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

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

Editable-Sales-Plan-Template-Cover

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: 10/17/23

Published: 10/17/23

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.

Free Download: Sales Plan Template

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

What's a Sales Strategy?

Types of Sales Strategies

Building a Sales Strategy Plan

Inbound vs. Outbound Sales

Sales Initiatives

Sales Strategy Examples

What is a sales strategy?

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.

Sales Strategy: Cranney sales process graphic

Image Source

Most strategies involve a detailed plan of best practices and processes set by management.

Why is a sales strategy important?

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 priorities and resources. In turn, this can help your sales team use their time, effort, and resources efficiently. This efficiency can boost your team's ability to focus on high-potential deals.

Let's cover some popular sales strategies — including inbound sales.

Sales Strategies

  • Increase online sales through social media.
  • Become a thought leader.
  • Prioritize inbound sales calls as hot leads.
  • Properly research and qualify prospects.
  • Implement a free trial.
  • Don't shy away from cold calling.
  • Offer a demonstration of the product.
  • Provide a personalized, clear end result.
  • Be willing to adapt your offering.
  • Close deals with confidence.
  • Nurture existing accounts for future selling opportunities.

1. Increase online sales through social media.

Social media is one of the most popular ways that people consume information these days. That’s why nine out of ten retail businesses are active on at least two social platforms. With the data on your side, increasing online sales through social media is attainable with some creative thinking and strategic planning.

Although it may be tempting to jump on the hottest social media trend or go where your competitors are, that probably won’t be your best choice. Time is precious and you’ll want to build your pipeline as efficiently as you can. So, be diligent about figuring out where your target customers are spending their time and meet them where they're most active.

Keep in mind that your tone and voice may need to adjust to the platform so that you can connect with your audience. You’ll want your content to blend in naturally with the platform and not seem out of place.

Featured Guide: 37 Social Selling Tips for LinkedIn

Download the Guide

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. I’m sure we all can agree that nobody wants to feel like they’re being sold to. Instead, it’s better to help people by offering solutions to their problems.

Thought leaders do exactly this, and it’s even been backed up by Edleman data . In its 2022 Thought Leadership Impact Report , Edelman 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 said thought leadership could be moderately or very effective at demonstrating the value of a company’s products compared to traditional product marketing. Additionally thought leadership becomes even more important during economic downturns with 51% of C-suite executives stating it has more of an impact on purchases.

So what’s the catch?

Not all thought leadership content is created equal. While it can positively affect a company, poor thought leadership can be devastating to a company’s sales goals. A quarter of decision-makers who answered Edleman’s previous survey reported that thought leadership content contributed to their reasons for not doing business with an organization . Ouch!

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. And, 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!)

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

Free Sales Plan Template

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

  • Target Market
  • Prospecting Strategy

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

3. Prioritize inbound sales calls as hot leads.

There’s the age-old question: "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 front and back and if you’ve seen success with pitching with pricing first, last, or somewhere in between, stick with what’s working for you.

Besides that, your team should always prioritize those prospects who call into sales first. These hot leads are definitely interested in what you have to sell and want to know enough information about how it’ll benefit them before they make a decision.

By prioritizing talking to these prospects as soon as they call 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. If it means closing the deal on the first call , there’s no harm in it so long as the customer has the information they need to make an informed decision.

4. Properly research and qualify prospects.

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 them to research and qualify prospects before attempting to discuss your product. They'll find that more work on the front end can lead to smoother closing conversations later on.

Outline the criteria a prospect should meet to qualify them as a high-probability potential customer. This should be based on a prospect’s engagement history and demographics.

Featured Guide: 101 Sales Qualification Questions

Hubspot Sales qualification questions offer

5. Implement a free trial.

Offering a free trial or freemium version of your product is a highly effective way to convert prospects. HubSpot’s sales strategy report found that free trials were 76% effective followed by a freemium option with 69% effective in turning prospects into paying customers.

sales strategy example: graph showing popularity of free trial offerings

Free trials give potential customers the opportunity to test your product out before committing. You can place restrictions on your free version like limited features or usage caps. Besides offering prospects a risk-free chance to try your product, free trials also help build brand loyalty and expand your customer base. Prospects that have a positive experience using the free version will be more likely to convert to the paid version.

6. Don't shy away from cold calling.

In sales, cold calling is unavoidable. But it doesn't have to be miserable. There are a number of cold-calling techniques that really work, including our bulletproof cold-calling template . Have your sales team practice cold calls with one another before making actual calls; it'll boost their confidence and get them comfortable with the script.

7. Offer a demonstration of the product.

Pitching can be the make-or-break moment in a sales strategy. The sales pitch has to be a powerful, compelling presentation, but it also can't come on too strong lest you scare away the prospect.

Study the elements of a successful sales pitch and prove to prospects how they’ll benefit from making the purchase. Have your team practice amongst themselves, too. Better yet, test your presentations on a few loyal customers and gather their feedback.

8. Provide a personalized, clear end result.

When customers come to your business, they aren’t necessarily looking for a product or service, they’re looking for their desired end result. These customers want to purchase a means to improve their own operation, or simply improve their strategies with the help of your offering.

After you explain your product or service offering, you have to personalize the benefits to each client in a way that’s valuable to them.

If you’re selling customer service software to a small business that has no experience with one, it’s your job to educate them on its use in the setting of a small business, not to manage hundreds of employees in larger ones. By doing so they will have an easier time seeing how they can use it and spend less time debating what they’ll use it for.

By painting a clear picture of the end result, your customer will be able to see the value of the purchase and feel more inclined to accept the offer.

9. Be willing to adapt your offering.

In sales conversations, you should expect to come across clients with unique demands. It’s only natural when working with companies that have different structures and needs.

Instead of saying "you won’t" or "you can’t" — make sure your sales strategy is adaptable to accommodate the customer’s desire.

10. Close deals with confidence.

How you close a sale is just as important as how you start the conversation. Encourage clear, concise, and firm closing techniques to make sure your sales team sets the right expectations and delivers on their promises.

Keeping a list of proven, go-to closing techniques will help salespeople routinely win deals. Such techniques can include the now or never close, "If you commit now, I can get you a 20% discount," or the question close, "In your opinion, does what I am offering to solve your problem?"

Sales strategies offer, sales closing guide

Available for free is our downloadable Sales Closing Guide to improve your closing techniques and to close deals with confidence.

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, encouraging loyal, happy customers, and leveraging cross-selling and upselling opportunities .

After your sales team sees success with the sales strategy, form a partnership between your sales team and customer service/success teams. Ensuring customers’ continued satisfaction with your product or service will make them more likely to do business with your company again and even advocate for it.

Sales Strategy Types

Who is your sales strategy for.

The most important element when choosing the best type of sales strategy for your business is your customer .

Once you consider your customer needs, it's time to think about your sales team — the professionals who are responsible for closing deals.

Your sales strategy needs to offer a framework that attracts and engages prospects. At the same time, it needs to enable your team to build relationships that help them achieve sales targets.

For these reasons, a sales strategy shouldn't be one-size-fits-all. Every customer and team is different; so, each organization should draw up the type of sales strategy that works best for their needs.

Outbound Sales Strategy

In outbound sales strategies — the legacy system of most sales teams — companies base their sales strategy on the seller, not the customer.

Outbound sales processes often include cold calling, purchasing email lists, and other cold prospecting techniques. And daily success is often based on the quantity of connections, not the quality.

Outbound sales teams often rely on manually-entered data to monitor the sales pipeline and coach their salespeople. They may also run sales and marketing independently, which can create a disjointed experience for buyers.

Inbound Sales Strategy

In inbound sales strategies — the modern methodology for sales teams — companies base their sales process on buyer actions.

They automatically capture seller and buyer data to monitor the pipeline and coach salespeople. Inbound sales strategies connect to the three stages of the buyer journey — awareness, consideration, and decision. Then, sales reps will map their tactics to the right step in the customer journey.

Many popular types of sales strategies have a customer-centric approach, including:

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

Learn about these approaches and more in this post about customer-centric selling systems .

Another important point — the inbound methodology 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.

Inbound vs. Outbound Sales Methodology

In the past, buyers suffered through evaluating a product and deciding whether to buy it using only the information offered to them by the seller. Today, all of the information needed to evaluate a product is available online and buyers are no longer dependent on the seller.

If today’s sales teams don’t align with the modern buyer’s process and fail to add value beyond the information already available to them, then they’ll have no reason to engage with a sales team.

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

  • Consideration

inbound sales methodology sales strategy hubspot

Inbound sales teams help the buyer become aware of potential problems or opportunities and discover strategies to solve problems. Then, they evaluate whether the salesperson can help with a problem, which leads to that buyer purchasing 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.

Keep reading to learn how to create a sales strategy plan for your team.

Sales Planning: Building a Sales Strategy Plan

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, you’ll find the following activities helpful along the way:

1. Develop organizational goals.

Setting goals is a no-brainer for most sales teams. Otherwise, how else will you know you're executing the right activities for the best results? To develop clear organizational goals for your sales strategy:

Involve cross-departmental stakeholders.

When developing sales goals, avoid doing it in a silo. 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 helps your team simplify and track complex or 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 will create this goal and can decide whether this goal is relevant and attainable.

SMART goals help reduce confusion when it’s time to review your strategy to see what worked and what didn’t. Attainability is also important, because unrealistic sales goals can impact team motivation.

Connect individual goals to organizational goals.

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. 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 the target customer — a buyer persona — is essential to an effective sales strategy. There are many ways you can create a useful buyer persona.

Find target markets and segments.

First, look at your industry as a whole. Get to know 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.

Your product offering should outline the product benefits. It should also 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 aligns with current customer trends and expectations.

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

To develop your sales strategy, you must have a powerful sales team in place.

According to HubSpot research, the churn rate for sales teams was about 35% in 2021 and 2022. But the ideal churn rate for most businesses is around 10%, a significant difference.

To create a supportive and successful sales team that can both support and enhance your sales strategy:

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

To begin this process, 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 with recruiting and retaining 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, think about combining organization-specific training with online sales training programs .

Create a motivational compensation and rewards plan.

Many organizations connect sales compensation to organizational sales goals. Regardless of what 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.

This section should include a detailed plan for how to target potential customers to increase awareness of your offering. For example, using paid social acquisition channels, creating e-books, hosting webinars, and other strategies in this post.

Featured Resource: Sales Plan Template

Hubspot sales plan template offer

Download the Template for Free

As you create your sales plan, be sure to consider these tips:

Create targeted messaging and positioning for your target audience.

This positioning will help your team create a foundation for targeting your top audience. It will also help you choose the best channels and tactics for each campaign. This boosts your chances of increasing demand and qualified leads with each sales strategy.

Add clear goals and KPIs to your sales plan.

This step will help you stay motivated and track the effectiveness of your sales strategies. This approach can also help you change or update your strategies for effectiveness over time.

Create processes for lead nurturing and follow-up.

Once you've generated demand, it's time to convert. But not every lead generation opportunity translates to qualified leads or sales opportunities.

As you track your newly generated demand, find ways to align your processes with your buyer's journey. Then, use sales automation tools to manage 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.

Build in time to review your metrics. Then, use A/B testing, customer feedback, and sales team insights to refine your sales strategy plan.

5. Measure individual and team performance.

Time to track! Once the infrastructure is set up, create a procedure for tracking performance on the individual, team, and company levels.

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

Build useful metrics to track sales performance.

This measurement can take the form of quarterly KPIs, weekly dashboards, monthly reviews, or some combination of all three. It should also highlight the specific metrics that the team should focus on.

If you're not sure where to start, these 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.

While business KPIs are useful for the long-term, fast-moving industries may need real-time tracking. To get an at-a-glance look at sales team performance, choose tools that can give you instant visibility, like Sales Hub .

Real-time insights can help you find and address issues more quickly. They also create opportunities for proactive sales performance management.

Create a process for sharing performance data.

With performance metrics, you have data that can help you offer constructive feedback and coaching to each member of your team.

Whether you offer one-on-one meetings, performance reviews, or team huddles, be sure to make space for these conversations. They’re a great way to understand performance gaps, offer guidance, and share best practices. This process also supports individual and team development.

It can also help you understand whether it’s your team or your strategy that needs extra attention.

6. Track sales activities.

Data is key to an effective sales strategy plan and sales activity metrics can help you go beyond individual team performance.

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. You should track everything from the sales presentation to closing techniques.

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

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

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

Track lead and prospect sources.

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 it 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 ability to flex with industry and market changes that could impact your business.

  • Refresh your buyer personas regularly.
  • Actively align sales and marketing.
  • Listen to your prospects.
  • Invest in sales development and team-building.

Businesses should always be looking for ways to innovate their approach to sales . Here are some creative things sales reps and teams can do on their own to jumpstart their performance, stand out from the competition, and boost team productivity.

1. Refresh your buyer personas regularly.

Buyer personas inform all kinds of activity at your business, including (and most importantly) who your marketing and sales teams pursue as customers. But as your market and company shift, your buyer personas can become out-of-date — which can cause your sales team's work to become stagnant and ineffective. Work with your marketing team to refresh your buyer personas to best equip your sales team for prospecting and outreach.

2. Actively align sales and marketing.

Speaking of marketing, create and honor a service-level agreement (SLA) between your sales and marketing teams. This agreement will detail how each team can support each other, contribute to the other's goals, and honor boundaries in a way that still moves prospects toward conversion.

Download our free SLA Template for Sales & Marketing to align Sales & Marketing goals and activities.

3. Use a CRM.

Successful sales teams and strategies require the right tools. HubSpot all-in-one CRM eliminates manual work and streamlines your sales activity and data. It also keeps your sales team up-to-date about all relevant activity with your prospects — an important transparency factor that helps motivate and align your team.

4. Listen to your prospects.

Just because prospects aren't customers doesn't mean they can't give valuable feedback. As you move prospects through their sales funnel and (especially) when they drop off, ask for candid feedback about their experience with your team and products. You may learn something that can help convert them or your next prospect.

5. Invest in sales development and team-building.

The best sales teams not only align with customers but also with their coworkers. Sales is a difficult career and can lead to burnout without proper encouragement and camaraderie. Invest in sales development and team-building activities to keep your sales team feeling satisfied and supported.

Sales Strategy Examples from Successful Sales Teams

In this section, we’ve analyzed two incredibly high-performing sales teams and how they achieved success using their unique sales strategies.

Founded in 2006, HubSpot has since grown to over 184,000 customers in over 120 countries and over $1.7 billion in annual revenue. With an IPO in 2014, HubSpot is now valued at over $24.63 billion.

That said, we want to share a few pages from our own sales strategy playbook.

Hire the right people according to repeatable evaluation criteria.

We first started by determining a list of attributes that made a successful sales rep: Work ethic, coachability, intelligence, passion, preparation and knowledge of HubSpot, adaptability to change, prior success, organizational skills, competitiveness, and brevity.

From there, we established a repeatable process to evaluate candidates during interviews based on these weighted criteria.

Train the sales team by making them wear customers’ shoes.

Again, the first step we took was to define the sales process that we thought would be most successful. We outlined our unique value proposition, target customer, competition, most common objections, product features and benefits, and so forth.

Then we created a hands-on training program that would not only imitate the sales process for reps before they actually began selling but also allow them to experience our target customers’ pain points.

Today, a large part of our training program involves making reps create their own website and blog, and then drive traffic to it. This exercise allows reps to better consult potential customers in the future. We also use exams, certification programs, and presentations to measure each rep’s performance.

After employees are onboarded, we continue tracking their progress throughout the various stages of our sales process. The primary criteria we look at includes: leads created, leads worked, demos delivered, and leads won. Then we measure these criteria against each other to create ratios such as leads created to leads won.

We track each stage in the process so that if a rep is struggling with any particular metric, we can dig deeper to understand why that’s the case.

Align sales and marketing.

The sales and marketing teams work closely together in a process we call " Smarketing " to generate consistent leads each month.

In this process, marketing understands which qualities a sales lead needs to meet before it’s handed over to sales as well as how many of those qualified leads it must create each month to meet our sales projections.

Meanwhile, the sales team understands how long they should wait before contacting a lead and how many attempts they should make to contact that lead. All of these decisions are led by data and science, not by gut.

