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How to Write a Sales & Marketing Plan: Comprehensive Guide

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  • March 21, 2024
  • Business Plan , How to Write

sales & marketing plan

Creating a sales and marketing plan for your business plan is really important. It shows how you’ll attract customers and make sales, which is crucial for your business to succeed. This guide will walk you through the steps to make a great sales & marketing plan.

Whether your business is new or you’re looking to grow, having a clear plan for sales and marketing can help everyone believe in your business’s success. Let’s dive in!

What is a Sales & Marketing Plan

A sales and marketing plan is a strategic document that outlines how a business intends to reach its target market and achieve its sales goals. It details the strategies, tactics, channels, and tools the business will use to attract and engage customers, promote its products or services, and convert prospects into buyers.

This plan typically includes information on target customer segments, marketing objectives, sales targets, competitive analysis , marketing strategies (like advertising, content marketing, social media, and SEO), sales tactics (such as direct selling or channel partnerships), budgets, and key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring success.

Why do we use a Sales & Marketing Plan?

We use a sales and marketing plan for several critical reasons, all aimed at ensuring a business’s growth and success:

  • Strategic Direction : It provides a clear roadmap for reaching and engaging the target audience , guiding the marketing and sales efforts in a unified direction.
  • Resource Allocation : Helps in the efficient allocation of resources, ensuring that time, budget, and personnel are focused on high-impact sales and marketing activities.
  • Goal Setting : Establishes specific, measurable objectives for what the business aims to achieve through its sales and marketing efforts, such as revenue targets, customer acquisition goals, and market share.
  • Target Market Identification : Assists in identifying and understanding the target market’s needs, preferences, and behaviors, enabling the business to tailor its offerings more effectively.
  • Competitive Advantage : By analyzing the competitive landscape, the plan allows businesses to identify their unique selling proposition (USP) and differentiate themselves from competitors.
  • Performance Measurement : Sets key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to track the effectiveness of sales and marketing strategies, providing insight into what’s working and what needs adjustment.
  • Investor and Stakeholder Confidence : A well-thought-out plan demonstrates to investors, stakeholders, and potential partners that the business has a solid strategy for achieving growth, increasing their confidence in the venture.

Why do we use a Sales & Marketing Plan in a Business Plan?

Including a sales and marketing plan in a business plan is crucial because it directly influences investor and stakeholder confidence. This component of the business plan serves several key purposes that reassure investors and stakeholders about the business’s potential for success:

  • Demonstrates Preparedness : It shows that the business has thoroughly researched and understood its market environment. A detailed plan signals to investors and stakeholders that the company is prepared to navigate the competitive landscape effectively.
  • Outlines a Clear Path to Revenue : Investors and stakeholders are particularly interested in how a business plans to generate revenue. The sales and marketing plan provides a clear strategy for attracting and retaining customers, crucial for the business’s financial sustainability.
  • Highlights Growth Potential : By outlining specific marketing strategies and sales targets, the plan showcases the business’s growth potential. It illustrates how the business intends to capture market share and expand its customer base, which is a key indicator of its future success.
  • Provides Metrics for Success : The plan includes key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics that will be used to measure success. This allows investors and stakeholders to understand how the business will track its progress and adjust strategies as needed, instilling confidence in the business’s ability to meet its goals.
  • Facilitates Alignment with Investor Expectations : Finally, a sales and marketing plan helps align the business’s strategies with investor and stakeholder expectations. By clearly communicating how the business intends to achieve growth, it ensures that everyone is working towards the same objectives, reducing potential conflicts and increasing support.

How to Write a Sales & Marketing Plan?

Writing a sales and marketing plan for a business plan involves outlining how you intend to reach your target customers and achieve your sales goals. It’s a strategic document that details the actions, tools, and resources you will use to promote your products or services.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to crafting an effective sales and marketing plan:

1. Define Your Target Market

Identify who your ideal customers are by considering demographics (age, gender, income level, etc.), psychographics (interests, values, habits), and geographics (location). Understanding your target market is crucial for tailoring your sales and marketing efforts effectively.

2. Set Clear Marketing and Sales Objectives

Establish what you aim to achieve with your sales and marketing plan. Objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Examples include increasing website traffic by 20% within six months or boosting sales by 15% in a year.

3. Analyze Your Competition

Understand your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses , and how you compare. This knowledge will help you identify your unique selling proposition (USP) and position your offerings more attractively.

4. Develop Your Marketing Channels

Outline the strategies you will use to achieve your objectives by listing what are your marketing channels . This might involve:

  • Content Marketing : Creating and sharing valuable content to attract and retain customers.
  • Social Media Marketing : Engaging with your audience on social platforms.
  • Email Marketing : Sending targeted messages to encourage customer action.
  • SEO : Optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results.
  • Advertising : Paying for space to promote your product on digital platforms, print, or outdoors.

5. Plan Your Sales Channels

Detail how you will sell your product or service by laying out your sales channels . This can include:

  • Direct Sales : Selling directly to customers through sales reps or online.
  • Channel Sales : Using intermediaries, such as distributors or resellers.
  • Retail Sales : Selling through a physical or online store.
  • Discuss any sales processes or techniques that will be employed, like consultative selling or solution selling.

6. Determine Tools and Resources

List the tools and resources needed to implement your strategies. This could include CRM software for customer management, social media platforms for marketing, or sales training programs for your team.

7. Set Your Budget

Allocate a budget for your sales and marketing activities. Include costs for advertising, software subscriptions, marketing materials, and any other expenses associated with executing your plan.

8. Define Metrics and KPIs

Identify how you will measure success by setting key performance indicators (KPIs) for each objective. Examples of KPIs include conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, and average order value.

9. Create an Action Plan

Break down your strategies into actionable steps with assigned responsibilities and deadlines. This plan will guide your daily operations and help keep your team focused and accountable.

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How to create a sales plan in 7 Steps

Sales plan

A sales plan is the first step toward defining your sales strategy , sales goals and how you’ll reach them.

A refined sales plan is a go-to resource for your reps. It helps them better understand their role, responsibilities, targets, tactics and methods. When done right, it gives your reps all the information they need to perform at their highest level.

In this article, we outline what a sales plan is and why it’s important to create one. We also offer a step-by-step guide on how to make a sales plan with examples of each step.

What is a sales plan and why create one?

Your sales plan is a roadmap that outlines how you’ll hit your revenue targets, who your target market is, the activities needed to achieve your goals and any roadblocks you may need to overcome.

Many business leaders see their sales plan as an extension of the traditional business plan. The business plan contains strategic and revenue goals across the organization, while the sales plan lays out how to achieve them.

The benefits of a sales plan

A successful sales plan will keep all your reps focused on the right activities and ensure they’re working toward the same outcome. It will also address your company's specific needs. For example, you might choose to write a 30- , 60- or 90-day sales plan depending on your current goals and the nature of your business.

Say your ultimate goal for the next quarter is $250,000 in new business. A sales plan will outline the objective, the strategies that will help you get there and how you’ll execute and measure those strategies. It will allow your whole team to collaborate and ensure you achieve it together.

Many salespeople are driven by action and sometimes long-term sales planning gets neglected in favor of short-term results.

While this may help them hit their quota, the downside is the lack of systems in place. Instead, treat sales processes as a system with steps you can improve. If reps are doing wildly different things, it’s hard to uncover what’s working and what’s not. A strategic sales plan can optimize your team’s performance and keep them on track using repeatable systems.

With this in mind, let’s explore the seven components of an effective sales plan

1. Company mission and positioning

To work toward the same company goals, everyone in your organization must understand what your organization is trying to achieve and where in the market you position yourself.

To help define your mission and positioning, involve your sales leaders in all areas of the business strategy. Collaborating and working toward the same goals is impossible if those goals are determined by only a select group of stakeholders.

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To get a handle on the company’s mission and positioning, take the following steps:

Collaborate with marketing: Your marketing teams live and breathe the positioning of your company. Take the time to talk to each function within the department, from demand generation to performance marketing to learn what they know.

Interview customer success teams: Customer support reps speak with your existing customers every day. Interview them to find common questions and pain points.

Talk to your customers: Customer insights are a foundational part of any positioning strategy. Speak directly with existing and new customers to find out what they love about your product or service.

Read your company blog: Those in charge of content production have a strong understanding of customer needs. Check out blog articles and ebooks to familiarize yourself with customer language and common themes.

Look for mentions around the web: How are other people talking about your organization? Look for press mentions, social media posts, articles and features that mention your products and services.

These insights can provide context around how your company is currently positioned in the market.

Finally, speak with the team in charge of defining the company’s positioning. Have a list of questions and use the time to find out why they made certain decisions. Here are some examples:

What important insights from the original target audience research made you create our positioning statement?

What competitor research led us to position ourselves in this way? Does this significantly differentiate us from the crowd? How?

What core ideals and values drove us to make these promises in our positioning statement? Have they shifted in any way since we launched? If so, what motivates these promises now?

How to communicate mission and positioning

In this section of the sales plan, include the following information:

Company mission : Why your company exists and the value you’re determined to bring to the market.

Competition: Who your direct competitors (those who offer similar products and services) and indirect competitors (brands who solve the same problem in different ways) are.

Value propositions: The features, benefits and solutions your product delivers.

https://www-cms.pipedriveassets.com/Brand-Positioning.png

What is brand positioning: The ultimate guide with 4 examples

2. Goals and targets

Define your revenue goals and the other targets sales are responsible for.

As mentioned earlier, sales goals are usually aligned with business goals. Your boardroom members typically establish the company’s revenue goals and it’s your job to achieve them.

Revenue goals will shape your sales strategy. Use them to reverse engineer quotas, sales activity and the staff you need to execute them.

Break your big-picture revenue goal down further into sales targets and activity targets for your team. Activities are the specific actions you and your reps can control, while sales targets are the results provided by those activities.

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Use data on sales activity and performance from previous years to calculate sales targets. You should break this down by pipeline stage and activity conducted by reps across all functions.

For example, how many cold emails does it take to generate a deal? What is the average lifetime value (LTV) of your customer?

Breaking down these numbers allows you to accurately forecast what it will take to achieve your new revenue goal.

This part of your sales plan might include setting goals like the following:

200 total cold emails sent per day

200 total cold calls made per day

25 demos conducted per day

5 new sales appointments made a day

100 follow-up emails sent per day

Breaking down your goals into specific activities will also reveal the expertise needed for each activity and any required changes to your organizational structure, which will come into play in the next step.

How to communicate goals and targets

Within this section of the sales plan, include the following information:

Revenue goals : Reverse engineer the boardroom revenue goals to identify achievable sales goals and the number of staff needed to reach them. Sales targets : Use data on sales activity and past performance to define quotas and metrics for each stage of the sales pipeline.

Expertise needed for each activity: What qualities and attributes do your staff need to achieve these predefined activities? How much experience do they need vs. what can be learned on the job?

3. Sales organization and team structure

Identify the talent and expertise you need to achieve your goals.

For example, a marketing agency that depends on strong relationships will benefit more from a business development executive than a sales development representative (SDR) .

Use the targets established in the previous section to identify who you need to hire for your team. For example, if the average sales development rep can send 20 cold emails a day and you need to send 200 to achieve your goals, you’ll need around ten reps to hit your targets.

Include the information for each team member in a table in your sales plan. Here is an example.

Sales development representative role

Visualizing each role helps all stakeholders understand who they’re hiring and the people they’re responsible for. It allows them to collaborate on the plan and identify the critical responsibilities and qualities of their ideal candidates.

You want to avoid micromanaging , but now is a good time to ask your existing teams to report on the time spent on certain activities. Keeping a timesheet will give you an accurate forecast of how long certain activities take and the capacity of each rep.

How to communicate your sales organization and team structure

Team structure: These are the functions that make up your overall sales organization. The roles of SDR, business development and account teams must be well-defined.

Roles and responsibilities: These are the roles you need to hire, along with the tasks they’re responsible for. This will help you produce job descriptions that attract great talent.

Salary and compensation: How will the company remunerate your teams? Having competitive salaries, compensation schemes and sales incentives will attract top performers and keep them motivated.

Timeline: Attempting to hire dozens of people at once is tough. Prioritize hiring based on how critical each role is for executing your plan. Take a phased hiring approach to onboard new reps with the attention they deserve.

https://www-cms.pipedriveassets.com/Building-a-Sales-Team.png

Building a sales team: How to set your group up for success

4. Target audience and customer segments

A sales plan is useless without knowing who to sell to. Having clearly defined customer personas and ideal customer profiles will help you tailor your selling techniques to companies and buyers.

Whether you’re looking to break into a new market or expand your reach in your current one, start by clearly defining which companies you’re looking to attract. Include the following criteria:

Industries: Which markets and niches do you serve? Are there certain sub-segments of those industries that you specialize in?

Headcount: How many employees do your best accounts have within their organization?

Funding: Have they secured one or several rounds of funding?

Find out as much as you can about their organizational challenges. This may include growth hurdles, hiring bottlenecks and even barriers created by legislation.

Learn about your buyers within those target accounts, learn about your buyers. Understanding your buyers and personalizing your sales tactics for them will help you strengthen your customer relationships.

These insights will change as your business grows. Enterprise companies may wish to revisit their personas as they move upmarket. For small businesses and startups, your target audience will evolve as you find product-market fit.

It’s important to constantly revisit this part of your sales plan. Even if your goals and methodologies are the same, always have your finger on the pulse of your customer’s priorities.

How to communicate target audience and customer segments

Profile: Include basic information about their role, what their career journey looks like and the common priorities within their personal lives.

Demographics : Add more information about their age, income and living situation. Demographic information can help tailor your message to align with the language used across different generations.

Attributes: Assess their personality. Are they calm or assertive? Do they handle direct communication themselves or have an assistant? Use these identifying attributes to communicate effectively.

Challenges: Think about the hurdles this persona is trying to overcome. How does it affect their work and what’s the impact on them personally?

Goals: Analyze how these challenges are preventing them from achieving their goals. Why are these goals important to them?

Support: Use this insight to define how your product or service will help these people overcome challenges and achieve their goals.

https://www-cms.pipedriveassets.com/blog-assets/behavioral-segmentation-marketing.png

Behavioral segmentation: What is it and how can it drive engagement and loyalty

5. Sales strategies and methodologies

Define your sales approach. This includes the strategies, techniques and methodologies you’ll use to get your offering out to market.

This part of your sales plan may end up being the largest. It will outline every practical area of your sales strategy: your sales stages, methodologies and playbooks.

Start by mapping out each stage of your sales process. What are the steps needed to guide a prospect through your deal flow?

9 essential sales stages

Traditionally, a sales process has nine sales stages :

Prospecting and lead generation : Your marketing strategy should deliver leads, but sales reps should boost this volume with their own prospecting efforts.

Qualification: Measure those leads against your target account criteria and customer personas. Ensure they’re a good fit, prioritizing your time on high-value relationships.

Reaching out to new leads : Initiate emails to your target customers to guide new leads into the sales funnel. This outreach activity includes cold calling and direct mail.

Appointment setting: Schedule a demo, discovery call or consultation.

Defining needs: After the initial meeting, you’ll understand your prospect’s problems and how your product or service can solve them.

Presentation: Reveal the solution. This can be in the form of a proposal, custom service packages or a face-to-face sales pitch .

Negotiation: Dedicate this stage to overcoming any objections your prospect may have.

Winning the deal: Turn your prospects into customers by closing deals and signing contracts.

Referrals : Fostering loyalty is an organization-wide activity. Delight your customers and encourage them to refer their friends.

Not all of these stages will be relevant to your organization. For example, a SaaS company that relies on inbound leads may do much of the heavy lifting during the initial meeting and sales demo . On the other hand, an exclusive club whose members must meet certain criteria (say, a minimum net worth) would focus much of their sales activity on referrals.

Map out your sales process to identify the stages you use. Your sales process should look something like this:

Sales process diagram

To determine your sales methodologies, break each sales stage down into separate activities, along with the stakeholder responsible for them.

With your sales activities laid out, you can do in-depth research into the techniques and methodologies you need to execute them. For example, if you sell a complex product with lengthy sales cycles , you could adopt a SPIN selling methodology to identify pain points and craft the best solution for leads.

Finally, use these stages and methodologies to form your sales playbooks . This will help you structure your sales training plan and create playbooks your reps can go back to for guidance.

How to communicate sales strategies and methodologies

Within this section of the sales plan, include the following:

Sales stages: The different steps required to convert prospects into paying customers.

Sales methodologies: The different practices and approaches you’ll adopt to shape your sales strategy.

Sales playbooks: The tactics, techniques and sales strategy templates needed to guide contacts throughout each stage of the sales process.

6. Sales action plan

You have the “who” and the “what”. Now you must figure out “when” to execute your sales plan.

A well-structured sales action plan communicates when the team will achieve key milestones. It outlines timeframes for when they’ll complete certain projects and activities, as well as the recruitment timelines for each quarter.

The order in which you implement your sales action plan depends on your priorities. Many sales organizations prefer to front-load the activity that will make a bigger impact on the bottom line.

For example, when analyzing your current sales process and strategy, you may find your existing customers are a rich source of qualified leads . Therefore, it would make sense to nurture more of these relationships using a structured referral program.

You must also consider how recruitment will affect the workload in your team. Hire too quickly and you may end up spending more time training new reps and neglecting your existing team. However, taking too long to recruit could overload your existing team. Either can make a big impact on culture and deal flow.

To complete your sales action plan, get all stakeholders involved in deciding timelines. When applying this to your sales plan, use GANTT charts and tables to visualize projects and key milestones.

A GANTT chart shows you the main activities, their completion dates and if there are any overlaps. Here is an example:

GANTT Chart

By prioritizing each activity and goal, you can create a plan that balances short-term results with long-term investment.

How to communicate your sales action plan

Key milestones : When do you aim to complete your projects, activities and recruitment efforts? You can map them out by week, month, quarter or all of the above. Let your revenue goals and priorities lead your schedule.

Short- and long-term goal schedules: With a high-level schedule mapped out, you can see when you will achieve your goals. From here, you can shape your schedule so that it balances both short- and long-term goals.

7. Performance and results measurement

Finally, your plan must detail how you measure performance. Outline your most important sales metrics and activities, how you’ll track them and what technology you’ll need to track them.

Structure this part of your plan by breaking down each sales stage. Within these sections, list out the metrics you’ll need to ensure you’re running a healthy sales pipeline.

Performance metrics can indicate the effectiveness of your entire sales process. Your chosen metrics typically fall into two categories:

Primary metrics act as your “true north” guide. This is commonly new business revenue generated.

Secondary metrics are those that indicate how well specific areas of your sales process are performing. These include lead response time and average purchase value.

The metrics you select must closely align with your goals and sales activities. For example, at the appointment setting stage, you might measure the number of demos conducted.

Each team also needs its own sales dashboard to ensure reps are hitting their targets. Sales development reps will have different priorities from account executives, so it’s critical they have the sales tools to focus on what’s important to them.

Finally, research and evaluate the technology you’ll need to accurately measure these metrics. Good CRM software is the best system to use for bringing your data together.

How to communicate sales performance metrics

Sales stage metrics : Identify the metrics for each specific sales stage and make sure they align with your KPIs.

Chosen sales dashboard: Explain why you chose your sales dashboard technology and exactly how it works.

Performance measurement: Outline exactly how and what tech you will use to measure your team’s activities and metrics.

https://www-cms.pipedriveassets.com/blog-assets/1164x609-1.jpg

How to track, measure and improve your team’s sales performance

Developing a sales plan involves conducting market research, assessing current sales performance , identifying sales opportunities and challenges, setting measurable goals, creating a sales strategy, allocating resources and establishing a monitoring and evaluation framework.

To write a sales business plan, include:

An executive summary

A company overview

A market analysis

A target market description

Sales strategies and tactics

Financial projections

A budget and timeline

Make sure that you clearly articulate your value proposition, competitive advantage and growth strategies.

Final thoughts

An effective sales plan is an invaluable asset for your sales team . Although you now know how to create a sales plan, you should remember to make one that works for your team. Writing one helps with your sales strategy planning and aids you in defining targets, metrics and processes. Distributing the sales plan helps your reps understand what you expect of them and how they can reach their goals.

Providing supportive, comprehensive resources is the best way to motivate your team and inspire hard work. When you do the work to build a solid foundation, you equip your reps with everything they need to succeed.

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10 Steps to Create a Complete Sales and Marketing Business Plan [Templates included]

Jump to the end of the post to get access to our free sales and marketing business plan templates.

Turning an idea into a functional business requires laser-sharp focus. You must take care of development, marketing, sales, customer success, and whatnot. 

While most entrepreneurs start with some form of a plan, they often forget about it soon after. 

Blame it on changing dynamics, trial and error to find a product-market fit, or blatant ignorance. But overlooking the planning process is a sure shot reason for failure — as the common saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.

An essential part of this document is the sales and marketing segment. The sales and marketing plan outlines everything you need to do to promote your products and generate revenue for your business. 

Why do you need a sales and marketing plan? 

Having a revolutionary product that solves a genuine problem is great. But it won’t mean anything if people don’t know about you. 

A sales and marketing plan helps you get discovered, structure your activities, and move forward with your growth goals. 

It’s more or less like a roadmap about what you should do to make things work in your favor. 

Your sales and marketing plan will help you: 

  • Identify the bridge between where you are today and where you want to reach your business goals. 
  • Get much-needed clarity and avoid conflicts and confusion in case of any disruptions.
  • Gain and document insights about your target audience, industry, trends, costs, etc. 
  • Justify your business model in front of investors and lenders in case you need to raise funds.
  • Stay focused on a north star metric, improvise growth tactics and achieve harmony between various growth activities. 
  • Promote sales and marketing alignment.

