamic, rapid test-and-learn capabilities common to performance-marketing teams need to be extended to mid- and upper-funnel teams. Brand marketers can use these methodologies to rapidly test personalized creative and to optimize the videos or other consumer content ads that are delivered alongside, a tactic shown to be highly effective.

Full-funnel marketing is not just a campaign strategy; it’s a total shift in how marketing works. It demands close team collaboration to harness the complete range of marketing capabilities to increase the impact from all campaigns. Most importantly, it allows the CMO to provide the C-suite with a much richer and more complete picture of how exactly marketing is driving growth.

Jacob Ader is a consultant in McKinsey’s San Francisco office, where Kelsey Robinson is a partner; Julien Boudet is a senior partner in the Southern California office, and Marc Brodherson is a partner in the New York office.

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what is a sales strategy in a business plan

Budget 2024: Government may put privatisation plan on hold, says report

Budget 2024: the new strategy, expected to be unveiled by finance minister nirmala sitharaman in the full budget on july 23, includes selling large parcels of underutilised land and monetising other assets..

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Tata Mutual Fund suggested a balanced portfolio strategy to capitalise on the various pockets of strong earnings recovery and outlook.

  • Government may unveil strategy for overhauling state-run firms
  • Plan includes selling land, monetizing assets, setting 5-year goals
  • Aim to raise $24 billion for reinvestment in state firms

The government may overhaul over 200 state-run firms to boost profitability, in a significant shift from its ambitious privatisation agenda, according to government sources quoted in a Reuters report.

The new strategy, expected to be unveiled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the full budget on July 23, includes selling large parcels of underutilised land and monetising other assets, the sources added.

The aim is to raise $24 billion in the current fiscal year (April-March) and reinvest the funds in the state-run companies. Instead of short-term targets, the government plans to set five-year performance and production goals for each firm.

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"The government is shifting focus from indiscriminate asset sales to enhancing the intrinsic value of state-owned companies," said one of the officials.

In the interim budget presented before the election, the government omitted figures on stake sales for the first time in over a decade.

The new approach will introduce succession planning and training for 230,000 managers across state firms, aiming to prepare them for senior roles.

Professional recruitment to company boards and incentives for high performance are also part of the plan, set to be implemented from the 2025/26 fiscal year.

It may be noted that the 2021 privatisation announcement included plans to sell two banks, one insurance company, and firms in the steel, energy, and pharmaceutical sectors, as well as closing down loss-making companies.

However, the only significant sale completed was of the debt-ridden Air India to the Tata Group.

Other sales, including a 3.5% stake in LIC and shares in a few other companies, have faced setbacks.

Recently, Oil Minister Hardeep Puri recently stated that the plan to sell Bharat Petroleum Corp was no longer viable, as the company’s annual profits matched the proposed sale price.

Sunil Sinha, chief economist at India Ratings (the local arm of Fitch Ratings), told the news agency that the privatisation push faced political resistance, especially after the BJP’s reduced majority in parliament.

Despite these challenges, the market valuation of state-run firms has more than doubled in the past year, driven by hopes for sector reforms.

The BSE PSU index, tracking state-owned companies, surged over 100% in the last year, outpacing the benchmark BSE Index's 22% rise.

However, some analysts expressed skepticism about the high valuations of many PSU stocks, suggesting they require extraordinary operational turnarounds to justify their current market caps.

The government views the market’s response as a sign of investor confidence, expecting its reforms to lead to higher profits and increased returns. State firms are projected to pay significantly higher dividends to the government, with estimates for 2024/25 rising from Rs 48,000 crore.

Analysts warn that India may miss the opportunity to capitalise on booming valuations of state companies.

CareEdge Ratings suggested the government could raise about Rs 11.5 lakh crore at current market capitalisation by selling minority stakes while maintaining a 51% stake.

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