Shopify is known for consistent momentum and customer satisfaction.

Loren Padelford, VP at Shopify and General Manager of Shopify Plus, shared his secret sauce for increasing sales .

Hire great people, not necessarily great salespeople.

Hiring is arguably one of the most essential components of a great sales strategy. Many sales managers , though, are misled into believing that they must hire sales superstars. Padelford looks for six key personality traits when hiring salespeople: intelligence, work ethic, history of success, creativity, entrepreneurship, and competitiveness.

The truth of the matter is that sales teams first must look for great people and then train them so they become great salespeople.

Treat sales as a science, not an art.

According to Padelford, we can now measure sales down to the second. We can explain success according to cold, hard data points rather than mystical qualitative assessments. Every sales team should be tracking their average deal size, average sales cycle length, lead-to-deal conversion rate, calls per day per rep, and the number of deals in the pipeline.

Each of these metrics, tracked over longer periods of time, will inform companies about the health of their sales process and pinpoint areas they need to improve upon.

Build a smart, technological foundation.

Before Padelford took over the sales process at Shopify, sales reps would manually log phone calls and emails into the CRM, consuming five precious hours each week. With a sales force of 26, that added up to 130 wasted hours per week.

Realizing this misuse of time and capital, Padelford led Shopify to adopt the HubSpot CRM . With the CRM, sales reps were able to receive notifications when prospects opened their emails, clicked links, and viewed document attachments.

With the prospecting tool , they also have access to over 19 million prospects as well as detailed information about said prospects like estimated revenue, the number of employees, suggested email addresses, and so forth.

Maintain a high-quality pipeline by eliminating unqualified leads.

Shopify uses the 4/5 Threshold to filter out unqualified leads, thereby allowing its sales reps to focus on selling to leads who have a higher probability of becoming customers.

When evaluating whether a lead is qualified, a rep must have a concrete answer to four of the following five variables:

  • Pain : Is the prospective customer experiencing a prominent business issue or challenge that requires them to make a change?
  • Power : Is the prospective customer directly involved with the decision-making process? If not, who is?
  • Money : Does our offering fall within their budget constraints?
  • Process : What's their buying process?
  • Timeline : What stage are they in the buyer’s journey? Will they purchase within a reasonable time frame?

Grow Better with Sales Strategies, Initiatives, and Templates

Every company can benefit from crafting a sales strategy plan. The free template below includes everything you’ll need to customize your strategy for your business and sales team. Regardless of what strategy you choose, always implement a buyer-first approach. Learn from these winning sales team examples, too, to grow your sales team and performance.

Editor's note: This post was originally written in April 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

sales plan

Don't forget to share this post!

Related articles.

7 Social Selling Trends to Leverage This Year [New Data]

7 Social Selling Trends to Leverage This Year [New Data]

How Do Buyers Prefer to Interact With Sales Reps? [New Data]

How Do Buyers Prefer to Interact With Sales Reps? [New Data]

7 Sales Tips You Need to Know For 2024 [Expert Insights]

7 Sales Tips You Need to Know For 2024 [Expert Insights]

What is Sales Planning? How to Create a Sales Plan

What is Sales Planning? How to Create a Sales Plan

Sales Tech: What Is It + What Does Your Team Really Need?

Sales Tech: What Is It + What Does Your Team Really Need?

10 Key Sales Challenges for 2024 [+How You Can Overcome Them]

10 Key Sales Challenges for 2024 [+How You Can Overcome Them]

The Top Sales Trends of 2024 & How To Leverage Them [New Data + Expert Tips]

The Top Sales Trends of 2024 & How To Leverage Them [New Data + Expert Tips]

5 Predictions on the Future of Sales [Data & Expert Insights from Bardeen, Aircall, and HubSpot]

5 Predictions on the Future of Sales [Data & Expert Insights from Bardeen, Aircall, and HubSpot]

HubSpot's 2024 State of Sales Report: How 1400+ Pros Will Navigate AI & Other Trends

HubSpot's 2024 State of Sales Report: How 1400+ Pros Will Navigate AI & Other Trends

What is a Sales Funnel? (& What You Should Make Instead)

What is a Sales Funnel? (& What You Should Make Instead)

Powerful and easy-to-use sales software that drives productivity, enables customer connection, and supports growing sales orgs

Google Translate

Original text

Google Translate

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. The actual implementation of your sales and marketing initiatives actually occurs before you launch, when you’ve set your go-to-market date so strategize the components of your sales and marketing plan early on.

Here’s a quick guide on what your key sales and marketing considerations should be:

This section should contain the following elements and should be no more than four pages.

Unique Value Proposition

Pricing strategy.

  • Sales/Distribution Plan

Marketing Plan

Your unique value proposition is the market need you’re planning to solve. Think of it as your secret ingredient – your “special sauce.” This may be a combination of factors including customer service, technology, a twist on a product or service, etc. Create the case for why your product deserves to have a sustainable business built around it.

Determine your pricing scheme. First, check what your competition is charging. This should give you an indication of what customers are willing to spend. Then, determine how you can add value. Until you get your product out there, it’s hard to know for sure how much your added benefit is worth in the customer’s mind. The keyword here is “reasonable.” You can charge any price you want to, but for every product or service, there’s a limit to how much the consumer is willing to pay.

Remember, even if you’re trying to be the lowest-cost provider, give a higher perceived value to your ideal customer to stand apart from the competition. Competitors can slash their prices to meet or beat yours, so be very careful if you decide to compete on cost.

Sales & Distribution Plan

This section describes how you intend to get your product to customers and how you’ll measure the effectiveness of those methods. For example, once you figure out where you’ll be selling your product – online, at a retail outlet, door-to-door – determine the type of sales team you’ll need and how you’ll compensate them.

In terms of distribution, think about how you’ll actually get the product or service into the hands of the customer. Ultimately, you’ll want to sell your product or service in as many ways that make sense for your company: online, at a retail outlet, via house parties or mail order, or through other companies. Initially, however, focus on selling through just one of these channels so you can build your business before comfortably extending to others.

You’re going to need customers to buy your product. How do you plan to get them? There are many free or low-cost strategies such as referrals, word-of-mouth, public relations, and marketing partners to help cross-promote or sell your product, so I would avoid any expensive print, TV, or radio advertising campaigns at these early stages.

Create your strategy for attracting customers. Before you start actually executing your marketing strategy, however, think about “branding.” This is the look and feel of your business, what customers experience when interacting with it, from the fonts, colors, and text of the website and your business cards to the overall image you portray in the product itself. This branding will be reflected in the execution of your marketing strategy.

Describe how you want customers to experience your product or service. Take a look at products or companies that you really like, and think about why you like them. What makes you feel good about them? Do these characteristics permeate all aspects of the product, from website to packaging to letterhead?

After you document the marketing plan activities, calculate the costs that you expect to incur. For example, if referrals are part of the strategy, then calculate how much you’re willing to pay a referral partner for each new customer they bring your way. Will it be $1, $20, $50, or more? Let’s say, for example, you expect a referral partner to refer 100 clients to you, and each of those referred clients spends $10, giving you a total of $1,000. You’ve agreed to pay this partner $1 for each referral, so you’ll spend $100 on referrals for your marketing strategy. In this example, your cost of acquisition – the cost you pay for each new customer – is $1. You’ll need to know this number, especially when you draft your financial plan.

Business Plan Template for a Startup Business To increase your odds of a successful business startup, download this step-by-step business plan template you can use to plan for your new business.

Every Business Deserves Planning Don’t make the common mistake of dismissing the value of planning. Every well-run business needs to manage strategy, metrics and essential business numbers.

Copyright © 2023 SCORE Association, SCORE.org

Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

LiveChat

How to Write a Sales and Marketing Plan

Bag of money and a megaphone. Represents creating a sales and marketing plan.

2 min. read

Updated January 3, 2024

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 business plan dives into how you’re going to accomplish your goals. You’ll be answering questions like:

  • Based on your audience, how will you position your product or service in the current market?
  • What marketing channels, messaging, and sales tactics will you implement?
  • What’s your business model and how will your business operate day-to-day?

By the end of this section, you should have an outline of what growth looks like, what milestones you intend to hit, and how you’ll measure success. Basically, you’re backing up the opportunity you’ve identified with a solid go-to-market plan.

What to include in the sales and marketing section

The sections you should include act as a useful framework for exploring and defining your marketing and sales tactics.

Create a positioning statement

How does your business differ? What do you do that others don’t? If you’re unsure, work through a handful of strategic exercises to create a simple but convincing positioning statement.

Outline your marketing strategy

A marketing plan brings together strategic goals with tangible marketing activities designed to reach and engage your target market—ultimately convincing them to purchase your product.

Craft your sales plan

A good sales strategy provides actionable steps to reach your goals. Estimate how much you intend to sell and outline a process that anyone else in your business can execute.

Optional sales and marketing information to include

The basics of a marketing and sales plan are fairly straightforward. However, it’s also the perfect place to flesh out any details that you think will make your outreach efforts successful.

Create a unique value proposition

What makes your business unique? How does the solution you provide stand out? This is your chance to point to what you believe potential customers will find more valuable about your business over the competition.

Don't forget digital marketing

While we don’t recommend creating separate traditional and digital marketing plans, it may be wise to explore and address them separately within your plan.

Build your promotional plan

How will you convince your customers to buy your products or services? While actual ads and promotions may be months away, it’s best to think through and even mock up designs now.

Conduct a SWOT analysis

With this simple analysis, you’ll better understand your strengths and weaknesses, along with the opportunities and threats you should account for.

LivePlan Logo

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Kody Wirth

Kody Wirth is a content writer and SEO specialist for Palo Alto Software—the creator's of Bplans and LivePlan. He has 3+ years experience covering small business topics and runs a part-time content writing service in his spare time.

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

Table of Contents

  • What to include
  • Optional information

Related Articles

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

10 Min. Read

Show that you know the competition

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

Track milestones and metrics

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

3 Min. Read

Add supporting information to an appendix

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

6 Min. Read

Business plan cover page

The LivePlan Newsletter

Become a smarter, more strategic entrepreneur.

Your first monthly newsetter will be delivered soon..

Unsubscribe anytime. Privacy policy .

Garrett's Bike Shop

The quickest way to turn a business idea into a business plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.

No thanks, I prefer writing 40-page documents.

LivePlan pitch example

Discover the world’s #1 plan building software

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

  • Marketing |
  • How to create a winning marketing plan, ...

How to create a winning marketing plan, with 3 examples from world-class teams

Caeleigh MacNeil contributor headshot

A marketing plan helps leaders clearly visualize marketing strategies across channels, so they can ensure every campaign drives pipeline and revenue. In this article you’ll learn eight steps to create a winning marketing plan that brings business-critical goals to life, with examples from word-class teams.

quotation mark

To be successful as a marketer, you have to deliver the pipeline and the revenue.”

In other words—they need a well-crafted marketing plan.

Level up your marketing plan to drive revenue in 2024

Learn how to create the right marketing plan to hit your revenue targets in 2024. Hear best practices from marketing experts, including how to confidently set and hit business goals, socialize marketing plans, and move faster with clearer resourcing.

level up your marketing plan to drive revenue in 2024

7 steps to build a comprehensive marketing plan

How do you build the right marketing plan to hit your revenue goals? Follow these eight steps for success:

1. Define your plan

First you need to define each specific component of your plan to ensure stakeholders are aligned on goals, deliverables, resources, and more. Ironing out these details early on ensures your plan supports the right business objectives, and that you have sufficient resources and time to get the job done. 

Get started by asking yourself the following questions: 

What resources do I need? 

What is the vision?

What is the value?

What is the goal?

Who is my audience?

What are my channels?

What is the timeline?

For example, imagine you’re creating an annual marketing plan to improve customer adoption and retention in the next fiscal year. Here’s how you could go through the questions above to ensure you’re ready to move forward with your plan: 

I will need support from the content team, web team, and email team to create targeted content for existing customers. One person on each team will need to be dedicated full-time to this initiative. To achieve this, the marketing team will need an additional $100K in budget and one new headcount. 

What is the vision?  

To create a positive experience for existing customers, address new customer needs, and encourage them to upgrade. We’ll do this by serving them how-to content, new feature updates, information about deals and pricing, and troubleshooting guides. 

According to the Sales Benchmark Index (SBI) , CEOs and go-to-market leaders report that more than 60% of their net-new revenue will come from existing customers in 2023. By retaining and building on the customers we have, we can maintain revenue growth over time. 

To decrease the customer churn rate from 30% to 10%, and increase upgrades from 20% to 30% in the next fiscal year. 

All existing customers. 

The main channel will be email. Supporting marketing channels include the website, blog, YouTube, and social media. 

The first half of the next fiscal year. 

One of the most important things to do as you create your marketing strategy is to identify your target audience . As with all marketing, you need to know who you’re marketing to. If you’re having a hard time determining who exactly your target audience is, try the bullseye targeting framework . The bullseye makes it easy for you to determine who your target audience is by industry, geography, company size, psychographics, demographics, and more.

2. Identify key metrics for success 

Now it’s time to define what key marketing metrics you’ll use to measure success. Your key metrics will help you measure and track the performance of your marketing activities. They’ll also help you understand how your efforts tie back to larger business goals. 

Once you establish key metrics, use a goal-setting framework—like objectives and key results (OKRs) or SMART goals —to fully flush out your marketing objectives. This ensures your targets are as specific as possible, with no ambiguity about what should be accomplished by when. 

Example: If a goal of your marketing plan is to increase email subscriptions and you follow the SMART goal framework (ensuring your objective is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) your goal might look like this: Increase email subscription rate from 10% to 20% in H1 . 

3. Research your competition 

It’s easy to get caught up in your company’s world, but there’s a lot of value in understanding your competitors . Knowing how they market themselves will help you find opportunities to make your company stand out and capture more market share.

Make sure you’re not duplicating your competitors’ efforts. If you discover a competitor has already executed your idea, then it might be time to go back to the drawing board and brainstorm new ways to differentiate yourself.  By looking at your competitors, you might be surprised at the type of inspiration and opportunities you’ll find.

To stay ahead of market trends, conduct a SWOT analysis for your marketing plan. A SWOT analysis helps you improve your plan by identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. 

Example: If your competitor launches a social media campaign identical to what you had planned, go back to the drawing board and see how you can build off their campaign. Ask yourself: How can we differentiate our campaign while still getting our message across? What are the weaknesses of their campaign that we can capitalize on? What angles did they not approach?

4. Integrate your marketing efforts

Here’s where the fun comes in. Let’s dive into the different components that go into building a successful marketing plan. You’ll want to make sure your marketing plan includes multiple supporting activities that all add up into a powerful marketing machine. Some marketing plan components include: 

Lead generation

Social media

Product marketing

Public relations

Analyst relations

Customer marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Conversational marketing

Knowing where your consumer base spends the most time is significant for nailing this step. You need to have a solid understanding of your target audience before integrating your marketing efforts. 

Example: If your target audience is executives that spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, focus your social media strategy around placing branded content on LinkedIn. 

5. Differentiate with creative content

Forty-nine percent of marketers say visual images are hugely important to their content strategy. In other words, a clear brand and creative strategy is an essential component to every marketing plan. As you craft your own creative strategy, here are some tips to keep in mind: 

Speak to your audience: When defining your creative strategy, think about your audience—what you want them to feel, think, and do when they see your marketing. Will your audience find your creative work relevant? If your audience can’t relate to your creative work, they won’t feel connected to the story you’re trying to tell. 

Think outside the box: Find innovative ways to engage your audience, whether through video, animations, or interactive graphics. Know what screens your creative work will live on, whether desktop, mobile, or tablet, and make sure they display beautifully and load quickly across every type of device. 

Tie everything back to CTAs: It’s easy to get caught up in the creative process, so it’s important to never lose sight of your ultimate goal: Get your audience to take action. Always find the best way to display strong Calls to Action (CTAs) in your creative work. We live in a visual world—make sure your creative content counts.

Streamline creative production:   Once you’ve established a strong creative strategy, the next step is to bring your strategy to life in the production stage. It’s vital to set up a strong framework for your creative production process to eliminate any unnecessary back and forth and potential bottlenecks. Consider establishing creative request forms , streamlining feedback and approval processes, and taking advantage of integrations that might make your designers’ lives easier.

