Approaching strategic sales planning for your company can be tricky. It’s a comprehensive approach to adapting and thriving in the changing sales landscape. 

According to Forrester’s Winter Sales Survey, 2022, 72% of first-line sales managers from high-performing organizations agree that sales transformation must be a major initiative in their organization over the next three years.

To achieve sales transformation, you need to strategically plan and implement changes in your sales processes, methodologies, and technologies. This includes-

  • Aligning sales strategies with market dynamics, 
  • Leveraging new technologies and tools, and 
  • Empowering the sales team with the necessary skills and resources to succeed.

What is a strategic sales planning 

Strategic sales planning goes beyond just setting revenue goals and creating a sales process. It involves –

  • Analyzing market trends, 
  • Understanding customer needs, 
  • Identifying competitive advantages, and 
  • Mapping out a clear roadmap to achieve long-term success. 

It requires a deep understanding of the target market, the competitive landscape, and the value proposition of your product. Unlike regular sales planning, which focuses on immediate targets and short-term tactics, strategic sales planning takes a holistic view of the business with a more proactive and strategic mindset.

Strategic Sales Planning is a competitive advantage

Some questions you need to answer before strategizing a sales plan for your B2B SaaS company. 

  • What is the nature of the B2B SaaS company? What does it do and what are its products or services?
  • Who is the target market for the company’s products or services?
  • What are the company’s current sales goals and challenges?
  • What resources are available to the company for implementing a sales plan, such as budget, personnel, and technology?
  • What is the timeline for implementing the sales plan and achieving the desired results?

Ask these questions to the relevant stakeholders to get insights into the product and customer.  

Top 15 Tips to Approach Strategic Sales Planning

Understand Your Ideal Customer 

Let’s consider a B2B SaaS company that offers project management software. Through careful analysis, they identify that their ideal customers are medium-sized IT consulting firms that handle complex projects. 

By understanding their ideal customer’s pain points and challenges, they can position their product as a solution that specifically addresses those needs. This focused approach increases the chances of attracting the right customers and achieving higher conversion rates.

Some tips for defining the ideal customer profile-

  • Analyzing past successful deals, 
  • Conducting market research, and 
  • Leveraging customer feedback.

Conduct a Competitive Analysis 

Such an important point! It is necessary for you to gain a competitive edge. Analyzing your competitor helps you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, identify market gaps, and differentiate your product or service.

As mentioned above, answer the relevant questions and understand your competitors, customer, and your product better. 

For example-  You work for a B2B SaaS company that offers email marketing software. By conducting a competitive analysis, you discover that your main competitor lacks advanced segmentation capabilities. 

This information will help you to emphasize 

  • your product’s robust segmentation features, 
  • positioning it as a unique selling point (USP) that addresses a specific pain point. 

This analysis helps your company stand out and effectively communicate its value proposition.

Create a Sales Playbook 

A sales playbook is a comprehensive document that outlines your sales process, strategies, and best practices. It serves as a guide for your sales team, ensuring consistency and providing a framework for success.

It includes a step-by-step process for 

  • Prospecting, 
  • Making discovery calls, 
  • Product demos, 
  • Creating value propositions tailored to specific customer segments, and 
  • Closing deals

This playbook enables the sales team to align their efforts and provides a structured approach to effectively engage with prospects. This helps in improving sales performance and streamlining processes.

Develop a Targeted Outreach Strategy 

Want to maximize your sales efforts? Then, build a targeted outreach strategy. It involves identifying the right prospects and personalizing your communication to resonate with their specific needs. 

Suggested Read: A Comprehensive Guide to LinkedIn Outreach Strategy

Building an effective outreach strategy includes segmenting your target audience, leveraging data and analytics, and utilizing multiple communication channels. This targeted approach increases the chances of connecting with the right decision-makers and achieving higher conversion rates.

Build a High-Quality Prospect List 

Your goal is to maximize your sales efforts and increase revenue, right? For this to happen, you need to build a high-quality prospect list. Leverage industry databases, utilize lead generation tools, network at industry events, and use the right tech stack to create such a list. 

This high-quality prospect list enables the sales team to focus their efforts on the most promising leads, resulting in more targeted and efficient sales activities.

Check out Salesgear if you want to create such a prospect list by navigating through 1000s of potential buyers from a database of over 200 million records.

