Insights

How to Create a Sales Prospecting Action Plan

November 28, 2019
How to Create a Sales Prospecting Action Plan

As a sales leader, it can be a challenge to make sure your team is prospecting efficiently (or at all). That's why we put together something called the Prospecting Action Plan.

This action plan puts your sales reps on the right track to ensure proper prospecting practices. These include:

  1. Targeting
  2. Sales conversations
  3. Number of calls or emails required
  4. Meetings
  5. Referrals
  6. Networking
  7. and more.

No salesperson wants to miss their quota. These plans ensure they're doing everything possible to avoid it.

At Criteria for Success, we believe the key to effective selling lies in the hand of the Prospecting Action Plan. This plan is a foundational tool to ensure your team achieves sales success.

Without it, prospecting lacks insight, strategy, and accountability.

How to Create a Sales Prospecting Action Plan

Want to get the most out of your time spent prospecting?

We recommend that salespeople, sales managers, and anyone else in a selling capacity create a Prospecting Action Plan every month.

The Philosophy

A Prospecting Action Plan helps focus salespeople’s prospecting activities. Additionally, it creates a log of actions and impacts.

While these plans are great for month-to-month use, they also assist in long-term analysis as well.

Over time, sales managers will be able to compare the Prospecting Action Plans created by their sales team against outcomes to see what works and what doesn’t. Then, leadership can pivot prospecting strategies to focus on activities that were actually producing qualified opportunities.

As a salesperson, your plan will keep you fit and focused—helping you to prospect better, smarter, and more efficiently. It will keep you on track, and will show you where you could improve.

The Mechanics

Targeting: Create an Ideal Prospect List

The first step for any Prospecting Action Plan is about targeting. To discover who your ideal prospect is, ask your sales team the following questions:

  • Who are your best customers year after year?
    • What is their company size?
    • How are they structured?
    • Why did they find so much success with our solution?
  • Where did you find your best customers?
    • What is your target industry?
  • Who at the organization is the decision-maker for your solution?

Once you’ve identified your ideal targets, ask your sales team the following questions to get them thinking about how to interact with prospects:

  • What do your prospects desire?
    • How can you help them get it?
    • How does our solution get them there?
  • What industry events (such as trade shows) do they attend?
    • Do they attend networking events?
    • What type of content do they browse?

The Ultimate Guide to Sales Targeting:
How to Attract and Pursue the Right Leads for Your Business
Read Now

Sales PlayBook Activity

As your salespeople respond to the questions above and begin building their prospect lists, have them track and record their responses in your Sales PlayBook.

List individual behaviors for success and set specific and measurable goals for each target.

Have sales team members post their Prospecting Action Plans in their Weekly Goals page to stay accountable. Then, as a manager, make sure you stay up to date with their progress and plans.

The Ultimate Guide to Creating & Managing a Sales PlayBook
Are you wondering how a Sales PlayBook will help your team grow sales? Curious what to include and how to manage it?
Read Now

Sales Prospecting Action Plan Goals

Below are examples of goals you might have your salespeople include in their Prospecting Action Plan. Remember, these are just examples. Actual plans should contain less than 10 items to keep them meaningful and manageable.

  • Targets
  • Phone Calls
  • Meetings
  • Referrals
  • Networking & Social Media
  • Other

Sample Prospecting Action Plan

Need help getting started? Check out our sample plan below:

Targeting and Follow-Up:

  • Follow-up with all prospects in my target list
  • Focus on our new product “Giant Rubber Band”
  • Schedule at least 4 face-to-face sales meetings
  • Qualify at least 20 prospects
  • Request at least 10 referrals from current customers
  • Spend Mondays and Fridays conducting research, participating in one-on-one and sales team meetings, updating account notes, planning meeting agendas, and developing DEAL documents. Spend Tuesdays through Thursdays making calls and running meetings.
  • Document at least 2 success stories
  • Attend at least 2 networking events and get at least 4 leads from them

Prospecting doesn't have to be painful. All it takes is some planning and documentation. And before you know it, your sales team will be generating opportunities more than ever before.

Want to more insights? Check out our video on how to create a sales Prospecting Action Plan!

And, be sure to download our eBook on Creating and Managing a Sales PlayBook and start building yours today.

A Sales Manager's Strategy to Sales Prospecting:
An Action Plan to Develop Your Team & Your Sales PlayBook
Read Now

20 Comments

  • Edward Jones Login - Reply

    Hey great post! I hope it’s ok that I shared it on my Twitter, if not, no problem just tell me and I’ll remove it. Regardless keep up the good work.

    • Rebecca Smith - Reply

      Glad you enjoyed the post!

      Share away! And thank you for doing so!!!

      -Rebecca

  • Regina - Reply

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  • Max - Reply

    Very interesting and helpful, thanks for the post.

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  • Dimitris - Reply

    Hello Rebecca,

    I really enjoyed your post and found it meaningful and constructive.

    I have one question for you. What do you thing is the best sales way/method to approach a multinational?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Rebecca Smith - Reply

      Thank you so much, Dimitris! And thanks for the question! Would you mind sharing a few more details so I can fully respond to it? Perhaps you could give me an example of the situation and end goal? If you’d prefer to continue to conversation outside of the comments portal, please feel free to drop me a line via email (info@criteriaforsuccess.com). Thank you again!

      -Rebecca

  • MOSES KIBURI WAINAINA - Reply

    very informative to me as a sales manager

    • Rebecca Smith - Reply

      So glad you found it helpful, Moses!

  • Jennifer Fernando - Reply

    Awesome post. Thank your for sharing such a nice article.

    • Rebecca Smith - Reply

      Thank you for your comment, Ronald! Glad you found it helpful!

      -Rebecca

    • Rebecca Smith - Reply

      You are most welcomed! Thank you for reading!

      -Rebecca

  • Mike - Reply

    Can’t download as the email field won’t accept any email.

    • Elizabeth Frederick - Reply

      Hi Mike,

      I’m so sorry you’re having trouble downloading the resource!

      I just checked the form, and it seems to be working for me in the browsers I used.

      Are you sure you’re filling out all the required fields? That’s the only other thing I can think of that could be causing your problem.

      My best,

      Elizabeth

      • Chandra K. - Reply

        Great job Rebecca!

  • Jason Jones - Reply

    Hey Rebecca, nice article.
    Thanks,
    Jason,

    • Rebecca (Smith) Twomey - Reply

      Thank you, Jason! Glad you found the article helpful!

      -Rebecca

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