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Strategic vs Tactical planning in Sales

5 minutes read

Each and every goal that you set requires planning to achieve it. Without clearly defined steps, it can be very difficult to achieve your goals.

Similarly, a lot of planning goes into sales as well. A good sales plan helps in setting your sales team up for success.

Usually, a sales plan encompasses two types of planning:

  • Strategic planning

  • And Tactical planning

Definition of Strategic Planning and Tactical Planning

Strategic planning lays out the long-term, broad goals that a business wants to achieve. And tactical planning outlines the short-term steps and actions that should be taken to achieve the goals described in the strategic plan.

Strategic planning typically occurs at the beginning of a year, quarter, or month. The objectives set in the strategic plan are more general and evaluated over a longer period of time. The strategic plans should be reviewed at least once every quarter.

Tactical planning occurs after the strategic plan is outlined. Since tactical planning has short-term and specific goals, it can be examined on a more frequent basis.

Consider the below high-level example to understand the difference between the two types of planning.

High-level Examples of Strategic planning Vs Tactical planning

Let’s take the example of a hypothetical company mulling over different strategies to improve different aspects of its sales operations.

Sales Recruitment

  • Strategy: We want to develop repeatable evaluation criteria for hiring the right salespeople

  • Tactics: We will pin down the specific qualities the company wants out of its salespeople, draft appropriate questions to shed light on those qualities, and train recruiters to conduct interviews based on those key tenets.

Sales and Marketing Collaboration

  • Strategy: We want to improve sales and marketing alignment.

  • Tactics: We will clearly define the qualities that marketing needs to find to consider a lead as an SQL. Encourage collaboration between the sales and marketing departments on the creation of sales content. Hold interdepartmental syncs to address results and planned campaigns.

Technological Infrastructure

  • Strategic: We want to build a more sound technological foundation for our sales operations.

  • Tactics: We will adopt a CRM, incorporate a conversational intelligence tool for improving sales calls, and pursue more virtual sales enablement resources.

Now, we are going to see how strategic and tactical planning plays out in creating a good sales plan.

Sales Plan = Strategic Planning + Tactical Planning

A sales plan encompasses both strategic and tactical planning. It outlines the broad goals your sales team and reps should strive for, and it creates an action plan to reach them.

Here is a detailed explanation of how strategic and tactical planning contributes to an organization’s overarching sales strategy.

Developing Strategy in the Sales Plan

The strategic planning sheds light on the organization’s mission, objectives, and future goals. Managers, VPs, and executives typically create strategic plans for an organization

Here are the key components to be included in a strategic plan:

The mission and background of the business: Where do you currently stand? And where do you want to be in the future?

Goals and objectives: What is it that you would like to achieve?

Directly responsible individuals (DRIs): Who are the people who are responsible for the goals?

Developing Tactics in the Sales Plan

Once you have a strategic plan that outlines general goals and objectives, then go ahead and develop the tactical plan. A tactical plan describes the steps and actions that must be taken to achieve the goals described in the strategic plan.

Here are a few key elements to consider when developing your tactical plan:

  • What is the timeline for achieving the goals?

  • Are there tools or resources that are necessary to accomplish these objectives?

  • What specific actions should be taken to achieve the intended outcome?

Now that we have a good understanding of the strategic and tactical planning, let’s see what they look like in practice

Examples of Strategic and Tactical Planning in a Sales Plan

While strategic and tactical plans can vary by company or industry, there are some that are common to many sales organizations and teams. We have listed them down below:

Strategy: Fill the pipeline with more leads over the next two weeks

Tactics to achieve this strategy:

  • Spend an hour prospecting each day

  • Leverage social selling and join 5 LinkedIn Groups that your prospects belong to

  • Attend an industry networking event

  • Conduct a webinar for the customers and prospects

Strategy: Close more deals each month

Tactics to achieve this strategy:

Strategy: Hire 20 entry-level sales representatives by the end of the Q1

Tactics to achieve this strategy:

  • Create a hiring profile that candidates should meet

  • Develop a LinkedIn outreach campaign to find and attract new talent

  • Attend career fairs at 15 local universities


Make sure that you implement both strategic and tactical planning together whenever you plan any initiative at your organization. With a solid strategic plan and a detailed tactical plan, you’ll be well-equipped to achieve your goals and generate greater results.

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Published on Wed Feb 17 2021

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