Example: If your brand is fun and approachable, make sure that shows in your creative efforts. Create designs and CTAs that spark joy, offer entertainment, and alleviate the pressure in choosing a partner.

6. Operationalize your marketing plan

Turn your plan into action by making goals, deliverables, and timelines clear for every stakeholder—so teams stay accountable for getting work done. The best way to do this is by centralizing all the details of your marketing plan in one platform , so teams can access the information they need and connect campaign work back to company goals.  

With the right work management tool , you can: 

Set goals for every marketing activity, and connect campaign work to overarching marketing and business objectives so teams focus on revenue-driving projects. 

Centralize deliverables for your entire marketing plan in one project or portfolio .

Mark major milestones and visualize your plan as a timeline, Gantt chart, calendar, list, or Kanban board—without doing any extra work. 

Quickly loop in stakeholders with status updates so they’re always up to date on progress. This is extremely important if you have a global team to ensure efforts aren’t being duplicated. 

Use automations to seamlessly hand off work between teams, streamlining processes like content creation and reviews. 

Create dashboards to report on work and make sure projects are properly staffed , so campaigns stay on track. 

With everything housed in one spot, you can easily visualize the status of your entire marketing plan and keep work on track. Building an effective marketing plan is one thing, but how you operationalize it can be your secret to standout marketing.

Example: If your strategy focuses on increasing page views, connect all campaign work to an overarching OKR—like “we will double page views as measured by the amount of organic traffic on our blog.” By making that goal visible to all stakeholders, you help teams prioritize the right work. 

See marketing planning in action

With Asana, marketing teams can connect work, standardize processes, and automate workflows—all in one place.

See marketing planning in action

7. Measure performance

Nearly three in four CMOs use revenue growth to measure success, so it’s no surprise that measuring performance is necessary. You established your key metrics in step two, and now it’s time to track and report on them in step eight.

Periodically measure your marketing efforts to find areas of improvement so you can optimize in real-time. There are always lessons to be learned when looking at data. You can discover trends, detect which marketing initiatives performed well, and course-correct what isn’t performing well. And when your plan is complete, you can apply these learnings to your next initiative for improved results. 

Example: Say you discover that long-form content is consistently bringing in 400% more page views than short-form content. As a result, you’ll want to focus on producing more long-form content in your next marketing plan.

Marketing plan examples from world-class teams

The best brands in the world bring their marketing plans to life every day. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these examples from successful marketing teams.

Autodesk grows site traffic 30% three years in a row

When the Autodesk team launched Redshift, it was initially a small business blog. The editorial team executed a successful marketing plan to expand it into a premier owned-media site, making it a destination for stories and videos about the future of making. 

The team scaled content production to support seven additional languages. By standardizing their content production workflow and centralizing all content conversations in one place, the editorial team now publishes 2X more content monthly. Read the case study to learn more about how Autodesk runs a well-oiled content machine.

Sony Music boosts creative production capacity by 4X

In recent years the music industry has gone through a pivotal transition—shifting from album sales to a streaming business model. For marketing and creative teams at Sony Music, that meant adopting an “always on” campaign plan. 

The team successfully executed this campaign plan by centralizing creative production and approvals in one project. By standardizing processes, the team reduced campaign production time by 75%. Read the case study to learn more about how Sony Music successfully scaled their creative production process.

Trinny London perfects new customer acquisition 

In consumer industries, social media is crucial for building a community of people who feel an affinity with the brand—and Trinny London is no exception. As such, it was imperative that Trinny London’s ad spend was targeted to the correct audience. Using a work management tool, Trinny London was able to nail the process of creating, testing, and implementing ads on multiple social channels.

With the help of a centralized tool, Trinny London improved its ad spend and drove more likes and subscriptions on its YouTube page. Read the case study to learn more about how Trinny London capitalized on paid advertising and social media. 

Turn your marketing plan into marketing success 

A great marketing plan promotes clarity and accountability across teams—so every stakeholder knows what they’re responsible for, by when. Reading this article is the first step to achieving better team alignment, so you can ensure every marketing campaign contributes to your company’s bottom line. 

Use a free marketing plan template to get started

Once you’ve created your marketing strategy and are ready to operationalize your marketing plan, get started with one of our marketing templates . 

Our marketing templates can help you manage and track every aspect of your marketing plan, from creative requests to approval workflows. Centralize your entire marketing plan in one place, customize the roadmap, assign tasks, and build a timeline or calendar. 

Once you’ve operationalized your entire marketing plan with one of our templates, share it with your stakeholders so everyone can work together in the same tool. Your entire team will feel connected to the marketing plan, know what to prioritize, and see how their work contributes to your project objectives . Choose the best marketing template for your team:

Marketing project plan template

Marketing campaign plan template

Product marketing launch template

Editorial calendar template

Agency collaboration template

Creative requests template

Event planning template

GTM strategy template

Still have questions? We have answers. 

What is a marketing plan.

A marketing plan is a detailed roadmap that outlines the different strategies your team will use to achieve organizational objectives. Rather than focusing solely on the end goal, a marketing plan maps every step you need to reach your destination—whether that’s driving pipeline for sales, nurturing your existing customer base, or something in-between. 

As a marketing leader, you know there’s never a shortage of great campaign and project ideas. A marketing plan gives you a framework to effectively prioritize work that aligns to overarching business goals—and then get that work done. Some elements of marketing plans include:

Current business plan

Mission statement  

Business goals

Target customers  

Competitive analysis 

Current marketing mix

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Marketing budget  

What is the purpose of a marketing plan?

The purpose of a marketing plan is to grow your company’s consumer base and strengthen your brand, while aligning with your organization’s mission and vision . The plan should analyze the competitive landscape and industry trends, offer actionable insights to help you gain a competitive advantage, and document each step of your strategy—so you can see how your campaigns work together to drive overarching business goals. 

What is the difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy? 

A marketing plan contains many marketing strategies across different channels. In that way, marketing strategies contribute to your overall marketing plan, working together to reach your company’s overarching business goals.

For example, imagine you’re about to launch a new software product and the goal of your marketing plan is to drive downloads. Your marketing plan could include marketing strategies like creating top-of-funnel blog content and launching a social media campaign. 

What are different types of marketing plans? 

Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, what your timeline is, or which facet of marketing you’re driving, you’ll need to create a different type of marketing plan. Some different types of marketing plans include, but aren’t limited to:

General marketing plan: A general marketing plan is typically an annual or quarterly marketing plan that details the overarching marketing strategies for the period. This type of marketing plan outlines marketing goals, the company’s mission, buyer personas, unique selling propositions, and more. A general marketing plan lays the foundation for other, more specific marketing plans that an organization may employ. 

Product launch marketing plan: A product launch marketing plan is a step-by-step plan for marketing a new product or expanding into a new market. It helps you build awareness and interest by targeting the right audience, with the right messaging, in the right timeframe—so potential customers are ready to buy your new offering right away. Nailing your product launch marketing plan can reinforce your overall brand and fast-track sales. For a step-by-step framework to organize all the moving pieces of a launch, check out our product marketing launch template .

Paid marketing plan: This plan includes all the paid strategies in your marketing plan, like pay-per-click, paid social media advertising, native advertising, and display advertising. It’s especially important to do audience research prior to launching your paid marketing plan to ensure you’re maximizing ROI. Consult with content strategists to ensure your ads align with your buyer personas so you know you’re showing ads to the right people. 

Content marketing plan: A content marketing plan outlines the different content strategies and campaigns you’ll use to promote your product or service. When putting together a content marketing plan, start by identifying your audience. Then use market research tools to get the best insights into what topics your target audience is most interested in.

SEO marketing plan: Your SEO marketing plan should work directly alongside your content marketing plan as you chart content that’s designed to rank in search results. While your content marketing plan should include all types of content, your SEO marketing plan will cover the top-of-funnel content that drives new users to your site. Planning search engine-friendly content is only one step in your SEO marketing plan. You’ll also need to include link-building and technical aspects in order to ensure your site and content are as optimized as possible.

Social media marketing plan: This plan will highlight the marketing strategies you plan to accomplish on social media. Like in any general or digital marketing plan , your social media strategy should identify your ideal customer base and determine how they engage on different social media platforms. From there, you can cater your social media content to your target audience.  

Related resources

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

How Asana uses work management for content marketing

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

7 causes of content calendar chaos—and how to solve them

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

3 ways to launch marketing campaigns faster with Asana

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

What is a product launch? A guide from planning to execution

How to present your sales and marketing strategy in your business plan?

the marketing and sales subsection forms part of the overall strategy section of a business plan

The marketing and sales section forms the cornerstone of any business plan. It details your approach to reach and sell to your target audience. Whilst some entrepreneurs believe that this section should predominantly be about advertising, it covers a lot more than that.

Without adequate knowledge of the information required, writing this section can be challenging. This guide covers that aspect and also talks about the overall objective of this section and how long it should be amongst other things.

After reading our guide, you’ll be well on your way to drafting a comprehensive strategy section that can help you secure financing from lenders and investors.

Ready? Let’s get started!

In this guide:

  • What is the objective of the marketing and sales strategy of your business plan?

What information should I include in the marketing and sales strategy section of my business plan?

  • How long should the marketing and sales strategy of your business plan be?
  • Example of a marketing and sales strategy section in a business plan

What tools can you use to write your business plan?

What is the objective of the marketing and sales strategy section in your 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 target market’s attention and generate sales as well as build competence with investors and lenders. 

When writing this section, you need to show that you plan on using effective distribution and communication channels.  

  • Distribution channels are what you use to sell your goods or services. Online or physical stores, or door-to-door sales, for example.
  • Communication channels are what you use to promote your brand to target customers. This can include ads or flyers for example.

Need a convincing business plan?

The Business Plan Shop makes it easy to create a financial forecast to assess the potential profitability of your projects, and write a business plan that’ll wow investors.

The Business Plan Shop's Business Plan Software

We have discussed that your business plan's marketing and sales section should be well-structured and presentable. 

When writing this section, all businesses should provide a rationale for their distribution and communication channels by elaborating on the following factors: 

Here, you need to talk about why you think your chosen channels will help you reach your target market. 

For example:

  • Younger audiences might be more receptive to messaging and marketing initiative on social media, while other demographics might prefer traditional media like TV or radio.
  • Selling through national retailers might give you immediate scale - though being at a lower margin than through a network of owned stores

The best channels for your business will depend on the type of products or services you sell and the tarket customer segments you identified in your market analysis.

Cost and margin

In this section, you need to emphasize why the channels you have chosen will be cost-effective and share details pertaining to the budget allocation. 

For example, cold calling small businesses might be a cheaper way of selling your services than using advertising.

Competition 

To address this factor, you need to provide details about how and why your chosen channels will help you gain a competitive advantage.

A competitive advantage refers to a unique attribute, quality, or strategy that allows your business to outperform its competitors and achieve superior performance in its industry or market. It's what sets your company apart and gives it a strong position in the marketplace. 

For example, a hybrid network of owned and franchised stores might enable you to quickly achieve national coverage and greater brand recognition than your competitors.

Implementation 

Here, you need to provide details about who (from your sales and marketing team) will be responsible for actioning these channels and a timeline pertaining to key goals and objectives for each.  

entrepreneur writing about their business's sales target as part of the marketing strategy

Key performance indicators (KPIs) 

Lastly, you also need to provide details about the KPIs you will use to measure the effectiveness of the distribution and communication channels. 

For distribution channels, this could include:

  • Gross profit margin
  • Return on investment

For communication channels, this could include:

  • Brand recognition
  • Number of website or in-store visitors

It’s important to understand that the factors stated above (reach, cost, competition, implementation and KPIs) may be applicable to all industries. However, the details used for each factor must be tailored to the industry and customer profiles targeted by your own business. 

With that understanding, let’s look at what information should be included in this section for different industries. 

Agriculture

Agricultural businesses usually sell either to farmers (equipment, services, etc.), to consumers (food) and retailers (food, raw materials, equipment, etc.), or to food manufacturers.

With that in mind, your marketing plan should ideally provide details about how you plan to communicate in order to reach these customers. For example, you might decide to invest in a couple bilboards with directions to your farm if you sale directly to consumers.

As for the sales strategy, you need to discuss your approach to distribution and inventory management (especially for fresh produce). For example, selling to food manufacturers might give you a greater scale at the cost of a lower margin and a dependency on a small number of customers.

Construction

Construction businesses usually sell either to households or other construction businesses and builders (subcontractors).

Your marketing strategy might include actions such as highlighting past projects to showcase customer satisfaction on your website and brochures, to attend industry events to promote your know-how, or to invest in a branded fleet of vehicles.

When providing details about your sales strategy, you need to explain how you'll bid on projects, provide estimates, and effectively manage client expectations. 

Hospitality

The hospitality industry is one that’s heavily based on customer demand around your location(s) and meeting patrons' expectations to generate positive word of mouth.

Your marketing plan might revolve around using local advertising and food bloggers to increase awareness, and a loyalty program to increase repeat visits.  

Your sales strategy might be centered around: leveraging online booking platforms to fill the restaurant outside of peak hours, marketplaces to drive takeaway sales, and staff training to promote higher margin items on your menu.

Manufacturing

For manufacturers, your marketing and sales section will depend on whether you plan to manufacture your own products or produce them for other brands. It’s important to understand that both these are entirely different target customers with varying requirements. 

If you plan on manufacturing for other brands, you need to showcase your manufacturing capabilities, quality standards, and ability to fulfill orders. You can also provide details about your production process and ability to meet tight deadlines. 

If you plan to manufacture your own products, you must detail how you plan to attract competent distributors or set up your own distribution network. To do this, you can provide details about the uniqueness of your product and how it adds value to the end customer. 

The sales and marketing plans of retailers will most likely revolve around customer acquisition, repeat purchases, and enhancing the shopping experience. You could provide details about visual merchandising, store layout, online presence, and loyalty programs.

You could also mention store locations, pricing strategies, and promotions.

The way services are marketed and sold vary greatly depending on the type of service, the type of customers (businesses vs. consumers), the contract duration and the price point (which will influence the length of the sales cycle).

The sales and marketing plan of a hairdresser might be close to the one put in place by a retailer or other types of high street businesses.

Inversely the sales and marketing plan of a high end business consulting firm might include lead generation efforts through content marketing, networking, cold calling, and targeted advertising.

How long should the sales and marketing plan of your business plan be?

The ideal length for the sales and marketing plan depends upon several factors, such as the reader's familiarity with the industry you operate in and the size of your business.

The sales and marketing section of a grocery shop may not require much information as foot trafic around the location will be the primary lever. 

However, a business-to-business (B2B) company that provides software for human resources might be more complex and require further details.

In general, one or two paragraphs per action planned or lever mobilised is enough, though a complex industry or larger business may require to communicate more information. However, you can use visuals and graphics to help reduce the length and make complex concepts easier to understand.

Need inspiration for your business plan?

The Business Plan Shop has dozens of business plan templates that you can use to get a clear idea of what a complete business plan looks like.

The Business Plan Shop's Business Plan Templates

Example of a sales and marketing section in a business plan 

Below is an example of how the sales and marketing section of your business plan might look like.

The Business Plan Shop's online business planning software: sales and marketing plan example

This example was taken from one of  our business plan templates .

In this part, we will review three solutions for writing a professional business plan:

  • Using Word and Excel
  • Hiring a consultant to write your business plan
  • Utilizing an online business plan software

Create your business plan using Word and Excel

Creating a business plan using Word and Excel is old fashion, error prone, and (very) time consuming.

First of all, using Excel to create your financial forecast is only feasible if you have a degree in accounting and experience in financial modelling, because lenders are unlikely to trust the accuracy of your financial forecast otherwise.

Secondly, using Word means starting from scratch and formatting the document yourself once written - a process that is quite tedious. There are also no instructions or examples to guide you through each section making the overall process much longer than it needs to be.

Thirdly, for a business plan to be really useful it needs to be tracked against the company's actual financial performance and regularly updated which is a very manual process if you are using Excel.