Your sales and marketing plan would also help you avoid distractions and save time and money lost. 

And you know how easy it is to lose direction and get distracted when starting or running a startup. Documenting everything as a plan will help avoid confusion and add clarity to your everyday affairs and long-term mission. 

However, different companies need different plans based on the stage of operations and their unique growth goals. 

Pre-revenue (Pre-seed and seed stage) , finding product-market fit, generating the first set of customers.
Growth (Growth and Fundraising Stage)Reduce churn, expand your team, optimize processes, and justify your spending to investors.

A clear marketing and sales plan promotes alignment between marketing and sales departments at every stage . This reduces resource waste and creates fewer “blame-game ” occasions in your meetups. 

What to include in the marketing & sales plan? 

Planning is a subjective activity. 

You’d receive several different answers if you read, talk to, and consult multiple experts on what to include in your marketing and sales plan. 

So, how should you decide which elements to include in your marketing/sales plan? 

Let’s take a step back and understand the “why” of planning. 

You need a plan so you don’t get confused and can keep walking towards your goal.

Your plan should: 

  • Serve as a roadmap for everything related to sales and marketing for the first few months if you’re just starting. 
  • Outline and articulate the core strategies you’ll experiment with, the desired outcome, and the KPIs to measure performance. 
  • Set realistic KPIs, outcomes, and objectives based on market understanding, competition, funding requirements, and your target audience’s pain points. 

Marketing plan for your startup: The what and why

In an ideal world, every penny you spend in marketing should enhance your visibility, take you closer to your audience,  and increase your conversion rates. 

But in reality, it takes a lot of effort, time, and investment to make it happen. 

A marketing plan helps you navigate through the tricky maze called marketing without getting lost in the process. 

Basically, you build a marketing plan to gain enlightenment about how you’ll promote and stay relevant to your audience. 

You do it beforehand so that when things get tricky, you have a directional beacon to guide you.  

Creating any plan should start with an understanding of the purpose. The same applies to marketing, too. Try to find the reason behind marketing your product – why are you working towards your goal. 

Knowing your why would help you gain clarity – an essential element for the success of any activity on the planet. Before you begin, you should try to find answers to the following questions: 

  • Why are you making the marketing plan?
  • What do you want to accomplish with the marketing?
  • What will be the value proposition? 
  • What are the goals that we want to achieve?

These answers will allow you to think better and prepare for strategizing your plan with a better perspective. 

Also, while at it, remember that your marketing plan is not a rigid document etched in stone. Instead, it’s a result of an iterative process that depends on five fundamental aspects: 

1. Product: What are you marketing? 

The product section should explain what you are selling exactly. 

  • What do you sell? 
  • How is your offering different from your competitors?
  • What are the benefits your potential customers would derive from your offerings? 
  • What is your core USP? 

Answering these questions would help you craft a great positioning statement and marketing message for your marketing campaigns. 

2. Place: Where are you available? 

This section should outline where you will sell or market your products. How will you get customers to reach out to buy your product or service? 

Though this will depend on the nature of business — online or offline, manufacturing or services, answers to the following questions would help you gain clarity: 

  • Where will you be available for your customers? 
  • Which distribution channels would you use to be more accessible to customers? 
  • What percentage of sales/conversions do you expect from different distribution/marketing channels? 

3. Price: How much will you charge? 

This is an essential part of your planning process. Your pricing decisions would decide how you will generate revenue for your startup . 

Your pricing decision should be based on market analysis, competition, value offering, buying behavior, etc. 

  • What will be the pricing model you’ll adopt to generate revenue? 
  • What is the most favorable price point that your customers are ready to pay for your offering? 
  • Will you make any profit/loss at this price point? 
  • How soon can you break even based on your pricing strategy? 

4. Promotion: How will you promote your offering? 

You can have the best product, but no one would care if you’re not promoting it. 

Moreover, one of the primary reasons to create a marketing plan is to help you promote your offering. 

  • Who is your target audience? 
  • How will your reach your target audience? 
  • What strategies will you adopt to convert your audience into customers? 
  • Which channels of promotions will you use to promote your offerings? 
  • How much will you spend on promotions and marketing? 
  • What will be your team structure for the next quarter, year, and long term?
  • How will you track the marketing effectiveness? 

5. People: Who will do the marketing?  

While most marketing plans you see out there would cover the traditional 4Ps of marketing, often the fifth P, people, is ignored. 

And you know there’s no growth or promotion without your team – your people. 

This aspect should help you understand your current capabilities and the resources needed in your team. Think about how you will find them, their responsibilities, and where they stand in the big picture. 

  • Who will do the marketing for you? 
  • What do you look for in a human resource?
  • At what point do you start expanding the team? 
  • Who are you going to hire first?
  • How do you plan to hire for marketing? 
  • What will be the core responsibilities and KPIs for your team? 
  • How will you set KPIs/OKRs and analyze your team’s performance? 

Sales plan for your startup: The what and the why

Your sales plan would help you generate revenues from your marketing efforts by completing the journey from generating leads to turning them into customers. 

A sales plan defines your sales goals, the strategies you’d bet on, your desired results, your challenges, the solutions you have for them, and the structure (people, budget, process, and tools) you need.

Your sales plan would cover everything you need to register sales and generate revenue for your business. 

A sales plan is created to: 

  • Provide a strategic direction to your sales team
  • Define the core objectives and goals in terms of sales 
  • Outline roles and responsibilities
  • Analyze and measure your wins in terms of sales. 

These reasons help you succeed more than experimental businesses that beat around the bush while trying to make things work in a world where everyone’s selling something. To ensure your sales plan is effective, it should include: 

1. Sales goals — What do you want to achieve? 

Like any other activity in the world, your sales planning process should also revolve around the end goals for sales

Saying that you want more customers is a generic goal that doesn’t have any tangible metrics attached. Moreover, saying that you wish for more sales is too broad a goal that would involve outlining several action steps. 

So, it’s always better to have a SMART goal and break it down into tangible, measurable, and KPI-driven objectives. You can say that you want to: 

  • Nurture 10% more MQLs into SQLs, and ultimately, customers.
  • Reduce your churn rates by 5% before the end of Q1.
  • Expand your sales team with 3 people to nurture and convert leads faster — reduce time to conversion by 5 days.
  • Increase the customer lifetime value through upsells or cross-sells by $200.
  • Expand your sales activities into new territories or regions.
  • Optimize your pricing strategy to improve your conversion rates by 8% for new accounts.

2. Tactics — The process and activities

This segment will include the specific tactics, processes, and activities you’ll use to generate revenue for your business . 

A solid understanding of your target audience, goals, and capabilities would help you discover exciting and profitable tactics for your industry. 

Try to pick and choose the tactics in line with your ideal customer profile. You can conduct a survey and get insights from your marketing team to align your sales efforts accordingly. 

An aligned sales and marketing team will help you accelerate sales enablement and strike gold with more leads, higher conversions, and better results. 

Interested in exploring new sales tactics? Read this blog on popular sales strategies and techniques for your business. 

3. Timelines — The time you’ll need to make things happen

A plan without a timeline is just a wish. You must link your goals, tactics, and sales strategies with realistic deadlines. This will ensure that everyone’s motivated to work towards your goals. 

Keep all the stakeholders in the loop by developing a realistic growth goal and attaching a practical timeline to it. 

While you’re at it, don’t forget to assign one person who’ll be responsible for ensuring compliance. 

This tactic is known differently in business circles. 

Some call it a key Point of Contact (POC) for an activity; others call this person a Directly Responsible Individual (DRI). 

Another popular approach includes assigning OKR (Objective and Key Results) to an individual in a team who owns up the responsibility of making this happen. 

Whatever you may do, make sure you are realistic, practical, and sensible in creating achievable deadlines for your sales teams. 

Failure to do so would lead to dissatisfaction among sales team members, ultimately harming your bottom line. 

4. KPIs — the metrics you’ll track to determine success 

KPIs will help you understand if your sales tactics align with your revenue generation goals. These metrics help enhance sales teams’ performance, optimize the sales funnels, and improve conversion rate. 

If you want a solid sales plan, you need to tie everyone (and everything) to a tangible sales metric. 

You also need to ensure proper sales and marketing alignment so that all your marketing spends get attributed to some kind of improvement in KPIs. 

Here are some questions and corresponding KPIs you can think of adding to your sales plan: 

Is your business growth steady? MRR, ARR
Are you setting sales targets and tracking them? Closed deals, close rate velocity
How much does a new customer cost? Cost
What is your average revenue per user?Average Order Value or Average Revenue per Order
How much do you expect to earn per customer?Customer Lifetime Value
How many customers do you lose in a particular period?Churn Rate
How long is your current sales cycle, and how to shorten it?Average Sales Cycle Length 
Is your lead quality adequate?Lead to Opportunity Ratio
How many qualified leads end up becoming paying customers?Opportunity to win ratio
Are you converting enough leads into paying customers?Lead conversion ratio 

If you track these KPIs well, you’ll understand the challenges better, predict future problems, and get better at generating revenues from your sales activities. 

Moreover, the answers you gather and the KPIs would help you keep an eye on the overall efficiency of the sales process and build a strong sales team. 

Apart from these standard inclusions to your sales plan, you can also add the following information: 

  • Team structure: How big your sales team should be, and what will be the responsibility (job role and KPIs) of each member of the team? 
  • Resources/tools required : What tools and resources do you need to execute the sales tactics and strategies you’ve planned? 
  • Current market trends: How is the present market regarding customer interest in your product, competition landscape, and overall sentiment in your industry? 

Rethinking the traditional plan for digital businesses, service companies, and SaaS startups 

The traditional ways of creating a sales and marketing plan are geared more toward the product economy. 

Today, most businesses don’t even have a physical “product”.

Distribution and conversion cycles are not so simple, too.

The sales and marketing ecosystem has transitioned from a single-sales mindset to a culture of lead nurturing , upsells/cross-sells, and experiences to enhance the customer’s lifetime value. 

Even users don’t look at companies, products, and solutions like they used to anymore. 

Don’t you think the old ways should be reimagined? 

In his book, Subscribed, Tien Tzuo mentions how the world economy is transitioning to a digital era powered by subscription-based startups and digital businesses.

Naturally, with changing consumer mindset, the traditional business planning models (including sales and marketing plans) should change, too. 

There has been a hot debate about reimagining marketing and sales operations for the future — digital businesses, SaaS products, and the subscription economy. 

PADRE is a promising framework with all the elements of a traditional business plan, reimagined for the modern digital economy. 

The PADRE framework keeps the customer at the heart of everything and divides all activities (including sales and marketing) into eight subsets: 

  • Position: How will you create awareness, turn it into demand for your product and build a pipeline of leads? 
  • Acquire: What is your ICPs buyer’s journey? How will you address their pain points and turn them into customers? 
  • Deploy : How will you onboard , service, and delight your customers as efficiently as possible so they can use your product, service, or SaaS quickly?   
  • Run:  How will you ensure that your customers get what they expect (and deserve) from your product or service? 
  • Expand: How will you grow your company through retention, growth, and customer advocacy? 
  • Product: How will you evolve your product, service, or offering and manage everything? 
  • People:   How will you recruit, onboard, train, and retain the best talent to serve your customers? 
  • Money: Where and how will you fund and fulfill your need for running and growing your business most efficiently? 

If you look at the PADRE model carefully, it has almost all the elements discussed above for sales and marketing plans, just in a different way. This differentiation makes more sense for a dynamic digital business than the traditional sales and marketing business plan. 

You can take ideas from the PADRE model to create your version of a dynamic business plan based on your unique business idea. 

10 steps to create a solid sales and marketing plan

Regardless of your approach to creating a business plan, you will have to gather data, make some important decisions, and collate everything together. 

Remember, your sales and marketing plan is a living document that should be revisited repeatedly for optimization. 

Here are the steps you can take to create an actionable plan based on the insights shared above: 

Step 1: Gather data based on company insights and external trends

“Always measure the depth of the pool you’re diving in!” 

Before you start planning your sales and marketing observing and documenting macro-level industry trends is a must. It will give you an understanding and insight into what to expect in the future. 

You can use industry insight to strengthen your assumptions, understand the market, add clarity to your sales and marketing mix, and refine your plan. 

Always look for industry insights around sales and marketing trends — what worked in the past, how things are changing, and what future trends will drive growth. While industry trends are not a full-proof solution, it gives you a direction to provide a concrete shape to your plans. 

Use industry trends to add “meat” to your hypothesis, and see if you can get data about: 

  • Consumer behavior and psychology that drives sales. Use the Facebook Ads manager audience tool to find your audience’s topics of interest and behavior trends.
  • Psychographic analysis of your target audience.
  • Marketing effectiveness of different channels. You can use platforms like Similarweb to peak into the traffic sources of your competitors and get an estimated idea of the volume.
  • Sales trends of lateral and complimenting businesses. 
  • Competitor analysis, including their past financial performance and effectiveness in generating revenue. 
What to look for?Compare your past performance with salient industry trends to identify potential for improvement in your marketing and sales tactics.Competitor performance in sales and marketing to identifying industry benchmarks to define your key metrics and goals
Where to look for data?Your previous year’s balance sheet
P&L statement
Budgeting charts
Past sales/marketing plans
Industry reports 
Competitor analysis reports 
Industry reports and trend charts 
Secondary research sources like market studies 
Personal interviews and case studies with entrepreneurs in the same niche 
Financial and systematic analysis of competitors in the same niche

Step 2: Create your ideal customer profile (ICP) 

As a business owner, you must know everything about your target audience. 

Without a deep understanding of your ICP, you could end up like a door-to-door salesman trying to sell but end up annoying everyone. 

This information helps you take the necessary steps to add context and relevance to your marketing and sales plan. 

You should break up your ideal customer persona (ICP) into several sections covering all aspects of your persona’s — the demographic profile, what they think, believe, and trust in, their needs, motivations, drives, and psychographic profile. 

Sample questions for building an Ideal Customer Profile

DemographicPsychographic
Who is your ideal customer? 

Where do they live?

What do they do? 

What age group they’re in? 
What do they believe in? 

What motivates and drives them to take action?

Have they ever boycotted a brand because they’ve acted unethically?

Do they pay more attention to the price or quality of the items you buy?

Where do they go for advice on which products to buy?

Do they prioritize their family, work, or social life?
Which activity do they do most often when they have free time?

Do they actively seek new experiences or prefer to stick with what they know they enjoy?

Knowing your audience allows you to talk the way they want to be talked to. Also, you get to understand what makes them buy, their problems and pain points, and where they spend most of their time. All this is crucial for creating an effective marketing strategy. 

You can even use this knowledge to segment your audience personas and personalize your marketing campaigns — a powerful tactic to market your brand in 2022. 

Step 3: Assess your current situation 

Once you’ve gathered data and foresight, start the self-introspection process. 

Ask yourself where you stand in your startup journey. 

✓ How is your business performing right now? 

✓ Are you performing according to your revenue estimates and KPIs? 

✓ Do your business and revenue generation efforts align with market and industry trends? Do they need to align?

✓ Are you marketing and selling where your customers are looking for options? 

✓ What are your strengths and weaknesses? 

✓ What challenges are you facing in getting your business to the next level? 

✓ Is there any better way of doing things than you do now? 

All these questions will give you ideas to start the actual planning process. Moreover, you’d understand if whatever you did was even worth it. 

Step 4: Define metric-driven objectives and goals

Have you ever traveled without a destination? 

Well, maybe you have. But that’s not how you run a business. You need to have an exact destination in mind — where you’re headed to. 

That’s why having an objective and goal is essential for making a sales and marketing plan. Tangible and realistic goal-setting should be the #1 priority of anyone trying to succeed as an entrepreneur. 

Your goals will will allow you to track if you’re making a real impact on your business. Plus, having a metric-driven goal gives you an understanding of what you need to do for success. 

Your goals and objectives should be tied to your business vision and mission.

Often, we see there’s a misalignment between sales and marketing objectives. That leads to confusion and, thus, poor performance. Hence setting a SMART goal is critical for ensuring clarity.

SMART objectives for your sales and marketing plans should be: 

  • Specific: The goal is clearly defined, and everyone within your team understands the goal and its importance. 
  • Measurable: The goal/objective should be tied to key performance indicators (KPIs) and visibly measurable.
  •  Achievable: Being realistic is an important factor in setting an attainable goal. Look at your team’s ability, budget, and current situation to ensure the goal is within your limits. Setting the bar too high will only lead to disappointment and wasted time and effort. 
  • Relevant: Your objectives should be aligned with your business vision and mission. If your marketing and sales aren’t aligned to your bigger picture, it will lead to losses (and potential conflicts). 
  • Time-bound: Any objective you define must have a clear timeline, which means there should be a start and end date. Without that, your goal is just a wish. 

Step 5: Determine metrics for success (KPIs) 

You know you need to measure your goals and objectives in real-time. 

That would ensure everything’s on track and help you red flag any deviations from your desired path. 

But setting a measurable KPI for any business is a tricky business in itself. Especially when there’s a lot to plan in sales and marketing, and every business is different. 

KPI or key performance indicators should be planned based on industry best practices, prevailing marketing trends, and taking stakeholders in confidence. 

You can align standard industry KPIs with your business or marketing/sales goals to create your version of KPIs that will objectify your success figures. 

Standard Goals and KPIs you should track

Increase sales total number of first sales calls your sales department completed

total number of closing calls your sales department completed

number of contracts sent to prospects

total number of contracts signed versus sent
Grow brand awarenessNumber of guest posts on relevant websites with good DA 
Percentage increase in referral traffic 
Generate leads  : total number of new leads brought in

: percentage change in lead generation compared to other time frames.

: amount of money spent to acquire one new lead

: percentage of your traffic that becomes a lead after visiting your website

: total number of leads that marketing accepts as qualified.

: total number of leads that sales accepts as qualified.
Improve website performance number of visits to your website

the number of unique people who visit your website

average number of pages a website visitor views on your website

percentage of website visitors who leave your site after viewing only one page

the average amount of time that website visitors stay on your site
Increase social media engagement the number of new followers/fans acquired over a certain period.

number of comments on your social posts 

number of times your social content was shared

number of leads generated through your social campaigns and posts

percentage of your website traffic referred by social media sites
Acquire New Customers Customers acquired over a certain period

Percentage change of new customers compared to other time frames.

the amount of money spent to acquire a new customer

percentage of leads that become paying customers
Increase the customer lifetime value number of customers who return to buy something from you

percentage of customers who renew their subscriptions 

average amount customers spend on buying your products or services over their lifetime.

Always ensure that each KPI you track links to the bigger picture — where and how it contributes to your business’s mission and mission. This will add relevance to your sales and marketing plans giving you more accurate insights for the future periods.

Step 6: Build a forecasting model

Forecasting is an activity that predicts what your sales and marketing efforts will lead to on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. 

Creating a sales or marketing forecast involves taking the opinions of industry leaders, financial consultants, CPAs, marketers, sales managers, and your team members. It also will involve studying and analyzing the insights you gathered in step one.

A forecast will help you make better hiring decisions, budget for your expansion in a better way, and linearly predict your revenues. You can also add dynamic variables to the forecasts to analyze how your KPIs would perform under real-life situations. 

Creating a forecasting and budgeting model for your sales and marketing team is highly essential to keep things in check. However, it would be best if you didn’t fall into the lure of creating forecasts for more extended periods as things are changing quite rapidly, especially after COVID-19. 

Better to create a forecast for a quarter, review it based on actual expenses and performance, and keep iterating. You can also take advantage of popular forecasting tools for more accurate models. 

Step 7: Identify gaps within your assumptions 

By this step, you’d have a clear idea about your capabilities, the goals you want to achieve, the industry trends and the forecasts for the future.

This will give you an opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of your sales and marketing activities in terms of your revenue growth. 

You can use this information to plug in gaps because of your assumptions and biases, analyze what’s required and the challenges you’d face to make things happen. 

Identifying gaps between your existing situation and your goals based on forecasts would help you make informed decisions. 

You can choose to hire more people in sales and marketing, increase your budget, try new marketing tactics, or even start an entirely different lead generation and nurturing channel to achieve your goals. 

Step 8: Create a team structure and involve stakeholders. 

The most important part of the planning process is to understand your capabilities. If you’ve assessed your current scenario correctly, you’ll have a clear picture of who’s responsible for growth, marketing, sales, etc. 

And if you’re just starting, this is a great time to start planning a structure for your marketing and sales team, starting with: 

  • How many people will be needed for each team? 
  • Who will be responsible for specific KPIs?
  • What will be the responsibilities of each member of the team? 
  • How will teams communicate with each other and ensure alignment between efforts? 
  • How will the performance be measured? 
  • What are the challenges marketing and sales teams face in your company (or industry)? 
  • How will expansion needs be identified?  

Remember, if you’re just starting to build a team and have existing team members, take them in confidence and involve every stakeholder before creating a structure.

The more aligned and closely knit your sales and marketing, the faster you achieve your growth goals. 

  • Build a Strong B2B Marketing Organization Structure for Modern Teams
  • Sales Operations Responsibilities: Roles, duties, and obstacles
  • Revenue Operations Roles: Who do you need to build a RevOp team?

Step 9: Outline action items 

By this step, you’re almost done with the planning. You just need to answer two more questions:

  • What do you need to do to achieve your goals? 
  • How will you do what you need to do? 

This means outlining action steps, developing marketing and sales tactics, and finalizing the cogs required to run your marketing/sales engine. 

