But at some point, sales leaders need documentation. There are many benefits of doing so, including:

  1. Ability to forecast revenue, and make better decisions on hiring, training, and other investments.

  2. Increased visibility into sales performance and progress towards goals, allowing sales leaders to identify core bottlenecks in their process.

  3. Greater clarity around marketing and sales alignment and responsibilities.

  4. Establishing a structure for onboarding new sales reps, setting expectations, and tracking their success.

  5. A better understanding of customer needs, allowing teams to focus on the right opportunities and target market segments more effectively.

  6. Clarity. Sales plans give everyone in the organization clarity around roles and responsibilities within the sales team, leading to improved collaboration between team members and departments as well as increased accountability for individual performance targets.

The most useful components of a sales plan include:

  1. Goals and objectives

  2. Target market and target customers

  3. Competitive analysis and industry trends

  4. Key sales strategies and sales tactics

  5. Sales forecast models

  6. Sales tools

  7. Sales budget plan

  8. Sales training plan and hiring plans for your sales department

This example uses the profitability of members of the sales team to establish the goals and objectives for a sales organization.

  • How many account executives does the business currently employ?

  • What is the total cost of their employment?

  • How much revenue do they bring in?

  • What is their quota?

  • What’s the variance on this ROI? 

  • Is there a predictable “cost in / revenue out” model?

After this exercise, sales leaders should know:

  • What revenue numbers are expected from sales

  • What hiring and resourcing will be needed to make that possible

  • What goals can be completed and within what timeframe to set milestones on the way to achieving revenue goals

An example of a broad customer profile for a B2B software might be:

  • ​​Industry: B2B software

  • Company size: 500-2,000 employees

  • Geography: US and EU

  • Funding: At least series B

  • Revenue: $1M+

  • Market maturity: Has purchased a CRM but is struggling with edge cases and customizability. The company has scaled past the point where it can use spreadsheets or a simple CRM. They need something more robust that integrates with the rest of their sales stack. 

  • Budget: $50,000+ per month for sales and marketing software

An example of a specific buying group in the SMB-tier of the target market might be: 

  • Titles:

    • VP / Director / Head of Marketing

    • VP / Director / Head of Demand Generation

    • VP / Director / Head of Content

    • VP / Director / Head of Growth

  • Goal: A marketing leader at a software startup who is looking to scale up their content (and often demand gen) programs with limited resources. Looking to bring on experts who they can collaborate with to set the content strategy and execute. They often have a demand gen team generating leads and want them to work alongside us to ensure the traffic that comes in turns into more leads.

  • How they find us: Word of mouth referrals, our network

  • Examples:

    • John Smith, Director of Marketing at HR Company

    • Sally Johnson, VP of Marketing at Sales Software

SWOT - as a reminder, stands for: 

  • Strengths

  • Weaknesses

  • Opportunities 

  • Threats

It can be helpful to split this into discrete sales functions, such as:

  • Prospecting

  • Outreach

  • Meetings

  • Contracts

Other tools might include: 

  • Sales automation

  • Sales productivity analysis

  • Sales presentation software

  1. Write the sales plan

  2. Set up a meeting cadence 

  3. Consider marketing sales alignment meeting

  4. Create sales enablement materials

  5. Track performance and optimization

Generally, there are four critical meetings to set up:

  • 1:1s with direct reports

  • 1:1s with executives or stakeholders

  • Sales team meetings

  • Cross-functional meetings with marketing, service, and other leaders.