Hire a consultant to write your business plan

This is a good option if you have the budget for it - from experience you need to budget at least £1.5k ($2.0k) for a complete business plan, more if you need to make changes after the initial version (which happens frequently after the initial meetings with lenders).

Consultants are experienced in writing business plans and most of them adept at creating financial forecasts without errors. Furthermore, hiring a consultant can save you time and allow you to focus on the day-to-day operations of your business.

Use an online business plan software for your business plan

Another alternative is to use online business plan software .

There are several advantages to using specialized software:

  • You are guided through the writing process by detailed instructions and examples for each part of the plan
  • You can be inspired by already written business plan templates
  • You can easily make your financial forecast by letting the software take care of the financial calculations for you without errors
  • You get a professional document, formatted and ready to be sent to your bank
  • The software will enable you to easily track your actual financial performance against your forecast and update your forecast as time goes by

If you're interested in using this type of solution, you can try our software for free by signing up here .

Also on The Business Plan Shop

  • How to do a market analysis for a business plan
  • 7 tips for writing an effective business plan

Do you know anyone struggling to craft the marketing and sales part of their business plan? Share this article and help them out. 

Guillaume Le Brouster

Founder & CEO at The Business Plan Shop Ltd

Guillaume Le Brouster is a seasoned entrepreneur and financier.

Guillaume has been an entrepreneur for more than a decade and has first-hand experience of starting, running, and growing a successful business.

Prior to being a business owner, Guillaume worked in investment banking and private equity, where he spent most of his time creating complex financial forecasts, writing business plans, and analysing financial statements to make financing and investment decisions.

Guillaume holds a Master's Degree in Finance from ESCP Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Business & Management from Paris Dauphine University.

Create a convincing business plan

Assess the profitability of your business idea and create a persuasive business plan to pitch to investors

The Business Plan Shop | Business Plan Software

500,000+ entrepreneurs have already tried our solution - why not join them?

Not ready to try our on-line tool ? Learn more about our solution here

Need some inspiration for your business plan?

Subscribe to The Business Plan Shop and gain access to our business plan template library.

business plan template library

Need a professional business plan? Discover our solution

Write your business plan with ease!

Business Plan Software

It's easy to create a professional business plan with The Business Plan Shop

Want to find out more before you try? Learn more about our solution here

How to Write a Sales Plan

Table of contents.

Elizabeth Veras

Every business needs a business plan as well as more detailed road maps that offer guidance to each department working toward that common goal. As the revenue-generating engine of your company, the sales department should be a top priority for this type of document, aptly named the “sales plan.” This guide introduces the concept of a sales plan and gives you all the guidance you need to create a sales plan that works for your business.

What is a sales plan?

A sales plan details the overall sales strategy of a business, including the revenue objectives of the company and how the sales department will meet those goals. This may also include revenue goals, the target audience and tools the team will use in their day-to-day. In addition, the sales plan should include examples of the hurdles and pain points the team might encounter, as well as contingency plans to overcome them.

“[A sales plan] is essential to support the growth of an organization,” said Bill Santos, vice president of the ITsavvy Advanced Solutions Group. “A sales plan helps individual reps understand the priorities of the business as well as the measurements by which they will be evaluated.”

Business plans vs. sales plans

Business plans and sales plans are closely linked. A sales plan, though, should outline the actions that the sales department will take to achieve the company’s broader goals. A sales plan differs from a business plan, though both work toward the same end.

“A business plan is a ‘what’ [and] a sales plan is a ‘how,'” said James R. Bailey , professor of management and Hochberg Professional Fellow of Leadership Development at the George Washington University School of Business. “Business plans are where a firm wants to go. A sales plan is a part of how they can achieve that. A business plan is direction; a sales plan is execution.”

For example, a software company that developed a new mobile application might state in its business plan that the app will be installed by 1 million users within a year of launch, while the sales plan describes how that will actually be achieved.

How to write a sales plan

Every sales plan should suit the individual needs of a different company, so they come in all shapes and sizes. There is no one-size-fits-all sales plan; the one you create will be unique to your business. With careful planning, you’ll have a much clearer vision of what you need to accomplish and a road map for how to get there. 

Chris Gibbs, vice president of global sales at Centripetal Networks, named some additional items that every sales plan should include.

  • Targeted accounts: Assign each salesperson a few key accounts to focus on, and grow from that base.
  • Targeted verticals: Sales teams might focus on specific market segments or verticals, such as a particular industry.
  • SKUs: Salespeople should emphasize certain SKUs or inventory items rather than get lost in a broad catalog of merchandise to sell.
  • Sales and marketing coordination: Sales and marketing teams should work together to create promotions to help generate sales.
  • Product road maps: Every company has a road map, and each product should have a road map that shows the plan and direction for a product offering over time to chart out when a product will launch and when it might sunset or be replaced by a newer model.
  • Forecasts: Sales forecasting is projecting sales volumes and expectations by comparing them historically to sales of previous years, and then conducting market comparison to determine where sales will fall against the competition.

“Sales plans are extremely important to ensure there is cohesiveness between product teams, sales and marketing,” Gibbs said. “In addition, they’re important for ensuring that timing of new products and/or new version releases coincide with sales objectives and forecasts.”

What are the steps to create a sales plan?

A sales plan is necessary for businesses of every size, from an individual entrepreneur to a Fortune 500 company. When you’re ready to actually write your sales plan, follow these steps:

1. Define the objectives. 

Clearly outlining your goals and stating your objectives should always be the first step in creating a sales plan or any other business venture. You should include the expected sales volume and any markets or territories you expect to reach. 

For example, let’s say you own a retail store selling household goods and electronics. If your purpose is to establish yourself as a trusted local retailer, ask yourself the following questions:

  • If so, are they purchasing anything or just browsing?
  • Was it word of mouth?
  • Was it through marketing efforts, such as email marketing, direct mail or social media?
  • How many are new customers?
  • How many are repeat customers?
  • Where do you want your sales to come from? 
  • What are some external and internal factors that could impact your sales? These include industry trends and economic conditions.

When you can precisely state your key objectives, you are setting yourself up to plan later steps around achieving your goals.

2. Assess the current situation.

The next step is to create an honest overview of your business situation in relation to the goal you set in the first step. 

Review your strengths and assets. Take a look at your resources and how you can apply them to your goal. This can include personal relationships and competitive advantages like new products or services.

For example, if your goal is to enhance your relationship with your customers, you’d need to ask yourself some questions to examine your current situation:

  • What is your current relationship with your customers?
  • Where did most of your sales come from?
  • Where would you like to expand your sales?

When examining your strengths and opportunities, conduct a SWOT analysis to get a clearer picture of where your business stands.

3. Determine and outline the sales strategies. 

Sales strategies are the actual tactics your team will use to reach customers. They can include marketing channels as well as procedures for lead generation and client outreach employed by your salespeople.

Here are two examples of potential sales strategies: 

  • Use your POS system to retain customer information so you can track current and new customers.
  • Employ email marketing, text message marketing , social media, outbound call center services and direct mail marketing campaigns.

4. Define roles for the sales team. 

Each member of the sales team should be assigned clear roles, whether they vary from person to person or everyone performs the same functions.

Defining the sales direction of the team is crucial, as it shows the focus of the company and helps the team target and execute sales most effectively.

The plan of attack for the sales team should be communicated clearly by leadership, whether it is from team leaders or the CEO.  

5. Inform other departments of sales objectives.

A sales plan shouldn’t just update a company president or C-suite; it should inform the whole organization of the sales team’s objectives. 

Clearly outline your plan for the rest of the company to help them understand the goals and procedures of the sales team. Other departments become more efficient when interacting with the sales team and clients. This also conveys a certain level of quality and professionalism to the clients about the company.

6. Provide tools for the sales team.

Provide the tools each member of the sales team needs to achieve the stated goals, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software. The best CRM software is customizable to meet a company’s needs, making it much easier for your team to use the software and work efficiently.

7. Detail how the department will track progress. 

Offer strategic direction and insight on how progress will be monitored. Having a quarterly review to assess whether the company is on target is just as important as the plan itself.

Markets change, and so should your sales plan. Keeping it up to date will help you capitalize on the market and achieve your goals. Tracking progress is made easier by the tools you use to collect data. That data will then have to be analyzed and presented in a way which all departments can understand and use for future growth. 

Key elements of a sales plan

Every sales plan should also include the following elements.

Realistic goals

You need to set achievable goals . Challenge your sales team, but don’t push too hard. Bailey said that these “deliverables” are among the key points to include in a sales business plan. 

“Deliverables need to be as specific as possible and moderately difficult to achieve – specific inasmuch as being measurable in a manner that is uncontested [and] moderately difficult inasmuch as making sales goals too difficult can lead to failure and discouragement.”

Midpoint goals also help build morale and keep the team working toward a larger goal. Instead of having one giant goal, creating smaller goals to achieve along the way will keep your team focused.

Set milestones that give you the opportunity to regularly determine whether you are on track to achieve your sales goals or need to make adjustments.

Sales tools

Tracking sales throughout the term is helpful, and you can employ tools to keep track of each team member as well as the department overall. It also helps establish a culture of accountability among salespeople.

“Tools can help, especially project management and CRM software,” Santos said. “Having a weekly cadence of update and review is also important, as it sends a message that ownership and updates are important.”

Clear expectations and a defined commission structure

Assign goals and responsibilities to each team member to make expectations clear. This is true whether or not each team member has the same goals.

“We meet with each individual to come up with a plan that works for them so that they can reach their goals,” said Leah Adams, director of client success at Point3 Security. “We measure results based on numbers. Each team member has his own plan and how they’re going to get there.”

It’s also necessary to spell out the commission structure in full detail.

“The only real difference is how sales count,” Bailey said. “In petroleum-based products … a few big clients are necessary. Compensation needs to be structured not just in contract value, but in graduated terms: Above $1 million, commissions move from 5% to 9%, and so forth. In smaller-volume enterprises, commissions might be front-loaded with higher percentages early, then graduated down. You have to reward what you want.”

Training programs

Along the way, some training might be necessary to maintain the momentum.

“What’s important to us is that we’re teaching these individuals to be the best salesperson they can be,” Adams said. “We help them do that by constantly training them and giving them knowledge of what’s going on in our industry. Everything stays on track because each member of the team knows their individual goal; though each person has a number, they also know the ultimate goal is for the entire team to hit.”

Adams said that an effective CRM keeps things organized and helps delegate tasks and responsibilities on a schedule that uses the company’s lead information.

Key steps to follow when devising a sales plan

Here are some best practices for creating a sales plan:

  • Refer to the business plan. The sales plan should directly address the objectives of the business plan and how those objectives can be achieved.
  • Advance clear objectives. The clearer the objectives are, the easier it will be to reach your goals.
  • Reference prior sales data. Chart sales over the previous few terms, and project the trend for the current term. New businesses can create sales projections based on expectations.
  • Outline the commission structure. This will help motivate your team and help you calculate anticipated costs.
  • Be clear about how progress is measured. There should be no dispute about this. If larger clients carry more weight than lower-volume buyers, that should be stated upfront.

The benefits of a sales plan

A sales plan keeps the sales department on track, considering the details of how they must operate to hit their targets and achieve company objectives. Because the sales team is the primary driver of revenue, it is an incredibly important document. [Related article: Adopting a CRM? How to Get Buy-in From Your Sales Department ]

“It’s extremely important to have a sales plan in place, almost a must,” Adams said. “Without this plan, it’s almost impossible to get through the year and hit the company’s sales goals.”

It’s not uncommon to encounter obstacles along the way, however. A good sales plan accounts for that.

“Almost always, you’ll run into the speed bumps along the way, but with a plan in place, it makes it a whole lot easier to navigate through it all,” Adams said. “The sales plan allows you to adjust when necessary so the goal can still be hit. I strongly believe a plan allows you to stay in control and reduce the risk while being able to measure the team’s results along the way to that finish line.”

A solid sales plan helps you deal with unexpected events and acts as a benchmark for where your company is and where you want it to go.

Sales plan templates

Sales templates are helpful in that many of them are based on tried-and-true formats that have been used by businesses across several industries. They can also provide structure so that it is clear to each employee what their role and responsibilities are. 

Create your own sales plan by downloading our free template .

“A template helps plan each individual’s daily activities in a structured way,” Adams said. “If you know what each person is doing daily, it’s easier to help correct what’s going wrong. It helps with things like conversion rates, etc. Yes, these templates can be customized in any way a team’s manager sees fit, based on how he believes the team will perform better.”

Sales plans should be unique to the company; however, there are key components they should always include. Because there is somewhat of a formula, you can use a template.

Templates are extremely helpful, Gibbs said. “It creates uniformity for the team, as well as a yearly or quarterly sales plan to present to senior management.”

Gibbs added that templates can easily be customized to meet the needs of a particular business or sales team.

Keeping your team on track with a sales plan

Planning is vital for any business, especially when dealing with sales targets. Before selling your product or service, you must outline your goals and ways to execute them. Essentially, a sales plan enables you to mitigate problems and risks. When there is a clear plan of action, you will know how to proceed in order to attain your goals. 

Enid Burns contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

thumbnail

Building Better Businesses

Insights on business strategy and culture, right to your inbox. Part of the business.com network.

  • Marketing and Sales Strategy
  • 25 May, 2022
  • 12 Sales and Marketing Strategy Examples from Real Companies

No matter how big or small, every business needs a sales and marketing strategy . Depending on how much experience you have in either field, that task can sound daunting. 

There’s no need to worry! You do not have to reinvent the wheel. The beauty of being in business is that you walk on a road paved by giants. Sure, you’ll want to toss in a little spice of your own. Perhaps someday, you’ll be a pioneer in your strategy. But for now, we need to take a look at some real examples.

Sales strategy examples

  • Value-based Selling
  • Power-Based Principle
  • SPIN Selling
  • Solution Selling
  • Challenger Selling

A sales strategy is a series of actions, decisions, and corresponding goals that inform you how your sales department depicts your business and its services/products to new customers. A sales strategy is the guiding light for salesmen and saleswomen to follow, providing clear objectives for the sales process , competitive analysis, and product/service positioning.

For the most part, all sales strategies involve management creating a plan for processes, practices, and goals. 

Sales strategies are not universal. Sure, you can follow some examples, but as I mentioned just above, you will have to implement your own twist in order for it to make sense and work for your customers. For that reason, a proper sales strategy relies almost completely on your target audience.

Now that we’re all on the same page about what a sales strategy is, it’s time to talk about some examples. These examples are merely here to inspire you for your own strategy. Although these strategies are proven successful for the companies I’ll mention, you will need to adapt them to your brand to have similar results.

Value-based selling – UPS

One of the more popular sales strategies recently is value-based selling. This is the process of positioning what you’re offering and the received value of your products or services. This is the opposite of selling based on the product or service alone. Focus on the benefit, not the product.

UPS does this very well. As one of the biggest shipping and logistics companies globally, they have a lot of competition constantly nipping at their heels. However, they tend to gallop ahead of the competition by providing an extra layer of value to their services and products.

UPS has built a global infrastructure for shipping, offering deals and value to businesses that other shipping companies simply can’t. They offer a wide range of shipping options for businesses, broadening their value by producing extra value for their customers. They don’t just sell shipping deals. They sell convenience, variety, simplicity, flexibility, and peace of mind.

Power-Based Principle – Apple

In the power-based principle selling strategy, the salesperson assumes the role of the expert in the industry. Instead of talking to customer service, development, or engineers to figure out a solution and sell something, the salesperson assesses the situation, provides all the necessary knowledge needed, and follows up with a solution.

Apple is the perfect example of this. If you’ve never been to an Apple store, then this is something that you may not be very familiar with. When you step foot in an Apple store, you’ll be greeted by what they call “Apple Geniuses”. These are people that know the product inside and out. They know every little detail, update, and product that Apple has to offer, and they have the power to sell it to you instantly.

These Apple Geniuses are also able to troubleshoot software issues and hardware failures. This is all to make the sales process as smooth as possible when visiting Apple. You deal with one person and one person only because they have all the power in the sale.

