What Is a Sales Team Action Plan?

Like all kinds of action plans, a sales team action plan is your roadmap to your sales team’s success. It provides your goals, tasks, resources, and timeline in realizing your sales targets. It provides the big picture, a forecast of what the sales goals should look like in a given timeframe. Oftentimes, a sales team action plan is used to inspire and motivate each team member. When the mission and vision of the team are put into words, everything becomes clear-cut. The sales team suddenly realizes that, hey, this is the way to go. This is what we need to do. This is what we need to achieve. And this is how we can do it. The questions of what, where, when, who, why, and how are answered. Everyone becomes accountable. Success is easily measured. The sales team’s progress can be monitored. That is what makes up a good sales team action plan.

SMART Goals of a Sales Action Plan

Knowing what to do and how to do things as a sales team is half the battle. Knowing what makes up a good sales plan is winning the battle. The team may know the whole ABCs of the sales process, but knowing the important characteristics that make up a good sales plan might be a recipe for failure. Each sales action plan should be well-thought. Each member of the team should at least contribute or have an input in the planning session. Participation and cooperation are essential to winning the sales goals. More importantly, everyone should know what makes a sales action plan effective and successful. And that is done through the application of the SMART goals of sales action planning.

SPECIFIC Action Plan: A sales action plan needs to be specific. Since sales is a numbers game, the figure or numbers listed should be specific, or close to specific. Being specific provides an urgent tone, a call to action for the sales team that says, hey, get up, and start moving. How big or small a number is will also determine the overall morale of the team. Being specific can also mean having a well-identified and described plan. Making an action plan should not be vague. The tasks and steps are clear and definitive, and should not leave any room for misinterpretation. For instance, if you were asked to go get a glass of water, would you rather want the speaker to complete the description of the kind of glass and water before getting some? That is what being specific is all about.MEASURABLE Action Plan: Being able to quantify and monitor is what comes to mind when we talk about measurable. For a sales action plan to be successful, it has to be quantifiable. Meaning, its progress, and success can be measured over time, as well as monitored. An example of a measurable sales action plan is offering a week-long sale in an identified store location of a particular product, the number of products to be sold at 50% off, and the expected sales revenue from the week-long activity. That sales action plan is measurable since there is a timeframe provided for how long the sale will last, the discount percentage offered, and the kind of product and the number of products to be sold. A forecast or an estimated sales revenue projection can easily be made. Also, the action plan can be monitored easily, along with the sales revenue progress, since there is a given data of the number of products offered up for sale, as well as the location of the store, is also identified.ACHIEVABLE Action Plan: One of the attributes that make up a good action plan is that it’s achievable. It’s not some flimsy and vague idea conjured from out of nowhere just to be able to provide a report. Realistic is another word that’s closely associated with achievable. When coming up with an action plan, check if there is similar planning that was made and what was the outcome of it. Identify as well what are the resources needed to realize the action plan, and if the resources are easily accessible or not. A sales team action plan should be challenging and should be able to push each member to go the extra mile. But at the same time, a sales team action plan should not be something impossible to do.RELEVANT Action Plan: An action plan should also be relevant, or appropriate, according to the current time. Also somewhat similar to being realistic, a sales action plan should be something that both the sales team and the customers can relate to. Being relevant means properly identifying your target market or your customer demographics. Identify what appeals to them or their senses. Identify what’s trending, what’s hot or not, what’s in or out. For instance, your target market is the age group between the 20s to 30s. A sales action plan could be having a marketing strategy through social media or social networking platforms since this age group is tagged as the biggest user of social media or networking channels.TIME-BOUND Action Plan: Closely associated with being measurable, being time-bound means that an action plan has either a schedule or a deadline. Having a deadline can push the sales team to work hard and stay focused on the sales goals. Just like in our example above, the planned 50% discount sale activity is good for a week, and there is an estimated sales revenue given for the week-long event.

Creating the Sales Team Action Plan

Now comes the nitty-gritty of the sales team action planning. From the term “sales team”, it is expected that the planning is a result of team collaboration. Each member is given roles and responsibilities based upon their skills and capabilities, and each member is held accountable as well for their performances. Each sales action plan should be clear and concise, smoothly transitioning from one point to another. There is a lot of different sales team action planning formats to choose from, depending upon how it suits the user’s expertise and resources. But at the end of the day, a sales team action plan should simply consist of the following essential steps.

  • 1. Objectives

    A sales team action plan objectives is a statement that describes the desired sales outcome. Oftentimes used interchangeably with the term goals, an objective is an ultimate purpose, or the end-goal, of a sales action plan. A sales action plan also provides a description of the current market needs, a highlight of how it will be addressed, and a depiction of the outcome of the sale. The objective should be written specifically and concisely. And since it’s a sales action plan, a projected sales revenue number should be written as close as to be a precise number to keep each member of the sales team focused and motivated.

