Do you remember all that research and effort you put into the Market Analysis section of your business plan? You knew all about your business, your clients, and your competitor. This is where everything will pay off: marketing and sales strategy!
In this part of the plan, you will actually explain how you will sell your idea, as well as details on how you will get the business. Marketing and marketing are what will grow your business and help you achieve success.
As always, remember your audience. If your business plan is for your own eyes, or as an internal document for your employees, you will not need to have as much detail or clarity as you should for a lender or potential investor. In the latter case, you will want to show a well-planned strategy that will give them confidence in your proposal and make them want to fund your business.
Marketing and sales strategy will differ by enterprise, and your strategy will be tailored to your business, but there are general guidelines that cover most businesses. Because your dealing plan will guide you to deals, let’s begin there.
Describe in detail the product (s) or service (s) you offer, especially how they are different or better than what we already have. What advantages do they contribute to your conceivable clients? In what manners is your development or benefit diverse? What makes doing business with you better than working with someone else? All of these things will help you create your marketing message.
Talk about how you will present the company and what kind of image you will present, especially how we will help you connect with your potential customers. Include a photo of your logo and anything that might affect your images, such as vans, trucks, or uniforms. Display screenshots of your website, photos of your store, photos of your package, and anything else that reflects your company’s brand.
Once you have found customers at the door (or online), you should bring what you sold. Selling is not just promising, but also following and delivering what you said you would do.
You may find it helpful to explain exactly how your business transaction will take place. Also, touch return policies and customer service. You wouldn’t immediately think of these as “advertising,” but think back to the last time you had a problem with the company and told five friends you would never do business with them again, or see someone complaining about the company on Facebook, Twitter. Cover your bases before you get into an unplanned situation.
It is important to talk about where you will be and how you will get your products and services to your customers. If you are planning an online business, will you also have a brick and mortar store? What percentage of sales you produce will come from something else?
If your business involves the production or distribution of a product, discuss shipping and labelling requirements, and how you will meet them. What are your representations and necessities of delivery? Do you use distributors, and will you charge separately for delivering or building that on product value?
How you decide to price your product or service is the key to how much you will sell and how much you can make. Also, the Market Analysis work you have done will come in handy to help you price your product competitively while making a profit.
By now, you should have a definite knowledge of what your costs will be, so you understand how much you require to construct to fail. Of course, if you have startup costs (and who doesn’t?), You will need to consider that, too, to understand that your profit margin will increase once you have paid.
Discuss how you got to the prices you have, where they fit with what the competition is doing, and what kind of volume you will need to make a profit.
You can have the best view in the world, but if no one knows about it, you will not sell. So, how are you proceeding to achieve your target customers and turn them into buyers? Can you advertise? What is the media? How much? And how do you divide the budget?
Remember that some traditional and digital forms of advertising are expensive, such as buying a radio or printing ads, or advertising with Google. Alternatively, such as a social networking site or public relations may be handled by a family member (or for a fee). And some can be very costly, such as printers, flyers, catalogues, etc.
Explain how you will know if your marketing and sales strategy works or not, such as how many coupons were used or how much you expect to increase on the web or store traffic. You will need to indicate what kind of return on your advertising investment you expect to find out how much you should spend.
FIVE P: PEOPLE
Some marketing experts feel that a fifth “P” should be added to the four we have already discussed: people. We have contacted you under customer service, but the biggest part of marketing is the level of service you can provide to your customers, and your people are responsible for that.
Your restaurant may offer the best food in town, but your caterpillars can have an even greater impact on restaurant tastes. You can discuss it here or in the next section, marketing, but make sure you talk about the people who will work with your customers and manage your customer service, what kind of training they will receive, and how you will measure efficiency.
Now that you have your marketing plan together, you need to close the sale and make it more profitable. Marketing will help you find customers at the door, on your website, or over the phone, but the best marketing in the world does not matter if you are not selling. That brings us to the next step in the process, your marketing and sales strategy
How much product will you sell or how many contracts will you close in the first month, six months, and a year? Be clear, understand what your money should be to keep the lights on and your employees to pay. Keep the numbers real, however, or you may want to please potential sponsors.
How are you going to sell it, and who is going to do it? Do you sell the product directly to users through the website? Will you bring your sales to retailers for sale? Are you selling yourself or will you have a sales team? If you have vendors, will they be paid a direct salary or commission? If you have a service business, where will you find your track, and how will you track it? Perhaps you will offer an incentive program to current clients for referrals. Describe the marketing effort in your system.
If you offer different product lines or services, you may need a different strategy for each one. Similarly, if you are selling in different parts of the market, you should not rely on the same method of selling to everyone. Marketing at a craft show is very different from setting up a website or offering your product via ebay.com or etsy.com.
Find out exactly what numbers you want to achieve at a given time. Not only will investors want to see that, but it is also an important way to know if you are meeting your goals so you can make any necessary changes along the way.
Once you are stable, how will you continue to expand? This includes both your internal growth as a company, such as how you will increase your staff, and how you will grow beyond your current limits, such as buying another business or setting up franchises, if that works. Will you grow by providing a wide range of products and services? Maybe you will expand by giving your current assets to more viewers.
Perhaps more than any other category of your business plan, the Sales and Marketing category will serve as your playbook in the actual performance of your company, so think it through carefully and apply it! Hope you like this blog on marketing and sales strategy.