How to build a better sales close plan [+free template]

The Dock Team
March 15, 2024
March 15, 2024

There’s a problem with sales close plans. Nobody likes feeling like they’re being “closed”. 

It’s like saying to your customers, “OK, it’s been fun — but now it’s time for me to get you to sign on the dotted line so I can make quota.” 

But if you want a scale-able process for closing more deals, you do need a close plan. You need a system for moving the sale along, especially when it comes to selling in B2B markets with long sales cycles. 

Our take? A good “close plan” should be a mutual action plan. It should be a collaborative tool, aimed at walking your buyers through the steps they need to complete internally in order for the deal to close.

They should feel like you’re still helping them, the way you have been up until this point — not suddenly ripping off the helpful mask to reveal the sleazy sales shark beneath. 

So, here’s our guide to creating a mutual close plan that will enable your reps to close more deals, while also creating a positive buyer experience

What is a sales close plan?

A sales close plan is a roadmap that guides sales reps and customers through the steps involved in finalizing a purchase. 

They’re most commonly used in enterprise sales and other complex buying scenarios. More than three-quarters of B2B buyers say that their latest purchase was “extremely complex or difficult”. Close plans aim to help make it easier, by outlining the actions required to get the deal done.

Close plans make it easier to see what needs to happen for the deal to close. 

Sales close plan vs. mutual action plan

The term “sales close plan” has traditionally been used to describe your next actions as the seller — the steps you need to take to get the prospect to close.

Typically, close plans are internal documents. You wouldn’t tell a prospective buyer that you’re working on their close plan (unless you want them to head for the hills). 

A mutual action plan (MAP) is a buyer-facing collaborative resource, with actions that both sides need to take to close the deal. 

However, any decent close plan should involve your buyers, and work as a tool to enable both parties to get the deal done. In other words, your close plan should really be a mutual action plan. 

Otherwise, to quote Ethan Zoubek, the President of Atari, you don’t really have a plan at all: 

“A plan created in a vacuum isn’t a plan — it’s a hope and a dream until we confer with our buyer.”  

Why you should have a sales close plan

Many salespeople skip the close plan — often because the typical close plan is a clunky spreadsheet, and who’s got time for that? But, done right, a close plan can be a great tool for growing sales teams. A solid close plan can help you: 

Close more deals

B2B deals, especially high-ticket sales, often die from simple lack of momentum. The whole process is so long and complex that buyers lose interest. 

Sales close plans can increase your close rate by making it easier for your buyers to buy. In your close plan, you break down the tasks, responsibilities, deadlines and outcomes, to keep the buyer moving smoothly through the purchase process. 

Optimize Sales performance 

For sales leaders, close plans are a huge help because they let you standardize the steps that your reps should take towards closing a deal. You don’t need to worry about who’s doing what — instead, your close plan gives your team a structure to follow and reinforces best-practice sales strategy. 

This is a great way to make sure that you’re passing on organizational knowledge, so that even your least-experienced rep is working through the templated steps that need to happen for the deal to close. 

Plus, if you use Dock, you can track milestone-level progress through your close plans for each sales rep. That way, you can spot any frequent stumbling blocks, and hop in to offer coaching when needed. 

Forecast more accurately 

Sales close plans also let you track your deals at the milestone level, meaning that you get a much clearer picture of your sales pipeline. While many forecasting tools involve an element of guesswork and signals, sales close plans give you a detailed view of deal progress. 

You can pipe that stage-level data right into your sales forecasts or your CRM — and, if you do this consistently, you’ll soon have the ability to predict the likelihood of a close when your deals reach specific milestones. Plus, as your close plan will have deadlines for each task, you’ll also be able to anticipate the close date with a high level of accuracy. 

In fact, Dock even lets you track buyer activity — so you can see who’s interacting with your mutual close plan and how often. That way, you get even more insight into the likelihood of a close — and can step in to nudge things along if needed. 

Offer a better buyer experience 

A good close plan sets you up as a trusted partner. You’re making it easy for your clients to purchase, bringing together the steps and documentation they’ll need, and proving yourself a useful and supportive ally. 

It gets you off on the right foot, and builds confidence that the experience of working with you is going to be similarly seamless and well-organized. 