  • 2. Tasks

    The tasks are your identified, specific sales strategies, marketing strategies and activities, or marketing plans to achieve your objectives. The tasks could be in the form of training for sales skills development or improvement, or it could be in the form of sales activities implementation. Sales activities could be putting up sales booths, sponsoring events, market promotions, field sales work, online selling through social media or social networking platforms, et cetera. Other forms of tasks could be hiring or recruiting new sales field personnel, creating and distributing flyers and brochures, creating an online presence through blogs and vlogs, hiring influencers to promote the products or services, and so on. Overall, the tasks created should be geared towards achieving the identified goals or objectives.

  • 3. Time Frame

    Each task should be based on a time frame. Having a time frame sets a tone of urgency. It also provides the measurability feature that an action plan should have: to be able to assess and quantify the progress through a given timetable that can show how far or near a given task is reaching a goal. A time frame also provides clarity, illustrating how far, looking to the future you wanted your sales action plan to be. If you have a sales revenue goal that’s big, realistically, you would want the time frame of your sales action plan to be longer in duration. If your sales revenue goal is considerably smaller, then the time frame of your sales action plan could be in shorter time frame. Another benefit of having a time frame is that it provides specificity, such as the specific number of sales team members needed, the amount of sales targets or expected sales revenue, as well as the number of locations targeted to be able to reach the sales targets. The typical time frame for sales action planning is in one-year, three-year, or five-year duration. These time frames are ideal for making market forecasts and observing market trends.

  • 4. Resources

    The sales action planning is only as effective as the resources it has been provided for. The resources are considered the most important part of sales action planning. Having the proper and appropriate resources could be a make or break for the success of the sales activities, maximizing the sales revenue generated, or could also be just a minimal generated sales revenue. These resources usually come in the form of materials or equipment used for sales and marketing strategies. They could be flyers, posters, or any printed materials for advertising; vehicles for transportation or logistics purposes; or online platforms to be able to reach broader audiences such as social media or social networking sites, blogs, vlogs, websites. Resources could also come in monetary forms, such as the budget or funds needed for the sales activities.

  • 5. Monitoring and Evaluation

    All sales action planning needs to be monitored and evaluated. Monitoring and evaluating help in assessing the performance of the sales action plan, checking to see if it’s still on track in achieving its goals, forecasting sales revenue and sales impacts, and taking corrective measures as necessary. Having a thorough sales monitoring report could help highlight any issues when it comes to sales performance. This section is important when it comes to making a presentation to investors. Investors like to be kept informed or updated on the sales progress of a business. This section could also highlight what are the additional needed resources or funding, or lack thereof.

FAQs

What are some examples of a sales strategy?

A sales strategy is the process of how you position and sell your product or service in the market. Some of the popular sales strategies include increasing online presence through social media or social networking sites; updating the sales teams’ skill-sets through further sales training and development; hiring additional sales field personnel to further penetrate the market demographics; offering free products or product demonstration; hiring influencers to promote the products or services; and providing value-added services.

What are sales goals?

A sales goal is an objective that is set out for a sales team. These goals are set based on KPIs (key performance indicators) that are connected to a business or a company’s objectives. Sales goals typically come in the form of targeted sales revenue. It could also come in the form of the targeted number of converted customers, the targeted number of customer leads, the number of store locations or presence of stores in a defined demographic, or the number of products or services that were availed.

What are the four P’s of a sales strategy?

The four P’s of a sales strategy are pricing, product, promotion, and placing. Pricing is the cost of the product or service, or what the customers pay for. In a sales strategy, pricing should be set up considering several factors, such as competitors’ prices; current market price for the same product or service; the type of product or service, whether it’s high quality or economically-made; or value-added based pricing. Product is the goods or services the businesses produced. Products should also be strategically placed and positioned in the market using appropriate market analysis methods. Promotions are the advertising and marketing strategic campaigns of products or services. Promotions should be able to create a need or reinforce an existing need within the targeted customers. Placing is the positioning or the placement of the product or services, or the strategic allocation of products in stores, displays, or exhibitions.

What are the usual roles and responsibilities of each sales team member?

Other duties are expected from each of the sales team members aside from achieving sales target revenue. They are expected to establish and maintain customer relationships; provide after-sales solutions and troubleshooting as necessary; keep in touch with existing customers; efficiently manage and maximize appropriately the budget and resources provided; and/or create or generate new customer leads.

What are the common sales barriers?

Sales barriers are those factors that affect the sales performance, opportunities, or growth of a business. These can be both internal and external factors. Examples of internal barriers are lack of manpower or resources to perform sales activities, lack of budget or funding, poor sales planning, or poor product quality. External barriers include the increasing presence of competitors in the market, extreme or unpredictable weather conditions, increasing taxes, strict local regulations, increased cost in logistics, and so on.

Sales is a numbers game. It’s all about the numbers in revenue and the numbers or the quantity of product you put out in the market. To be able to penetrate the market and get ahead of any existing competitors, a winning sales action plan should be properly developed and should be effectively applied by the sales team. Therefore, the tool to winning the numbers game in sales is having a carefully planned and effective sales team action plan. 

Creating a sales team action plan shouldn’t be difficult. With the help of our ready-drafted sales team action plan templates, your sales team should be up and running and performing their best in sales in no time at all. Download our template now, and see your team successfully winning the sales game!