Sales and Marketing Plan for your Business Plan
A Strategic Sales Plan is Essential
A sales and marketing section in a business plan is crucial because it helps outline the strategy and approach for generating revenue and acquiring customers. This section provides a roadmap for how the company will reach its target market, communicate the value proposition, and convert prospects into paying customers.
By including a sales and marketing section in a business plan, the company can clearly articulate its objectives and assumptions around customer acquisition. That’s important so that investors, lenders, and other stakeholders can evaluate the company’s potential for success. It also helps the company establish realistic targets, budgets, and timelines for its sales and marketing efforts, enabling better tracking and evaluating progress.
Overall, a well-crafted sales and marketing section can help ensure that the company is aligning its resources and efforts effectively. Properly done, this will identify potential challenges or risks that need to be addressed ahead of time. For example, a strategic sales and marketing plan can help the company make better decisions and increase the likelihood of achieving its revenue and growth objectives.
Separate recommendations are provided below based on whether the type of business drives revenue through an outbound sales organization or order takers, including web-based order takers.
Follow the sales and marketing outlines and examples below, and you’ll have an effective sales plan for your business that will impress investors. More importantly, you’ll follow best practices for an effective sales plan that delivers results.
Outbound Sales Organizations
Examples of business types that rely on a sales organization instead of order takers include the following:
- Business-to-business (B2B) sales – Companies that sell products or services to other businesses, typically using a sales team to generate leads and close deals.
- Real estate sales – Companies that specialize in selling or leasing commercial or residential properties often use sales agents to close deals.
- Financial services sales – Companies that offer financial products or services, such as insurance, investments, or loans, that require a sales team to market and sell.
- Technology sales – Companies that sell software, hardware, or technology solutions to other businesses or consumers, often using sales representatives to close deals.
- Direct sales companies – Companies that rely on a team of independent sales representatives to sell products directly to consumers, often using a multi-level marketing model.
For companies that have outbound sales teams, the following details should be included:
- Description of the selling process: This should detail the specific steps involved in the sales process and how the sales team will interact with potential customers. For example, the process may involve making initial contact, conducting a needs assessment, presenting a solution, negotiating terms, and closing the sale.
- Sales forecast: This should estimate how much one salesperson can sell in a given period, such as monthly or quarterly. The forecast should be based on historical data (even if it is from prior experience with another company) or market research.
- Sales team size: This should describe how many salespeople the company plans to have on staff, which can vary based on the size of the company and the target market.
- Ramp-up time: The ramp-up time estimates how long it will take for a new salesperson to be successful and generate revenue for the company. This can vary depending on the product or service’s complexity and the salesperson’s experience.
- Total sales forecast: The dollar-based forecast should ensure that the numbers are supported by the assumptions above and align with the company’s revenue goals shown in the financial section of your business plan..
Sales Plan for Inbound Sales or Order Takers
This section provides direction for your strategic sales plan if your business uses an inbound sales team or order takers. It will be helpful to provide a few examples.
- E-commerce websites – Companies that sell products directly to consumers through an online platform.
- Online food ordering and delivery platforms – Companies that allow customers to order food from local restaurants for delivery or pickup.
- Online grocery stores – Companies that offer a wide range of grocery products that can be ordered online and delivered to the customer’s doorstep.
- Online marketplaces – Companies that provide a platform for sellers to offer their products directly to consumers, often handling the order-taking process on behalf of the seller.
- Restaurants or retail stores – Businesses that largely rely on walk-in traffic to generate revenue.
What Should be Included in your business plan:
- Order handling capacity: This should quantify the number of orders the company’s internal service representatives can handle daily or weekly. This can vary based on the complexity of the orders and the number of order takers the company has on staff.
- Budget and capacity: Validate that the company’s plan has the budget and capacity to hire the required number of order takers to take and fulfill orders.
- Order fulfillment process: Detail the specific steps involved in the order fulfillment process, including order processing, inventory management, shipping, and customer service.
Effective Marketing Plan for your Business Plan
The marketing plan should focus on the specific marketing campaigns and outreach tactics that will be used to drive leads and promote the company’s products or services.
The go-to-market plan and marketing plan work seamlessly together. It’s okay to organize your business plan as we’ve outlined it for each section, or to co-mingle the go-to-market plan and marketing plan in a slightly different way. Just be sure to cover all the information presented in one section or the other.
Generally, the go-to-market plan is more strategic and focuses on the launch. The marketing plan relies on the intel provided by the go-to-market plan and provides a tactical plan to generate leads and revenue.