You can start by putting together a rough draft of all the insights you’ve gathered, the available resources, the budget, best industry practices, trends, and growth projections. This will give you foresight into what can work in your favour. 

Build a list of action steps that you need to take to move in the direction of your goals. 

1. Create marketing collateral 

2. Set up analytics and UTM parameters

3. Strategize a marketing campaign 
1. Write a sales call script 

2. Utilize sales enablement tools 

3. Increase the number of upsells 

Step 10: Identify and implement tools and systems

Okay! This is the last step of the planning process. After this, you will be left with the exact steps you need to take daily to achieve your KPIs. 

But don’t take this step lightly. Think of this as the building blocks of a bridge that would take you from “here” to “there”. 

You’ll need to make a list of tools, systems, and solutions you’d need to make things happen. 

For example, if you’ve concluded that you need to set up a lead nurture campaign , you need a tool or platform that makes that happen. 

You’ll need to evaluate the available options and pick a tool that aligns with your goals and budget. 

While picking up any tool, make sure that it should: 

  • Save time, money, or effort for your marketing and sales team members.
  • Have prominent success stories and case studies that closely relate to your goals, tactics, and life stage.
  • Is reliable and doesn’t use any under-the-hood tactics to make things happen. 
  • Has an active developer and customer success team.
  • Is supported by a thriving public community of happy users. 

Make sure that whatever tech stack you’re finalizing has a solid mechanism to track success and your KPIs. 

This will help you ascertain success quicker. Also, communicate with all the stakeholders about the tools and success metrics. 

Ready-to-use sales and marketing plan templates

To make things easy for you, we have prepared comprehensive templates for both your sales and marketing plans. To download the template click on the links below and duplicate the document. Then, fill in the blanks.

Download the Marketing Plan Template

Download the Sales Plan Template

Your sales and marketing plan is a living document. Keep revisiting! 

If you’ve come this far with your planning, you should have a functional plan for supercharging your marketing and sales operations in the coming weeks and months.. 

But remember, sales and marketing planning isn’t a one-time activity. Keep optimizing your plans with fresh insights to stay on track with changing dynamics. And don’t forget to track the right metrics and KPIs.

A marketing automation platform like Encharge can help you to execute your marketing and sales plans. Don’t believe us. Check the success stories to see how others businesses are amping up their marketing and sales game now.

Meet your new marketing automation platform

“encharge helped us visually redesign our onboarding flow resulting in a 10% increase in our trial activation rate .", 7 social marketing strategies to drive real-world change.

Often, the best way to “do good” is to do well. Mission-driven founders are discovering that the reach, profit, and

How to Create an Effective Sales and Marketing Plan

market sales in business plan

A comprehensive sales and marketing plan sets up organizations for long-term growth and success. In this guide, we’ll dig into the differences between sales and marketing plans, how to create your plan, and templates to get the ball rolling.

What is a Sales and Marketing Plan?

Sales plan vs. marketing plan, marketing plan template: the essential components, sales plan template: the essential components, steps to create a sales and marketing plan.

A well-crafted sales and marketing plan is indispensable for the success and growth of any company, whether it’s a startup, small business, or enterprise. This plan serves as a roadmap, outlining clear objectives, targeted customer segments, and actionable tactics to drive sales and promote brand awareness.

It enables companies to understand their market position, competitive landscape, and customer needs. On top of that, it provides a structured approach to buyer engagement , ensuring consistent and effective communication across various touchpoints.

By defining specific goals and identifying key performance indicators (KPIs), a sales and marketing plan provides a structured framework for marketing and sales to align their go-to-market efforts. And when teams are aligned, companies can generate up to 208% more revenue from their marketing efforts.

While sales and marketing are integral to an overall business plan, they serve distinct purposes and focus on different aspects of the customer journey. Here are the key differences between a sales plan and a marketing plan:

Focus and Objectives

Sales Plan: Primarily focuses on the activities and strategies to drive direct revenue generation. It outlines the specific actions the sales team will take to achieve targets and goals.

Marketing Plan: Concentrates on creating awareness, generating interest, and positioning new products or services in the market. It aims to build and maintain the brand, nurture leads, and create favorable conditions for sales.

Sales Plan: Typically more tactical and operational, it details the sales team’s day-to-day activities. It addresses how sales representatives engage with prospects, close deals, and meet revenue targets.

Marketing Plan: Has a broader scope, encompassing the overall market strategy, brand positioning, promotional activities, and communication efforts. It sets the stage for sales by creating a favorable market environment.

Sales Plan: Often focuses on short-term goals and immediate revenue generation. It may have a more immediate and tactical orientation focusing on quarterly or annual targets.

Marketing Plan: Can have a longer-term perspective, building brand equity and customer relationships over time. It may include short-term and long-term initiatives aligned with the overall business strategy.

Sales Plan: Includes sales tactics, prospecting strategies, target setting, and customer relationship management (CRM) activities.

Marketing Plan: Encompasses market research, target audience identification, advertising, content creation, social media strategy, and overall brand positioning.

Sales Plan: Metrics focus on sales performance , revenue targets, conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, and individual sales representative performance.

Marketing Plan: Metrics include brand awareness, lead generation, website traffic, social media engagement, customer acquisition costs, and marketing ROI.

Collaboration

Sales Plan: Primarily involves collaboration within the sales team, setting individual and team goals, and coordinating efforts to meet targets.

Marketing Plan: Requires collaboration between marketing and other departments to ensure a consistent brand message and a seamless customer experience. This collaboration extends to content creation, advertising, and customer relationship strategies.

Here, you can see that a sales plan is more tactical and concentrates on direct revenue generation. In contrast, the marketing plan is strategic, focusing on creating a favorable market environment and building brand equity.

An effective marketing plan outlines a business’s strategies and tactics to achieve its marketing objectives. Here are the key components that typically go into creating a new marketing plan:

Executive Summary

  • Brief overview of the marketing plan, including goals, strategies, and key components.

Market Analysis

  • Analysis of the target market, including demographics, trends, and opportunities.
  • Competitor analysis, highlighting strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis).

Target Audience and Buyer Personas

  • Detailed profiles of the target customers, specifying their needs, pain points, preferences, and behaviors.
  • Development of buyer personas to guide marketing strategies, messaging, and sales outreach.

Marketing Goals and Objectives

  • Clearly defined SMART goals for the marketing efforts.
  • Specific objectives, such as brand awareness, lead generation, customer acquisition, or market share.

Positioning and Messaging

  • Clear articulation of the brand positioning and competitive advantages.
  • Development of consistent messaging that resonates with the target audience.

Marketing Strategies

  • Overview of the overarching marketing strategies, including product positioning, pricing, distribution, and promotion.
  • Differentiation strategies and competitive positioning.

Marketing Mix (4Ps)

  • Product: Details about the products or services being marketed.
  • Price: Pricing strategy, discounts, and payment terms.
  • Place: Distribution channels and logistics.
  • Promotion: Advertising, public relations, digital marketing, content marketing, and other promotional activities.

Marketing Budget

  • Allocation of budget for each marketing activity and channel.
  • Cost projections and expected return on investment (ROI).

Marketing Calendar

  • Timeline for planned marketing activities, campaigns, and promotions.
  • Seasonal considerations and industry-specific events.

Marketing Channels

  • Identification and description of the marketing channels to be utilized (online and offline).
  • Social media strategy, content marketing plan, email marketing, advertising channels, etc.

Content Strategy

  • Development of a content plan, including types of content (i.e. case studies, one-pagers), frequency, and distribution channels.
  • Content creation and distribution strategy.
  • Regular content audit to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Measurement and Analytics

  • KPIs to benchmark the success of marketing activities.
  • Tools and methods for data collection and analysis.

A sales plan is a strategic document that outlines the tactics and activities a business will undertake to achieve its sales objectives. Here are the key components that typically go into a sales plan:

  • Brief overview of the entire sales plan, summarizing the goals, strategies, and key components.

Sales Objectives

  • Clearly defined and measurable sales goals, such as revenue targets, market share, or customer acquisition metrics.
  • Specific and realistic objectives for the sales team.

Target Market and Customer Segmentation

  • Identification of the target market and specific customer segments.
  • Create ideal customer profiles and characteristics to guide sales efforts.

Product or Service Offering

  • Detailed information about the products or services being sold.
  • Value propositions and key differentiators.

Sales Strategies

  • Overview of the overarching sales strategies , including prospecting, lead generation, and conversion tactics.
  • Strategies for acquiring new customers, upselling, cross-selling, and customer retention.

Sales Team Structure

  • Organization of the sales team, including roles, responsibilities, and reporting structure.

Sales Tactics and Techniques

  • Detailed description of the tactics and techniques the sales team will use to engage with potential customers and increase the bottom line.
  • Sales methodologies employed by the team.

Sales Forecast

  • Prediction of sales performance over a specific period.
  • Revenue projections, taking into account market conditions and other relevant factors.

Sales Territories and Distribution Channels

  • Definition of sales territories and distribution channels.
  • Strategies for reaching and serving customers in different geographic areas.

Sales Metrics and KPIs

  • Identification of key metrics to measure sales performance.
  • KPIs such as conversion rates, average deal size, and customer acquisition costs.

Sales Training and Development

  • Plans for training and developing the sales team.
  • Continuous improvement strategies.

Now that you have templates in place, let’s put them together to create an overall plan and what it could look like.

Look for trends in the data

Before you start digging into the meat of your plan, you need to gather data, drawing from internal company insights and external market trends. Internally, you can look at historical sales data, customer behaviors, and product performance, providing a foundation for understanding the company’s strengths and areas for improvement.

On the other hand, keeping a keen eye on external market trends, consumer preferences, and industry developments allows for a proactive approach to shifts in the market. This data-driven strategy enables businesses to effectively tailor their sales and marketing initiatives , aligning them with evolving customer needs. By combining internal insights with external trends, organizations can craft a dynamic plan that is not only grounded in historical performance but is also adaptable to the changing landscape of the business environment.

Know your customer

One of the most important steps when creating a sales and marketing plan is to know who you’re selling to. You should develop in-depth buyer personas based on demographic, psychographic, and behavioral attributes. By understanding your target audience’s characteristics, preferences, and pain points, you can tailor your sales and marketing strategies to resonate more effectively.

This key step not only enhances the efficiency of marketing campaigns but also streamlines the sales process by aligning efforts with the expectations and behaviors of your customers.

Set achievable goals

Now that you have a clear image of who you’re selling to, where you stand, and where the market is, you and various stakeholders can begin to set realistic goals and targets for your team.

Setting goals is crucial for your success. They allow you to track if you’re making a real impact on your business. They create alignment between teams so they know what they must do to achieve those goals. A recent study by HubSpot found that 25% of companies say their sales and marketing teams are either “misaligned” or “rarely aligned” on goals, leading to confusion and poor performance.

To get your teams on the same page, you should consider setting SMART goals. Here is a great example of how to think about goal setting:

Specific: Make sure your goals are clear. What will be accomplished? What actions will you take? Don’t just say you want to increase revenue — explain how you plan to achieve it. For example, you can say: We will increase revenue by 15% by using a guided selling approach.

Measurable: What metrics will you use to determine if you met your goal? This makes a goal more tangible because it provides a way to measure progress.

Achievable: Consider how to accomplish the goal, if you have the tools and skills needed, and what it would take to attain it. Don’t set objectives that are impossible to reach. The goals are meant to inspire motivation, not discouragement.

Relevant: Goals need to fit your current situation and sales strategy. They should align with the overall business goals and department objectives.

Time-Bound: Realistic timing for when you can achieve your goals is crucial. Provide deadlines and target dates to hold teams accountable.

Determine how you will measure success

Now that you’ve set goals, it’s time to start measuring them.

KPIs are crucial metrics that help measure the effectiveness of sales and marketing efforts. Here’s a list of KPIs for a sales and marketing plan:

Sales KPIs:

  • Revenue: Total income generated from sales.
  • Sales Growth Rate: Percentage increase in sales over a specific period.
  • Conversion Rate: Percentage of leads that convert into customers.
  • Average Deal Size: Average value of a sales transaction.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Cost incurred to acquire a new customer.
  • Sales Cycle Length: Average time it takes to close a sale.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Predicted revenue generated throughout a customer’s lifecycle.
  • Win Rate: Percentage of opportunities that result in a sale.
  • Churn Rate: Percentage of customers lost over a given period.
  • Upsell and Cross-sell Rate: Percentage of existing customers who purchase additional products or services.

Marketing KPIs:

  • Lead Generation: Number of new leads acquired.
  • Website Traffic: Number of visitors to the website.
  • Conversion Rate (Marketing): Percentage of website visitors who take a desired action.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): Percentage of people who click on a specific link.
  • Cost per Lead (CPL): Cost associated with acquiring a new lead.
  • Social Media Engagement: Likes, shares, comments, and other interactions on social media.
  • Email Open and Click-through Rates: Percentage of opened emails and clicked links.
  • Content Engagement: Interaction with blog posts, videos, or other content.
  • Brand Awareness: Measured through surveys, social media mentions, or search volume.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Ratio of the net profit from marketing campaigns to the cost of those campaigns.

Overall Business KPIs:

  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): Measurement of customer satisfaction.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): Indicator of customer loyalty and likelihood to recommend.
  • Market Share: Company’s portion of the total market.
  • Brand Equity: Perceived value and strength of a brand in the market.
  • Customer Retention Rate: Percentage of customers retained over a period.

Regularly monitoring these metrics provides insights into performance, helping businesses make informed decisions and optimize their sales and marketing strategies.

Define your sales and marketing strategies

How are you going to generate demand for your product or service? At this stage in your plan, you can start to define how you will reach your ideal customers and move them through the buyer’s journey. Integrated marketing campaigns that use various channels, such as social media and paid ads, are a great way to get started. Additionally, you should include lead generation strategies such as content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and targeted promotions to nurture prospects and guide them through the sales funnel.

It’s important here that you work with your sales enablement team to create relevant content for the sales team .

Formulate a sales team structure and training program

A well-defined sales team structure and comprehensive training program are vital to a successful sales and marketing plan. The structure of the sales team should outline roles, responsibilities, and reporting hierarchies to ensure efficient workflow and clear lines of communication.

Along with getting the structure right, you must ensure that your sales reps have the right training and coaching to improve their skills, ramp up product knowledge, and stay aligned with the right messaging and communication techniques.

Teams should work closely with sales enablement to schedule regular training sessions that not only focus on enhancing existing skills but also address emerging market trends and customer expectations. Continuous improvement is key, and fostering a culture of learning within the sales team contributes to adaptability and responsiveness. This dual emphasis on structure and training ensures the sales team is well-organized and equipped to navigate challenges.

Download resource: What Good Onboarding, Training, and Coaching Look Like

Create a sales forecasting model

Creating a sound forecasting model provides a structured framework for predicting future sales performance. This model involves analysis of historical sales data, market trends, and external factors that might impact sales.

The sales forecasting model should incorporate variables such as product demand, pricing strategies, and market conditions to provide a comprehensive and accurate estimation.

A well-crafted model not only aids in resource allocation, inventory management, and budgeting but also serves as a proactive tool for anticipating challenges and capitalizing on emerging opportunities, contributing to the overall success of the sales and marketing plan.

Continuously Optimize

Recognizing that markets, consumer behaviors, and competitive landscapes evolve, an effective plan should be agile and responsive. This involves regularly reviewing KPIs, analyzing data, and soliciting feedback to identify areas for improvement.

Whether refining marketing strategies, adjusting sales tactics, or fine-tuning messaging, the goal is to stay attuned to shifts in customer preferences and market trends. By fostering a culture of continuous optimization, businesses can adapt swiftly, capitalize on emerging opportunities, and mitigate potential challenges.

Execute Your Sales and Marketing Plan with Highspot’s Sales Enablement Platform

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How to Write a Market Analysis for a Business Plan

Dan Marticio

Dan Marticio is a freelance writer. He’s written on a broad range of topics from stocks and net worth to productivity hacks. His work has appeared on Fundera and LendingTree.

Robert Beaupre

Robert Beaupre leads the SMB team at NerdWallet. He has covered financial topics as an editor for more than a decade. Before joining NerdWallet, he served as senior editorial manager of QuinStreet's insurance sites and managing editor of Insure.com. In addition, he served as an online media manager for the University of Nevada, Reno.

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A lot of preparation goes into starting a business before you can open your doors to the public or launch your online store. One of your first steps should be to write a business plan . A business plan will serve as your roadmap when building your business.

Within your business plan, there’s an important section you should pay careful attention to: your market analysis. Your market analysis helps you understand your target market and how you can thrive within it.

Simply put, your market analysis shows that you’ve done your research. It also contributes to your marketing strategy by defining your target customer and researching their buying habits. Overall, a market analysis will yield invaluable data if you have limited knowledge about your market, the market has fierce competition, and if you require a business loan. In this guide, we'll explore how to conduct your own market analysis.

How to conduct a market analysis: A step-by-step guide

In your market analysis, you can expect to cover the following:

Industry outlook

Target market

Market value

Competition

Barriers to entry

Let’s dive into an in-depth look into each section:

Step 1: Define your objective

Before you begin your market analysis, it’s important to define your objective for writing a market analysis. Are you writing it for internal purposes or for external purposes?

If you were doing a market analysis for internal purposes, you might be brainstorming new products to launch or adjusting your marketing tactics. An example of an external purpose might be that you need a market analysis to get approved for a business loan .

The comprehensiveness of your market analysis will depend on your objective. If you’re preparing for a new product launch, you might focus more heavily on researching the competition. A market analysis for a loan approval would require heavy data and research into market size and growth, share potential, and pricing.

Step 2: Provide an industry outlook

An industry outlook is a general direction of where your industry is heading. Lenders want to know whether you’re targeting a growing industry or declining industry. For example, if you’re looking to sell VCRs in 2020, it’s unlikely that your business will succeed.

Starting your market analysis with an industry outlook offers a preliminary view of the market and what to expect in your market analysis. When writing this section, you'll want to include:

Market size

Are you chasing big markets or are you targeting very niche markets? If you’re targeting a niche market, are there enough customers to support your business and buy your product?

Product life cycle

If you develop a product, what will its life cycle look like? Lenders want an overview of how your product will come into fruition after it’s developed and launched. In this section, you can discuss your product’s:

Research and development

Projected growth

How do you see your company performing over time? Calculating your year-over-year growth will help you and lenders see how your business has grown thus far. Calculating your projected growth shows how your business will fare in future projected market conditions.

Step 3: Determine your target market

This section of your market analysis is dedicated to your potential customer. Who is your ideal target customer? How can you cater your product to serve them specifically?

Don’t make the mistake of wanting to sell your product to everybody. Your target customer should be specific. For example, if you’re selling mittens, you wouldn’t want to market to warmer climates like Hawaii. You should target customers who live in colder regions. The more nuanced your target market is, the more information you’ll have to inform your business and marketing strategy.

With that in mind, your target market section should include the following points:

Demographics

This is where you leave nothing to mystery about your ideal customer. You want to know every aspect of your customer so you can best serve them. Dedicate time to researching the following demographics:

Income level

Create a customer persona

Creating a customer persona can help you better understand your customer. It can be easier to market to a person than data on paper. You can give this persona a name, background, and job. Mold this persona into your target customer.

What are your customer’s pain points? How do these pain points influence how they buy products? What matters most to them? Why do they choose one brand over another?

Research and supporting material

Information without data are just claims. To add credibility to your market analysis, you need to include data. Some methods for collecting data include:

Target group surveys

Focus groups

Reading reviews

Feedback surveys

You can also consult resources online. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau can help you find demographics in calculating your market share. The U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration also offer general data that can help you research your target industry.

Step 4: Calculate market value

You can use either top-down analysis or bottom-up analysis to calculate an estimate of your market value.

A top-down analysis tends to be the easier option of the two. It requires for you to calculate the entire market and then estimate how much of a share you expect your business to get. For example, let’s assume your target market consists of 100,000 people. If you’re optimistic and manage to get 1% of that market, you can expect to make 1,000 sales.

A bottom-up analysis is more data-driven and requires more research. You calculate the individual factors of your business and then estimate how high you can scale them to arrive at a projected market share. Some factors to consider when doing a bottom-up analysis include:

Where products are sold

Who your competition is

The price per unit

How many consumers you expect to reach

The average amount a customer would buy over time

While a bottom-up analysis requires more data than a top-down analysis, you can usually arrive at a more accurate calculation.

Step 5: Get to know your competition

Before you start a business, you need to research the level of competition within your market. Are there certain companies getting the lion’s share of the market? How can you position yourself to stand out from the competition?

There are two types of competitors that you should be aware of: direct competitors and indirect competitors.

Direct competitors are other businesses who sell the same product as you. If you and the company across town both sell apples, you are direct competitors.

An indirect competitor sells a different but similar product to yours. If that company across town sells oranges instead, they are an indirect competitor. Apples and oranges are different but they still target a similar market: people who eat fruits.

Also, here are some questions you want to answer when writing this section of your market analysis:

What are your competitor’s strengths?

What are your competitor’s weaknesses?

How can you cover your competitor’s weaknesses in your own business?

How can you solve the same problems better or differently than your competitors?

How can you leverage technology to better serve your customers?

How big of a threat are your competitors if you open your business?

Step 6: Identify your barriers

Writing a market analysis can help you identify some glaring barriers to starting your business. Researching these barriers will help you avoid any costly legal or business mistakes down the line. Some entry barriers to address in your marketing analysis include:

Technology: How rapid is technology advancing and can it render your product obsolete within the next five years?

Branding: You need to establish your brand identity to stand out in a saturated market.