SPIN selling – everyone

SPIN selling is a strategy that utilizes a set of four basic questions in order to move closer to a sale. In his book titled “ SPIN Selling ,” Neil Rackham summarizes sales as simply learning to ask the right questions. He then goes on to highlight the four types of questions that you need to ask:

S – Situational

Asking situational questions gives you data that you can’t gather through research. These are questions that are unique to the lead/prospect. 

P – Problem

Asking about the problem they’re having gives you insight into their needs. It points out priority number one for them.

I – Implication

Implicational questions let you know the urgency of the situation. How soon do they need a fix?

N – Need/Payoff

Asking about what they need outside of your company gives you a general understanding of their interest independently. This provides for a solid transition to talk about features and pricing.

The idea is that each one of these questions, if asked correctly, will tell you everything you need to know about the lead, whether they qualify or not. 

No specific company is mentioned here as an example because most fortune 1000 companies use this strategy in some way or another. Because this strategy is not limited to four-set questions, it can be adapted very heavily. 

Solution Selling – Sleepnumber

Solution selling involves a process where the seller focuses on pain points and offers a solution based on the customer’s unique needs. This may sound like a generic sales strategy that every company adopts, but it has different levels to it.

Most companies have a pricing page where they focus on features. For something like a SaaS , this makes sense. Generally speaking, the features point users towards a solution.

But for physical products, it can be a little more tricky, especially if you offer a wide range of products. That being said, Sleepnumber, the mattress company, implements solution selling pretty flawlessly by asking users to take a quiz.

By answering these questions, they can direct you towards which solution they think is best for your unique pain points. This, of course, is an automated example, but it can be adapted to manual sales calls and emails. Focus on what they need and their pain points, then sell them a solution.

Challenger Selling – Cyber security

The challenger sales strategy is potentially one of the most popular sales models right now, but it’s not for everyone. Challenger selling may or may not be relevant depending on the sales rep, the situation, and the customer.

Challenger selling involves taking full control over the sale (as the sales rep) and aiming to teach the customer something new about their company. In turn, this forces the experience to be tailor-made to the situation.

Because of this, you can understand why it’s hard to nail down a specific name as an example. Instead, let’s imagine a situation based on an industry: Cybersecurity.

Remember, the goal of the challenger sales strategy is to take control of the situation by informing the customer. In cybersecurity, users may not know exactly what they need, but they know they need something. Big businesses worldwide implement some sort of security network to protect their data, but they may not understand how dire the situation can be.

Cybersecurity salespeople swoop in and inform the customer of the potential dangers and what they need to stay protected. Instead of asking, they’re telling. 

This can come off as a bit rude on paper, but in B2B , this is precisely what many business owners are looking for. They won’t care so much about the emotion of the sale. They want results.

Marketing strategy examples

  • Alternating user experience
  • Retargetting users
  • Employing user-generated content
  • Implementing loyalty rewards programs
  • Niche marketing
  • Value proposition marketing
  • Marketing as a brand, not a product

A marketing strategy is a process that marketers use to guide their various campaigns, projects, and marketing models. Much like in sales, a marketing strategy aims to structure marketing efforts, aligning the team with common goals, objectives, and processes to market to the right audience.

Think of a marketing strategy as guidelines. Marketers will reference these guidelines anytime they start a new project or create a new plan for gathering marketing qualified leads . For example, a marketing plan might be to bring awareness to a new product. A marketing strategy is what outlines the process for that plan.

At its core, marketing is nothing but promoting your brand, product, or service. It shows what you have to offer to the market in a creative way, one that stands out.

Sounds simple enough, but with the competition heating up constantly, companies are forced to step out of the box and develop new and innovative ways to get their name out there. Content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing , and many other examples were born from a need.

Depending on your company, what you’re selling, and your audience, you can utilize any number of strategies to really break into the market. It’s a matter of understanding what works and what doesn’t work and adapting to new and changing data. So for that reason, here’s a list of real companies that utilize certain marketing strategies.

Constantly alternating user experience – Spotify

Being the largest music streaming platform in the world, Spotify has to change up its marketing game constantly. They do this by marketing their differences, alternating the user experience nearly every time someone logs on to the app.

Implementing advanced algorithms and AI , Spotify tracks users’ preferences, genres, and music styles to make daily, weekly, and even yearly playlists. This, among many other things, makes Spotify unique. They play this to their benefit by making ads promoting their constantly alternating user experience. 

Retargeting campaigns – 1 800 Contacts 

Retargeting campaigns are one of the most effective lead nurturing strategies there is. So successful that it’s highly regarded as a marketing strategy that you simply cannot afford to miss out on.

The premise behind retargeting campaigns is relatively simple. Find already converted customers or leads familiar with the brand and target them again with new ads. An excellent example of this is how 1 800 Contacts does it. 

Using remarketing, 1 800 Contacts entices users after they’ve already left the website. With this ad, you can see that by simply coming back to them (in this case, the user hasn’t even converted yet), they get an additional 12% off their first order. 12% might seem minuscule compared to the prices of contacts nowadays, but it just might be the icing on the cake for indecisive shoppers.

User-generated content – Airbnb

We mentioned content marketing just above, but what about user-generated content? User-generated content is one of the most effective and powerful marketing strategies that any brand can utilize, but only if it fits the narrative.

For example, a company like CISCO might have a hard time creating user-generated content. On the other hand, a company like Airbnb has everything they need to implement this strategy. In fact, they already do!

Airbnb magazine is a publication that highlights user experiences all over the world. Think of it like a travel magazine used for marketing. Being a household name nowadays, people will see these exotic locations and experiences and instantly want to go. Ideally, they will look for an Airbnb on their journey.

The best part about this is that users submit their stories to the magazine. They’re already written! Once set up correctly, user-generated content is a powerful tool that doesn’t require much effort.

Loyalty rewards program – Starbucks

Everyone likes to be rewarded . It’s something that’s encoded in our DNA that we all love to receive free stuff, even if it means we have to purchase something beforehand.

Starbucks, one of the world’s leading names in coffee, implemented a loyalty program back in 2008, and it has raked in massive success ever since.

The idea is simple. By making purchases, you get points. Those points can be saved up to receive rewards like free drinks, snacks, and Starbucks merchandise. The more you spend, the more points you receive, and the more rewards. 

Niche marketing – Twitch

One could argue that niche marketing is just regular marketing. After all, we all know the importance of identifying your target audience. But what happens if that target is too broad? What happens if you try to market to an audience that is not specific enough? You will be spending tons on ads and other channels and not seeing enough ROI.

Nobody does niche marketing quite like the popular streaming service Twitch. Instead of aiming high and targeting anyone who might be interested in their service, they went explicitly for those who they know will be interested. They wasted zero time or money on broad audiences and instead went for niche-specific ones. 

What makes Twitch unique is that the platform itself is split into niches. You have video games, music, makeup, art, and all sorts of other subgenres that users can tune into and enjoy watching. Using this data, they were able to target those who have an interest in the niche and curate a unique ad experience just for them.

Value proposition marketing – Uber

We mentioned value-based selling above and listed UPS as one of the best examples. That being said, marketing your value proposition is also a really great marketing strategy.

What do people want? Value! How do they find out about the value that you’re selling? Marketing! And nobody does it quite like Uber.

Uber’s value proposition states it is “The smartest way to get around.” 

Without directly mentioning it, Uber markets its value based on the frustration that is traveling nowadays. Think about when you ride in a taxi. You either have to call them or hunt one down. Then you have to give them directions. Then, you typically pay with cash.

Uber takes the unnecessary pain points out of urban travel by including a convenient app with its service. The app allows you to summon a car directly to your location. Then, you use GPS to let the driver know where you’re going. Finally, you pay within the app, cashless and headache-free.

Marketing as a brand, not a product – Red Bull

Red Bull is well known for some obscure marketing strategies. One of the more famous examples is when they first launched in Europe. Instead of spending millions of dollars plastering posters and ads everywhere, they took to the streets of London.

For a time, you would see nothing but Red Bull cans “thrown away” in the recycle bins all around the city. Anytime someone would go to toss in a competing beverage, they would see some Red Bull cans in the mix. This caused people to wonder why so many Red Bulls were being consumed, giving the brand the leverage they needed to blast off in Europe.

It’s marketing strategies like this, and Red Bull’s stance on experiences give them the brand image they have now. They‘re constantly supporting athletes, racing teams, and individuals that dare to take risks, putting their brand up there with those who live life to the fullest. It’s hard to think about any world record broken in a car, airplane, or anything else with an engine that wasn’t sponsored by Red Bull in the last 10-15 years.

Tips for creating effective sales and marketing strategies

We’ve seen some amazing brands do amazing things in the examples above, but not every example will be easy to implement. I would say that none of these examples are easy to implement for any brand without doing the following few things first.

1. Set goals

No strategy, sales or marketing, will be successful if you don’t identify the goals of the strategy beforehand. You have to be specific with these goals and make sure everyone is on the same page. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself neck-deep and over budget without clear direction.

2. Find your target audience

Just in case you didn’t catch it before this paragraph, identifying your target audience in any strategy is not only a good idea; it’s detrimental to the success of your business. You need to know who you are marketing and selling to, their interests, where they are, and what they need.

3. Find your competition 

In addition to identifying your target audience, you also need to identify your competition. In doing so, you can learn more than you might think. You’ll understand what they’re doing well, what they aren’t doing so well, and how their audiences react to their marketing and sales strategies. 

4. Use the right tools for the trade

When it comes to sales and marketing, there’s seemingly an infinite amount of tools that you can use to help make the process smoother and even automate it. For example, Encharge helps you build automation flows so that you can automate the right emails at the right times. Create user profiles and even send out automated emails based on behaviors and actions taken by the prospect, lead, or customer. 

Conclusions and takeaway

Sales and marketing strategies are something that not many businesses will share. After all, if it works well for them, it can work well for the competition. For that reason, it’s hard to say what will work well for you in your unique situation.

No matter what you decide and which strategy you decide to go with from the list above, it will need to be adapted to meet the needs of your target audience. Play around a bit, see how your leads react, and make sure to stay on top of data as it comes in. Don’t be afraid to change things up!

And most importantly, make sure you have the tools that you need. You can book a demo with Encharge today to see how having the right tools makes all the difference.

Further Reading

  • 15 Non-traditional B2B campaigns – Examples & Ideas You Can Implement
  • 10 Ways to Automate Your Sales Processes

Meet your new marketing automation platform

“encharge helped us visually redesign our onboarding flow resulting in a 10% increase in our trial activation rate .", how to create a successful marketing automation strategy.

Picture this: James, a CMO at Penguin Digital, takes a look at the company’s bank account. Sweat breaks over his

How To Build a Strategic Sales Plan + 10 Examples

' src=

  • May 28, 2023

LinkedIn

Every sales team has some sort of plan, even if it’s just “sell more of the product/service that you’re employed to sell.”

A sales plan is a portfolio that includes a layout of your processes, target audience, objectives and tactics. It’s used to guide your sales strategy and predict cost and returns. 

Yet without a codified sales plan, it can be difficult to give a sales team the motivation and purpose they need to successfully engage customers and continue to generate revenue.

Not having a sales plan that’s written down and signed off on by stakeholders can lead to confusion around what sales reps should and shouldn’t be doing , which can be demotivating.

It might seem daunting or time-consuming to put together an entire sales plan, but it doesn’t need to be. Here’s how to create a thorough sales plan in 10 simple steps. 

What Is a Sales Plan? 

A successful sales plan defines your target customers, business objectives, tactics, obstacles and processes. An effective plan will also include resources and strategies that are used to achieve target goals. It works similarly to a business plan in the way it’s presented, but only focuses on your sales strategy. 

A sales plan should include the following three components: 

  • Ideas: If you use specific business methodologies, you may choose to outline key principles and examples of them in action within your sales plan. An example could be conversation tactics when pitching your product to your target customer. 
  • Processes: In order to streamline productivity and business strategy, you’ll want to make sure your processes are defined within your sales plan. Your sales team should be able to refer to the sales plan when they’re in need of direction. 
  • Tools and tactics: The most effective sales plans include not only high-level business strategies, but also step-by-step approaches for your sales team to utilize. These tools can include key conversation pieces for your sales reps to use when pitching a product or content to close out a deal. 

Solidifying a sales plan is crucial for a strong business model. Taking the time to narrow in on the components above will set you and your business up for success down the road. 

Sales Planning Process

Sales Planning Process

It’s important to keep in mind that sales planning isn’t just about creating a sales plan document. A sales plan should be a go-to item that’s used every day by your team, rather than sitting on your desk collecting dust. Creating an effective sales plan requires high-level strategy.

You should: 

  • Decide on a timeline for your goals and tactics
  • Outline the context
  • Write out the company mission and values
  • Describe the target audience and product service positioning
  • Include sales resources
  • Draw out an overview of concurrent activities
  • Write an overview of your business road map
  • Outline your goals and KPIs
  • Outline an action plan
  • Create a budget 

 Below we dive into each of these steps to create your ideal sales plan. 

1. Decide on Your Timeline

Setting goals and outlining tactics is not going to be productive if you’re not working toward a date by which you’ll measure your efforts.

Determining the timeline of your sales plan should therefore be your number one consideration. When will you be ready to kick-start your plan, and when is a reasonable time to measure the outcomes of your plan against your SMART goals?

Remember that you need to give the plan a chance to make an impact, so this timeline shouldn’t be too restrictive. However, you also want to make sure that you’re flexible enough to adjust your plan if it’s not producing the desired results.

Most sales plan timelines cover about a year, which may be segmented into four quarters and/or two halves to make it a little more manageable.

2. Outline the Context

Use the first page of your sales plan to outline the context in which the plan was created.

What is the current state of the organization? What are your challenges and pain points? What recent wins have you experienced?

Do you have tighter restrictions on cash flow, or does revenue appear to be growing exponentially? How is your sales team currently performing?

While you’ll discuss your business plan and road map later in the document, you can also outline the long-term vision for your business in this section. For example, where do you want to see the business in five years?

Tip: Comparing the current situation with your vision will emphasize the gap between where you are now and where you need to be. 

3. Company Mission and Values

It’s essential that you put your mission and values at the heart of your business. You need to incorporate them into every function – and this includes your sales plan.

Outlining your mission and values in your sales plan ensures that you remember what the company is striving for, and in turn helps ensure that your approach and tactics will support these objectives.

Remember: A strong brand mission and authentic values will help boost customer loyalty, brand reputation and, ultimately, sales.

4. Target Market and Product/Service Positioning

Next, you’ll need to describe the market or markets that you’re operating in.

What is your target market or industry? What research led you to conclude that this was the optimal market for you?

Who within this industry is your ideal customer? What are their characteristics? This could be a job title, geographical location or company size, for example. This information makes up your ideal customer profile .

If you’ve delved further into audience research and developed personas around your target market, then include them in here, too.

5. Sales Team and Resources

This step is simple: Make a list of your sales resources, beginning with a short description of each member of your sales team.

Include their name, job title, length of time at the company and, where appropriate, their salary. What are their strengths? How can they be utilized to help you hit your goals?

You should also include notes around the gaps in your sales team and whether you intend to recruit any new team members into these (or other) roles.

Tip: Communicate the time zones your team members work in to be mindful of designated work hours for scheduling meetings and deadlines. 

Then, list your other resources. These could be tools, software or access to other departments such as the marketing team – anything that you intend to use in the execution of your sales plan. This is a quick way to eliminate any tools or resources that you don’t need.

6. Concurrent Activities

The next step in creating your sales plan involves providing an overview of non-sales activities that will be taking place during the implementation of your sales plan.

Any public marketing plans, upcoming product launches, or deals or discounts should be included, as should any relevant events. This will help you plan sales tactics around these activities and ensure that you’re getting the most out of them.

7. Business Road Map

For this step, write up an overview of your business’s overall road map, as well as the areas where sales activities can assist with or accelerate this plan. You’ll need to collaborate with the CEO, managing director or board of directors in order to do this.

In most cases, the business will already have a road map that has been signed off on by stakeholders. It’s the sales manager’s job to develop a sales plan that not only complements this road map, but facilitates its goals. 

Tip: Highlight areas of the road map that should be touchpoints for the sales team. 

Ask yourself what your department will need to do at each point in the road map to hit these overarching company goals.