📘 Related reading: Buyer Enablement Guide: To sell more, make it easier to buy

Sales close plan template

Ready to build your own close plan that your clients and your reps will find genuinely useful? If you’re using Dock, you can grab a free, done-for-you sales close plan template over here. 

Get Dock's free mutual close plan template

Or, if you want to build one for yourself, here are the ingredients we recommend that you include: 

  • Value summary — a quick overview of the value you’re adding for your client and why they’re buying from you in the first place 
  • Objectives — the ideal results and business goals that your client has, and the deliverables involved in achieving those results 
  • Stakeholders — list out the key contact points in your organization, and the decision-makers in the buyer organization 
  • Key milestones and outcomes — list the 8-12 major milestones that need to happen to get the deal over the finish line, including a short description, the owner(s), a due date, and the status of the action 
  • Key constraints — any additional information, such as the client’s budget, the intended go-live date, and other relevant dates to keep in mind 
  • Project documents — any files needed for the purchase, such as security and/or privacy documentation, meeting notes, or the project scope 

📘 Related reading: Mutual Action Plans: Ditch the spreadsheet to win more sales

4 tips for more successful sales close plans

Here are our best-practice tips for creating a mutual close plan that will help you drive more sales: 

1. Connect it to your buyer’s goals (not yours) 

Strong close plans are built in collaboration with your client, not in a vacuum. A close plan is there to help your sales team, yes — but it’s also there to help your client make the purchase. 

So, when you’re writing milestones and objectives, make them buyer-centric. Don’t make the last milestone “Close contract” (important to you), call it “Project launch” (important to them). 

2. Drive urgency with due dates 

Use deadlines to keep the momentum going. Tie those deadlines to their schedule and priorities, not yours. For instance, “You said you want to launch on Apr 1, so step 5 has to happen Mar 21, step 4 therefore has to happen Mar 14, etc.”

This gives you a stronger ability to forecast close dates, but it also helps remind the client of how your product fits into their broader plans. 

3. Give it context 

Your close plan is your final opportunity to showcase your value of your solution to your prospective buyers. Don’t let it turn into a tedious to-do list.

Skip the clunky spreadsheets, and house your close plan within a digital sales room. Using Dock, you can add context to the deal by surrounding your close plan with demo videos, sales decks, case studies, ROI calculators — all of which serve to remind them why they’re in the purchase process in the first place. 

With Dock, you can even add price quotes & order forms to the same digital workspace — so you can actually share pricing and get contracts signed in the same place as the close plan. 

4. Connect it to onboarding 

The sales close plan should help you transition your customer smoothly from sales to customer success. Outline the steps that need to happen before they purchase — but also include post-purchase next steps. 

This has multiple benefits for both parties: 

  • It increases your close rate, because the client feels like they’re already in the onboarding phase and on their way to getting value from the product — it makes the final stages of the deal stickier and more compelling. 
  • It improves the customer experience, making sure that there’s a seamless handover from sales to success and speeding up time to value 
  • It gives you an overview of the customer journey and lets you track the end-to-end sales cycle 

Use Dock to build a better sales close plan

If you’re ready to create a more effective sales close plan, you need a tool that makes it easy to collaborate internally and with your prospects and customers. With Dock, you can either: 

  1. Create a customizable digital sales room for every deal, with a built-in mutual action plan that you can modify as needed, 


  1. Create a close plan template that you can then drop into your digital sales rooms when the customer approaches the first milestone 

Instead of an ugly spreadsheet that just feels like you’re handing your clients a homework assignment, Dock lets you: 

  • Enable your customers to check off action items, leave comments, and upload files—without needing to create their own user accounts 
  • Provide complete context around the deal, with embedded videos, slide decks, meeting notes, and other sales collateral
  • Add relative due dates, so you can save set-up time by setting the due date of each task as relative to the deal start date  (e.g. Task 1 is due 5 days after the deal is created, task 2 is due 10 days later, etc.)
  • Move your customers from sales to onboarding in the same user-friendly workspace
  • Create a repeatable sales process that every rep can follow, and that you can track at the granular level

Ready to get started? Dive right in with our free sales close plan template and a free Dock account.

The Dock Team