The following details should be included in your marketing plan:
- Target market: This should describe the specific demographic, geographic, and psychographic characteristics of the target market, as well as the size and growth potential of the market. (Often this will be in the GTM plan.)
- Launch plan: This should detail the steps involved in launching the product or service, such as creating marketing materials, hosting launch events, and conducting PR outreach. (Often this too will be in the GTM plan.)
- Tactical marketing campaigns: These should describe the specific marketing tactics used to drive leads and promote the company’s products or services. These tactics include paid advertising, email marketing, content marketing, social media, PR, events, and partnerships.
- Cost and frequency: Detail the cost and frequency of each marketing tactic and how they will fit into the overall marketing budget.
- Lead generation forecast: Forecast the number of leads that each marketing tactic is expected to generate and the expected conversion rates for each type of marketing campaign..
- KPIs: Describe the specific key performance indicators or “KPIs” that will be used to track the success of the marketing plan, such as website traffic, lead conversion rates, and customer acquisition cost.
- Results monitoring: Describe how the company will monitor and measure the results of the marketing plan, such as through analytics tools or CRM software.
- Cost forecast: Provide a cost forecast for the marketing plan, aligning with the overall marketing budget and revenue goals.
After implementing the sales and marketing plan, tracking the progress and measuring the results is crucial. Sales reporting involves collecting and analyzing data related to sales activities and metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of the sales and marketing plan.
The following metrics should be tracked:
- Leads: Metrics for leads come from the marketing team. The key metric will be new leads generated. Qualified leads (where the leads are scrubbed before giving to sales) should also be tracked.
- Conversions: The number of leads contacted and the number of leads converted to customers should be tracked to evaluate the sales team’s efficiency.
- Sales: Metrics for sales are typically tracked by the sales leader or CFO. Sales should be tracked for new customers to know if the business is growing its customer base. Sales should separately be tracked for repeat customers to know if the business is taking good care of current customers, such that they return.
- Cost per Acquisition (CPA): It is crucial to track the cost incurred in acquiring each customer to evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing strategy.
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Tracking CLV can help a business understand the total value a customer brings to the business, which can be used to guide future sales and marketing strategies. This can be estimated for a business plan since a startup will not have historical data.
Summarizing the Sales and Marketing Plan
The sales and marketing plan is critical to a startup business plan. It outlines the sales and marketing strategies and tactics that will be used to drive revenue growth. The sales plan should describe the selling process, estimate how much one person can sell in a given period, describe the number of salespeople required, and estimate the ramp-up time for a new salesperson to be successful.
The marketing plan should define the target market, describe the specific tactical marketing plans that will be used to drive leads, estimate the cost and frequency of each plan, forecast the expected results for each plan, describe the KPIs that will be used to track results and provide a cost forecast for the tactics described.
Finally, sales reporting is crucial to track the progress of the sales and marketing plan, and metrics related to leads, conversions, sales, CPA, and CLV should be tracked regularly to evaluate the effectiveness of the sales and marketing strategies. By developing a comprehensive sales and marketing plan and tracking progress, a startup business can increase its chances of success and achieve its revenue growth goals.
Sales and Marketing Plan Outline for a Business Plan
Use the following outline to create the sales and marketing plan section of your business plan.
I. Sales Plan
- Sales Plan for Companies that Have Outbound Sales Team
- Describe your selling process
- Estimate how much one person can sell in a given period
- Describe how many salespeople you will have
- Estimate the ramp-up time for a new salesperson to be successful
- Ensure that your assumptions support your total sales forecast
- Sales Plan for Companies that have internal ‘order takers’
- Quantify the number of orders each person can successfully process
- Validate that you have the budget and capacity to hire the number of people required to take and fulfill orders
II. Marketing Plan
- Your marketing plan should be defined by your go-to-market strategy
- Define your target market and launch plan
- Describe the specific tactical marketing plans you’ll use to drive leads
- Describe the media you’ll use to reach your target market
- Estimate the cost and frequency of each plan
- Forecast results for each plan in terms of leads generated for the sales or order-taking teams
- State the expected conversion rates
- Describe the KPIs you’ll use to track results
- Discuss how you’ll monitor results
- Provide a cost forecast for the tactics described above
III. Sales Reporting
- Collect and analyze data related to sales activities and metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of the sales and marketing plan.
- Track the following metrics:
- Leads generated (new and qualified)
- Conversions (number of leads contacted and number of leads converted to customers)
- Sales (new and repeat customers)
- Cost per Acquisition (CPA)
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) should be tracked from the beginning
IV. Summary of Sales and Marketing Plan
- The sales plan should describe the selling process, salesperson estimates, and total sales forecast assumptions.
