In order to know whether or not the assumptions you’re making in your sales plan are close to the mark, you need to break that big number down into smaller expectations with strict deadlines. We call these milestones and they’re incredibly handy in tracking whether or not your sales plan is on the right path.

Clear deadlines and manageable milestones take research and time to develop. They should challenge and motivate your sales team, without being so difficult they kill morale.

Again, start with last year’s numbers (if you have them). Track how sales revenues increased annually and compare your company to the industry standards. Talk to your sales team about what they do during the workweek, whether that’s getting on sales calls, prospecting new customers, or closing deals. Ask how much they’re currently doing, and how much bandwidth they have to do more. This will give you a real, frontline take of what milestones to set in your sales plan template.

Next, it’s time to set your milestones. These need to be specific with clear goals and deadlines. For example, you might want to increase your customer base by 20% or increase sales 50% for a specific product. Or even increase the percentage of users on a paid plan by 15% by mid-year. Whatever the milestone is, be clear what your expectations are and set a hard deadline for your team to work towards.

Lastly, set individual milestones for your sales team as well. These individual goals need to take into account the differences among your salespeople. If someone on your team is making a lot of calls but not closing, give them a milestone of upping their close rate. If someone’s great at closing but doesn’t do much outreach, give them a milestone of contacting 10 new prospects a month. Brought together, these milestones inform and support your overall sales plan, giving you a clear, actionable plan of how you’re going to hit your overall goals for the year.