Cost of entry: Startup costs, like renting a space and hiring employees, are expensive. Also, specialty equipment often comes with hefty price tags. (Consider researching equipment financing to help finance these purchases.)

Location: You need to secure a prime location if you’re opening a physical store.

Competition: A market with fierce competition can be a steep uphill battle (like attempting to go toe-to-toe with Apple or Amazon).

Step 7: Know the regulations

When starting a business, it’s your responsibility to research governmental and state business regulations within your market. Some regulations to keep in mind include (but aren’t limited to):

Employment and labor laws

Advertising

Environmental regulations

If you’re a newer entrepreneur and this is your first business, this part can be daunting so you might want to consult with a business attorney. A legal professional will help you identify the legal requirements specific to your business. You can also check online legal help sites like LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer.

Tips when writing your market analysis

We wouldn’t be surprised if you feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information needed in a market analysis. Keep in mind, though, this research is key to launching a successful business. You don’t want to cut corners, but here are a few tips to help you out when writing your market analysis:

Use visual aids

Nobody likes 30 pages of nothing but text. Using visual aids can break up those text blocks, making your market analysis more visually appealing. When discussing statistics and metrics, charts and graphs will help you better communicate your data.

Include a summary

If you’ve ever read an article from an academic journal, you’ll notice that writers include an abstract that offers the reader a preview.

Use this same tactic when writing your market analysis. It will prime the reader of your market highlights before they dive into the hard data.

Get to the point

It’s better to keep your market analysis concise than to stuff it with fluff and repetition. You’ll want to present your data, analyze it, and then tie it back into how your business can thrive within your target market.

Revisit your market analysis regularly

Markets are always changing and it's important that your business changes with your target market. Revisiting your market analysis ensures that your business operations align with changing market conditions. The best businesses are the ones that can adapt.

Why should you write a market analysis?

Your market analysis helps you look at factors within your market to determine if it’s a good fit for your business model. A market analysis will help you:

1. Learn how to analyze the market need

Markets are always shifting and it’s a good idea to identify current and projected market conditions. These trends will help you understand the size of your market and whether there are paying customers waiting for you. Doing a market analysis helps you confirm that your target market is a lucrative market.

2. Learn about your customers

The best way to serve your customer is to understand them. A market analysis will examine your customer’s buying habits, pain points, and desires. This information will aid you in developing a business that addresses those points.

3. Get approved for a business loan

Starting a business, especially if it’s your first one, requires startup funding. A good first step is to apply for a business loan with your bank or other financial institution.

A thorough market analysis shows that you’re professional, prepared, and worth the investment from lenders. This preparation inspires confidence within the lender that you can build a business and repay the loan.

4. Beat the competition

Your research will offer valuable insight and certain advantages that the competition might not have. For example, thoroughly understanding your customer’s pain points and desires will help you develop a superior product or service than your competitors. If your business is already up and running, an updated market analysis can upgrade your marketing strategy or help you launch a new product.

Final thoughts

There is a saying that the first step to cutting down a tree is to sharpen an axe. In other words, preparation is the key to success. In business, preparation increases the chances that your business will succeed, even in a competitive market.

The market analysis section of your business plan separates the entrepreneurs who have done their homework from those who haven’t. Now that you’ve learned how to write a market analysis, it’s time for you to sharpen your axe and grow a successful business. And keep in mind, if you need help crafting your business plan, you can always turn to business plan software or a free template to help you stay organized.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

One blue credit card on a flat surface with coins on both sides.

Business Plan Section 6: Sales and Marketing

Learn about the points to address in the sales and marketing section of your business plan, plus key aspects for a successful sales strategy.

market sales in business plan

Remember all that research and hard work you put into the Market Analysis section of your business plan? You learned all about your company, your customers, and your competition. This is where it will all pay off: sales and marketing!

In this section of the plan, you’re actually going to spell out how you’ll market your idea, along with the specifics of how you’ll get business. Sales and marketing are what will grow your business and help you achieve success.

As always, keep your audience in mind. If your business plan is meant for your eyes only, or as an internal document for your staff, you won’t have to be as detailed or specific as you should if it’s intended for a lender or potential investors. In the latter case, you’ll want to demonstrate a very well-planned strategy that will give them confidence in your proposal and make them more likely to want to fund your business.

Sales and marketing strategies will vary by industry, and your strategy will be individually tailored to your company, but there are general guidelines that cover most businesses. Because your marketing plan will lead to sales, let’s start there.

4 Things Your Marketing Plan Must Cover

Many marketing textbooks refer to the “four Ps” of marketing, which is an easy way to remember what’s involved in a solid plan.

Explain in detail the product(s) or service(s) you’re offering, particularly how they are different from or better than what’s already available. What benefits do they provide to your potential customers? What ways is your product or service unique? What makes doing business with you preferable to dealing with someone else? All of these things will help make up your marketing message.

Talk about how you’ll portray the company and what kind of image you’ll present, especially how it will help connect you to your potential customers. Include a picture of your logo and anything that might carry your image, such as vans, trucks, or uniforms. Show screenshots of your website, photos of your store, pictures of your packaging, and anything else that conveys your company’s brand.

Once you’ve gotten the customers in the door (or online), you have to deliver on what you’ve sold them. Marketing isn’t just about promising, it’s also following through and delivering what you said you would.

You may find it helpful to outline exactly how a transaction with your business would take place. Also touch on return policies and customer service. You may not immediately think of these as “marketing” issues, but think back to the last time you had difficulty with a company and told five friends you’d never do business with them again, or you saw someone complain about a company on Facebook or Twitter. Cover your bases before you get caught short in a situation you hadn’t planned for.

It’s important to talk about where you’ll be located and how you’ll get your products and services to your customers. If you’re planning an online business, will you also have a brick and mortar store? What percentage of sales do you project will come from each?

If your business involves manufacturing or distribution of a product, discuss shipping and labeling requirements, and how you’ll meet them. What are your delivery terms and costs? Are you using distributors, and will you charge separately for shipping or build that into the product price?

How you decide to price your product or service is key to how much you’ll sell and how much profit you can make. Again, the Market Analysis work you did will come in very handy in helping you to price your product competitively while still turning a worthwhile profit.

By now, you should have a solid understanding of what your expenses will be, so you know how much you need to make to break even. Of course, if you have startup expenses (and who doesn’t?), you will need to factor those in, as well, understanding that your profit margin will grow when they’re paid off.

Discuss how you’ve arrived at the prices you have, where they fit in with what the competition is doing, and what kind of volume you’ll need to do to be profitable.

You can have the best idea in the world, but if no one knows about it, it won’t sell. So, how are you going to reach your target audience and turn them into customers? Will you advertise? Which media? How often? And how will you split up the budget?

Keep in mind that some forms of traditional and digital advertising cost money, such as buying radio or print ads, or advertising through Google. Some, such as social media or public relations can be handled in-house by a staff member (or outsourced for a fee). And others can be quite variable in cost, such as printing brochures, flyers, catalogs, etc.

How much business do you think you’ll get from each campaign? Will you give coupons, discounts, or offer other incentives to get people to try you out?

Describe how you’ll know whether or not your marketing strategy is effective, such as how many coupons are redeemed or how much of an increase in web or store traffic you expect. You’ll need to project what kind of a return on your advertising investment you anticipate to figure out how much you should be spending.

The Fifth P: People

Some marketing experts think a fifth “P” should be added to the four we’ve already discussed: people. We touched on it under customer service, but a big part of marketing is the level of service you’re able to offer to your customers, and your people are the ones responsible for that.

Your restaurant might serve the best food in town, but your servers can have an even greater impact on the dining experience. You can discuss it here or in the next section, sales, but do make sure to talk about the people who will deal with your customers and handle your customer service, what kind of training they’ll get, and how you’ll measure their effectiveness.

Now that you have your marketing plan together, you need to close the sale and make it pay off. Marketing will help you get customers in the door, to your website, or on the phone, but the best marketing in the world doesn’t matter if you don’t make the sale. That brings us to the next step of the plan, your sales strategy.

What to include in your sales plan:

How much product will you sell or how many contracts will you close over the first month, six months, and year? Be specific, understanding what your cash flow needs to be to keep the lights on and your employees paid. Keep the numbers realistic, however, even though you may want to impress potential funders.

How will you make the sale, and who will do it? Are you selling a product directly to users through a website? Will you bring your merchandise to retailers for them to sell? Are you doing the selling yourself or will you have a sales force? If you have salespeople, will they be paid a straight salary or commission? If you have a service business, where will you get your leads, and how will you follow up? Perhaps you’ll offer an incentive program to current customers for referrals. Describe the sales effort in your plan.

If you offer different product lines or services, you may need a separate strategy for each. Similarly, if you’re selling to different segments of the market, you shouldn’t rely on the same approach to sell everyone. Selling at a craft fair is quite different than setting up a website or offering your product through ebay.com or etsy.com.

Detail whichever approaches you’ve decided on and spell out how you’ll proceed, including any sales quotas you may have established.

Get specific about the numbers you’re looking to achieve over a specific time period. Not only will investors want to see that, it’s an important way for you to know if you’re meeting your targets so you can make any necessary adjustments along the way.

Once you’ve established yourself, how will you continue to expand? This covers both your internal growth as a company, such as how you’ll increase your staff, and how you’ll grow beyond your current boundaries, such as buying another business or setting up franchises, if that’s applicable. Will you grow by offering a wider range of products and services? Perhaps you’ll expand by offering your current goods to a wider audience.

Perhaps more than any other section of your business plan, the Sales and Marketing section will act as your playbook for the actual running of your company , so think it through very carefully and use it!

Next Article: Business Plan Section 7 – Financial Information

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How to Create a Sales Plan for Your Business

Female entrepreneur sitting at her desk with headphones on. Working on recording her sales strategy.

James Cummings

9 min. read

Updated May 10, 2024

Taking the leap into entrepreneurship is a bold move. Many have plunged and crashed because they were ill-prepared. Many professionals place emphasis on having a business plan, and this is a good thing. However, if your business is going to be selling tangible goods, a smart sales plan is equally important.

What are the best strategies for a working sales plan? Why do they matter and what are the steps to organize one for your business?

When you have a sales plan that supports your business plan, your execution should yield positive outcomes. Whether you are a business owner, a sales manager, or a strategist, this article is for you.

  • Understanding the meaning of a good sales plan and why it matters

Every business exists to achieve a specific objective . For those who want to drive sales, a sales plan is the roadmap for guiding you toward achieving those sales goals.

What is a sales plan? It is a month-to-month estimate of the quantity of sales you intend to achieve, and the steps you will take to get there. It includes previous sales, market conditions, specific niches, and your customers—how you are going to identify them, communicate with them, and sell to them.

When executed correctly, a sales plan gives you control and leverage in growing and expanding your startup, instead of simply attending to day-to-day sales tasks.

With this information, you can confidently identify any impending issues, sales droughts, or prospects and act quickly on them. It may seem like a lot of work right now, but once you can answer these questions, you’ll be able to take your sales and business to the next level.

  • How to create a successful sales plan

1.  Set realistic goals

Every sales plan needs an end goal—something to measure your actual values against. For this, a figure is required, whether it is the number of sales to expect by the end of a quarter or the number of customers you convert to buyers. This figure helps you determine how successful or far from the mark your results are.

Setting realistic goals will depend on factors like the market size, company objectives, and the resources or experience available to your sales team. You are probably aware of what SMART goals are, so we won’t be discussing that at length.

However, the following common mistakes should be avoided:

  • Being overly optimistic
  • Neglecting your own assumptions
  • Shifting the goalposts
  • Failing to ask for sound advice
  • Not having a feedback mechanism

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2. Have clear deadlines and milestones

You need to know if the assumptions you are making in your sales plan are close to your target. To do this, split that big plan into smaller goals (deliverables) with strict deadlines. These are milestones. Whether you have achieved a certain number of leads for the half quarter or sales target, these milestones are useful in telling you whether you are on the right path.

Having clear-cut deadlines and manageable milestones requires research and time to develop. They should motivate and challenge your sales team without being too difficult, or it will lower their morale. Start with the figures from last year; track the exponential increase in sales and compare them with your industry’s present realities. This should be able to inform the milestones you’ll need to set.

3. Select a suitable niche and focus on it

The previous steps have helped set a “bullseye” that you want to hit. The next steps are about filling out your sales plan. The first thing to do is understand the market you operate in and the niche you serve so that you can position your business properly for growth.

A business niche is simply your business’s area of specialization. For example, you may own a sweet shop, in which case your business would be known to specialize in confectionery. However, it goes further than the space it occupies with your products. Your niche also comprises your content, company culture, branding, and overall business message. This is how you stand out from your competitors and get recognized by your target audience.

Be specific; choose a target market . Using the above analogy, would your sweet shop be aimed at children, or if it was a shop that sold vintage sweets, would it also be aimed at adults of a certain age? According to Jason Zook , serial entrepreneur: “When you try to make something for everyone, you end up making something for no one.”

Ask yourself the following questions and spend some time on market research :

  • What is the market size ?
  • Is there an inherent need for the product you are selling?
  • What is your market position? (Conducting a SWOT analysis can be helpful here.)
  • Who are your competitors and what their current strategies?

4. Know your target customers

One of the worst decisions any startup will make is to spend money and effort on the wrong set of customers. You are already hard-pressed on a growth budget, so wasting it kills the business fast.

Conduct research to identify the targeted audience. Scour the internet and glean as much information as possible by looking at the latest trends. You can even compile surveys to gauge relevant feedback. Once you know your niche, do everything to find out what you can about your customers. For example, what is their profile—their language, typical online behavior, and product preferences? What you look to define will depend on your company and the nature of your market.

However, for a startup, it’s best to begin with basics like their geographical location, work information, purchasing power, and so on.

Also, find out:

  • If they are on social media, and their choice of network.
  • Do they belong to any LinkedIn or Facebook groups?
  • Can you answer their pain points on Reddit or Quora?
  • What do they read and what podcasts do they enjoy listening to?

5. Prepare a plan for the customer’s journey

Once you have your typical customer profile figured out, the next step is to determine how to make them your customer. This can be achieved by simply charting out their journey from prospect to loyal customer.

To understand what you need to know about your potential customers, ask these questions:

  • What issues do you want our product to help you solve?
  • What attributes are most important to you, and why?
  • What budget do you have for this?
  • How are you presently solving this problem?

These are important questions. Good salespeople take their buyers on a journey every time—from attention to interest, desire, and action. The AIDA model is a great tool for achieving conversion via a sales funnel. When you guide them faithfully through this process, your customers should eventually convert.

6. Define your unique selling points

You know your customers and the path along their sales journey. The next step is to plug your services smartly into the path, in the best possible manner. You can do this by defining your unique selling proposition (USP) .  Your USP is what differentiates your business from other players in the market.

Know your customer base by asking them the following questions:

  • Exactly why do you patronize us?
  • What would make you choose our competitors instead of us?
  • Why do you think some prospective customers would not buy at all?
  • What steps do you think we need to take to attract more customers in the future?

To find out just what customers are looking for and why they might patronize your business, try surveying them to gauge opinion. Offer such surveys online and make it simple and straightforward for people to proffer the relevant feedback.

It’s important to remember that people buy benefits, not features. Avoid getting lost in the color or model of your product when describing it to the customer. Rather, outline what it would do for them: the problems it will resolve, and the advantages of buying it.

7. Build a list of prospects

Armed with the knowledge of the type of customers you want and the benefits you are going to sell them, the next step is to build a list of prospects. That is generating leads of potential customers to try your theories on.

A prospect list is a directory of real people you can contact—those who will ideally benefit from your services or products. Building this directory is one of the major tasks of a salesperson, but they can be obtained nonetheless.

From your customer profile, target the following:

  • LinkedIn for prospects
  • Relevant local business networks
  • Network seminars and conferences
  • Perform Google searches (to identify buying trends for example)
  • Work with leads generating companies like Salesripe

8. Take advantage of existing client relationships

A common saying in marketing is that it is significantly cheaper and more rewarding to retain existing customers than go after new ones. In other words, focus a good amount of effort on customer retention rather than customer acquisition.

According to Gartner research, 65 percent of a company’s revenue comes from existing customers, and it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than satisfy an existing one. Leverage this relationship by offering occasional loyalty rewards. Examples include accumulated points systems, redeemable gift cards, discounts, and so on.

Another way to gain from existing customers is to ask for referrals. People trust recommendations from their peers more than your sales pitch. Additionally, some companies offer incentives to current customers who introduce a new buyer.

9. Look for strategic partners with the same goal

Don’t solely focus on acquiring paying customers. Seek strategic alliances with companies and other businesses that could benefit you. They could even be your competitor; success is not always about fighting, but collaborating.

You can meet up with these people at conferences or sites like Partner Up. Other professional networks also provide a reliable platform to interact with like-minded individuals and companies. For instance, if you manufacture toilet paper, you could partner up with magazine companies or recycling organizations for their by-products.

10. Track, measure, and tweak

Now that you have the makings of a solid sales plan, it doesn’t end here. You need to have a process for comparing your success—checking results against the original goal. If you don’t know how you performed, you can never adjust for improvement or to replicate future successes.

Many digital platforms help with this stage. For example, Google Analytics provides you with a dashboard which includes an overview of sources of your biggest sales, the best and least performing days, revenue growth, leads to conversion rate ratio, and so on. It will also be important to be able to quickly and easily monitor your financial metrics —a business dashboard can help, but it’s possible to track your progress manually using Excel spreadsheets. The advantage of this process is that each metric can be tweaked as the sales process is ongoing. This means you have full control of the entire activity.

Are you currently struggling with a workable sales plan? Start with these basics and you can grow from there.

Content Author: James Cummings

James is a business psychologist and serial entrepreneur, with over a decade working in finance, IT, marketing, and recruitment sectors. He has authored numerous books in the management space and is founder and CEO of Dailyposts UK.

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22 Best Sales Strategies, Plans, & Initiatives for Success [Templates]

Discover sales strategy examples, templates, and plans used by top sales teams worldwide.

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FREE SALES PLAN TEMPLATE

Outline your company's sales strategy in one simple, coherent plan.

sales strategies initiatives and templates to plan your quarter

Updated: 03/07/24

Published: 03/07/24

A strong sales strategy plan creates the foundation for a cohesive and successful sales organization.

Sales strategies and initiatives also align salespeople on shared goals and empower them to do their best work — keeping them happy and successful, too.

In this guide, I’ll dig into some sales strategies and initiatives that I’ve found can help you generate more leads and close more deals. But first, let’s define what a sales strategy is.

Free Download: Sales Plan Template

Table of Contents

What is a sales strategy?

Why is a sales strategy important, the most effective sales strategies, sales strategy types, sales planning: how to build a sales strategy plan, sales initiatives, sales strategy examples from successful sales teams.

A sales strategy is a set of decisions, actions, and goals that inform how your sales team positions the organization and its products to close new customers. It acts as a guide for sales reps to follow, with clear goals for sales processes, product positioning, and competitive analysis.

market sales in business plan

A clear sales strategy serves as a map for the growth of your business. Your sales strategy is key to future planning, problem-solving, goal-setting, and management.

An effective sales strategy can help you:

  • Give your team direction and focus. Strategic clarity can help your sales reps and managers understand which goals and activities to prioritize. This can lead to improved productivity and outcomes.
  • Ensure consistent messaging. Your sales strategy can help your team deliver a consistent message to prospects, partners, and customers. This can increase both trust and effectiveness.
  • Optimize opportunities. Strong sales strategies will help you target the right prospects and customize your approach. This can help your team make the most of every sales opportunity.
  • Improve resource allocation. Your sales strategy outlines your priorities and resources. In turn, this can help your sales team use their time, effort, and other resources more efficiently, boosting your team’s ability to focus on high-potential deals.

Next, let’s cover some of the sales strategies that I’ve found can be most effective.

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2. Become a thought leader.

Sharing your advice, tried-and-true best practices, and niche expertise are some of the most long-lasting ways to build your personal brand and lend more credibility to your organization. After all, nobody wants to feel like they’re being sold to. Instead, it’s better to help people by offering solutions to their problems.

That’s what thought leaders do. Indeed, a recent report found that “Thought leadership is one of the most effective tools an organization can use to demonstrate its value to customers during a tough economy — even more so than traditional advertising or product marketing, according to B2B buyers.”

According to the study, 61% of decision-makers believed that thought leadership could be moderately or very effective in demonstrating the value of a company’s products. Moreover, more than half of C-suite executives in the study believed that thought leadership has a greater impact on purchases during an economic downturn, making this an even more important element of a sales strategy in today’s uncertain economic times.

So what’s the catch?

Not all thought leadership content is created equal.

When done right, thought leadership can have a huge positive impact, but poor thought leadership can be devastating to a company’s sales goals. So, before you plan a spree of LinkedIn posts to drive leads, consider who your audience is, what they need to know, and how your organization can help.

Also, it may not hurt to have a second set of eyes from your marketing, communication, and PR departments review your plan first to make sure everything is on-brand (and trackable!).

3. Prioritize inbound sales calls as hot leads.

There’s an age-old question in sales: “Should I discuss product pricing with a prospect on the first sales call?” The honest answer is: It depends.

You and your sales team know your process better than anyone. So take it from me — if you’ve seen success with pitching with pricing first, last, or somewhere in between, stick with what’s working for you.

But beyond that, your team should always prioritize the prospects who come to you. These hot leads are definitely interested in what you have to sell, and before they make a decision, they want to get the information they need about how it will benefit them.