- The marketing plan should define the target market and launch plan and describe specific tactical marketing plans, KPIs, and cost forecasts.
- Sales reporting is crucial to track the sales and marketing plan’s progress and evaluate effectiveness.
Sales and Market Plan Examples
Example One: Online Grocery Business
Note that this sales plan example and marketing plan template use a business that relies on marketing to generate orders that are processed by individuals or a website. However, they do not have an outbound sales team.
- Our online grocery store primarily relies on order taking and fulfillment, rather than outbound sales, to generate revenue.
- We plan to hire a team of order fulfillment specialists who will be responsible for processing and delivering orders to our customers.
- Our plan estimates that each order fulfillment specialist can handle up to 30 orders per day based on average order size and delivery time.
- We have budgeted for ten order fulfillment specialists initially, with plans to scale up as demand increases.
- Our ramp-up time for a new order fulfillment specialist to be successful is estimated to be two weeks of training and onboarding.
- We have forecasted our total sales based on our estimated capacity for order fulfillment and our assumptions for customer demand.
- Our marketing plan aligns with our go-to-market strategy of targeting busy urban residents looking for convenient and affordable grocery options.
- Our primary marketing tactics will include social media advertising, influencer partnerships, and targeted email campaigns.
- We plan to run regular social media ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, targeting users within a specific geographic area who have shown interest in online shopping or grocery delivery services.
- We will also partner with local influencers who can promote our brand and offerings to their followers on social media.
- Our email campaigns will be targeted to existing customers and potential customers who have signed up for our mailing list, highlighting new products and promotions.
- We estimate that our social media ads will cost an average of $0.50 per click and that we can generate an average of 1,000 clicks per ad.
- Based on our conversion rates for clicks to orders, we expect to generate an average of 50 new orders per ad, with an average order value of $100.
- We will track our marketing results using key performance indicators (KPIs) such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and customer acquisition costs.
- We plan to monitor our results regularly and make adjustments to our marketing tactics as needed.
- Our sales metrics will primarily focus on customer orders and revenue generated.
- We will track the number of new customer orders received each day, as well as the number of repeat orders from existing customers.
- We will also track our order fulfillment and delivery times to ensure that we are meeting customer expectations.
- Additionally, we will monitor our marketing KPIs to measure the effectiveness of our marketing tactics and adjust as needed.
- Our sales reporting will be managed by our finance team, who will provide regular updates to our management team on our sales performance and trends.
Sales and Marketing Example Two: Residential Design and Remodel Service
This second sales and marketing plan example can be used as a sales plan template for a business that relies on an outbound sales team to follow up on leads generated by marketing.
- Our selling process involves a three-step approach: initial consultation, design proposal, and contract negotiation.
- In a given period, one salesperson can sell up to five projects, depending on the complexity and size of the project.
- We plan to hire two salespeople within the first year of operations and gradually add more as the business grows.
- We estimate that it will take six months for a new salesperson to become fully productive and start closing deals.
- Our total sales forecast is supported by our assumptions of hiring two salespeople within the first year and increasing the number of salespeople in the following years as needed.
- Our go-to-market strategy is to target homeowners within a 30-mile radius of our location interested in home remodeling and design services. We plan to launch our business through online and offline marketing channels.
- Our online marketing tactics include a responsive website, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, and social media marketing. We will also use email marketing to nurture leads and encourage repeat business.
- Our offline marketing tactics include attending home and garden shows, networking events, and local advertising through print media.
- Our marketing plan estimates the cost and frequency of each marketing tactic, as well as the expected results in terms of leads generated and conversion rates.
- We will track our marketing results using key performance indicators (KPIs) such as website traffic, leads generated, and conversion rates. We will use Google Analytics and CRM software to monitor our results and adjust our marketing tactics accordingly.
- Our marketing budget for the first year is $50,000, including website development, online advertising, print media, and event fees.
- Our marketing team will be responsible for generating and tracking data on new leads through our online and offline marketing tactics.
- Our sales team will track the following metrics: new project inquiries, design proposals submitted, contracts signed, and revenue generated.
- We will track our sales results separately for new and repeat customers to measure our growth and retention rates.
This sample sales and marketing plan for a residential remodel and design business with an outbound sales team outlines the company’s selling process, sales forecast, and marketing tactics. It also includes a detailed marketing plan with estimated costs and KPIs and a sales reporting section that tracks key metrics for new and repeat customers.
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