Implement an Effective Follow-up Strategy 

The key to converting prospects into customers is to provide excellent customer service and support. And, that involves having a robust follow-up strategy in place. It involves timely and personalized communication to build trust, address objections, and nurture relationships.

Let’s see how this helps. 

For instance, consider a B2B SaaS company that offers project management software. After a product demo, they implement a follow-up strategy that includes sending a personalized email. It will have additional resources, case studies, and testimonials highlighting successful implementations, etc. in order to encourage their prospects to take action. 

They also schedule a follow-up call to address any questions or concerns. This proactive approach demonstrates their commitment to customer success and increases the likelihood of converting prospects into paying customers.

Utilize Social Proof 

Social proof plays a significant role in building credibility and trust for every B2B SaaS company. It involves leveraging testimonials, case studies, reviews, and endorsements to showcase the value and benefits of your product or service. 

You can utilize social proof by showcasing customer success stories on your website. You can encourage satisfied customers to share their experiences on social media and review platforms. This social proof reinforces your credibility and helps potential customers feel more confident in choosing your solution.

Some tips for utilizing social proof- 

  • Actively collect your customer feedback, 
  • Feature testimonials on your website, and 
  • Leverage social media and review platforms.

Extra resource: 30 Tried & Tested ChatGPT Prompts for Cold Outreach

Develop a Referral Program 

A referral program is a powerful way to drive new business for B2B SaaS companies. It involves incentivizing existing customers, partners, or advocates to refer new prospects to your company. 

Imagine you work for a B2B SaaS company that offers CRM software. You develop a referral program that rewards existing customers with exclusive features, discounts, or even monetary incentives for referring new clients. You also provide a user-friendly referral portal where customers can easily submit referrals and track their progress. 

Creating such a referral program not only strengthens customer loyalty and satisfaction but also generates new leads. 

Tips for creating a successful referral program- 

  • Offering attractive incentives,
  • Providing easy-to-use referral mechanisms, and 
  • Nurturing relationships with advocates.

Leverage Partnerships 

Partnerships can play a vital role in expanding the reach and acquiring new customers for your company. Strategic partnerships involve collaborating with complementary products, services, or industry influencers to leverage each other’s networks and expertise. 

For example, a B2B SaaS company providing e-commerce platform software forms a strategic partnership with a payment gateway provider. They integrate their solutions, enabling seamless transactions for mutual customers. They co-market their joint offering, targeting online retailers, and participate in industry events together. 

This partnership helps both companies reach a wider audience, drive customer acquisition, and create added value for customers.

Some tips for building strategic partnerships for your company- 

  • Identifying synergies, 
  • Establishing mutually beneficial agreements, and 
  • Fostering strong relationships.

Optimize Pricing Strategy 

As a sales head, your objective is likely to maximize revenue and profitability. To achieve this, you’d have to 

  • Evaluate market dynamics, 
  • Understand customer perceptions of value, and 
  • Align pricing with business goals. 

Great tips for evaluating and optimizing the pricing strategy- 

  1. analyze competitor pricing, 
  2. conduct customer surveys to gauge perceived value, and 
  3. identify different customer segments. Then, based on your analysis, 
  4. Introduce tiered pricing plans. 
  5. Offer different levels of features and support. 

This optimized pricing strategy allows them to capture a wider market and generate higher revenue.

Develop a Customer Success Program 

A customer success program is crucial for B2B SaaS companies to drive customer satisfaction, retention, and upsells. It involves providing proactive support, onboarding, and ongoing value delivery to ensure customers achieve their desired outcomes. 

Some tips for building a customer success program –

  • Assign dedicated customer success managers. They work closely with clients to understand their goals and help them leverage your product effectively. 
  • Conduct regular check-ins and provide educational resources. Provide training sessions to enhance user adoption, and share best practices through webinars and knowledge-base articles. 

This customer success program ensures that customers derive maximum value from the software, resulting in long-term satisfaction and retention.

Utilize Sales Technology 

Sales technology plays a pivotal role in streamlining sales processes, improving efficiency, and enhancing productivity for B2B SaaS companies. It involves leveraging CRM systems, sales automation tools, and analytics platforms to optimize sales operations. 

For example- consider a B2B SaaS company that provides customer support ticketing software. They implement a CRM system that integrates with their ticketing software, allowing seamless tracking of customer interactions and providing valuable insights into customer behavior. 