By prioritizing talking to these prospects as soon as they call in or send an email, you’re putting your best foot forward and showing them that you’re helpful, solutions-oriented, and considerate of their time. And if that means closing a deal on the first call, there’s nothing wrong with that — as long as the customer has the information they need to make an informed decision.

4. Properly research and qualify prospects.

I’ve personally discovered that even the strongest sales strategy can’t compensate for targeting the wrong customers. To ensure your team is selling to the right type of customer, encourage reps to research and qualify prospects before attempting to discuss your product. Indeed, throughout my career, I’ve found that more work on the front end can lead to smoother closing conversations later on.

Outline the criteria a prospect needs to meet to be qualified as a high-probability potential customer. These criteria will depend on your unique business and target audience, but they should generally be based on a prospect’s engagement history and demographics.

market sales in business plan

Free Guide: 101 Sales Qualification Questions

101 Questions to Ask Contacts When Qualifying, Closing, Negotiating, and Upselling.

  • Budget Questions
  • Business Impact Questions
  • Competitor Questions

5. Implement a free trial.

Offering a free trial or freemium version of your product can be a highly effective way to convert prospects. In fact, HubSpot’s sales strategy report found that 76% of sales professionals feel that free trials are effective in converting prospects into paying customers, while 69% of professionals believe that freemium offerings are effective.

market sales in business plan

Keeping a list of proven, go-to closing techniques will help salespeople routinely win deals. Some of my favorite techniques include the ‘now or never close’ — i.e., “If you commit now, I can get you a 20% discount” — or the ‘question close,’ i.e., “In your opinion, does what I am offering solve your problem?”

market sales in business plan

Free Sales Closing Guide

An easy-to-use sales closing guide with three tactics you can use right away.

  • Using an ROI calculator for your prospects
  • How to ask confirmation questions
  • Sales question templates you can use today

To further improve your closing techniques and learn to close deals with confidence, check out this free, downloadable Sales Closing Guide .

11. Nurture existing accounts for future selling opportunities.

Once a deal is done, there’s no need for a sales strategy, right? Wrong.

Account management is an incredibly important part of the sales process, as this is how you foster loyal, happy customers and identify cross-selling and upselling opportunities.

So, after your sales team sees success with its sales strategy, it’s vital to form a partnership between the sales team and customer service/success teams.

Remember: Ensuring customers’ continued satisfaction with your product or service will make them more likely to do business with your company again. You may even inspire them to advocate for it proactively.

market sales in business plan

Free Sales Plan Template

Outline your company's sales strategy in one simple, coherent sales plan.

  • Target Market
  • Prospecting Strategy

Inbound Sales Strategy

In contrast, inbound sales strategies are the modern methodology for sales teams. Companies following an inbound approach base their sales processes on buyer actions.

These organizations automatically capture seller and buyer data to monitor their pipelines and coach their salespeople. Inbound sales strategies connect reps’ activities to the three stages of the buyer journey — awareness, consideration, and decision — encouraging sales teams to map their tactics to the right step in the customer journey.

The inbound methodology also aligns sales and marketing, creating a seamless experience for buyers. Check out this post to learn more about inbound sales and how to develop an inbound sales process.

In addition, many popular sales strategies take a customer-centric approach, including:

  • Account-based selling .
  • SPIN selling .
  • Value-based selling .
  • Consultative selling .

You can learn more about these approaches in this post about customer-centric selling systems .

Inbound vs. Outbound Sales Methodology

In the past, buyers were often forced to suffer through evaluating a product and deciding whether to buy it using only the information offered to them by the seller. But today, much of the information needed to evaluate a product is available online — meaning that buyers are no longer nearly as dependent on the seller.

That means that if sales teams don’t align with the modern buyer’s process. If they fail to add value beyond the information already available online, then buyers will have no reason to engage with a sales team.

As mentioned above, inbound sales benefits buyers at each stage of the buyer process, including:

  • Consideration.

Inbound sales teams help buyers become aware of potential problems or opportunities and discover strategies to solve those problems.

Then, buyers evaluate whether the salesperson can help with their problem, and if the buyer thinks they can, they’ll purchase a solution to their problem. Inbound sales reps are helpful and trustworthy, creating partnerships rather than power struggles.

Not sure how to get started with inbound selling? Every sales team should have a sales strategy plan outlining its goals, best practices, and processes designed to align the team and create consistency.

Below, I’ll walk through how to create a sales strategy plan for your team.

Now that you have the template you need, let’s go over how you can build a sales strategy.

How to Build a Sales Strategy

  • Develop organizational goals.
  • Create a customer profile that is tailored to a specific product offering.
  • Hire, onboard, and compensate sales team members adequately.
  • Create a plan to generate demand.
  • Measure individual and team performance.
  • Track sales activities.

To build a comprehensive sales plan, I’d recommend starting with the following activities:

1. Develop organizational goals.

Setting goals is a no-brainer for most sales teams. Otherwise, how will you know whether you’re executing the right activities or achieving the best results? There are three strategies that I’ve found can be particularly helpful in developing clear organizational goals for a sales strategy.

Involve cross-departmental stakeholders.

Avoid developing sales goals in a silo. Instead, be sure to get input from stakeholders across the organization, since every department is held accountable to the company’s bottom line.

Create SMART goals.

SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Setting SMART goals can help your team simplify and track complex, long-term sales goals .

For example, a specific, measurable, and time-bound goal could be to sell 150% of the projected sales quota in Q2. Your internal team can propose this goal and then decide whether it is both relevant and attainable (attainability is particularly important because setting unrealistic goals can harm team motivation).

At the end of the day, SMART goals help reduce confusion when it’s time to review your strategy, helping to ensure you know what worked and what didn’t.

Connect individual goals to organizational goals.

Finally, if you’re creating a team-specific strategy, you may also want to set goals for individual team members. Building ownership and accountability into sales goals can help keep your team aligned, and it also makes your sales strategy more cohesive.

2. Create a customer profile that is tailored to a specific product offering.

A detailed profile of your target customer — a buyer persona — is an essential component of an effective sales strategy. Below, I’ve outlined the key steps to take when creating a buyer persona to ensure you come up with a useful profile:

Find target markets and segments.

First, look at your industry as a whole. Get a sense of your ideal customer’s company size, psychographics, and buying process. You may want to look at industry trends, too.

Conduct market research to understand customer needs and preferences.

Next, do some market research. This template can help you streamline the process and understand which types of research will be best for your business.

You may also want to do some competitor analysis at this stage. Once you know the strengths and weaknesses of competing brands, you can more easily find gaps that you can fill for specific customers.

Create a clear value proposition to attract your ideal customer to your product or service.

Finally, make sure your product offering outlines the benefits of your product for your target customer. It’s important to use insights from your customer profile to emphasize features that solve your target customer’s pain points.

Your business may already have a clear value proposition — but if not, you can use these free value proposition templates to draft one.

Quick tip : Be sure to schedule time to update and refine your buyer persona to make sure it stays aligned with current customer trends and expectations.

3. Hire, onboard, and compensate sales team members adequately.

To develop an effective sales strategy, you need to have a powerful sales team in place. That means investing in hiring, onboarding, and retaining top talent. Specifically, I have learned that there are three key components of building (and keeping) a supportive, successful sales team:

Create great processes for hiring new members of your sales team.

First and foremost, create a list of criteria for sales managers to screen for when interviewing candidates. A well-defined job description and competency framework are also useful. These tools can help your team recruit and retain top talent.

Develop sales onboarding, training, and development programs.

Your training and onboarding program should prepare your sales team to sell effectively and efficiently. It should also help sales reps build advanced skills and industry knowledge.

But what if you don’t have the resources to develop comprehensive training in-house? In these situations, it may be worth considering combining organization-specific training with online sales training programs .

Create a motivational compensation and rewards plan.

Finally, once you’ve built a strong team, it’s vital to ensure your compensation plan is set up to motivate and retain them.

Many organizations connect sales compensation to organizational sales goals, but regardless of the specific compensation plan you choose, make sure that it meets or exceeds industry expectations. It should also inspire your team to celebrate individual and team achievements.

4. Create a plan to generate demand.

Now, it’s time to put together a detailed plan for how to target potential customers and increase their awareness of your offering. This may include using paid social acquisition channels, creating e-books, hosting webinars, and the many other strategies laid out in this article.

Featured Resource: Sales Plan Template

market sales in business plan

Create processes for lead nurturing and follow up.

Once you’ve generated some demand, it’s time to start converting. Of course, not every lead generation opportunity translates into a qualified lead or sales opportunity.

As you track your newly generated demand, find ways to align your processes with your buyers’ journeys. Then, use sales automation tools to manage your leads and create personalized follow-ups. This can help every rep on your team send the right message at the right time.

Optimize your sales plan and process.

It’s also essential to build in time to review your metrics. Then, you can use A/B testing, customer feedback, and sales team insights to refine your sales strategy plan further.

5. Measure individual and team performance.

Alright, so you’ve got a plan in place — now, it’s time to track! Once you’ve set up your infrastructure, you’ll want to start creating procedures for tracking performance on the individual, team, and company levels.

Tracking your efforts is imperative to optimize your processes and practices for future growth. Even if you’re just getting started with setting benchmarks for the team, write those goals down and track your progress toward them.

Build useful metrics to track sales performance.

This can take the form of quarterly KPIs, weekly dashboards, monthly reviews, or some combination of all three. Whatever cadence you choose, your process should also highlight the specific metrics that the team should focus on.

If you’re not sure where to start, these commonly-used KPIs can help you align performance expectations with sales goals:

  • Revenue targets.
  • Sales quotas.
  • Conversion rates.
  • Lead-to-opportunity ratios.
  • Average deal size.
  • Pipeline velocity.

Think about real-time performance tracking.

Of course, while business KPIs are useful for the long-term, fast-moving industries may need real-time tracking as well. To get an at-a-glance look at sales team performance, I’d suggest looking into tools that can give you instant visibility, such as HubSpot’s Sales Hub .

Real-time insights can help you quickly find and address issues, creating opportunities for proactive sales performance management.

Create a process for sharing performance data.

Ultimately, tracking performance metrics gives you the data you need to offer constructive feedback and coaching to each member of your team.

Whether you communicate via one-on-one meetings, performance reviews, or team huddles, it’s important to make space for these conversations. Regularly sharing and discussing performance data is a great way to understand performance gaps, offer guidance, and share best practices.

A process like this supports both individual and team development. Moreover, when issues inevitably arise, effective metrics can help you understand whether it’s your team or your strategy (or both) that needs extra attention.

6. Track sales activities.

Data is key to an effective sales strategy plan. With sales activity metrics, you can go beyond individual team performance to understand your entire sales operation.

Collect a range of sales activity data.

Sales activity metrics can help you understand how the team approaches day-to-day sales as a whole. As such, I’ve found that it can be helpful to track everything from the sales presentation to closing techniques.

Specifically, collect data to see how your sales team performs beyond call or deal numbers in activities, such as:

  • Meetings scheduled.
  • Presentations delivered.
  • Proposals submitted.
  • Sales presentation success rates.
  • Closing techniques.

Then, comparing this data to other goal metrics can show you patterns, best practices, and areas for improvement.

Track, lead, and prospect sources.

It’s also vital to make sure you’re tracking where your prospects are coming from. For example, if you’ll be publishing thought leadership content or sourcing leads from social media, make sure that any link you share is trackable with a UTM parameter.

Trackable links aren’t just valuable for learning which channels are generating the most leads. They can also help you focus your resources on the channels that generate the most relevant, qualified leads for driving sales.

Focus on continuous improvement.

Once you have a complete set of analytics to track your strategy, use that data to refine your sales strategies, team knowledge, and plans. A clear, data-driven process will make it easier to use customer feedback to grow your sales. It will also give your sales team the agility to adapt to industry and market changes that may impact your business down the road.

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4. Listen to your prospects.

Just because prospects aren’t customers yet doesn’t mean they don’t have valuable feedback to offer.

As you move prospects through the sales funnel (and especially when they drop off), ask for candid feedback about their experience with your team and products. Even if they’ve lost interest, you may learn something that can help you convert your next prospect.

5. Invest in sales development and team-building.

The best sales teams align not only with their customers but also with their coworkers.

Sales is a difficult career, and without proper encouragement and camaraderie, people can easily become burned out. So, to keep your sales team feeling satisfied and supported, don’t forget to invest in sales development and team-building activities.

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Blog Marketing What is a Marketing Plan & How to Create One [with Examples]

What is a Marketing Plan & How to Create One [with Examples]

Written by: Sara McGuire Oct 26, 2023

Marketing Plan Venngage

A marketing plan is a blueprint that outlines your strategies to attract and convert your ideal customers as a part of your customer acquisition strategy . It’s a comprehensive document that details your:

  • Target audience:  Who you’re trying to reach
  • Marketing goals:  What you want to achieve
  • Strategies and tactics:  How you’ll reach your goals
  • Budget:  Resources you’ll allocate
  • Metrics:  How you’ll measure success

In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about creating a marketing plan . If you need a little extra help, there are professionally designed marketing plan templates that’ll make the process much easier. So, let’s ditch the confusion and get started!

Click to jump ahead:

What is a marketing plan?

How to write a marketing plan .

  • Marketing plan v.s. business plan
  • Types of marketing plans

9 marketing plan examples to inspire your growth strategy

Marketing plan faqs.

A marketing plan is a report that outlines your marketing strategy for your products or services, which could be applicable for the coming year, quarter or month.  

Watch this quick, 13-minute video for more details on what a marketing plan is and how to make one yourself:

Typically, a marketing plan includes:

  • An overview of your business’s marketing and advertising goals
  • A description of your business’s current marketing position
  • A timeline of when tasks within your strategy will be completed
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) you will be tracking
  • A description of your business’s target market and customer needs
  • A description of how you will measure the performance of the strategy

For example, this marketing plan template provides a high-level overview of the business and competitors before diving deep into specific goals, KPIs and tactics:

Orange Content Marketing Plan Template

Learning how to write a marketing plan forces you to think through the important steps that lead to an effective marketing strategy . And a well-defined plan will help you stay focused on your high-level marketing goals.

With Venngage’s extensive catalog of marketing plan templates , creating your marketing plan isn’t going to be hard or tedious. In fact, Venngage has plenty of helpful communications and design resources for marketers. If you’re ready to get started, sign up for  Venngage for Marketers   now. It’s free to register and start designing.

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Whether you’re a team trying to set smarter marketing goals, a consultant trying to set your client in the right direction, or a one-person team hustling it out, Venngage for Marketers helps you get things done.

As mentioned above, the scope of your marketing plan varies depending on its purpose or the type of organization it’s for.

For example, you could look for performance marketing agency to create a marketing plan that provides an overview of a company’s entire marketing strategy or simply focus on a specific channel like SEO, social media marketing, content marketing and more, like in this example:

content marketing plan template

A typical outline of a marketing plan includes:

  • Executive summary
  • Goals and objectives
  • User personas
  • Competitor analysis/SWOT analysis
  • Baseline metrics
  • Marketing strategy
  • Tracking guidelines

Below you will see in details how to write each section as well as some examples of how you can design each section in a marketing plan.

Let’s look at how to create a successful marketing plan (click to jump ahead):

  • Write a simple executive summary
  • Set metric-driven marketing goals
  • Outline your user personas
  • Research all of your competitors
  • Set accurate key baselines & metrics
  • Create an actionable marketing strategy
  • Set tracking or reporting guidelines

1. Write a simple executive summary

Starting your marketing plan off on the right foot is important. You want to pull people into your amazing plan for marketing domination. Not bore them to tears.

Creative Marketing Plan Executive Summary

One of the best ways to get people excited to read your marketing plan is with a well-written executive summary. An executive summary introduces readers to your company goals, marketing triumphs, future plans, and other important contextual facts.

Standard Business Proposal Executive Summary

Basically, you can use the Executive Summary as a primer for the rest of your marketing plan.

Include things like:

  • Simple marketing goals
  • High-level metrics
  • Important company milestones
  • Facts about your brand
  • Employee anecdotes
  • Future goals & plans

Try to keep your executive summary rather brief and to the point. You aren’t writing a novel, so try to keep it under three to four paragraphs.

Take a look at the executive summary in the marketing plan example below:

Content Marketing Proposal Executive Summary

The executive summary is only two paragraphs long — short but effective.

The executive summary tells readers about the company’s growth, and how they are about to overtake one of their competitors. But there’s no mention of specific metrics or figures. That will be highlighted in the next section of the marketing plan.

An effective executive summary should have enough information to pique the reader’s interest, but not bog them down with specifics yet. That’s what the rest of your marketing plan is for!

The executive summary also sets the tone for your marketing plan. Think about what tone will fit your brand ? Friendly and humorous? Professional and reliable? Inspiring and visionary?

2. Set metric-driven marketing goals

After you perfect your executive summary, it’s time to outline your marketing goals.

(If you’ve never set data-driven goals like this before, it would be worth reading this growth strategy guide ).

This is one of the most important parts of the entire marketing plan, so be sure to take your time and be as clear as possible. Moreover, optimizing your marketing funnel is key. Employing effective funnel software can simplify operations and provide valuable customer insights. It facilitates lead tracking, conversion rate analysis, and efficient marketing optimization .

As a rule of thumb, be as specific as possible. The folks over at  VoyMedia  advise that you should set goals that impact website traffic, conversions, and customer success — and to use real numbers.

Avoid outlining vague goals like:

  • Get more Twitter followers
  • Write more articles
  • Create more YouTube videos (like educational or Explainer videos )
  • Increase retention rate
  • Decrease bounce rate

Instead, identify  key performance metrics  (KPI) you want to impact and the percentage you want to increase them by.

Take a look at the goals page in the marketing plan example below:

Creative Marketing Plan Goals

They not only identify a specific metric in each of their goals, but they also set a timeline for when they will be increased.

The same vague goals listed earlier become much clearer when specific numbers and timelines are applied to them:

  • Get 100 new Twitter followers per month
  • Write 5 more articles per week
  • Create 10 YouTube videos each year
  • Increase retention rate by 15% by 2020
  • Decrease bounce rate by 5% by Q1
  • Create an online course  and get 1,000 new leads
  • Focus more on local SEO strategies
  • Conduct a monthly social media report to track progress

You can dive even deeper into your marketing goals if you want (generally, the more specific, the better). Here’s a marketing plan example that shows how to outline your growth goals:

Growth Goals Roadmap Template for a Marketing Plan

3. Outline your user personas

Now, this may not seem like the most important part of your marketing plan, but I think it holds a ton of value.

Outlining your user personas is an important part of a marketing plan that should not be overlooked.

You should be asking not just how you can get the most visitors to your business, but how you can get the right visitors.

Who are your ideal customers? What are their goals? What are their biggest problems? How does your business solve customer problems?

Answering these questions will take lots of research, but it’s essential information to get.

Some ways to conduct user research are:

  • Interviewing your users (either in person or on the phone)
  • Conducting focus groups
  • Researching other businesses in the same industry
  • Surveying your audience

Then, you will need to compile your user data into a user persona  guide.

Take a look at how detailed this user persona template is below:

Persona Marketing Report Template

Taking the time to identify specific demographic traits, habits and goals will make it easier for you to cater your marketing plan to them.

Here’s how you can create a user persona guide:

The first thing you should add is a profile picture or icon for each user persona. It can help to put a face to your personas, so they seem more real.

Marketing Persona

Next, list demographic information like:

  • Identifiers
  • Activities/Hobbies

The user persona example above uses sliding scales to identify personality traits like introversion vs. extroversion and thinking vs. feeling. Identifying what type of personality your target users tend to have an influence on the messaging you use in your marketing content.

Meanwhile, this user persona guide identifies specific challenges the user faces each day:

Content Marketing Proposal Audience Personas

But if you don’t want to go into such precise detail, you can stick to basic information, like in this marketing plan example:

Social Media Plan Proposal Template Ideal Customers

Most businesses will have a few different types of target users. That’s why it’s pertinent to identify and create several different user personas . That way, you can better segment your marketing campaigns and set separate goals, if necessary.

Here’s a marketing plan example with a segmented user persona guide:

Mobile App Market Report

The important thing is for your team or client to have a clear picture of who their target user is and how they can appeal to their specific problems.

Start creating robust user personas using Venngage’s user persona guide .

4. Conduct an extensive competitor analysis

Next, on the marketing plan checklist, we have the competitor research section. This section will help you identify who your competitors are, what they’re doing, and how you could carve yourself a place alongside them in your niche — and ideally, surpass them. It’s something you can learn to do with rank tracking software .

Competitor research is also incredibly important if you are starting a blog .

Typically, your competitor research should include:

  • Who their marketing team is
  • Who their leadership team is
  • What their marketing strategy and strategic marketing plan are (this will probably revolve some reverse-engineering)
  • What their sales strategy is (same deal)
  • Social Media strategy (are they using discounting strategies such as coupon marketing to get conversions)
  • Their market cap/financials
  • Their yearly growth (you will probably need to use a marketing tool like Ahrefs to do this)
  • The number of customers they have & their user personas

Also, take as deep a dive as you can into the strategies they use across their:

  • Blog/Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • SEO Marketing
  • Video marketing
  • And any other marketing tactics they use

Research their strengths and weaknesses in all parts of their company, and you will find some great opportunities. Bookmark has a great guide to different marketing strategies for small businesses  if you need some more information there.

You can use this simple SWOT analysis worksheet to quickly work through all parts of their strategy as well:

Competitive SWOT Analysis

Click the template above to create a SWOT chart . Customize the template to your liking — no design know-how needed.

Since you have already done all the research beforehand, adding this information to your marketing plan shouldn’t be that hard.

