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5 Questions to Guide Your 2020 Sales Plan + Free Sales Templates

Vy Dang
1/13/20 6:57 PM

January rolls around quickly and it feels like time has shrunk itself with the holiday hangover (yes it’s real) and catch-up meetings. Maybe 2020's business strategy and goals have been in place, and you have set your heart on bringing X more revenue by this time next year.

But like most of our new year’s abandoned resolutions, sheer determination is not enough. Without a solid, comprehensive sales plan, your key sales goals stand the slightest chance in surviving their first contact with reality.

But neither does following others’ annual/weekly sales plan or 20-60-90-day do the trick - we’ve been through it.

Every sales plan should be based on your goals, your situation and your team capabilities, not because it works for others. There are 5 questions you can use to guide your planning process for a down-to-earth, actionable and reliable sales plan.

Quick definition: “A plan containing an assessment of current sales for a product in a given region or market, a statement of sales objectives, strategies for achieving the stated sales objectives, and resources available for achieving this goal. A sales plan may also assign particular sales representatives or other staff to particular roles or territories, and may include a breakdown of who will focus improving sales for which product." (Business Dictionary)

Question 1: What are the key goals for 2020 that you are responsible for accomplishing?

Whatever goals you have, they should be specific in the form of purpose, context, metrics and timeline. Objectives spoken in vague terms create more room for misunderstanding and deviation.

Try and ask yourself and your management, if necessary in which areas the 2020’s key goals are.

  • What growth goals have the company set and what are you responsible for?
  • What are the margin and profitability goals?
  • What products will be emphasized?
  • Which markets will be targeted?
  • What major sales initiatives will be started?

Question 2: What are the prerequisites for reaching those goals?

Then it’s time to reverse-engineer these expected outcomes into smaller pieces that presumably contribute to the end result.

For example, if you have a revenue goal in terms of MRR, what has to be fulfilled in order to make that happen?

There might be a couple of different combinations of various factors: average deal size, number of meetings, hit rate, etc. The rule of thumb is that if you take something out of the equation, it has to be compensated accordingly so that you arrive at your desired MRR.

Then, to make sure the numbers add up in reality, take into account the contextual dimensions, such as timeframe, metrics, resources and areas of focus.

These criteria will be later on considered as KPIs on a higher level and they also function as the early warning system to signal any derailing.

Question 3: What are your current resources and restraints in the way to goal achievement?

While question 1 and 2 deal with the ideal outcomes and required criteria, question 3 asks you to get a reality check. Now while there are many different categories to break down your sales organization into, the 3 main areas we find helpful are:

  • Structure
  • People
  • Process

We’ve created a sales template based on the one made by asalesguy, with a little useful spin - a scoring system for each proposed change!


👉 Go through each of these elements of each category
👉 Take note if something is not aligned with your organization’s goals,
👉 Then fill in with what needs to be changed

Feel free to download this sales plan template and change the score and the weight according to your organization.

Other sales plan tools: 

Question 4: Given your current circumstances, what are the available strategies for you to meet the assigned goals?

Then now it’s time to do brainstorming and decision making. As you gather some options on how to go about achieving your annual quota, use the sales operations assessment table to score the alternatives based on impact / complexity.

If you are striving towards multiple goals, map out a strategy for each of them to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

  • Go to market
  • Growth target
  • Margin targets
  • New products / product mix
  • Financial

Question 5: If things don’t go according to plan, what are the fallback options?

Thinking ahead about the internal and external obstacles that might prevent you from executing your sales plan is a good way to avoid those. Especially with external factors beyond your control, having a plan B to react in time will not only save you from a dry month or quarter, but also a whole lot of stress and anxiety sweat.

With clearly defined goals, constantly monitored KPIs, down-to-earth planning approach that allows for deviation / unexpected issues, your sales team stand a way better chance of winning the battle of 2020.

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