How to write sales and marketing section of a business plan
One of the benefits of a business plan is that it forces you to think through and deeply about all the important aspects of your business. This is because a business plan is broken into sections each of which focuses on key aspects of a business. Some of the important aspects of a business include operations, finance, administration, human resources, sales, and marketing. By the time a business plan is well written and completed, clarity is attained on each of these aspects of a business.
Today, we are going to be looking at an important aspect of a business and how the section dedicated to that aspect in a business plan can be written effectively, and that aspect is sales and marketing. So, what are sales and marketing all about and how do we write the sales and marketing section of a business plan?
What are sales and marketing all about?
This understanding is very critical and will go a long way in determining what the sales and marketing aspect of your business will look like and how informative it would be. Sales and marketing are different although there share similar goals. They work together hand-in-hand to achieve the same results. Let’s attempt to define each of them and see the differences between the duo.
Marketing Vs. Sales
Marketing any activities a company gets involved with that is aimed at getting its target customers informed about its products and/or services and to attract leads or prospects who would be “interested” in patronizing the company or business. However, sales is concerned with all of the activities that actually convert these prospects into customers. While both activities affect a company’s revenue generation and lead generation, a major difference between sales and marketing is that marketing relates with a larger group called “Target Audience”, while sales relate with a rather smaller group of people who are already “interested” in the business with the goal of turning them into a customer – moving them from the point of mere interest to the point of making decisions to buy from the company.
Why are sales and marketing important in business?
Like I pointed out earlier, sales and marketing are almost always inseparable duos that can help a business achieve its goals faster. Without Sales and Marketing, a company’s ability to generate revenue, and by extension, profit will be seriously challenged. The following are some of the importance of sales and marketing in business.
- Brand awareness: marketing designs the opinions your company want the public to hold about it and sends out the messages to the public that present such opinion and project exactly such ideas. Marketing is a means of “educating” the public about your products and services, and the goal of marketing is to get more and more people to know (or become aware) that you exist, while also telling them about what you do.
- Customer engagement: It is the function of Sales to engage meaningfully with the prospective customers and clients until they build enough trust in the business to want to spend their money for it. Customer relationship management is essential to acquiring and retaining customers and any business or company that wants to scale fast must pay attention to these important activities and empower its sales and marketing department or personnel to produce results in that regard.
- Increase in sales and revenue: I can personally testify to how sales and marketing contribute significantly to increasing revenue and profit in a business and it is just the truth. A wise business person will pay attention to understanding these important business elements – sales and marketing.
- Business growth: for growth to occur in a business, several components within the business process must work well. A key component that you cannot afford to ignore in a business in which growth is desired is sales and marketing. This is because, like any living organism, a business cannot afford to maintain the status quo. Any business that isn’t growing is already sick and it is only a matter of time before it dies and goes into extinction.
How to write the sales and marketing section of a business plan
The sales and marketing section of a business plan is where you describe your target audience in details, state the activities you will do to attract them (marketing) and the activities you will do to convert them into paying customers and retain them, or keep them buying from you again and again (sales). Let’s look at some guidelines to help you write an effective sales and marketing plan for your business.
- Start by describing your product(s) and/or service(s)
You cannot talk about sales and marketing without first talking about what you intend to sell. This is important because the description of your products and services (its features and benefits, etc) is what identifies or tells us the category of people who will likely buy the product, and where such people can be found will most likely determine the location where the products will be taken to for sale, if not the location of your business itself. What are the specific features of your products and what are the benefits they hold for your target customers? Then, it is very important for you to talk about what sets your products apart from the similar products in the market and what makes yours unique. This is what we refer to as your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
- Describe your pricing strategy
Pricing is one of the 5 p’s of marketing and product – which we have mentioned in the above point – is another. you must be certain about how your products will be priced in the market such that they remain fairly competitive without your business sacrificing its profitability.
- Describe the “Place” factor
The next P in the 5 P’s of marketing is “Place”, and what you are expected to do here is very simple. Where will you find your ideal customers or where will you sell your products? Both questions are talking about the same thing. Another important question is “How will you get your product across to where your customers are?” will your product be sold online, in physical stores or you will adopt a mix of both. If you are adopting both, what percentage will be the online component as well as what percentage will the physical store component of “The Place” be? These are questions that you must ensure are answered thoroughly for you to be able to create a sales and marketing plan that accomplishes your overall business objective as well as productivity. The “place” factor is what determines the distribution strategy for your product.
- Describe the activities you’ll use to promote your products/ services
The 4th P in the 5 P’s of marketing is “Promotion” and this simply talks about the methods you will be using to communicate the information about your products and services – especially its features and the benefits it holds for your target customers. If you plan to advertise, which you should, what platforms will you use? How much money are you willing to commit to advertising and what is the description of your expected results, in terms of leads, conversion, sales, and profit?
- Describe the “People” factor
This is the last P that’s important – people. Here, you need to identify who are the people who will be involved in the execution of your sales and marketing strategies. Will you hire them as staff or you will outsource this aspect of your business to an external entity? How will you reward these people – will you pay them salary or commission? How will you measure their performance? All these and more are the questions to ask in this part.
I am certain that with the information provided so far, you should be able to put together the sales and marketing section of your business plan without any hassles.
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