In this marketing plan example, some high-level research is outlined for 3 competing brands:

Content Marketing Proposal Competitive Research

But you could take a deeper dive into different facets of your competitors’ strategies. This marketing plan example analyses a competitor’s content marketing strategy:

Competitor-Analysis-Content-Marketing-Plan-Template

It can also be helpful to divide your competitors into Primary and Secondary groups. For example, Apple’s primary competitor may be Dell for computers, but its secondary competitor could be a company that makes tablets.

Your most dangerous competitors may not even be in the same industry as you. Like the CEO of Netflix said, “Sleep is our competition.”

5. Set accurate key baselines & metrics

It’s pretty hard to plan for the future if you don’t know where your business stands right now.

Before we do anything at Venngage, we find the baselines so we can compare future results to something. We do it so much it’s almost like second nature now!

Setting baselines will allow you to more accurately track your progress. You will also be able to better analyze what worked and what didn’t work, so you can build a stronger strategy. It will definitely help them clearly understand your goals and strategy as well.

Here’s a marketing plan example where the baselines are visualized:

Social Media Marketing Proposal Success Metrics

Another way to include baselines in your plan is with a simple chart, like in the marketing plan example below:

Simple-Blue-Social-Media-Marketing-Plan

Because data can be intimidating to a lot of people, visualizing your data using charts and infographics will help demystify the information.

6. Create an actionable marketing strategy

After pulling all the contextual information and relevant metrics into your marketing plan, it’s time to break down your marketing strategy.

Once again, it’s easier to communicate your information to your team or clients using visuals .

Mind maps are an effective way to show how a strategy with many moving parts ties together. For example, this mind map shows how the four main components of a marketing strategy interact together:

Marketing Plan Mind Map Template

You can also use a flow chart to map out your strategy by objectives:

Action Plan Mind Map

However you choose to visualize your strategy, your team should know exactly what they need to do. This is not the time to keep your cards close to your chest.

Your strategy section may need to take up a few pages to explain, like in the marketing plan example below:

Creative-Modern-Content-Marketing-Plan-Template

With all of this information, even someone from the development team will understand what the marketing team is working on.

This minimalistic marketing plan example uses color blocks to make the different parts of the strategy easy to scan:

Blue-Simple-Social-Media-Marketing-Plan-Template

Breaking your strategy down into tasks will make it easier to tackle.

Another important way to visualize your marketing strategy is to create a project roadmap. A project roadmap visualizes the timeline of your product with individual tasks. Our roadmap maker can help you with this.

For example, this project roadmap shows how tasks on both the marketing and web design side run parallel to each other:

Simple Product Roadmap Plan Template

A simple timeline can also be used in your marketing plan:

Strategy Timeline Infographic

Or a mind map, if you want to include a ton of information in a more organized way:

Business Strategy Mindmap Template

Even a simple “Next, Now, Later” chart can help visualize your strategy:

3 Step Product Roadmap Template

7. Set tracking or reporting guidelines

Close your marketing plan with a brief explanation of how you plan to track or measure your results. This will save you a lot of frustration down the line by standardizing how you track results across your team.

Like the other sections of your marketing plan, you can choose how in-depth you want to go. But there need to be some clear guidelines on how to measure the progress and results of your marketing plan.

At the bare minimum, your results tracking guidelines should specify:

  • What you plan to track
  • How you plan to track results
  • How often you plan to measure

But you can more add tracking guidelines to your marketing plan if you see the need to. You may also want to include a template that your team or client can follow,  for  client reporting ,  ensure that the right metrics are being tracked.

Marketing Checklist

The marketing plan example below dedicates a whole page to tracking criteria:

SEO Marketing Proposal Measuring Results

Use a task tracker to track tasks and marketing results, and a checklist maker to note down tasks, important life events, or tracking your daily life.

Similarly, the marketing plan example below talks about tracking content marketing instead:

Social Media Marketing Proposal

Marketing plan vs. marketing strategy

Although often used interchangeably, the terms “marketing plan” and “marketing strategy” do have some differences.

Simply speaking, a marketing strategy presents what the business will do in order to reach a certain goal. A marketing plan outlines the specific daily, weekly, monthly or yearly activities that the marketing strategy calls for. As a business, you can create a marketing proposal for the marketing strategies defined in your company’s marketing plan. There are various marketing proposal examples that you can look at to help with this.

A company’s extended marketing strategy can be like this:

marketing strategy mind map

Notice how it’s more general and doesn’t include the actual activities required to complete each strategy or the timeframe those marketing activities will take place. That kind of information is included in a marketing plan, like this marketing plan template which talks about the content strategy in detail:

Content Marketing Proposal

Marketing plan v.s business plan

While both marketing plans and business plans are crucial documents for businesses, they serve distinct purposes and have different scopes. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences:

Business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines all aspects of your business, including:

  • Mission and vision
  • Products or services
  • Target market
  • Competition
  • Management team
  • Financial projections
  • Marketing strategy (including a marketing plan)
  • Operations plan

Marketing plan on the other hand, dives deep into the specific strategies and tactics related to your marketing efforts. It expands on the marketing section of a business plan by detailing:

  • Specific marketing goals (e.g., brand awareness, lead generation, sales)
  • Target audience analysis (detailed understanding of their needs and behaviors)
  • Product:  Features, benefits, positioning
  • Price:  Pricing strategy, discounts
  • Place:  Distribution channels (online, offline)
  • Promotion:  Advertising, social media, content marketing, public relations
  • Budget allocation for different marketing activities
  • Metrics and measurement to track progress and success

In short, business plans paint the entire business picture, while marketing plans zoom in on the specific strategies used to reach your target audience and achieve marketing goals.

Types of marketing plans that can transform your business strategy

Let’s take a look at several types of marketing plans you can create, along with specific examples for each.

1. General marketing strategic plan / Annual marketing plan

This is a good example of a marketing plan that covers the overarching annual marketing strategy for a company:

marketing strategy template marketing plan

Another good example would be this Starbucks marketing plan:

Starbucks marketing plan example

This one-page marketing plan example from coffee chain Starbucks has everything at a glance. The bold headers and subheadings make it easier to segment the sections so readers can focus on the area most relevant to them.

What we like about this example is how much it covers. From the ideal buyer persona to actional activities, as well as positioning and metrics, this marketing plan has it all.

Another marketing plan example that caught our eye is this one from Cengage. Although a bit text-heavy and traditional, it explains the various sections well. The clean layout makes this plan easy to read and absorb.

Cengage marketing plan example

The last marketing plan example we would like to feature in this section is this one from Lush cosmetics.

It is a long one but it’s also very detailed. The plan outlines numerous areas, including the company mission, SWOT analysis , brand positioning, packaging, geographical criteria, and much more.

Lush marketing plan

2. Content marketing plan

A content marketing plan highlights different strategies , campaigns or tactics you can use for your content to help your business reach its goals.

This one-page marketing plan example from Contently outlines a content strategy and workflow using simple colors and blocks. The bullet points detail more information but this plan can easily be understood at a glance, which makes it so effective.

contently marketing plan

For a more detailed content marketing plan example, take a look at this template which features an editorial calendar you can share with the whole team:

nonprofit content marketing plan

3. SEO marketing plan

Your SEO marketing plan highlights what you plan to do for your SEO marketing strategy . This could include tactics for website on-page optimization , off-page optimization using AI SEO , and link building using an SEO PowerSuite backlink API for quick backlink profile checks.

This SEO marketing plan example discusses in detail the target audience of the business and the SEO plan laid out in different stages:

SEO marketing plan example

4. Social media marketing plan

Your social media marketing plan presents what you’ll do to reach your marketing goal through social media. This could include tactics specific to each social media channel that you own, recommendations on developing a new channel, specific campaigns you want to run, and so on, like how B2B channels use Linkedin to generate leads with automation tools and expand their customer base; or like making use of Twitter walls that could display live Twitter feeds from Twitter in real-time on digital screens.

For B2C brands, you can target Facebook and Instagram. Gain Instagram likes to build trust for your brand’s profile and post engaging content on both platforms

Edit this social media marketing plan example easily with Venngage’s drag-and-drop editor:

social media marketing plan example

5. Demand generation marketing plan

This could cover your paid marketing strategy (which can include search ads, paid social media ads, traditional advertisements, etc.), email marketing strategy and more. Here’s an example:

promotional marketing plan

1. Free marketing plan template

Here’s a free nonprofit marketing plan example that is ideal for organizations with a comprehensive vision to share. It’s a simple plan that is incredibly effective. Not only does the plan outline the core values of the company, it also shares the ideal buyer persona.

market sales in business plan

Note how the branding is consistent throughout this example so there is no doubt which company is presenting this plan. The content plan is an added incentive for anyone viewing the document to go ahead and give the team the green light.

2. Pastel social media marketing campaign template

Two-page marketing plan samples aren’t very common, but this free template proves how effective they are. There’s a dedicated section for business goals as well as for project planning .

Pastel Social Media Marketing Plan Template

The milestones for the marketing campaign are clearly laid out, which is a great way to show how organized this business strategy is.

3. Small business marketing strategy template

This marketing plan template is perfect for small businesses who set out to develop an overarching marketing strategy for the whole year:

Notice how this aligns pretty well with the marketing plan outline we discussed in previous sections.

In terms of specific tactics for the company’s marketing strategy, the template only discusses SEO strategy, but you can certainly expand on that section to discuss any other strategies — such as link building , that you would like to build out a complete marketing plan for.

4. Orange simple marketing proposal template

Marketing plans, like the sample below, are a great way to highlight what your business strategy and the proposal you wan to put forward to win potential customers.

Orange Simple Marketing Proposal Template

5. One-page marketing fact sheet template

This one-page marketing plan example is great for showcasing marketing efforts in a persuasive presentation or to print out for an in-person meeting.

Nonprofit Healthcare Company Fact Sheet Template

Note how the fact sheet breaks down the marketing budget as well as the key metrics for the organization. You can win over clients and partners with a plan like this.

6. Light company business fact sheet template

This one-page sample marketing plan clearly outlines the marketing objectives for the organization. It’s a simple but effective way to share a large amount of information in a short amount of time.

Light Company Business Fact Sheet Template

What really works with this example is that includes a mission statement, key contact information alongside all the key metrics.

7. Marketing media press kit template

This press kit marketing plan template is bright and unmistakable as belonging to the Cloud Nine marketing agency . The way the brand colors are used also helps diversify the layouts for each page, making the plan easier to read.

Marketing Media Press Kit Template

We like the way the marketing department has outlined the important facts about the organization. The bold and large numbers draw the eye and look impressive.

8. Professional marketing proposal template

Start your marketing campaign on a promising note with this marketing plan template. It’s short, sharp and to the point. The table of contents sets out the agenda, and there’s a page for the company overview and mission statement.

Professional Marketing Proposal Template

9. Social media marketing proposal template

A complete marketing plan example, like the one below, not only breaks down the business goals to be achieved but a whole lot more. Note how the terms and conditions and payment schedule are included, which makes this one of the most comprehensive marketing plans on our list.

Checkered Social Media Marketing Proposal Template

What should marketing plans include?

Marketing plans should include:

  • A detailed analysis of the target market and customer segments.
  • Clear and achievable marketing objectives and goals.
  • Strategies and tactics for product promotion and distribution.
  • Budget allocation for various marketing activities.
  • Timelines and milestones for the implementation of marketing strategies.
  • Evaluation metrics and methods for tracking the success of the marketing plan.

What is an executive summary in a marketing plan and what is its main goal?

An executive summary in a marketing plan is a brief overview of the entire document, summarizing the key points, goals, and strategies. Its main goal is to provide readers with a quick understanding of the plan’s purpose and to entice them to read further.

What are the results when a marketing plan is effective?

When a marketing plan is effective, businesses can experience increased brand visibility, higher customer engagement, improved sales and revenue, and strengthened customer loyalty.

What is the first section of a marketing plan?

The first section of a marketing plan is typically the “Executive Summary,” which provides a concise overview of the entire plan, including the business’s goals and the strategies to achieve them.

Now that you have the basics for designing your own marketing plan, it’s time to get started:

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9 Stunning Sales Business Plan Templates to Close Deals

9 Stunning Sales Business Plan Templates to Close Deals

Written by: Orana Velarde

9 Stunning Sales Business Plan Templates to Close Your Next Deal

When sales and marketing teams work together, amazing things can happen for a business. Take, for example, the creation of an integral sales business plan that covers not only the goals the team aspires to but also all the data to support the actions, timelines, roadmaps and org charts.

Your business plan for sales and marketing activities is the guideline by which both teams undertake their tasks, aiming for a common goal. Creating a sales business plan collaboratively can help the teams see the big picture faster and be ready for any eventuality along the way.

In this guide, we will share nine business plan templates to help you build the perfect plan for your teams to work with. Share it digitally with your sales and marketing teams; they will be more productive and close more deals.

Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

What is a sales business plan, what is the sales business planning process, what goes in a sales business plan template, 9 business sales plan templates, sales plan faqs.

  • A sales business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies and tactics of a company’s sales department, including current state and future plans.
  • The sales business planning process includes figuring out the scope, organizing the team and assigning roles, collecting critical information in a centralized location, setting up branded templates, customizing the templates and collaborating with the team to finalize the document.
  • The five different types of strategic sales planning are goal-oriented planning, account-based planning, product planning, relationship planning and sales process planning.
  • Explore the nine templates provided according to sales business plan examples and choose the one that matches your sales goals.
  • Sign up for Visme to create your sales business plans and all your sales and marketing collateral without needing any design skills.

A sales business plan—sales plan for short—is a document or presentation that defines the strategies your team will undertake to close deals, retain clients and bring in new leads. With a business plan , sales are contrastingly better overall.

Each section defines the steps toward hitting milestones and achieving goals. It lays a forecast for all activities that have to do with selling and hitting sales targets. The team members who benefit the most from a sales business plan are the sales reps and marketing strategists. It gives them all a vision of the big picture, a mission to aim for and a roadmap to achieving the goal.

Overall, a well-crafted sales business plan is crucial for optimizing the sales cycle and achieving success in the competitive world of sales.

To create a business plan for sales activities, follow an industry-standard format and add your team's unique content plus the company’s branded elements. Build a sales action plan based on your strategies and goals, backed up by your chosen sales plan template .

Here’s the path to take:

1. Figure out the scope

First, you need to know the scope of possibilities for the sales business plan you’re working on.

To figure this out, you need to answer these questions:

  • What do you intend to cover in your sales plan?
  • What aspects of the business will the sales plan cover?
  • How far can this plan take you?
  • Will it span weeks, months, a quarter, or an entire year?
  • How many people will need to work together from how many teams?

This is the perfect opportunity to use mind maps . Visualizing your scope with mind maps makes it easy for you to organize the information and communicate it with everyone. And if you want to gather ideas from your sales team, brainstorming is the way to go.

Read this article to learn how to maximize your brainstorming meetings using online whiteboards.

Brainstorm the sales plan with your team using Visme’s infinite whiteboard . Our infinite whiteboard supports real-time collaboration and has more than enough space for you to lay out all the information.

Once you’ve mapped out your scope, create an outline for the overall plan. The outline will be the foundation for the pages and sections in your sales business plan. The next section, “What goes in a business plan” includes a list of essential sections that will help create a business plan for sales.

market sales in business plan

2. Organize the team and roles within the team

Part of the planning includes organizing a group of people who will work together to meet the goals laid out in the plan. Create a branded org chart visualizing team roles and responsibilities. Include this chart on a page in your sales plan; make it part of the process.

Using hotspots and hyperlinks, connect each team member's photo to their task list on monday.com or your favorite productivity platform.

Do you need more people to achieve the goals you’re pitching? Use this template to assign roles and tasks to team members.

Yearly Team Assignments Gantt Chart

3. Collect all information, analysis and data in one digital location.

No plan gets anywhere without data. Research, analysis, and investigation are your best friends at this point. Collect all the data you need and organize it in an accessible way. This will help immensely when building the sales plan .

Gather raw data about your current sales activities and performance, competitors, user persona, target market, industry analysis and more. Keep all visual documentation and relevant research samples inside a folder in your Visme workspace and name it accordingly.

Give access to those folders only to people involved in the project. The permission settings are in the brand controls for your workspace.

When you take advantage of the workspace organization features in your Visme account, you can plan your team's activity productively.

4. Set up a branded template

Are you regularly creating the same document more than once to share with different people? Branded templates are your secret weapon for any visual asset creation task. It saves time and serves as the guideline for all future versions of that document.

Applying your brand to industry templates is simple. First, pick one of our professionally designed templates, and then use our intuitive editor to change the color scheme, fonts and other design elements. You can also create a master layout to control fonts and logo placements.

Better yet, try Visme's Brand Wizard feature . Input your website URL and follow the steps. In the end, you’ll have a full set of templates with your brand colors and fonts.

market sales in business plan

5. Create each page in the document/slide in the deck

Transfer content from the outline to the document, section by section. Analyze and customize the visualization of each slide or page so it's optimized for the story you will tell. Yes, even sales plans can use storytelling techniques to be functional and effective. It’s the single most important communication tool in your arsenal.

Customize the sections, pages and slides with all the design elements available inside your Visme editor. Tap into all the interactive features to create an interactive sales business plan experience or make your digital PDF more engaging.

Take note of all the pages and slides as you create them to help you build the "table of contents" page. Use hyperlinking to let readers navigate the sales business plan however they wish.

6. Collaborate with the team

Involve the teams from the start. Task them with providing information or creating sections of the plan that pertain to their sector. Create the pages together, tag team members and leave comments to share information.

Ask managers for feedback through the Visme workspace; send them a live link to the project where they can leave notes and comments for edits.

Use a template to create an org chart that explains and details everyone’s role in the plan moving forward. When you make the process, plan and action collaborative, the team culture is strengthened. It’s a win-win in all directions.

7. Finalize and Share Your Plan

Take care of the last edits and proofread all the content. Double-check all image permissions and finalize all the layouts. Now that all the slides or pages are ready, it’s time to share and present the finished project. Use Presenter Studio to add a personalized message to the sales plan presentation, which is ideal for remote teams.

How do you wish to share the sales business plan with your team?

If there's any degree of interactivity in your plan, digital is the way to go. In the settings tab, publish your Visme project to the web and generate a live link to share with anyone you wish.

Download or share your sales business presentation as a video, a flip book, an interactive PDF or an interactive digital experience. All of these and more are possible with Visme.

There are templates, and then there are branded templates. A regular template has a color palette chosen by our designers for anyone to use. A branded template has all your company colors and fonts ready to fill up with content and finalize.

Here's a comprehensive list of the actual slides or pages in a sales business plan template. These apply to the document or presentation format of a top-down sales business plan.

Made with Visme Infographic Maker

 Start with the stunning cover page, then follow up with an interactive table of contents and other pages such as:

  • Executive summary. Summarize your company goals, sales objectives, revenue targets, and top-level strategies. This lays the foundation for the rest of your document.
  • Business goals (SMART goals & KPIs). Provide clear goals that you'll use to guide your sales plan activities and resources. 
  • Current sales performance.  Use data visualization to present an overview of your current sales performance. 
  • Industry and market overview.  Provide actionable insights on data or trends to support your sales plan.
  • Description of sales strategies and tactics.  Break down the sales techniques that will be used to execute your plan.
  • Customer segments.  Define your customer persona , target audience or segmentation, answering the question, "Who do you plan to sell to."
  • SWOT Analysis.  Take a look at your sales team or brand's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and potential threats. 
  • Resources and team capabilities. Using the organizational chart , visualize the team roles and list resources to accomplish your goal.
  • Timeframe for execution.  Provide an estimated timeframe you'll need to execute your sales plan. 
  • Budget.  State how much you plan to spend or need to accommodate your sales plan's resources.  

Here’s the collection of sales business plan examples you’ve been looking for. They are available in different selling styles, covering an array of industries. Simply add your brand content with elements of storytelling to make it unforgettable.

These business sales plans are a great starting point for sales managers looking for more templates to use with their team.

1. New Product Sales Plan

Plan the sales strategy for a new product with a new product sales plan template. Put together a strategy to promote the new product to existing clients and new prospects. Look at the data from previous campaigns and use it as the foundation for future product launches and sales plans.

The document-style sales business plan template below has all the pages you need to share information about the products, the goals, the KPIs to follow and the team in charge of getting it done. Finally, there are data pages for the budget and market analysis.

market sales in business plan

2. SaaS Sales Plan

SaaS companies need effective sales plans to grow their client base and increase quarterly revenue. A comprehensive sales plan for a SaaS company needs specific sections for each item and clear strategies for reaching team goals. Link to the materials the sales team will use, like sales playbooks and surveys .

This sales plan sample template, designed especially for SaaS companies, concentrates on the strengths, opportunities and unique selling points. The color blocks and data widgets offer a quick overview of the foundation, goals and team in charge of taking care of it.

Beyond creating a sales plan, you want to visualize your sales pipeline to see where your sales prospects are in the purchasing process.

market sales in business plan

3. 30-60-90-day Sales Plan

Maximize the efficiency of your sales team by utilizing this comprehensive sales action plan template. This 30 60 90 day sales plan example template is based on the idea of time. The strategies in the plan are laid out in three sections of one month each. Roadmaps have a timeframe, and there are three sets of goals. The purpose is to integrate new technology better or train a new sales rep into the team.

Get the most from your 30-60-90 sales business plan with the template below. Each page concentrates on the dedicated time period, explaining everything expected from the employee or the team.

market sales in business plan

4. Territory Sales Plan

Territory sales business plans are based on a specific geolocation or localization where the sales will occur. You need this type of sales plan if your company has client bases in different areas of the country or world. Culturally, each location can have different approaches and sales tactics. Use the dynamic fields feature to reuse territory sales presentations and easily change the location information.

