6 Ways a Sales Plan Keeps Your Success On Track

6 Ways to use your Sales Plan to keep success on track

A sales plan provides reps direction and data to course correct and win more sales.

How do you use your sales plan after it’s written? Does it sit on a shelf under a blanket of dust, or sleep anonymously on a hard drive?

If you can’t name at least five different ways to use your sales plan it’s likely you’ve wasted your time writing one. Or you haven’t written one.

For those who need to write a plan, here’s a free template and instructions “How to Write a Sales Plan“.

For those who completed a sales plan, here are six uses to keep you on track and winning sales.

#1 Glance @ OFF-PLAN Sales

TIME REQUIRED: 2 minutes
FREQUENCY: Repeat each week

This is a quick check if you’re straying wildly from plan. It’s too soon to change your plan or your actions, real trends won’t show up on a weekly basis. But this glance will help to register them on your consciousness.

On your sales report, mark sales you’ve won that are not part of your plan (OFF-PLAN).

OFF-PLAN sales may be wins you had selling in a geographic area that wasn’t part of your plan, or selling in a vertical market you hadn’t targeted, or even securing a win that was smaller in size than your plan’s minimum.

Whatever makes a sale not align with your sales plan, mark it OFF-PLAN by doing one of the following:

* If your sales report is a hard copy put a square around those sales that are OFF-PLAN.

* If your sales report is digital and you can highlight text, mark OFF-PLAN sales in yellow or another color.

* If your sales database allows you to add a searchable field, indicate which sales are OFF-PLAN.

However you report sales this sets up a way of easily tracking sales that are OFF-PLAN.

#2 Compare Win Rates for ON/OFF-PLAN Sales

TIME REQUIRED: 5-7 minutes
FREQUENCY: Repeat each month

Calculate your win rate of secured sales that are OFF-PLAN compared to those that are ON-PLAN. You’ll want to look at the win rates by numbers as well as dollars.

Win Rates by # Bid to # Secured/Won

For example, for the month you won 2 sales out of 10 that were OFF-PLAN – and – 4 sales out of 10 that were in your sales plan. That would look like this:

* OFF-PLAN win rate: 20%
* ON-PLAN win rate: 40%

Win rates by $ Bid to $ Secured/Won

Repeat the calculation above but this time substitute the total dollar volumes for the numbers bid and won.

For example, $550,000 bid and $75,000 won for OFF-PLAN – and – $725,000 bid and $317,000 won for ON-PLAN

* OFF-PLAN win rate: 14%
* ON-PLAN win rate: 48%

This is a longer look at your strays. You’re looking to see if the reality of your success is tilting away from, or towards your plan.

You’re not course correcting yet as a month still isn’t a trend for long sales cycles. But it’ll give you a sense of how things are going.

#3 Course Correct Sales Plan

TIME REQUIRED: 30-45 minutes
FREQUENCY: Repeat each quarter

Here’s where you revise your sales plan and shift actions to those having the best success.


Roll up your monthly win rates into quarterly totals for OFF-PLAN and ON-PLAN sales. Look at both the number win rate and the dollar win rate.


Based on what you see, revise your sales plan for the vertical market, geographic area, sales approach, even minimum size to align with the quarterly results.


Using your revised plan,  do more of the sales activities that produced your sterling results, and that align with your new direction.


While there are benefits to sticking to a long term strategy, in the sales world it’s necessary to produce results on a quarterly basis.

And it’s easier and faster to sell where there’s success. Your numbers show you the way. Go there.

#4 Set Quarterly Sales Goals/Quotas

TIME REQUIRED: 10-15 minutes
FREQUENCY: Once annually in budgeting period

Once your annual sales plan is completed use it to populate quarterly sales goals (if you’re managing sales staff this can be their quota).

Adjust goals up/down based on:

  • Targeting new verticals
  • Entering new geographic areas
  • Establishing higher minimum sale size
  • Shifting to less familiar service offerings
  • Industry and/or sales experience of reps
  • Operational assistance with pricing

#5 Secure Annual Sales Budget

TIME REQUIRED: However long it takes you to negotiate
FREQUENCY: Once annually in budgeting period

With a completed sales plan you can present upper management/ownership with a budget request for:

  • Trade show exhibiting, sponsorship & attendance
  • Ad program for print or digital media
  • Direct mailing programs
  • Telemarketing campaigns
  • Collateral development
  • Proposal & slideshow upgrades
  • Sales training
  • Inbound marketing campaigns

#6 Annual Sales Plan as Company Forecast

TIME REQUIRED: 2-6 hours
FREQUENCY: Once annually in budgeting period

Your company will have an annual forecast. Sales growth from year to year can be overly optimistic when taken out of thin air.

Completing an annual sales plan forces sales reps and management to look hard at the realities of who they’re pursuing, and most importantly how.

Sales Plan in Action

A sales plan is more than an annual exercise. It provides individual sales reps direction and data to course correct and win more sales. Use it or lose it.

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