8. Sales Goals and KPIs

Another important part of the sales plan involves your sales goals and KPIs.

Outline each goal alongside the KPIs you’ll use to measure it. Include a list of metrics you’ll use to track these KPIs, as well as a deadline for when you project the goal will be achieved.

It’s vital to make these goals tangible and measurable.

A bad example of a goal is as follows:

Goal 1: Increase sales across company’s range of products and services.

A better goal would look something like:

Goal 1: Generate $500,000+ in revenue from new clients through purchases of X product by X date.

9. Action Plan

Now that you’ve laid out your goals, you need to explain how you will hit them.

Your action plan can be set out week by week, month by month, or quarter by quarter. Within each segment, you must list out all of the sales activities and tactics that you will deploy – and the deadlines and touchpoints along the way.

Tip: Organize your action plan by department – sales, business development and finance. 

While this is arguably the most complex part of the sales plan, this is where sales leaders are strongest. They know which approach will work best for their team, their company and their market.

Budgets vary from team to team and company to company, but whatever your situation, it’s important to include your budget in your sales plan.

How are you going to account for the money spent on new hires, salaries, tech, tools and travel? Where the budget is tight, what are your priorities going to be, and what needs to be axed?

The budget section should make references back to your action plan and the sales team and resources page in order to explain the expenditures.

6 Strategic Sales Plan Examples 

You can create different types of strategic sales plans for your company, depending on how you want to structure your sales plan. Here are a few examples.   

Customer Profile 

A customer profile outlines your ideal customer for your service or product. It will usually include industry, background, attributes and decision-making factors.  

Creating a customer profile helps narrow in on the target customer your sales team should focus on while eliminating unproductive leads.  

Buyer’s Guide

A buyer’s guide is an informational sheet that describes your company’s services or products, including benefits and features. This document is useful both for your sales team but also for a potential customer who requires more information on the product before purchasing. 

30-60-90-Day Plan

This plan is organized based on time periods. It includes outlines of goals, strategy and actionable steps in 30-day periods. This is a useful sales plan model for a new sales representative tracking progress during their first 90 days in the position or meeting quotas in a 90-day period. 

This type of sales plan is also ideal for businesses in periods of expansion or growth. It’s helpful to minimize extra effort in onboarding processes. 

Market Expansion Plan

A market expansion plan clarifies target metrics and list of actions when moving into a new territory or market. This sales plan model is typically used with a target market that resides in a new geographical region. 

You’ll want to include a profile of target customers, account distribution costs and even time zone differences between your sales representatives. 

Marketing-alignment Plan

Creating a marketing-alignment sales plan is useful if your organization has yet to align both your sales and marketing departments. The goal of the sales plan is finalizing your target customer personas and aligning them with your sales pitches and marketing messages. 

New Product/Service Plan 

If your organization is launching a new service or product, it’s best to create a sales plan to track revenue and other growth metrics from the launch. You’ll want to include sales strategy, competitive analyses and service or product sales positioning. 

Sales Plan Template

4 additional sales plan templates.

Here are some additional templates you can use to create your own unique sales plan. 

  • Template Lab 
  • ProjectManager

5 Tips for Creating a Sales Plan 

Now that you’ve seen and read through a few examples and a sales plan template, we’ll cover some easy but useful tips to create a foolproof sales plan. 

  • Create a competitive analysis: Research what sales strategies and tactics your close competitors are using. What are they doing well? What are they not doing well? Knowing what they are doing well will help you create a plan that will lead to eventual success. 
  • Vary your sales plans: First create a base sales plan that includes high-level goals, strategies and tactics. Then go more in depth on KPIs and metrics for each department, whether it’s outbound sales or business development . 
  • Analyze industry trends: Industry trends and data can easily help strengthen your sales approach. For example, if you’re pitching your sales plan to a stakeholder, use current market trends and statistics to support why you believe your sales strategies will be effective in use. 
  • Utilize your marketing team: When creating your sales plan, you’ll want to get the marketing department’s input to align your efforts and goals. You should weave marketing messages throughout both your sales plan and pitches. 
  • Discuss with your sales team: Remember to check in with your sales representatives to understand challenges they may be dealing with and what’s working and not working. You should update the sales plan quarterly based on feedback received from your sales team. 

When Should You Implement a Strategic Sales Plan? 

Does your organization currently not have a sales plan in place that is used regularly? Are you noticing your organization is in need of structure and lacking productivity across departments? These are definite signs you should create and implement a sales plan. 

According to a LinkedIn sales statistic , the top sales tech sellers are using customer relationship management (CRM) tools (50%), sales intelligence (45%) and sales planning (42%) .

Below are a few more indicators that you need an effective sales plan. 

To Launch a New Product or Campaign 

If you’re planning to launch a new service or product in six months, you should have a concrete marketing and sales strategy plan to guarantee you’ll see both short- and long-term success. 

The sales plan process shouldn’t be hasty and rushed. Take the time to go over data and competitor analysis. Work with your team to create objectives and goals that everyone believes in. Your sales plan should be updated formally on a quarterly basis to be in line with industry trends and business efforts. 

To Increase Sales

If your team is looking to increase revenue and the number of closed sales, you may need to widen and define your target audience. A sales plan will help outline this target audience, along with planning out both sales and marketing strategies to reach more qualified prospects and increase your sales conversion rate. 

Now that you’ve seen sales plan examples and tips and tricks, the next step after creating your sales plan is to reach those ideal sales targets with Mailshake . Connect with leads and generate more sales with our simple but effective sales engagement platform.

Cold Email Masterclass

  • Content Marketing
  • Practical Prospecting Podcast
  • Success Stories

Continue reading

Featured image

The Permission Slap

Featured image

The Ultimate Guide to Qualifying Prospects

Featured image

A Beginner’s Guide to SaaS Sales

Grow your revenue faster, automate all your sales outreach with mailshake..

Footer CTA

  • Mailshake Blog
  • Cold Email Masterclass
  • Cold Email Academy
  • Prospecting Podcast
  • Accelerate Newsletter
  • Follow-Up Strategy
  • Email Analyzer
  • Data Finder
  • LinkedIn Automation
  • AI Email Writer
  • Email Deliverability
  • Lead Catcher
  • Chrome Extension
  • Integrations

Mailshake LinkedIn

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.

sales and marketing strategies for 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

Apply for a loan, get started.

Loans from $5,000 - $100,000 with transparent terms and no prepayment penalty. Tell us a little about yourself, your business and receive your quote in minutes without impacting your credit score.

Thanks for applying!

Loans are originated and funded through our lending arm, Accion Opportunity Fund Community Development. By clicking “Continue to Application,” you consent to, Accion Opportunity Fund Community Development’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy ; and to receive emails, calls and texts , potentially for marketing purposes, including autodialed or pre-recorded calls. You may opt out of receiving certain communications as provided in our Privacy Policy .

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

8 Examples of Strategic Sales Plans

8 Examples of Strategic Sales Plans

Casey O'Connor

What Is a Strategic Sales Plan?

When you should implement a strategic sales plan, what to include in your sales plan, 8 examples of plans to implement your sales strategy, how yesware can help your team put your sales plan into action.

A strategic sales plan is a must-have for any business that’s looking to increase their sales, amp up their revenue, bring a new product to market, or branch into a new territory.

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about strategic sales plans: what they are, when to create one, and exactly what it needs to include. We’ll also show you a handful of real-life, tangible examples of really effective sales plan components.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

A strategic sales plan is designed to guide a sales organization through their overarching sales strategy. It provides them with access to the resources needed to prospect, pitch to, and close new accounts.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: action plan

Strategic sales plans can include any combination of the following:

  • Ideas: If you utilize a certain sales methodology — consultative selling or target account selling , for example — you might outline its key principles and a few tactical examples of it in action in your strategic sales plan. Your strategic sales plan should also include an overview of your target customer.
  • Processes: In order for your sales team to reach maximum productivity, it’s important that your sales processes are clearly defined and standardized. Your sales team — both new hires and seasoned vets alike — should be able to refer to your sales plan for a repeatable, scalable process that’s backed by solid metrics. The processes should provide direction to sales reps that allow them to contribute to the company’s goals.
  • Tools & Tactics: The best strategic sales plans are more than just high-level strategy and goals. They also include specific, step-by-step strategies that sales reps can implement in sales conversations, as well as the specific tools and content that reps need to close more deals.

Sales plans also typically spell out the organization’s revenue and overall business goals, as well as the KPIs and benchmarks that sales managers and other stakeholders will monitor to determine whether or not those goals are being met.

They should also outline management’s strategic territory design and quota expectations, with specific indicators and data to back those decisions. 

Finally, these sales plans should take into account your current team’s sales capacity, and should specifically address the acquisition plan for any resources that are not yet available but that may be necessary for future growth.

If your sales team doesn’t already have a strategic sales plan in place — that is, one that’s referenced and updated regularly, and is the product of careful data analysis and inter-team collaboration — you may want to consider creating one. 

Research shows that the majority of the highest-performing sales teams operate under a formalized, closely monitored sales structure. 

On the other hand, most underperforming sales teams lack this structure. 

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: sales structure

It’s clear that a well-defined sales plan is one of the prerequisites to optimized sales productivity and success; every salesforce should strive to create and adopt one if they want to meet their sales goals more efficiently.

That being said, there are a few key indicators that signal a need for more urgency in putting a strategic sales plan in place. 

You’re Trying to Increase Sales

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: sales pipeline

A strategic sales plan will help your sales and marketing teams align their processes so that your outreach efforts are tailored to your target audience.

You’re Looking to Amp up Your Revenue

For startups and small businesses, attaining as many new customers as possible is usually the name of the game.

For larger or more established businesses, however, the business plan may instead emphasize revenue goals. In other words, the deal size starts to matter much more than deal volume. 

A sales strategy plan can help salespeople target and nurture higher-value accounts. Sales planning can also boost your revenue by illuminating untapped potentials for revenue growth within your existing customer base through cross-selling, upselling , and referrals.

You’re Gearing Up to Launch a New Product

A sales strategy plan is crucial for businesses that are preparing to bring a new product to market.

Thoughtful sales planning will ensure your go-to-market strategy is optimized and designed for short-term and long-term success by clearly defining and speaking to the pain points of your ideal customer profile.

Strategic Sales Plan Example: Go-To-Market Strategy

One last note: for businesses that already use strategic business planning (or for those on their way after reading this article), be sure to update your plan at least yearly. Many businesses at least review their plan, if not update it more formally, on a quarterly basis.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: The Buyer's Journey

Consider including the following components in your strategic business plan.

Mission Statement

A company’s mission statement speaks to its purpose and values, as well as the strategy, scope, and standards of its business doings.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: mission statement

Consider a company’s mission statement like its North Star; it can act as a guiding force for decision-making that’s consistently aligned with the ethics and values of the company.

Industry & Market Conditions

Great sales planning cannot be performed in isolation. It’s important that your plan also takes into account the current market conditions, including any challenges, recent disruptions, or upcoming notable events.

Organization Chart

A sales org chart can range in scope from very simple, like the one above, to more complicated. Some go as far as naming individual employees and outlining their specific responsibilities. 

A detailed org chart is especially helpful for efficiently onboarding new hires.

Product Info & Pricing

No sales plan would be complete without a one-sheet that outlines the features, benefits, and value proposition of your product or service.

It’s also helpful to include information about pricing tiers, as well as any discounts or promotions available for leverage at a sales rep’s discretion.

Compensation Plan

While we have no doubt that you’ve hired only the most intrinsically motivated salespeople, remember the bottom line: cash is king.

Money is the primary motivator for most salespeople, regardless of how truly loyal and hard-working they may be.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: golden rules of sales compensation

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to include your company’s compensation plan and commission structure in your sales plan. This is a surefire way to motivate your team to continuously improve their sales performance. 

Target Market & Customer

One of the single most important components of your strategic sales plan will be your ideal customer profile and/or your buyer persona .

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: Ideal Customer Profile and Buyer Personas

Sales Enablement

With the tremendous rise in content marketing, it can be challenging for salespeople to keep track of the various materials available for generating new business.

Your strategic sales plan should direct your sales team to the many resources available to them to leverage throughout the sales cycle. It should also highlight the tools, software, CRM, and training — collectively known as sales enablement tools — available to and expected of them.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: sales enablement

Branding & Positioning

The strategic sales plan should offer at least a high-level overview of your brand and messaging specifics, including social media presence. Take the time to optimize your company’s LinkedIn presence — it’s a goldmine of new business opportunities.

Marketing Strategy

In today’s day and age, it’s unlikely that your sales and marketing team are working in isolation from one another. At a certain point, sales and marketing strategies start to flow together until they (ideally) perform in harmony.

Still, it’s important to outline the perspective of the marketing team within your strategic sales plan. This will help your salespeople fine-tune their sales pitch and speak more meaningfully to the needs of the customer. 

Prospecting Strategy

Most salespeople report that their number one challenge in lead generation is attracting qualified leads. 

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: B2B lead generation challenges

Prospecting can certainly be daunting, but it’s worth the effort to get it right. Tweak and fine-tune the process until you’re sure it’s as efficient as possible. Make sure it’s repeatable and scalable, and map it out within your sales plan.

Action Plan

Any good strategic sales plan will also include a step-by-step section, much like a playbook. Here, you’ll outline the specific tactics and processes — including scripts, demos, and email templates — that have been proven to move prospects through the sales funnel . 

Be as specific as possible here. This will act as a blueprint for the day-to-day sales activities for your team.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: SMART Goals

It can be tempting to leave the numbers with the finance department, but financial transparency can go a long way in creating a culture of trust among your sales team.

You don’t need to go through every line item in the spreadsheet, but it’s not a bad idea to include a high-level look at where the dollars are flowing. 

KPIs, Metrics, and Benchmarks

Be sure to give your team a snapshot of how they’re currently performing, with real numbers to back it up. This will help them self-initiate regular SWOT analysis of their own sales actions and processes. This will give them an opportunity to right the course if things aren’t going according to plan. 

Remember that your company’s strategic sales plan will be highly unique. It may take some time and tweaking to find the components and format that best meet the needs of your business.

Below are a few components that you might consider including in your sales plan.

Buyer’s Guide

A buyer’s guide is a short, simple information sheet that describes your product or service, its features and benefits, and its use. Below is an example of a buyer’s guide from Wayfair .

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: buyers guide

In many cases, this document is as useful internally as it is for the customer. 

Customer Profile

One way to avoid wasting time on unproductive leads is to include an ideal customer profile (ICP) in your sales plan.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: ideal customer profile

30-60-90 Day Plan

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: 30-60-90 day sales plan

Microsoft Word Sales Plan Template

Here’s a great example of a sales plan goals template , easily accessible through Microsoft Word.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: sales plan template

Battle Cards

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: Battle Cards

Territory Design

Well-designed sales territories see a 10% – 20% increase in sales productivity. Pictured below is a basic example of a territory design map.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: territory map

When designing your territories, keep in mind the following best practices .

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: territory plan

Your compensation plan (including a specific commission structure) is one way to motivate your sales reps.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: compensation plan

While it may seem controversial or sensitive, the compensation plan is an important component of a strategic sale plan.

Marketing Plan

Your salespeople should be extremely familiar with the marketing strategies your company is using to attract new leads. Here’s a great example of a template you can use in your sales plan that outlines the different campaigns at work.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: marketing plan

This kind of resource will help your reps know who to contact, when, and with what kind of content throughout the sales cycle .

Yesware is the all-in-one sales toolkit that helps you win more business. It can be an invaluable resource for putting your sales plan into action in a way that’s streamlined, productive, and intuitive.

Communication

Yesware’s meeting scheduler tool helps you skip the back-and-forth when scheduling meetings.

Meeting Scheduler integrates with your Outlook or Gmail calendar and helps your clients automatically schedule meetings with you during times of availability. New events are automatically synced to your calendar. 

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: meeting scheduler

​ It can also create meeting types for common calls, like a 30-minute intro call or a 60-minute demo call. These templates can be automatically saved and generated with custom descriptions and agendas, so everyone can come prepared. 

Prospecting

One of Yesware’s most popular features is its prospecting campaigns.

