Sales and marketing plan benefits
What are the benefits of a sales and marketing plan? The sales and marketing plan is a document that most business owners do not have time to get around to putting together. I’m not sure why that is as it’s just as important as the business plan and indeed complements it.
The business plan outlines the vision, strategic direction, and business and financial goals of the business. The sales and marketing plan breaks down the business plan to show how you are going to get there and the tactics to be used to attract the customers it needs.
The sales and marketing plan can be as complex and as detailed as you wish to make it. It can include a list of tactics you could deploy, it can list and detail only specific tactics you plan to use or a combination of both. It’s important, though, that you understand how each idea is to be used but you have some idea of the expected results each tactic should bring to the business. There is an old adage in business management: If you cannot measure it you cannot manage it. There is also a famous quote that says “I’m convinced that 50% of my marketing is effective, I just can’t tell which 50%.”
There is also another saying that says “I can’t afford to advertise.” If you cannot afford to advertise then you probably cannot afford to be in business.
Some of the key items you want to see in your sales and marketing plan include a profile of your typical current customer, what percentage of the business they bring, where they come from and how they found you. If you are planning on growing the business by either more of the same type of customer or a different customer demographic, this needs to be defined, measured and made sure it makes good business sense to target. Sales and marketing should always be seen as an investment and just like all other aspects of your business, needs to bring a return that you measure or you need to go and try something else or adjust your sales and marketing plan.
If you are looking for different sales and marketing tactics there is simply no shortage of them. Here are a few suggestions. Each one needs proper consideration and research to make sure it’s the right strategy for your business. These tactics include obvious things like your business cards, office letterhead, and stationery, email signature, coupons or flyers as well as things like your website, blog, monthly electronic newsletter, networking, taking someone out to lunch once a week, social networking media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Other strategies could include TV advertising, seminars to educate customers about your service, trade shows, hiring a Public Relations expert, joining local associations such as the Chambers of Commerce or other local business or trade association groups.
Just like your business plan, the sales and marketing plan needs to be a living and breathing document. It needs to include projections and just as importantly, the results from any activities undertaken so you can tweak and constantly improve what you doing. And don’t forget your sales and marketing plan should include how each person in the business answers the phone right through to the book-keeper.
There is no reason your book-keeper and clerical staff cannot answer the phone and offer a monthly special to see if they can bring in new business. It’s a little unconventional but sales and marketing are about getting results, not whether something is conventional or unconventional.
Part 6 of this article series looks at how the business plan and sales and marketing plan are tied together with a communication plan.