Across nine pages in a purple color scheme, this territory sales plan is ready for your team’s detailed strategic planning. Create a document per location, or use interactivity to create hotspots that change the data or information according to the reader’s choice.

market sales in business plan

5. Business Development Sales Plan

Strategic business development can mean increasing client reach, improving business partnerships and many other business activities that increase revenue. Using this business development sales plan, your team can strategize different approaches to achieve positive goals.

In the business development sales plan template below, you’ll find all the graphic organizers to help your team see the big picture across different factors. Create timelines , Gantt charts and roadmaps to organize tasks and measure goals.

market sales in business plan

6. Market Expansion Sales Plan

Expanding the market is a large part of many sales strategies. And it also needs a solid sales business plan for the team and higher-ups to know what they can expect. To expand your target market efficiently, you’ll need to do a lot of research. All the data you collect goes on the pages of the market expansion sales plan in attractive data visualizations and infographic layouts.

Get inspired to set bold market expansion goals with this colorful and clean-cut template design. Each page has a specific function and purpose, and charts and data visualizations grace the pages without visual obstacles. This template is great for fast and easy information sharing.

market sales in business plan

7. Revenue-based Sales Plan

The name of this sales plan says it all. The entirety of this plan stems from revenue-how much there is, how much the company wants, and how to get it. These are ideal for sales teams that separate the big picture into actionable parts.

With the template below, your team can create an actionable sales plan that moves the needle forward. The angled leading lines on each page take the reader on a visual journey across goals and timelines to success. Part of the plan is to inspire the team members and stakeholders to believe in the process and work together.

market sales in business plan

8. Real Estate Sales Plan

In real estate, you’ll have to plan strategies for your agents and teams to follow together. Real estate agents must work with the marketing team to be on the same page about messaging, strategies and goals. With a sales plan, you can put it all together into one.

In this template, all the marketing, prospecting, and target market calculations work together to improve your sales strategies. Strategic planning can improve revenue for the agency, the agents, and the homeowners.

market sales in business plan

9. Sales Training Plan

New sales reps perform better when their onboarding and training are inspiring and motivating. Use this template to plan your training and onboarding strategies and create a better company culture. Instruct new hires in the systems and explain timelines of expected performance during the probation and orientation phase.

The choice of color palette and design elements is important for telling the story of your sales training plan. Cover both high and low levels of the sales process by training efficiently. Plan how to train and get results.

market sales in business plan

After personalizing your preferred sales business plan template, the next step is to download and share it with your team and stakeholders.

With Visme, you have complete freedom over how you use your documents. You can download the design in various formats, such as PDF, JPG, PNG, and HTML5, or share it online via email or a shareable link.

You can even publish your content anywhere on the internet by generating a snippet of code from the Visme app.

One of our satisfied customers, Sean, a Web Designer & Digital Marketing Specialist, has shared their positive experience with Visme's templates and sharing options.

Web Designer & Digital Marketing Specialist

Q. What Are the Different Types of Strategic Sales Planning?

As a sales leader, it is crucial to avoid poor planning, as it can result in missing up to 10% of annual sales opportunities . Your responsibility is to ensure that your company does not experience this setback.

To help you avoid this pitfall, here are five distinct approaches, each with its own unique flair.

1. Goal-Oriented Planning: This approach begins with setting ambitious yet achievable revenue targets, followed by reverse-engineering your sales process to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) necessary to reach those targets. Sales activities are then meticulously aligned with the overarching goals to create a cohesive roadmap to success.

2. Account Planning: It focuses on developing a comprehensive strategy for managing individual accounts. This type of planning involves researching the account, identifying key stakeholders, and creating a plan to engage with them. Account planning benefits businesses that rely on a small number of large accounts for their revenue.

3. Product Planning: Product planning involves the development of a strategy for selling a particular product or product line. This type of planning focuses on understanding the market for the product, identifying key features and benefits, and developing a plan for promoting and selling the product.

4. Relationship Planning: Relationship selling is a long-term approach focusing on building strong customer relationships. It involves understanding the customer's needs, building trust and providing ongoing support and value. This approach requires excellent communication skills, a customer-centric mindset and a commitment to delivering exceptional service.

5. Sales Process Planning: This involves developing a comprehensive plan for managing the sales process, from lead generation to closing the sale. This type of planning involves identifying the critical steps in the sales process, developing a plan for each step, and establishing metrics to measure the effectiveness of the process.

Q. How Do I Write a Sales Business Plan?

After learning about the various types of sales planning and their advantages, as well as the components of a sales business plan, it's time to delve into the process of drafting one. Let's explore some tips for writing a successful sales business plan.

  • Define Your Sales Objectives: Start by defining your sales objectives. What are your revenue goals? What products or services do you want to sell? Who is your sales ICP ? Defining these objectives will help you create a clear roadmap for achieving your sales goals.
  • Conduct a Market Analysis: Conduct a market analysis to identify opportunities and threats in the marketplace. Analyze your industry, competitors, and target audience. This will help you understand how to position your product or service in the market.
  • I dentify Your Unique Selling Proposition: Identify your unique selling proposition (USP)—what makes your product or service different from your competitors? What are the benefits of your product or service? Understanding your USP will help you market and sell your product or service better.
  • Develop a Sales Strategy: Develop a sales strategy that aligns with your sales objectives. This should include a plan for lead generation, lead qualification and the sales process. You can revisit the types of strategic sales planning sections to choose the one that fits your sales goals. Consider the sales channels you'll use, the sales team structure and the sales tools you'll need.
  • Define Sales Metrics: Define sales metrics that will help you measure your progress toward achieving your sales objectives. This could include revenue, sales growth rate, conversion rate and customer acquisition cost.
  • Develop a Sales Budget: Develop a sales budget that aligns with your sales strategy and objectives. This should include expenses related to lead generation, sales team compensation, sales tools, and marketing.
  • Review and Refine: Review and refine your sales business plan regularly. This will help you stay on track toward achieving your sales goals and make adjustments as needed.

Additionally, you can read this article on creating a strategic sales plan to get more help writing your own sales business plan.

Create Your Sales Business Plan With Visme

Jumping right into a project isn’t always the best idea; you won’t be prepared for the obstacles and hurdles. Every layer of your sales stack should be potentially planned and brainstormed for optimal results.

This is where sales business plans come into play. With well-designed and personalized plans, you create meaningful connections with prospects, turning them into loyal clients.

Create an interactive sales business plan to engage your team in a shared journey toward a common goal. Designate roles and link them together in the sales plan and your productivity platform so everyone is always on track.

Visme has plenty of features to help you and your team close deal after deal. Not only can you create a sales business plan collaboratively, but you can also brainstorm, create other content, share it online, track performance and keep all assets organized within your workspace. Make your team more efficient at creating visual content at every level of your organization using our third-party integrations .

Ready to up your company's sales game and close more deals? Book a demo or sign up today to see how we can help your sales team succeed.

Easily put together winning sales business plans in Visme

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Orana is a multi-faceted creative. She is a content writer, artist, and designer. She travels the world with her family and is currently in Istanbul. Find out more about her work at oranavelarde.com

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Sales Plan 101: Definition, Types, Template

Any business is all about sales. Whether a company practices B2B or B2C, the main goal is to receive revenue. Only a steady approach with a defined sales plan can guarantee a successful outcome. 

A strategic sales plan is the map for business processes related to trading, dealing with customers, and organizing sales operations . In this article, you will learn the definition of a sales plan, its structure, and types. Moreover, you will get acquainted with a sales plan template and the basics of creating it.

What Is a Sales Plan?

Sales plan is the hub around which the entire operations of the company revolve around. 

A sales plan is a business plan that features the development of the company’s sales activity with set objectives within a particular time frame. 

In other words, it’s a strategic plan where one specifies sales goals, tactics, challenges, target market and steps you will take to execute the plan. 

Setting goals and time frame to achieve them isn’t the only aim. Give the same importance to working out tactics and a precise sales strategy . This part includes analyzing all the resources, deciding on the amount to use, and describing the specific activities.

Download Free Sales Planning Template Now! 

Sales Plan Objective

The Structure of a Sales Plan

Sales plan examples differ, depending on the exact type. But we will pay closer attention to this a bit later in the article. Generally, it includes nine areas of strategic business development. They are:

1) Executive summary

Executive summary is like laying the foundation bricks of your organization. State your company’s vision and mission. What is the ultimate sales goal ? To reach X million revenue by Q4 2021, or increase share price to X amount. In your executive summary, include background on your company’s founding story and how you got to where you are and where you want the company to be in X years. 

2) Set business goals, including revenue targets

You can either set a revenue-based goal or a volume-based goal like having a target of $100 mn Annual Recurring Revenue or expanding product portfolio, or increasing customer base. Keep an achievable revenue or volume target; only then your sales plan can be achieved. 

3) A brief analysis of the performance during the prior period

Give some context to your sales team on the previous year’s performance to know where they are and what needs to be done differently to get to where you want to. 

4) Industry and market overview

Competitor analysis, swot analysis, industry trend reports and market research go a long way in understanding your market position. Having a keen eye for this in your sales planning helps craft your sales plan better. 

5) Description of strategies, tactics

For instance, if your goal is to achieve 100 mn revenue, what is the sales strategy to achieve this number? Then your sales plan should include the following tactics- 

  • Introduce aggressive selling strategies 
  • Tap new markets
  • Give deep discounts 
  • Retarget customers 
  • Cross-sell products to existing customers 

6) Customer segments

Your entire sales team should have clarity on who they are selling to, always. Your sales plan should include target audience, target industries, and ideal customer profiles that your company caters to with its products and services.

7) Resources and team capabilities

If your sales team is tiny, how do you expand your team to meet sales targets and achieve the sales plan? Hiring guidance should also be included in the sales plan. If your outbound sales team is running thin, then your sales plan should state how many resources are required over a particular period and should have a sound outbound hiring strategy in place. 

8) A detailed plan for a team and each member

Ensure clear delegation of roles and responsibilities and at each stage, there should be smooth handoffs and communication. Having a CRM can help bring visibility into the sales pipeline and process for all team members. 

9) Budgets 

An essential element of the sales plan is the budget for the year. How much are you willing to spend to achieve your goals? This would include salaries, bonuses, commissions, training costs, team building activity costs, resources spends, and miscellaneous costs. 

Any sales plan sample consists of these sections. You can alter some of it if they are not necessary for your organization. You can tailor it to suit your organization’s culture and processes.

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What Are the Benefits of a Sales Plan for Business

In pursuing high revenues, sales managers work out an exact sales plan, including determining strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and risks – SWOT-analysis in the business language.

Having a sales plan helps to do this in terms of sales activities. Here is the list of benefits a company would reap if it has a well-structured sales plan:

1) Clear goals and revenue targets to achieve within a limited period

With an organized sales plan in place, every team member is clear on what they need to contribute to your organization’s success. For example, your sales goal could be to leverage $5,000 in five new deals within a month. 

2) Specific ways of achieving the target

A sales plan lays out the tactics to achieve sales targets. Define the target audience, marketing tools, and techniques to use in your sales plan. For instance, some companies employ guerilla marketing tactics to achieve aggressive sales targets. 

3) Unified labor policies that contribute to operations consistency

All procedures related to your sales teams, campaigns, employees, etc. form a part of your sales plan. Include compensation packages, commission rules, leave policies, in your sales plan, etc.

4) Deep understanding of the company’s strengths and weaknesses

Sales plan should gear your sales team to bring out the strengths of your company. Include competitive battle cards and SWOT analysis in your sales plan to focus on your product strengths. 

5) Ability to effectively track progress

If an employee fails to meet the predetermined sales goals, rethink the sales approach or provide additional sales training.

6) Discipline and diligence

For instance, an employee is more task-oriented, once he knows he must close five deals per month. 

Types of Sales Plans

There is no unified sample sales plan template. They differ according to the company’s purpose. Although most of the sales plans are rather similar, the following types can be distinguished:

  • Annual/quarterly/weekly sales plan – It’s a traditional business sales plan that features revenue goals, tactics, and specific time period by when it should be accomplished.
  • 30 60 90 sales plan – This milestone based sales plan specifies a goal to achieve within set milestones – 30, 60 or 90 days – and is ideal for new sales managers. Helps draw up strategic and tactical activities based on this plan. 
  • Sales budget plan – A sales plan that provides a forecast of factors that could influence revenue within a specific timeframe
  • Sales tactics   plan – This is a tactical sales plan that includes execution strategy, detailed daily or weekly plans such as email follow-up frequency, meeting appointments, and prescribed call sequences for different sales teams.
  • Territory-based sales plan – It features tactics for sales teams across different territories, considering the working environment and market dynamics of a specific area.
  • Sales focus area plan  – This plan dives deep into different sales domains like sales compensation or sales training plan.

market sales in business plan

10 Steps to Create a Sales Plan

These ten steps will help to create a sales plan:

1) State Your Company’s Mission

The foremost step is to define the company’s mission, e.g., delivering the best user experience through innovation. Whether you sell a commercial retractable awning , groceries, or clothes, the operations should be consistent with brand values. According to the data from Lucidpress , brands with consistent presentation has increased the revenue by 33%.

2) Set Objectives and Timeframe

Define the objective and time within which a sales team has to achieve them. For example, drive $10,000 in revenue within a month. 

3) Describe a Team

There are many types of sales teams. For example:

  • The island: Involves an owner and sales representatives responsible for every step of the sales process (generating and qualifying leads, closing deals) on their own.
  • The assembly line: A sales force is broken down by functions (e.g., a lead generation team, sales development representatives or prospectors, account executives, a customer success team). A customer moves to a new team as the sales process unfolds.
  • The pod: A team consists of sales development representatives, account executives, and a customer success representative.

4) Define a Target Market

The target market is a starting point for working out further tactics. 

Group your target audience by income groups, like high-net-worth individuals or middle-income groups. You can even group them based on B2B or B2C customers, and so on.

The core aspect is to describe the target audience precisely. For instance, for a women apparel store in NYC – women 18-40 years old live in NYC and its boroughs. Stating your ideal customer profile helps market a product with minimum costs and maximum effectiveness.

5) Evaluate the Resources

A company has to know its assets. In terms of a sales plan, businesses should analyze those which are related to the operations, e.g., the number of sales employees and the level of their expertise, the budget, the equipment (phones, marketing tools, computers, cars).

6) Make a Comparative Analysis with Competitors

Market overview and analysis are crucial in any business plan. It’s vital to know where business, its product, or service stands. One has to explain the distinguishing features that make the business stand out from others. For example, an innovative product, free delivery, convenient location, higher expertise, etc.

7) Set the Budget

Layout all the costs that you think you will incur to achieve those sales targets. Some of the expenses that are part of sales plans include salaries, commissions, sales tools , training, travel, printing costs, hiring costs, etc, which ultimately determine the budget. For example, according to your estimates, it will account for $5,000 per month. Consider this while setting revenue targets.

8) Define Company’s Marketing Strategy

This step implies describing pricing and promotions. It’s isn’t the final step, so some of the promotions a company included in the plan may change later. Also, one has to mention core actions a business is going to take in order to increase brand awareness and generate leads. For example, in the very beginning of Fortuna Visual we practiced a 20% discount for clients who will recommend us to others. 

9) Work Out the Strategy

This stage is where a company states how the sales team must qualify the generated leads. Apart from the exact tactics, one has to determine the criteria for prospects to meet before sales representatives reach out. (e.g., a company operates for five years minimum, its annual income is $100,000).

10) Define an Action Plan

Summarizing the plan to reach each particular objective. For example, a sales goal, such as a 20% increase in referrals. Actions: 

  • Hold a referrals techniques workshop
  • Run contest for referral sales
  • Increase commission on referral sales by 5%.

There is no single plan that can fit your company perfectly. There will be hurdles along the way, and you can always mold the shape of your sales plan until you start seeing favorable results. Take your time to identify opportunities and ways to overcome challenges.

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Written by Jesse Sumrak | May 28, 2024

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Marketing is an often misunderstood profession. Peers often stereotype marketing with massive budgets, loosey-goosey timelines, haphazard tactics, high-profile influencers, and Snapchat filters. In reality, modern marketing plans are more complex and orchestrated than a Premier League-winning football team.

Businesses have big goals to hit and fine margins to walk—and they need realistic, yet imaginative, marketing plans to make it happen. Sure, bigger companies can spend all willy-nilly hiring Taylor Swift for a commercial op and dropping a quarter million on Facebook advertising, but small businesses and startups have to get downright strategic with every dollar they spend.

If your business is trying to stretch every penny, you’ve come to the right place. This article will show you how to create a marketing plan in 2024 that actually works with a down-to-earth budget. We’ve included step-by-step actions, outlines, examples, and more to give you everything you need to take an idea to the market with laser precision.

Table of Contents

What is a marketing plan?

How to create a marketing plan

Marketing plan template

Marketing plan example

Marketing Plan FAQs

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What Is a Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan is a documented roadmap for how you plan to drive awareness, sales, signups, attendance, or other marketing initiatives. It outlines your KPIs, budget, and timeline, dictating everything from the critical milestones to the nitty-gritty to-do items.

Marketing plans come in all shapes and sizes. You could build an overarching marketing plan to document and guide your entire department’s annual goals and strategies for the upcoming year. Or you might create a marketing plan detailing the launch strategy for the brand-new product release coming out next quarter. Big plans can even include small plans, just like an adorable collection of Russian nesting dolls.

Plans can be short, long, fat, or thin—just remember what your plan is trying to accomplish. If you’re trying to pitch an idea to a team of venture capitalists or a local bank, you might need a chunky document with accompanying spreadsheets and financial figures. However, if you’re trying to communicate the plan to your marketing team leads, you’ll want to skip straight to the point with tactics, deadlines, and deliverables.

Regardless of your use case, the next section will give you the building blocks you need to create a marketing plan that works.

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How to Create a Marketing Plan

This section will show you the 7-step process to creating a marketing plan. Plans are fluid and versatile, so we don’t recommend filling out one of these with pen and paper—get your eraser ready because a marketing plan is never perfect from the get-go.

Here’s an overview of the 7-step process:

  • Establish Your Marketing Goal
  • Identify Your Audience and Competitors
  • Set Your Marketing Budget
  • Determine Your Deadline(s)
  • Pick Your Marketing Channels and Tactics
  • Outline the To-Do List and Make Assignments
  • Track Performance and Review Analytics

Don’t worry too much about making it all nice and pretty right now. Later, you can use our provided marketing outline to copy, paste, and format a more articulated version for widespread distribution. For now, just focus on hashing out each section and answering the thought-provoking questions.

1. Establish Your Marketing Goal

Define exactly what you’re trying to achieve. Do you want to drive more sales? How much? What about recurring customers? How many? Do you need to increase brand awareness? To whom and by how much?

Work out the details of what you want to accomplish, why, and how you’re going to measure it. Establish your KPIs early on to measure the success of your marketing campaign. You’ll refer to these numbers throughout the rest of your marketing plan, so get specific.

For example, how many website visitors you’re trying to drive will affect your marketing budget, deadlines, and tactics. And if you’re targeting a specific demographic, you may need to engage different marketing teams to use the appropriate channels and messaging.

Fine-tune your marketing goal so that you can communicate it simply in a single sentence. For example: “The goal is to drive 25,000 key decision-makers to the new product page by the end of October with a limited marketing budget of $75,000.”

2. Identify Your Audience and Competitors

Explain who this campaign is targeting. If you’ve already built out your buyer personas, you’ll just plug in the persona appropriate to this campaign. However, if this is your first time thinking long and hard about your target audience, really get to know the person you’re marketing to.

Depending on your product, industry, and market, you’ll want to know demographics like:

  • Marital status

These details help you identify a broad audience, but you’ll want to narrow it down with psychographics.

Psychographics dig deeper . They cover your audience’s:

  • Influencers
  • Shopping behaviors

Demographics explain the “who,” while psychographics explain the “why.”

Think about if you were trying to sell a baseball glove. How you market that glove is going to be very different depending on the buyer. Are your messaging and channels targeting a college athlete, recreational youngster, mom, dad, or low-income family? It’s hard to know what to say and how to say it unless you know who you’re talking to.

Don’t just gloss over this section. Without a target audience, you’ll be blindly throwing darts at a board—sure, some plans might work out, but it’ll come down less to strategy and more to sheer luck. A target audience and replicable formula make your success a science and not a game of Russian roulette.

Once you’ve identified your audience, you need to figure out who’s also targeted the same people. Competition research is a way to understand who you are up against for eyeballs, SEO rankings, and influence, but it also can serve as an opportunity to fill gaps in our needs that your competitors are missing.

One easy way to do this is to look at comment sections or reviews of similar companies in your industry. Look for:

  • Frequent complaints about product design.
  • Consistent issues with customer service.
  • Ads or branding language that falls flat.
  • If the competitor hasn’t made a product their customers are asking for.

By identifying your competitor’s weaknesses or gaps their missing with their customers, you’ll have a treasure trove of marketing copy to use in order to differentiate your business from the pack.

3. Set Your Marketing Budget

Marketing plans need budget constraints. Without a cap, plans could hypothetically include:

  • 60-second Super Bowl commercial
  • Cristiano Ronaldo as a celebrity endorser
  • Billboard advertisements along the entirety of Route 66

For most startups, that’s just not a possibility.

And it’s not where the magic happens. Powerful marketing plans turn tiny marketing budgets into impressive ROI. They prioritize the right channels, messaging, and tactics to stretch every dollar to the max.