These features enable salespeople to create automated, personalized campaigns with multi-channel touches. The tool tracks communication and engagement throughout the process and helps move prospects through the pipeline with little administrative effort from the sales team.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: prospecting campaigns

Yesware’s attachment tracking feature helps you find your winning content by tracking which attachments are most often opened and read by your prospects. You can use these insights to sharpen your content and increase your engagement.

Strategic Sales Plans Examples: presentation report

The reporting and analytics tools are also extremely valuable in optimizing your sales plan.  These reports enable salespeople to use data to win more business. The feature generates daily activity, engagement data, and outcomes to show you what is/isn’t working across the board.

Try Yesware for free for 14 days to see how it can help your sales team carry out your sales plan today.

Get sales tips and strategies delivered straight to your inbox.

Yesware will help you generate more sales right from your inbox. Try our Outlook add-on or Gmail Chrome extension for free, forever!

Hit your number every month

Works on Outlook or Gmail (+ many more integrations)

Related Articles

Sales Excellence: Best Practices For Success

Sales Excellence: Best Practices For Success

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

30 Ways to Improve Individual & Team Sales Performance in 2024

How to Leverage Sales Collateral in The Buyer’s Journey [Examples]

How to Leverage Sales Collateral in The Buyer’s Journey [Examples]

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

Jenny Keohane

Sales, deal management, and communication tips for your inbox

We're on a mission to help you build lasting business relationships.

75 Kneeland Street, Floor 15 Boston, MA 02111

[email protected]

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

Filter by Keywords

10 Free Sales Plan Templates for an Effective Sales Strategy

ClickUp Contributor

February 15, 2024

Every sales team wants to win more leads and close more deals. But how do you make that happen? With a solid sales plan, of course! 

A sales plan gives your team a way to focus on your goals while taking only the necessary steps to get there. It has everything you need to win, which means it’s often a comprehensive guide—and that takes time.

And we’re guessing you’re already pressed for time. ⏲️

Fortunately, creating a plan doesn’t have to be complicated—with the right template, you can simplify the process.

That’s why we’re sharing this list of the best sales plan templates. Not only are these sales strategy templates absolutely free but they’ll also save you time so you can start closing those deals faster. ⚡

What Is a Sales Plan and Why Create One?

1. clickup sales plan template, 2. clickup sales and marketing plan template, 3. clickup sales strategy guide template, 4. clickup sales pipeline template, 5. clickup sales kpi template, 6. clickup b2b sales strategy template, 7. clickup sales calls template, 8. word sales plan template by business news daily, 9. word sales plan template by templatelab, 10. excel sales plan template by spreadsheet.com.

A sales plan is your roadmap for how to make sales effectively. Think of it in the same way that a business plan guides the strategy for your company or a marketing plan sets out how you’ll find, reach, and serve your ideal customers. 

clickup goals feature

A good sales plan sets out your sales goals , objectives, and sales activities. It considers your target audience, brand, products, services, and needs—and covers which sales tactics and strategies you’ll use to close deals, as well as which metrics you’ll use to measure success. 

Your sales plan is a practical plan that outlines who’s responsible for what, the resources you’ll need, and the overall goals you’re working toward. Without one, your sales team will feel lost and struggle to connect with your customer base.

With a strategic sales plan, though, the sales manager and the entire team will know exactly what you’re trying to achieve and the steps needed to get there. 📚

How to choose the best sales plan template

There are so many different sales plan templates out there. Some are designed for specific niche audiences, while others are more generic and easier to customize. How do you know which is the right template for you?

When you’re thinking about using a sales plan template, consider the following: 

  • Ease of use: Is the template easy to use? Will everyone in the team structure and sales planning process be able to understand it fully?
  • Customization: Can I personalize the template to match my sales goals?

targets in clickup goals

  • Collaboration: Can my sales team work on this template together?
  • Integrations: When I create a sales plan, can I integrate this template with other aspects of my sales pipeline or workflow, like task management?
  • Artificial intelligence: Can I use a built-in AI writing tool or copywriting tool to help me complete the template? Are there automation features that speed up the process?
  • Platform: Which sales app is this template for? Do I have it already, or should I invest in it? What’s the pricing like?

Asking yourself these questions will help you figure out what your needs are, so you can then choose a template to match. 

10 Sales Plan Templates to Help You Close Your Next Deal

Now that you have a better idea of what you’re looking for, let’s explore what’s out there. Take a look at our hand-picked selection of the best sales plan templates available today for Microsoft Word and sales enablement tools like ClickUp.

Create and organize tasks by team, deliverable type, priority, due dates, and approval state with the ClickUp Sales Plan Template

Smart sales teams use a sales plan to map out their route to success. The best sales teams use the Sales Plan Template by ClickUp to simplify the process and ensure they don’t leave anything out.

This template is designed with all the structure you need to create a comprehensive sales plan that can drive results. Use this template to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) business goals; plan strategies and tactics; and organize all your sales ideas in one place.

The list-style template is split into sections that cover the executive summary all the way through to specific tactics and strategies. Beneath this, you can arrange tasks and subtasks, and see the progress at a glance. View task titles, deadlines, who’s responsible, approval status, and a visual progress bar.

Use this template if you want to consolidate all your sales tasks and initiatives in one area. Add your sales tasks and tactics, then tag team members so you can see what’s happening and hold everyone accountable. ✅

Use the Sales and Marketing Template by ClickUp to set goals and collaborate on campaigns

While sales and marketing teams often work independently, sometimes it’s useful to collaborate on shared goals. With the Sales and Marketing Plan Template by ClickUp , you can organize and run your sales and marketing operations from one location.

Our collaborative template makes it easy to set sales and marketing goals and objectives, visualize your tasks, work together on sales and marketing campaigns, and track your results in real-time. View the status of your sales and marketing projects, adjust your plans, and monitor your key performance indicators (KPIs)—all from one view.

This sales and marketing plan template allows you to split your tasks into sections. The examples in the template include revenue goals, competitive analysis, and action items, but you can customize these to match your needs exactly.

View tasks beneath these categories to see at a glance whether there are any roadblocks when a task is due, and who is responsible for it.

Add this template to your collection if you want to work more collaboratively with your marketing team—especially on preparing assets for sales calls or outreach programs. 📞

The ClickUp Sales Strategy Guide Template can help you determine the right way to promote your product by answering predefined questions

Before you can plan your sales tactics, you first need to decide what your overall goals are. The Sales Strategy Guide Template by ClickUp is your go-to resource for determining your approach.

This sales process template explains the benefits of having a well-defined approach and gives you a central place to create, review, and store your own. Everyone on your team can then access your sales strategy guide to help them understand what to do when prospecting and closing deals.

Our sales goals and strategy guide template is presented in a document format. Some sections and headings allow you to split your guide into different areas, making it easier to read and understand.

Use the prompts to fill out your own strategy guide details like your target market, sales strategies, and how you’ll monitor progress.

Use this sales strategy guide template to create a resource for your team. Make it the only destination for everything your sales reps need to know to execute an effective sales plan. 📝

Track your leads and deals, applying a consistent deal qualification framework and deal process to increase sales.

Sales strategies are a must-have for any great sales team, but beyond that, you need a way to record and monitor specific tasks or initiatives. That’s where the Sales Pipeline Template by ClickUp comes in handy whether you need a visual into sales forecasting or your specific sales goals.

This sales pipeline template gives you one place to store all your daily sales-related tasks. With this template, it’s easy to work toward your sales goals, track leads, map out each step of the sales process, and organize all your tasks in one place.

You can view a task’s title, assignee, status, due date, complexity level, start date, and department—or customize the experience with your own custom fields. 

Sales KPIs are essential to measuring the success of your sales strategy.

With ClickUp’s Sales KPI Template , you and your team can create and manage goals surrounding your sales initiatives. See instantly what’s in progress and when it’s due, alongside the task’s impact level.

This allows you to identify high-priority tasks to focus on and to react quickly if it looks like there’s a roadblock.

This sales KPI template includes:

  • Custom Statuses: Create tasks with custom statuses such as Open and Complete to keep track of the progress of each KPI
  • Custom Fields: Utilize 15 different custom attributes such as Upsell Attempts, Value of Quotes, Product Cost, No of Quotes by Unit, Repeat Sales Revenue, to save vital KPI information and easily visualize performance data
  • Custom Views: Open 4 different views in different ClickUp configurations, such as the Weekly Report, Monthly Report, Revenue Board per Month, and Getting Started Guide so that all the information is easy to access and organized
  • Project Management: Improve KPI tracking with tagging, dependency warnings, emails, and more

This template gives you a simple way to see which tasks are complete or in progress, so you can monitor the progress of your project and crush your sales KPIs. 📈

The ClickUp B2B Sales Strategy Template guides you through the process of creating an effective plan and list of objectives for your sales team

While there’s not a huge difference in the way we market to business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) customers these days, it’s still useful to have specific templates for niche needs. If you’re driving sales in the B2B space, you need the B2B Sales Strategy Template by ClickUp .

Like our first sales plan template, this one gives you space to communicate your sales objectives and revenue targets, but it also introduces other areas—like market research, stakeholder analysis, customer relationships, buyer persona, and customer pain points. 

This document-style template is highly customizable so you can make it match your brand style and sales approach. Fill in each section and use the supplied prompts to complete your B2B sales strategy document even faster. 

Add this template to your collection if you’re working in B2B sales and want to approach your process in a more organized way. Use the template to build a strong sales strategy, then share it with the rest of your sales team so they know how to execute against your sales and company goals. 🎯

Sales Calls Template offers you a sales calls pipeline that helps you convert prospecting leads to your clients.

ClickUp’s Sales Calls Template is designed to streamline the sales process, from tracking contacts and calls to managing sales opportunities.

The template includes custom statuses for creating unique workflows, ensuring that every call and client interaction is accounted for. It also provides an easy-to-use Sales CRM to manage and track leads, visualize sales opportunities in the sales funnel, and keep all contacts organized.

With additional features like the Sales Phone Calls SOP Template, sales professionals can empower their teams to make every call count and close more deals. ClickUp’s Sales Calls Template is a versatile solution for sales teams, aiding in everything from daily calls to long-term sales forecasting.

An example of Word Sales Plan Template by Business News Daily

We’re big advocates of using ClickUp as the go-to place to store everything about your sales workflow, but if you’re limited to using Microsoft Word or Google Docs, then this template is a great option.

This sales business plan template has sections for your executive summary, mission statement, target customers, sales targets, benchmarks, and more. Each section has useful prompts to guide you on completing your new sales plan.

Use this template if you’re tied to using Microsoft Word and want a comprehensive guide on how to create your own sales plan or sales strategy. 📄

An example of Word Sales Plan Templates by TemplateLab

If you want a free sales plan template or want to choose from a variety of options, this collection of Word templates by TemplateLab is a good place to do that.

There’s a wide range of options available including sales process plans, lead generation plans, sales action plans, and sales report templates . Each template works with Microsoft Word, and you can customize the look and feel to match your brand or your sales goals.

Use this resource if you prefer to see a range of templates on one page, or if you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for until you see it. You can easily set your sales goals and the action steps needed to achieve them. 📃

Successful sales strategies need to be integrated with other teams—like your marketing department—to ensure your sales objectives are clear and possibly align with the overall marketing strategy too. Choose your specific sales goals, set revenue targets, and describe everything in detail with these Word sales planning and sales process templates.

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

The Excel Sales Plan Template by Spreadsheet.com is a comprehensive and user-friendly tool designed to assist businesses in developing effective sales strategies and managing their sales activities.

T his template is crafted with the aim of providing a structured framework for sales planning, enabling organizations to set clear objectives, track performance, and optimize their sales processes.

Reach Sales Goals With Free Sales Plan Templates

A strategic sales plan makes it easier to achieve your goals. Give your team the guidance and support they need with the help of a well-crafted free sales plan template.

If you’re considering making even more improvements in how you work, try ClickUp for free . We don’t just have incredible sales process templates: Our range of features and AI tools for sales make it easy for you to optimize and run your entire sales funnel and CRM system from one place. ✨

Questions? Comments? Visit our Help Center for support.

Receive the latest WriteClick Newsletter updates.

Thanks for subscribing to our blog!

Please enter a valid email

  • Free training & 24-hour support
  • Serious about security & privacy
  • 99.99% uptime the last 12 months
  • Business Essentials
  • Leadership & Management
  • Credential of Leadership, Impact, and Management in Business (CLIMB)
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • *New* Digital Transformation
  • Finance & Accounting
  • Business in Society
  • For Organizations
  • Support Portal
  • Media Coverage
  • Founding Donors
  • Leadership Team

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

  • Harvard Business School →
  • HBS Online →
  • Business Insights →

Business Insights

Harvard Business School Online's Business Insights Blog provides the career insights you need to achieve your goals and gain confidence in your business skills.

  • Career Development
  • Communication
  • Decision-Making
  • Earning Your MBA
  • Negotiation
  • News & Events
  • Productivity
  • Staff Spotlight
  • Student Profiles
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Alternative Investments
  • Business Analytics
  • Business Strategy
  • Business and Climate Change
  • Design Thinking and Innovation
  • Digital Marketing Strategy
  • Disruptive Strategy
  • Economics for Managers
  • Entrepreneurship Essentials
  • Financial Accounting
  • Global Business
  • Launching Tech Ventures
  • Leadership Principles
  • Leadership, Ethics, and Corporate Accountability
  • Leading with Finance
  • Management Essentials
  • Negotiation Mastery
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Power and Influence for Positive Impact
  • Strategy Execution
  • Sustainable Business Strategy
  • Sustainable Investing
  • Winning with Digital Platforms

How to Create a Digital Marketing Plan: 4 Steps

A business professional seated at a table with a laptop on it with the words "Marketing Strategy" and several icons.

  • 08 Feb 2024

Digital marketing is essential; it helps you connect with customers via online channels and enhance brand awareness. To ensure your campaigns succeed, you need an effective digital marketing plan and strategy.

Not all businesses understand strategic planning's importance. According to a Smart Insights report , only 17 percent clearly define their digital marketing strategies.

If you want to create a digital marketing plan, here’s an overview of what it needs and four steps to take.

Access your free e-book today.

What Is a Digital Marketing Plan & Why Is It Important?

Technology has revolutionized business, but that doesn’t mean traditional marketing tactics are obsolete.

“There are certain aspects of marketing that remain true no matter how technology changes,” says Harvard Business School Professor Sunil Gupta, who teaches the course Digital Marketing Strategy . “One of these aspects is the importance of developing a plan to effectively use your marketing resources.”

A digital marketing plan is a comprehensive strategy outlining how your company will use digital channels to promote its products and services. Unlike traditional marketing tactics, it focuses on identifying your target audience and connecting with consumers via online platforms and channels.

Your plan’s significance can’t be overstated. It provides a strategic focus while optimizing your marketing efforts and budget. More importantly, it ensures your company remains agile and responsive to market dynamics and maintains a competitive edge.

Adaptability is particularly crucial in times of uncertainty. According to HubSpot , 20 percent of marketers pivoted their established marketing plans last year due to the potential for a recession.

To help craft your digital marketing plan, here are four steps to ensuring it’s comprehensive and can weather market challenges.

A graphic with text and icons displaying 4 steps to creating a digital marketing plan: set goals and objectives, identify your target audience, define your value proposition, and establish metrics.

4 Steps to Creating a Digital Marketing Plan

1. set goals & objectives.

The first step to creating your digital marketing plan is understanding what goals and objectives are essential to succeed.

“Companies often have multiple objectives, and you’ll need to prioritize and balance these goals,” Gupta says in Digital Marketing Strategy . “Often these goals are tied to the overall strategy of the company.”

For example, if you don’t work at a big-name company, you may want to focus on brand awareness. If you’re a market leader, you may want to expand your target audience by highlighting a new or revised product or service.

The best way to determine your company’s objectives is by identifying its challenges and opportunities throughout the customer journey , which has three stages:

  • Awareness: Introducing customers to your brand or product to address a problem they have
  • Consideration: Making customers aware of your brand or product while they evaluate alternatives
  • Decision: Using information gathered during the previous stages to influence consumers’ purchasing decisions

“Which stage of the funnel you focus on and how you allocate your budget across different stages depends on the specific context of your brand and where you feel is the greatest barrier for your growth,” Gupta says in Digital Marketing Strategy .