They also leverage sales analytics tools to measure key metrics, such as conversion rates and deal velocity, to identify areas for improvement. 

By utilizing sales technology effectively, they streamline their sales processes, improve data accuracy, and enable their sales team to focus on building customer relationships.

Tips for leveraging sales technology- 

  • Select the right tools for your specific needs, 
  • Integrate systems for seamless data flow, and 
  • Provide adequate training and support for your sales team.

Measure and Evaluate Sales Performance

Making data-driven decisions and continuously improving your sales efforts is no easy task. This is why tracking and measuring your sales performance is extremely important. 

Imagine you are the sales head of a company that offers marketing analytics software. You’ve established a comprehensive sales performance measurement system. This means that you track metrics such as lead conversion rates, average deal size, and sales cycle length. 

By analyzing this data, you can 

  • Identify bottlenecks in the sales process, 
  • Optimize sales strategies, and 
  • Provide targeted coaching to individual sales team members. 

This data-driven approach allows them to continuously improve sales performance, drive revenue growth, and achieve long-term success.

90-day or 12-week Sales Plan Template

The following table is an example of a template that you can design for your company. This is designed for a VP of Sales at a B2B SaaS company that offers a sales engagement platform, like Salesgear, as the product. 

So if you’re looking to do strategic sales planning, this could be a good starting point.

TimelinePlan of ActionExample
Week 1Define the ideal customer.Ideal customer Profile (ICP) could be
– A company that has at least 50 employees, 
– A dedicated sales team.
– Uses tools like Salesforce or Hubspot for their sales operations.
Week 1Conduct a competitive analysis.– Identify the strengths and weaknesses of competing products such as Outreach, SalesLoft, etc. 
– Highlight the key differentiators of the company’s product such as its easy-to-use interface and personalized outreach capabilities.
Week 2Create a sales playbook.– Develop a comprehensive sales playbook that outlines the sales process from start to finish, including key messaging, value propositions, objection handling, and closing techniques.
– Use the company’s strengths such as its personalized outreach capabilities to develop messaging that resonates with the target market.
Week 3 Develop a targeted outreach strategy.– Create a targeted outreach strategy that includes a mix of email, phone, and social media outreach.
– Use targeted messaging and value propositions to connect with the ideal customers and provide them with a compelling reason to schedule a meeting.
Week 4 Build a high-quality prospect list.– Build a high-quality prospect list that includes the contact information of the ideal customers.
– Use LinkedIn, prospecting tools, and other sources to find new prospects.
Week 5Implement an effective follow-up strategy.– Develop a follow-up strategy that includes multiple touchpoints and provides value to the prospect at each stage of the sales process.
– Use personalized outreach capabilities to build trust and establish credibility with the prospects.
Week 6Utilize social proof.– Use customer success stories and case studies to showcase the benefits of the product and build social proof.
– Feature a case study on the website that highlights how the product helped a customer increase their revenue or streamline their operations.
Week 7 Develop a referral program.– Create a referral program that incentivizes current customers to refer new businesses to the company.
– Offer discounts, bonuses, or other rewards for successful referrals.
Week 8 Leverage partnerships.– Build strategic partnerships with complementary products or services to expand the company’s reach and create additional revenue streams.
– This may include co-marketing campaigns or joint sales initiatives.
Week 9Optimize pricing strategy.– Evaluate the pricing strategy to ensure that it aligns with the value that the product provides to the target market.
– Test different pricing models to see if they result in better conversion rates.
Week 10Develop a customer success program.– Build a customer success program that helps customers achieve their goals and maximize the value of the product.
– This will help drive customer retention and create a positive reputation for the brand.
Week 11Utilize sales technology.– Leverage sales technology, such as CRM, sales automation, and analytics tools, to streamline the sales process and enable data-driven decision-making.
– Use tools such as Sales Navigator and Hubspot to manage and track the sales process.
Week 12Continuously evaluate and iterate.– Continuously evaluate the results and adjust the sales plan as needed to stay ahead of the competition.
– Use data and analytics to identify areas for improvement and test new tactics.
Week 12Hire and train a top-performing sales team.Build a high-performing sales team that is aligned with the sales goals and has the skills and expertise needed to execute the sales plan. Provide necessary coaching.