Decide beforehand how much budget you’ll need to allocate to meet the goals you set in Step 1. When push comes to shove, you may need to throw additional money at the campaign later to get it across the finish line, but stay strong and do your best to create a marketing plan that works with the budget constraints.

Tight on budget but full on creativity? Check out our Small Business Marketing Guide: From Scratch to Success .

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4. Determine Your Deadline(s)

Deadlines create the boundaries to your marketing campaign—you can’t have a plan without them. No deadlines mean there’s a never-ending period to achieve your objective, and it’s probably not a good idea to have a 20-year free pass to accomplish that sales goal you set.

Set your deadline. Be realistic, but also be ambitious. The faster you achieve this goal, the faster you can move on to the next one—and each progressive goal should be moving your business forward.

Establish the final deadline for achieving your primary KPI. Then, set the necessary milestones along the journey. For example, you might set milestones for launching different aspects of your campaign, such as hosting 4 webinars, publishing 10 supporting blog posts, or earning a callout in 2 prime news outlets.

Finally, set the start date for when you’ll need to get the ball rolling to meet your deadlines. Don’t assume it’s ASAP—you might have a few weeks to get your ducks in a row instead of immediately heading off into a chaotic marketing battle.

5. Pick Your Marketing Channels and Tactics

This is arguably the funnest part of creating a marketing plan. This is the step where you get to choose the channels, tactics, and deliverables. The right channels and tactics will vary depending on your audience and product or service, but here are the most popular ones to consider:

  • Email Marketing: Email marketing is one of the tried-and-true tactics of the digital marketing world. It generates an average ROI of $40 for every $1 invested —you can’t get much more bang for your buck than that. (Check out our complete email masterclass to learn how to conquer this lucrative channel.)
  • Social Media Marketing: Whether you’re running organic strategies or targeted paid campaigns , social media marketing is an excellent modern-day tactic for reaching consumers where they’re most comfortable: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, or TikTok.
  • PPC Marketing: Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing lets you run advertising campaigns on search engine pages and other websites across the internet. It’s a competitive way to get your content in front of the right eyeballs.
  • Content Marketing: Content marketing paired with a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is a long-term tactic that can drive organic traffic (read: free) to your website for years to come.

And do you know what all these channels have in common? They each give you the ability to monitor your results and track your progress to prove if a channel is worth your time and money. Unlike traditional outbound advertising and its estimated impressions and influence, you know exactly what you’re getting with these digital marketing strategies.

6. Outline the To-Do List and Make Assignments

Here’s where you get into the nitty-gritty of your marketing plan. Step 6 is where you’ll outline everything that needs to get done:

  • Launch meeting
  • Recurring meetings and syncs
  • Creative assets
  • Promotional channels
  • Post-mortems

And that’s just the start. Outline everything that needs to happen to make your plan a reality. Once you know what needs to happen, it’s time to start making assignments. Someone needs to be responsible for every deliverable.

Here’s where you may run into roadblocks. You may discover that your creative team is overwhelmed and won’t be able to handle the creative requests until later, or you may find that other email campaigns or social media advertisements are the top priority.

If that’s the case, go back to Step 4 to revisit your timeline. Make adjustments to ensure there’s bandwidth available to make your marketing plan a reality.

7. Track Performance and Review Analytics

No marketing plan will go off without a hitch. That’s why you need your ear to the ground to understand what’s working. Through analytic tools, you can understand if your marketing plan’s target audience, messaging, or creative needs adjusting. Thankfully, most digital tactics allow you to do this on the fly.

Make sure you familiarize yourself with these basic marketing analytics tools:

  • Facebook Ads Manager
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • Semrush or Ahrefs for SEO

For more on analytics, read our marketing metrics guide .

Top 10 Ecommerce Marketing Tips (100% PROVEN)

Marketing Plan Template (Copy/Paste)

Marketing Plan Template: [Name of Project]

Marketing Plan Example (Filled Out)

Here’s a fake content marketing plan example for a fictitious shoe company.

Marketing Plan Template: [Project Zeus Running Collection]

Marketing Goal Drive $200,000 in sales for the new Zeus running collection within the first 4 months of launch day.

Target Audience The primary audience is 35 to 50-year-old male recreational runners who tend to run 30-40 miles a week at an average page of 8:00-10:00 minutes per mile. They’re not overly competitive, but they like to race 5K and 10K races occasionally throughout the year and are always trying to beat their personal best. Many have experienced mild injuries over the last few years that the Zeus Running Collection can help alleviate.

Marketing Budget We have a budget of $40,000 for the initial launch period. If we can prove out the Zeus Running Collection, we’ll allocate additional budget after the first 4 months.

  • Launch Day: June 1
  • Marketing Assets Ready to Go: May 28
  • Pre-Launch Teaser: May 24
  • Creative Assets Finished: May 21
  • Product Beta Tester Reviews Submitted: May 10
  • Written Content Creation Period: April 12 – May 7
  • Enlist Beta Testers: April 12
  • Project Kickoff Meeting: April 5

Marketing Tactics

  • Social Media Marketing: Target runners on Instagram and Facebook with paid ads featuring our endorsed runner racing in the shoe.
  • Email Marketing: Email existing customers with a 15% off discount code on the new Zeus Running Collection. Email prospects with a link to the product breakdown page with a code for free shipping.

Responsibilities and Assignments

  • Lizzy K: Creative assets
  • Mark B: Blog post announcement + product page
  • Spencer S: Beta tester outreach
  • Larry G: Email and social media marketing campaigns
  • Carly M: Project manager

Do I need to write a marketing plan for everything?

As stated earlier, marketing plans can come in all shapes and sizes. But that doesn't mean you need one for every single Facebook ad or whitepaper your team creates. The best marketing plans serve as a source of truth for your team to reach a goal. Within the marketing plan, you should have enough wiggle room to adjust your strategy and tactics. Marketing is an art and science, so there are bound to be surprises once you start executing your plan.

How do I know if my marketing plan is a success?

One of the most common mistakes marketers make is creating a seemingly perfect marketing plan and then going off script as soon as there's a sign of trouble or distraction. Using the SMART goal method (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound) is a simple way to ensure your marketing plan is applicable. Every marketing plan should be a success, whether you hit your goal or not, because you'll learn something new about your customer, tactics, and business throughout the process.

Who should make a marketing plan?

If you're reading this article, ideally you. A marketing manager or marketing team member typically writes marketing plans, but marketing strategy should start at an enterprise level. The more people understand the marketing plan for your business, the more you can work together (not in silos) to achieve a common goal. You'll see this happen in larger organizations where the marketing team works plan that the product or sales team have no idea about.

Plan It Out—Make It Happen

Every great campaign starts with an even better plan. Don’t leave your startup’s success up to chance—give it all the thought and attention you can.

With the right plan in place, you won’t be crossing your fingers on launch day or during the quarterly review. You’ll be sitting confidently, knowing that everything is running according to plan.

Need a high-level plan for your startup? We got you covered with our foundr+. Get access for $1. .

Foundr plus dollar trial footer

About Jesse Sumrak

Jesse Sumrak is a writing zealot focused on creating killer content. He’s spent almost a decade writing about startup, marketing, and entrepreneurship topics, having built and sold his own post-apocalyptic fitness bootstrapped business. A writer by day and a peak bagger by night (and early early morning), you can usually find Jesse preparing for the apocalypse on a precipitous peak somewhere in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

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US home sales fall for the 3rd straight month in May amid rising mortgage rates, record-high prices

FILE - A housing development in Middlesex, Pa., is shown on March 29, 2024. On Friday, June 21, 2024, the National Association of Realtors reports on existing home sales for May. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

FILE - A housing development in Middlesex, Pa., is shown on March 29, 2024. On Friday, June 21, 2024, the National Association of Realtors reports on existing home sales for May. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell in May for the third straight month as rising mortgage rates and record-high prices discouraged many prospective homebuyers during what’s traditionally the housing market’s busiest period of the year.

Existing home sales fell 0.7% last month from April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.11 million, the National Association of Realtors said Friday.

Sales also fell 2.8% compared with May last year. The latest sales still came in slightly higher than the 4.07 million pace economists were expecting, according to FactSet.

“I thought that we would actually see a recovery this spring —- we are not seeing it,” said Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist.

Despite the pullback in sales, home prices climbed compared with a year earlier for the 11th month in a row. The national median sales price rose 5.8% from a year earlier to $419,300, an all-time high on records going back to 1999. It’s also up 51% from five years ago.

Home prices rose even as sales slowed and the supply of properties on the market hit its highest level in 4 years.

FILE - Purchases are made in a retail store in Northbrook, Ill., Monday, May 13, 2024. On Tuesday, June 18, 2024, the Commerce Department releases U.S. retail sales data for May. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

“It’s somewhat of a strange phenomena,” Yun said. “We had low home sales activity, prices are hitting record highs and homes look like they’re still getting multiple offers.”

The U.S. housing market has been mired in a slump going back to 2022, when mortgage rates began to climb from pandemic-era lows. Existing home sales sank to a nearly 30-year low last year as the average rate on a 30-year mortgage surged to a 23-year high of 7.79%, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.

The average rate on a 30-year mortgage has mostly hovered around 7% this year as stronger-than-expected reports on the economy and inflation have forced the Federal Reserve to keep its short-term rate at the highest level in more than 20 years.

Federal Reserve officials said last week that inflation has fallen further toward their target level of 2% in recent months and signaled that they expect to cut their benchmark interest rate once this year. The central bank had previously projected as many as three cuts in 2024, which raised expectations in the housing market for mortgage rates to have eased further by now.

“Maybe the Federal Reserve interest rate cut policy, which was projected to happen, but did not happen — it’s getting delayed and delayed and delayed —- maybe that’s causing the home sales recovery to be delayed,” Yun said.

The elevated mortgage rates are keeping many homeowners who bought or refinanced more than two years ago from selling now because they don’t want to give up their fixed-rate mortgages below 3% or 4% — a trend real estate experts refer to as the “lock-in” effect.

As of the end of last year, more than 50% of homes with a mortgage had a rate that was 4% or lower, and 87% had a rate at 6% or lower, according to Realtor.com.

Another factor that’s constrained the housing market is a tight supply of homes for sale, though that’s been easing this year, partly because homes are taking longer to sell.

All told, there were about 1.3 million unsold homes at the end of last month, an increase of 6.7% from April and up 18.5% from May last year, NAR said.

That translates to a 3.7-month supply at the current sales pace. In a more balanced market between buyers and sellers there is a 4- to 5-month supply.

“Let’s wait to see if this leads to more home sales,” Yun said. “So far, that’s not the case, but at least the inventory is beginning to loosen up.”

Despite the increase in available homes for sale this spring, sellers generally still have the edge on buyers.

Homebuyers snapped up homes last month typically within just 24 days after the properties hit the market. And 30% of those properties sold for more than their original list price, which typically means sellers received offers from multiple home shoppers.

First-time homebuyers who don’t have any home equity to put toward their down payment continue to have a tough time getting into the housing market. They accounted for 31% of all homes sold last month, which is down from 33% in April, but up from 28% in May last year. They’ve accounted for 40% of sales historically.

Homebuyers who can afford to sidestep mortgage rates and pay all cash for a home accounted for 28% of sales last month, up from 25% in May last year. And about 16% of homes sold in May were bought by individual investors or homeowners looking to buy a second home, up from 15% a year earlier, the NAR said.

market sales in business plan

Chinese automakers retain grip over Southeast Asia's booming electric car market

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Devjyot reports on Southeast Asia, with a focus on business stories and those involving the nexus of money and power. Previously, he was a politics and general news correspondent based in New Delhi, where he was part of Reuters teams that won India’s Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award and the South Asian Journalists Association Award. He is a graduate of Columbia University, King's College London and Loyola College in India.

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Group claiming CDK systems hack demands millions of dollars, Bloomberg News reports

A group of hackers claiming responsibility for a cyberattack on CDK's software systems has demanded millions of dollars in ransom to put an end to the hack, which affected auto dealers across the United States, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.

market sales in business plan

Stock market today: S&P 500 closes at fresh record high as Nvidia becomes world's biggest company

  • Nvidia is now the world's most valued company, overtaking Microsoft on Tuesday.
  • Treasury yields fell as retail sales came in weaker than expected.
  • Similar data could prompt the Fed to cut earlier than it's indicating.

Insider Today

The S&P 500 hit another fresh record on Tuesday, as a semiconductor rally crowned Nvidia the world's most valued company.

Shares in the AI chipmaker climbed as much as 4%, sending Nvidia's market capitalization to $3.338 trillion to help it claim the top spot from Microsoft.

Qualcomm, Taiwan Semiconductor, and Micron Technology all rose at least 3%.

Meanwhile, Treasury yields sank six basis points as markets were given more reason to expect interest rate cuts this year. May's retail sales data came in below expectations, indicating consumers are pulling back spending.

"Consumer spending is cooling in a fairly orderly fashion. So far, the economy could pull off a soft landing, especially if the Fed is quick to adjust policy as conditions change," LPL Financial chief economist Jeffrey Roach said.

May's report also came with downward revisions to previous months, which were a source of bigger concern for analysts. If that's paired with more softness in labor data, the Federal Reserve may be forced to move up the timing of its rate cutting cycle, LPL's chief global strategist Quicy Krosby wrote separately.

For now, Fed officials continue to signal just one interest rate cut in December, but futures markets are betting on the cycle to start in September, instead.

On Tuesday, industrial production data rose 9%, though much of this was led by higher output from utilities.

Here's where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. opening bell on Tuesday:

  • S&P 500 : 5,487.03, up 0.25%
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average : 38,834.86, up %0.15 (+56.76 points)
  • Nasdaq composite : 17,862.23, up 0.03%

Here's what else happened today:

  • Russia's top lender is building out in China as fresh US sanctions take aim at it.
  • The Fed could tip the US into recession if it keeps delaying interest rate cuts , economist Mohamed El-Erian said.
  • Opaque companies are helping Russia's war economy source vital Western tech, think tank says.
  • Three weak spots in labor that could trigger steeper Fed cuts , according to Goldman Sachs.
  • Microsoft could climb 24% to $550 thanks to AI monetization , Wedbush Securities says.
  • Treasury secretaries Janet Yellen and Larry Summers have blasted Trump's plan to replace the income tax with tariffs .
  • Here's what needs to happen for stocks to avoid a 23% correction , according to JPMorgan's Kolanovic.

In commodities, bonds, and crypto:

  • Oil futures rose. West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose up 1.78% to $81.76 a barrel. Brent crude , the international benchmark, climbed 1.22% to $85.26 a barrel.
  • Gold increased 0.57% to $2,329 per ounce.
  • The 10-year Treasury yield dropped six basis points to 4.217%.
  • Bitcoin slid 0.68% to $64,567.

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List of Vehicle dealers in Ulyanovsk

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IMAGES

  1. 12+ Marketing & Sales Business Plan Templates

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  2. 32 Sales Plan & Sales Strategy Templates [Word & Excel]

    market sales in business plan

  3. Sales Planning Process: Steps, Tips, And Tools

    market sales in business plan

  4. How to Create a Sales Plan: Template + Examples

    market sales in business plan

  5. How To Create A Sales Plan: Steps, Templates, And Examples

    market sales in business plan

  6. Sales And Marketing Plan For Business Growth

    market sales in business plan

VIDEO

  1. SM 18 SBP Sales Business Plan

  2. How to get prepared in sales even before you start selling

  3. Don't Wait For Success, Take It! #successmindset #sales #entrepreneurship #short

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  5. Unveiling the Power of Cryptocurrency With Erik Voorhees, CEO of ShapeShift

  6. "How to Sell Anything" by Noah Kagan of AppSumo.com

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Sales and Marketing Plan

    How to Write a Sales and Marketing Plan. You've addressed what you're selling and why in the products and services section. You now have an understanding of the market and an ideal customer in mind thanks to your market analysis. Now, you need to explain how you will actually reach and sell to them. The marketing and sales section of your ...

  2. How to Write a Sales and Marketing Plan

    A successful sales and marketing plan is based on the estimated market share and sales included in the business's original business plan. It requires research into the demographics of the intended customer base and an algorithm to determine pricing along with a well-defined budget tied to a particular time frame (quarterly, annually, etc.).

  3. How to Write a Sales & Marketing Plan: Comprehensive Guide

    Here's a step-by-step guide to crafting an effective sales and marketing plan: 1. Define Your Target Market. Identify who your ideal customers are by considering demographics (age, gender, income level, etc.), psychographics (interests, values, habits), and geographics (location). Understanding your target market is crucial for tailoring your ...

  4. Sales Plan Guide with Examples & Ideas

    It will also address your company's specific needs. For example, you might choose to write a 30- , 60- or 90-day sales plan depending on your current goals and the nature of your business. Say your ultimate goal for the next quarter is $250,000 in new business.

  5. What is Sales Planning? How to Create a Sales Plan

    If you create a sales plan for business development, inbound sales, outbound sales, field sales, and so forth, you can get even more granular and specific in your goals and KPIs. ... Marketing-Alignment Sales Plan. Download Now: Free Marketing & Sales Alignment Template. In many ways, a traditional sales plan is already aligned with marketing ...

  6. 10 Steps to Create a Complete Sales and Marketing Business Plan

    Nurture 10% more MQLs into SQLs, and ultimately, customers. Reduce your churn rates by 5% before the end of Q1. Expand your sales team with 3 people to nurture and convert leads faster — reduce time to conversion by 5 days. Increase the customer lifetime value through upsells or cross-sells by $200.

  7. How to Create an Effective Sales and Marketing Plan

    An effective marketing plan outlines a business's strategies and tactics to achieve its marketing objectives. Here are the key components that typically go into creating a new marketing plan: Executive Summary. Brief overview of the marketing plan, including goals, strategies, and key components. Market Analysis.

  8. How to Write a Market Analysis for a Business Plan

    Step 4: Calculate market value. You can use either top-down analysis or bottom-up analysis to calculate an estimate of your market value. A top-down analysis tends to be the easier option of the ...

  9. Business Plan Section 6: Sales and Marketing

    In this section of the plan, you're actually going to spell out how you'll market your idea, along with the specifics of how you'll get business. Sales and marketing are what will grow your business and help you achieve success. As always, keep your audience in mind. If your business plan is meant for your eyes only, or as an internal ...

  10. How to Create a Sales Plan for Your Business

    Start with the figures from last year; track the exponential increase in sales and compare them with your industry's present realities. This should be able to inform the milestones you'll need to set. 3. Select a suitable niche and focus on it. The previous steps have helped set a "bullseye" that you want to hit.

  11. 22 Best Sales Strategies, Plans, & Initiatives for Success [Templates]

    2. Shopify. Known for its consistent sales momentum and customer satisfaction, Shopify offers another great example of a highly successful sales organization. In a recent press release, Loren Padelford, shopify VP and general manager of Shopify Plus, shared his secret sauce for boosting sales.

  12. Business Plan 101: Sales & Marketing

    Give it 4/5. Give it 5/5. The sales and marketing section of your business plan is especially crucial because it determines how you'll plan on generating profit and describes how you intend to create exposure to best sell your product. It's in this area of your business plan that you'll hone the key elements of your marketing strategy.

  13. What is a Marketing Plan & How to Create One [with Examples]

    Oct 26, 2023. A marketing plan is a blueprint that outlines your strategies to attract and convert your ideal customers as a part of your customer acquisition strategy. It's a comprehensive document that details your: Target audience: Who you're trying to reach. Marketing goals: What you want to achieve.

  14. How to do a market analysis for your business plan

    Plan several rounds of edits or have someone else review it. Keep everything in the context of your business. Make sure all the statistics and data you use in your market analysis relate back to your business. Your focus should be on how you are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of the target market.

  15. 9 Stunning Sales Business Plan Templates to Close Deals

    1. New Product Sales Plan. Plan the sales strategy for a new product with a new product sales plan template. Put together a strategy to promote the new product to existing clients and new prospects. Look at the data from previous campaigns and use it as the foundation for future product launches and sales plans.

  16. How to present a sales and marketing strategy in a business plan?

    The sales and marketing section follows both the market analysis and the pricing subsections. Its main objective is to communicate to readers that you have a well-defined go-to-market strategy that will help you reach and sell to your target customers. A compelling sales and marketing section can help you convey how you plan to capture your ...

  17. Marketing Plan Component of Your Business Plan

    The marketing portion of a business plan addresses four main topics: product, price, promotion, and place. ... The marketing and sales plan usually includes a calendar that ties marketing and sales activities to specific operational events. For example, an advertising campaign may begin some months before a new product is ready to be sold. ...

  18. How to Create a Sales Plan

    The frequency with which companies should review their plan depends on the stability of the business, market changes, and the complexity of the plans. ... 5 tips for optimizing your sales plan. Sales planning only delivers the desired success if companies come up with the right plan for their specific business and goals. Without a plan that ...

  19. Sales & Marketing Strategy: The What, Why, and How of a ...

    Savvy companies realize that a Sales and Marketing strategy is the next most important one after the overall business plan. It outlines how Sales and Marketing will orchestrate their efforts to ...

  20. Sales Plan 101: Definition, Types and Template

    A sales plan is a business plan that features the development of the company's sales activity with set objectives within a particular time frame. In other words, it's a strategic plan where one specifies sales goals, tactics, challenges, target market and steps you will take to execute the plan. Setting goals and time frame to achieve them ...

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    Marketing Plan Example (Filled Out) Here's a fake content marketing plan example for a fictitious shoe company. Marketing Plan Template: [Project Zeus Running Collection] Marketing Goal Drive $200,000 in sales for the new Zeus running collection within the first 4 months of launch day. Target Audience

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