Your company's strategic decisions hinge on which customer journey stage they pertain to. For example, to increase conversion rates at the consideration stage, you could allocate more resources to producing targeted, personalized content.

2. Identify Your Target Audience

Your digital marketing strategy is only effective if you know who you’re trying to attract. That’s why identifying your target audience —the consumers most likely interested in your products or services—is the next step to crafting your digital marketing plan.

To determine your target audience, collect data related to:

  • Demographics: General information like age, gender, and occupation that help you make implicit assumptions about customers
  • Customer behavior: Behavior patterns related to your products or services, such as purchasing history and website interactions
  • Consumer motivations: Primary motivations when making purchases, such as convenience, value, or status

You can use your insights to employ tactics like segmentation —organizing your customers into groups.

“While you can try and market a product to everyone, consumers have different needs and preferences,” Gupta says in Digital Marketing Strategy . “What appeals to one group of consumers may not appeal to another.”

By segmenting your customers, you can provide personalized experiences—even when their needs or market conditions shift.

Related: 3 Most Common Types of Customer Needs to Be Aware Of

3. Define Your Value Proposition

Once you know who to target, you can communicate your value proposition .

“If you want to convince consumers to buy your product, you need to give them a compelling reason to purchase your brand instead of a competing brand,” Gupta says in Digital Marketing Strategy .

To start, you need to know your:

  • Target audience
  • Unique value
  • Competitive set
  • Justifications for brand value

You can then combine these components into a value positioning statement:

For [target market] , [Brand X] is the only brand that offers [unique value claim] among all [competitive set] because [reason to believe] .

Digital Marketing Strategy | Develop digital marketing strategies that reach and retain customers | Learn More

According to Digital Marketing Strategy , you can analyze your value claim’s validity and potency using the three C’s of brand positioning:

  • Consumer analysis: Understanding your target audience’s behaviors, needs, preferences, and motivations.
  • Competitor analysis: Evaluating your competitors' strengths, weaknesses, and market position to enhance your strategy.
  • Company analysis: Assessing your value proposition, capabilities, resources, and performance to identify areas for strategic improvement.

Effective brand positioning requires being faithful to your value claim and ensuring it’s feasible and favorable.

“As you work to create a value proposition, remember: A brand’s position is not just defined by the brand itself,” Gupta says in the course. “A brand co-creates its position with its consumers as they interact with each other and react to emerging cultural trends.”

4. Establish Metrics

Metrics are critical to your marketing plan. Without key performance indicators (KPIs) , it can be difficult to tell whether it’s effective.

Common marketing KPIs include:

  • Impressions
  • Click through rate
  • Conversion rate

“At the simplest level, you need to measure what you set out to achieve with your marketing objectives,” Gupta says in Digital Marketing Strategy . “And certain metrics will be more relevant for specific stages of the funnel.”

For example, you can focus on metrics like impressions —the number of times your brand-specific content was displayed—to determine your strategy’s effectiveness at the awareness stage.

With a well-crafted digital marketing plan, you can use metrics to optimize your strategy as priorities shift throughout the customer journey.

Your Guide to Online Learning Success | Download Your Free E-Book

Create Your Own Digital Marketing Plan

If you want to be a more strategic marketer, you need a digital marketing plan. With one, you can solidify your company’s position, enhance your digital marketing skills , and satisfy customers.

“Determining your marketing goals, who you’re reaching, understanding the uniqueness of what you have to offer them, and how you’ll measure the value of your marketing efforts isn’t always easy,” Gupta says in Digital Marketing Strategy . “However, as you clarify these components and create your plan, you’ll have a much clearer path ahead toward identifying, acquiring, and retaining customers.”

One of the most effective ways to learn how to craft a plan is by enrolling in an online marketing course, such as Digital Marketing Strategy . Through real-world case studies and interactive exercises, you can understand how to position your brand for success.

Do you want to create a digital marketing plan? Explore Digital Marketing Strategy to discover how. If you’re interested in exploring online education but aren’t sure where to start, download our free guide to online learning success .

sales and marketing strategies for business plan

About the Author

Business Tips from SCORE: A business plan gives owners a guide to their operations

One of the sure ways of launching a business that will fail is not to plan its launch and growth.

Most budding entrepreneurs’ eyes roll back in their head when they hear “business plan.” It doesn’t have to be complicated or voluminous. It might be as simple as a one-page Business Model Canvas – BMC − plan or if needed a deeper dive with a full business plan . But there’s no better way to think through important issues and gain focus in your business than by creating a guide.

Not only will building a business plan help you get a better handle on where you are and how you’ll grow, but it’s an absolute necessity if you seek outside investment.

A business model is a way of describing how the enterprise will make money.  Strategyzer’s Business Model Canvas is a 9-block process that explores, initially, value proposition (your offer, but not what you are selling), customer segments (to whom are you making the offer(s)), communication channels (how will you reach your customer segments). Then validate your assumptions. Then follow-up with customer relationships , activities, resource and strategic partners , expenses and revenue streams . The right side of the BMC canvas focuses on the customer and market or external factors that are not totally under your control. The left side focuses on the internal that is mostly in your control. The middle is the value proposition that represents the exchange of value between your customers and your business.

Here’s an easy guide on how to build a business plan step-by-step.

Step 1: Describe the “Big Idea” in an executive summary

Think of the executive summary as an explanation of your unique selling proposition. You want someone to be able to immediately grasp what your company does and the value you bring to the market.

This section should include a mission statement, brief explanations of the products or services you plan to offer, a basic introduction of key team members and where your company is located. If you’re seeking financing, you’ll also need to include basic information about your finances and plans for use of borrowed funds.

Step 2: Conduct a market analysis

This is where you’ll get into more detail by describing your industry and where your business fits into its landscape. Some questions to answer:

  • What exactly does your business do? 
  • What do you sell and why do you sell it? 
  • Why is your product or service needed? 
  • Who’s going to benefit from the products or services you provide?

Step 3: Introduce your team with a company description

In this section, include information like the legally registered name of your company, your business address, the company’s legal structure (LLC, sole proprietorship, etc.) and key team members. 

If your company is large, consider using an organizational chart to show who’s in charge of what. Also, include any special skills or unique experience your team has that will help advance your mission.

Step 4: Describe the value of your products and services

Piggyback on what you wrote in your market analysis to give details about your products and/or services. Give a thorough explanation of what your product or service does, how it works, your pricing structure, your ideal customer and your distribution strategy.

If you have intellectual property like patents, copyrights or trademarks, mention those as well, along with any research you plan to conduct or have completed.

Step 5: Describe your “go to market” strategy with a marketing and sales plan

How are you going to acquire customers? How are you going to create loyalty? There’s no right or wrong strategy here, only the strategy that makes sense given your current circumstances, the market and your customers’ attitudes. Over time, this may evolve, which is fine!

You can describe your sales process, how you’ll initially attract prospects, how you’ll deepen that attraction into a purchase, what a typical sales cycle might look like, what happens after the sale and so on. 

Step 6: Dive into the numbers with a financial analysis

Depending on how long you’ve been in business, you may not have a lot of concrete numbers for this section. Or, you may have a lot.

If you’re a startup, you’ll have to supply financial projections — forecasted income statements and balance sheets, for example. Be detailed for the first year, breaking down your projections quarterly or, even better, monthly.

If you’re established and are writing the plan to guide your growth strategy, you should include profit and loss statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, a section for metrics like profit margin and a statement of your total assets and debts. This is also a great place to include any charts and graphs that help tell the financial story of your business. 

Step 7: If you need funding, explain why and for what 

If you’re seeking outside investment, use this section to provide details about your capital needs. How much do you anticipate needing over the next three to five years, what will it be used for, what are the terms you’re seeking, what opportunities will it allow you to exploit, and how will it help you meet your growth targets? And, don’t forget to include your “skin in the game” investment.  A critical step for lender evaluations.

Step 8: Anything else to include?

If you want to include additional information — resumes, leases, permits, bank statements, contracts, photos, charts, diagrams, etc. — include them at the end of your plan in an appendix.

Regardless of which format you select remember that a business plan is a guide, compass and companion for you to reach your business objectives.

Contributed by Marc L. Goldberg, Certified Mentor, SCORE Cape Cod & the Islands, www.score.org/capecod , 508-775-4884.  A SCORE Mentor Can Help You Build a Detailed Business Plan.  Sources: ASK Score 2023, An Easy Guide to the Business Model Canvas, Creately Blog, May 18, 2022.

  Thanks to our subscribers, who help make this coverage possible. If you are not a subscriber, please consider supporting quality local journalism with a Cape Cod Times subscription.  Here are our subscription plans.    

IMAGES

  1. Simple Marketing Plan

    sales and marketing strategies for business plan

  2. How to Form a Successful Marketing Plan

    sales and marketing strategies for business plan

  3. How to Create a Marketing Plan Template You’ll Actually Use

    sales and marketing strategies for business plan

  4. How to Create a Marketing Strategy in 5 Steps (with Examples)

    sales and marketing strategies for business plan

  5. Top 10 Most Effective Marketing Strategies To Follow

    sales and marketing strategies for business plan

  6. How to Create a Marketing Strategy in 5 Steps (with Examples)

    sales and marketing strategies for business plan

VIDEO

  1. 7 Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

  2. Top 5 Marketing Strategies for Small Business Growth in 2023

  3. SALES MARKETING STRATEGIES FOR BUSINESS GROWTH, A MUST WATCH TO AVOID MISTAKES

  4. US Marketing Strategy 😱🤫

  5. Small Business Marketing Tactics

  6. How To Make a Marketing Plan For Business

COMMENTS

  1. 22 Best Sales Strategies, Plans, & Initiatives for Success [Templates]

    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. Image Source

  2. How to Write a Sales and Marketing Plan

    A sales and marketing plan is a document that outlines strategies for creating awareness of your product or service among a defined group of prospective buyers. It also describes pricing and distribution structures that provide the highest anticipated return on investment.

  3. Sales & Marketing Strategy: The What, Why, and How of a ...

    Your Sales and Marketing strategy is your plan for reaching, engaging, and converting target prospects into profitable customers. It's the charter that guides Marketing and Sales in...

  4. Sales Strategy Guide 2024: What CSOs Need to Know

    To build a viable sales strategy, you must consider changing buyer preferences, the emergence of digital buying, virtual selling, sales technologies and more. Sales Strategy Sales Strategic Planning Capabilities Future of Sales Sales Goals Connect your enterprise strategy to specific sales initiatives

  5. Business Plan 101: Sales & Marketing

    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.

  6. 10 Steps to Create a Complete Sales and Marketing Business Plan

    The sales and marketing plan outlines everything you need to do to promote your products and generate revenue for your business. Contents Why do you need a sales and marketing plan? What to include in the marketing & sales plan? Marketing plan for your startup: The what and why Sales plan for your startup: The what and the why

  7. How to Write a Sales and Marketing Plan

    Updated January 3, 2024 Download Now: Free Business Plan Template 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.

  8. 16 Effective Marketing Strategies To Boost Sales In 2023

    9. Leverage PR To Boost Your Reputation (And Customers' Confidence) PR is a key driver to boost sales and is a strong ally to sales and marketing. In turbulent or blurry times, more than ever ...

  9. How to Write a Great Business Plan: Sales and Marketing

    How to Write a Great Business Plan: Sales and Marketing The sixth in a comprehensive series to help you craft the perfect business plan for your startup. Expert Opinion By Jeff Haden,...

  10. How to Develop a Complete Sales and Marketing Strategy

    You'll learn: What sales and marketing are. How to develop a sales and marketing strategy. How to align them to maximize growth and productivity. Let's begin! Contents Building a sales and marketing strategy to create alignment and increase revenue Why is it important to have a sales AND marketing strategy? Understanding the competitive landscape

  11. How to Create a Winning Marketing Plan [With Examples] [2023] • Asana

    Example: If your target audience is executives that spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, focus your social media strategy around placing branded content on LinkedIn. 5. Differentiate with creative content. Forty-nine percent of marketers say visual images are hugely important to their content strategy.

  12. Sales Plan

    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. ... Prospecting and lead generation: Your marketing strategy should deliver leads, but sales reps should boost this volume ...

  13. How to present a sales and marketing strategy in a business plan?

    Ready? Let's get started! What is the objective of the marketing and sales strategy of your business plan? What information should I include in the marketing and sales strategy section of my business plan? How long should the marketing and sales strategy of your business plan be? Example of a marketing and sales strategy section in a business plan

  14. How to Write a Sales Plan

    2. Assess the current situation. The next step is to create an honest overview of your business situation in relation to the goal you set in the first step. Review your strengths and assets. Take ...

  15. 12 Sales and Marketing Strategy Examples from Real Companies

    25 May, 2022 12 Sales and Marketing Strategy Examples from Real Companies Zachary McDaniel No matter how big or small, every business needs a sales and marketing strategy. Depending on how much experience you have in either field, that task can sound daunting. There's no need to worry! You do not have to reinvent the wheel.

  16. How To Build a Strategic Sales Plan + 10 Examples

    Sujan Patel May 28, 2023 Every sales team has some sort of plan, even if it's just "sell more of the product/service that you're employed to sell." A sales plan is a portfolio that includes a layout of your processes, target audience, objectives and tactics. It's used to guide your sales strategy and predict cost and returns.

  17. Business Plan Section 6: Sales and Marketing

    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

  18. 8 Effective Sales Strategies, Examples, and Best Practices for

    Updated December 06, 2023 Ready to take your revenue to new heights? See Clari in action Are you confident in your sales strategy—or is it lackluster? Learn how to perfect your sales strategy, foster customer loyalty, and optimize your sales process.

  19. How to Lead a Strategic Marketing Plan Successfully

    Your marketing strategy is the core of your strategic marketing plan. It outlines how you will achieve your goals and objectives through the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion.

  20. 8 Examples of Strategic Sales Plans

    30-60-90 Day Plan. The concept behind a 30-60-90 day plan is simple: it outlines the strategy, goals, and action steps goals for the first 30/60/90 days of a new sales territory or a new sales position. This kind of document is especially helpful for companies in periods of growth or expansion.

  21. 10 Free Sales Plan Templates for an Effective Sales Strategy

    Take a look at our hand-picked selection of the best sales plan templates available today for Microsoft Word and sales enablement tools like ClickUp. 1. ClickUp Sales Plan Template. Create and organize tasks by team, deliverable type, priority, due dates, and approval state with the ClickUp Sales Plan Template.

  22. 2024 Digital Marketing Strategy Guide

    A digital marketing strategy is the plan you have for your marketing campaign. It looks at demographics, product benefits and platforms to find success. The digital marketing campaign is the ...

  23. The 48 Best Marketing Tools for Every Business (2024)

    Pricing: HubSpot offers free customer relationship management (CRM), marketing, sales, and customer service tools. The actual Marketing Hub plans start at $45 per month for 1,000 marketing contacts. The next tier plan starts at $800 per month for up to 2,000 marketing contacts and significantly more features.

  24. E- Commerce Marketing In 2024: The Ultimate Guide

    E-commerce marketers can use several strategies—from social media marketing and paid advertising to content marketing—to help companies increase brand awareness, heighten customer retention ...

  25. How to Create a Digital Marketing Plan: 4 Steps

    Create Your Own Digital Marketing Plan. If you want to be a more strategic marketer, you need a digital marketing plan. With one, you can solidify your company's position, enhance your digital marketing skills, and satisfy customers. "Determining your marketing goals, who you're reaching, understanding the uniqueness of what you have to offer them, and how you'll measure the value of ...

  26. How to build a successful business plan in eight steps

    A business plan is a guide, compass and companion for you to reach your objectives. ... Step 5: Describe your "go to market" strategy with a marketing and sales plan.

  27. 30 Emerging Technologies That Will Guide Your Business Decisions

    This theme focuses on making the right business and ethical choices in the adoption of AI and using AI design principles that will benefit people and society.. Human-centered AI (HCAI) is a common AI design principle that calls for AI to continuously benefit from human input. Behavioral analytics refers to session-tracking capabilities that monitor user interactions with a protected service to ...