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What is a Strategic Sales Plan?

Learn the importance of data-driven planning and how to design a strategic sales plan, including sales capacity planning, quota allocation, territory design.

5 min read

A strategic sales plan is a portfolio of ideas, processes, and technology that guides a sales organization’s strategy and provides the resources and tactics for reaching sales goals. It defines your company’s go-to-market strategy and expected costs and returns.

Sales planning starts with executive and senior leadership working with sales to set goals and define where your organization wants to end up in the next year. With goals in hand, sales leadership must then assess and determine the needs and means to achieve those goals.

Understand Your Team’s Needs

To put it simply: in order to reach your sales goals, you need the right amount of resources. A successful sales organization needs productivity gains in order to achieve goals. As part of their strategic sales plan, companies usually invest in the following areas to aid productivity gains—people, processes, and technology.

People: Do you have enough headcount? Can your sales force effectively reach goals at its current size? Do you need to hire now to account for ramp time and potential attrition?

Processes: Are your sales territories balanced? What incentives and sales commission structures will you use to motivate sales reps?

Technology: What sales performance management tools can you invest in to reduce administrative burdens, increase performance visibility, create stronger reports, and analyze your team performance?

Understanding your sales capacity needs sets the foundation of your strategic sales plan and further identifies the resources they’ll need to be successful, including:

  • Sales force sizing
  • Productivity expectations per rep
  • Territory design
  • Coverage model
  • Compensation plans
  • Technology investments

The Right Quotas Start with Data

The sales organization as a whole has goals handed down from senior leadership. Quotas are then broken down into expectations for each sales rep who will collectively will help the company achieve its goals. It’s important to note that sales quota planning should begin and end with the mindset that not every rep will hit their number (aim high, plan realistically).

Your Territory Design Matters

Your sales territories map the playing field for your strategic sales plan. Research has also shown that territory design can have a big impact on sales team morale and performance. In all reality, territories should be balanced so that regardless of the territory assigned, each rep has equal opportunity to reach and achieve their quota.  

Incentives Should Drive the Right Behavior

Plain and simple: money motivates. Sales organizations motivate sales reps with compensation plans. The incentives within the plan should align with company goals, and encourage reps to perform accordingly by emphasizing products, bundles, etc. with different incentives. Ultimately, sales compensation plans must drive the behaviors that will reach organizational goals.  

The Importance of Year-Round Strategic Sales Plan Analysis

Your strategic sales plan isn’t a one-and-done deal. To be truly successful, you need to continuously analyze, improve, and repeat. Analysis should be a year-round process occurring on at least a quarterly basis. Find more plan analysis tips and a calendar guide in our recent blog, 5 Steps to a Competitive Sales Incentive Plan.