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Business Plan Guide:
7. Marketing Strategies, Sales Plans & Projections

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This section follows on from 6. Profiles of Target Markets and presents your proposed marketing strategies and detailed sales plans and projections.

Suggested Length & Structure:

· Devote up to 3-5 pages for this section. Allow about two pages for a basic/short plan by covering all key issues below in a series of short paragraphs.

· We recommend that you adhere to the suggested subsections to ensure that all key issues are covered.

In simple terms, you need to cover the 4Ps - product, price, place and promotion - and compile detailed revenue and marketing cost projections for inclusion in 11. Financial Projections.

Avoid at all costs , generalized statements like "we aim to achieve xx% of the xx market within three years". Instead, build up your projections from sound analysis and detailed assumptions about sales volumes to be achieved at customer/outlet levels. By way of a conclusion to this section, you could explain that these projections, if realized, could result in specified market shares being attained. To propose that your business will achieve a specified market share without relevant, detailed analysis and planning betrays a very poor appreciation of the basics of business and marketing.

Note: Free-Plan, a comprehensive 150-page Business Plan Guide and Template based on this business plan guide, can be downloaded for free here.

 
 
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7.1. Key Marketing Strategies

Summarize your proposed high-level marketing and sales strategies for market entry/development by describing the most critical actions and programs. These could include the following:

  • Key markets e.g. For 200XX we will concentrate on the xx market and in the following year we plan to open outlets in the xx market.
  • Primary products e.g. From the outset we will offer ten product variations.
  • Main sales methods e.g. We will use a combination of sales agents and online promotion.

You only need to present high-level, scene-setting strategies to explain the fundamentals: use the balance of this section to present the detail.

7.2. Marketing/Sales Plans & Resources

You should cover the following:

  • What are the initial market entry/development tactics?
  • How will your business market its products/services and sell them to customers? Indicate plans for marketing, selling, promotion, advertising, representation etc.
  • How will your products be presented to customers? Discuss packaging, physical distribution, sales support and product support and forecast the related costs.
  • Following on from 5.4. Pricing Plans in 5. Product/Service Descriptions, explain the shorter term pricing policies and credit terms (be realistic!). What discounts will apply and to whom? Will there be bad debts or returns, and what provisions should be made?
  • What will be the end-user prices? Assess the competitiveness of your business's offerings in terms of price, quality, features etc. at the level of sales outlets or end-users.
  • How will you deal with the competitors? How might they respond?
  • What are your contingency plans in the event of sales targets not being fully realized?

7.3. Marketing/Sales Expense Projections

Based on 7.2 Marketing/Sales Plans & Resources above, use this section to present and explain projections for marketing/sales personnel and expenses. A table along the following lines could be used as a summary:

Years to end xxMonth:

20XX

20XX

20XX

20XX

Head count - marketing staff

 

 

 

 

Head count - sales staff

 

 

 

 

Head count - total marketing & sales

 

 

 

 

Average payroll cost/person ($000)

 

 

 

 

Total payroll cost ($000)

 

 

 

 

Travel & subsistence expenses ($000)

 

 

 

 

Marketing/sales expenses - XX ($000)

 

 

 

 

Marketing/sales expenses - XX ($000)

 

 

 

 

Marketing/sales expenses - XX ($000)

 

 

 

 

Marketing/sales expenses - XX ($000)

 

 

 

 

Marketing/sales expenses - XX ($000)

 

 

 

 

Total payroll & expenses ($000)

 

 

 

 

If addressing multiple markets or selling disparate product ranges, you should probably compile separate tables for each and then aggregate them.

Place detailed calculations and explanations in an appendix.

7.4. Sales Forecasts

Use this section to present sales (volumes and prices) projections for your various market segments and products/services.

In arriving at the projections, account needs to be taken of the market-size projections in 6.5. Medium-Term Projections in 6. Profiles of Target Markets, the proposed marketing/sales plans and the impact of competition as well as customer/user buying patterns, conversion rates and lead times.

Projections should be monthly (for at least one year ahead and especially if the business is seasonal) and either quarterly (much better) or annual thereafter.

Use a simple table along these lines to present key data. Include details in appendices.

Years to end xxMonth:

20XX

20XX

20XX

20XX

Key Offering/Market #1
- Sales volumes
- Selling prices
Total Sales ($000)

 

 

 

 

Key Offering/Market #2
- Sales volumes
- Selling prices
Total Sales ($000)

 

 

 

 

Key Offering/Market #3
- Sales volumes
- Selling prices
Total Sales ($000)

 

 

 

 

Combined total sales ($000)

 

 

 

 

As a further example, the following table and chart showing shorter term projections for 4 product groups were copied and pasted directly from Exl-Plan's built-in Textual Summary Report (more information) as “pictures”.


This table was "pasted in" as picture from Exl-Plan, PlanWare's Excel-based financial planner.



This chart was "pasted in" as picture from Exl-Plan, PlanWare's Excel-based financial planner.

Finally, review your marketing and sales plans and ask how confident are you that the projected sales levels and market shares will be achieved. If in doubt, develop and (briefly) present alternative scenarios and approaches in 7.6 Worst Case Scenario below.

7.5. Market Share Projections

Refer back to the 6.5. Medium-Term Projections in 6. Profiles of Target Markets for target markets and the 7.4. Sales Forecasts above and set out simple tables (or charts) showing how your business's market share will evolve and seek to justify this based on the caliber of your offerings, marketing strategies, sales plans and expenditure. For example, explain clearly why you might expect to secure a 10% market share while accounting for just 2% of your competitors' combined marketing expenditure and effort.

7.6. Worst Case Scenario

Consider a "worst case" scenario where sales volumes and/or prices undershoot your primary 7.4. Sales Forecasts above. Explain the basis for this scenario and summarize its implications in a simple table.

Years to end xxMonth:

20XX

20XX

20XX

20XX

Key Offering/Market #1
- Sales volumes
- Selling prices
Total Sales ($000)

 

 

 

 

Key Offering/Market #2
- Sales volumes
- Selling prices
Total Sales ($000)

 

 

 

 

Key Offering/Market #3
- Sales volumes
- Selling prices
Total Sales ($000)

 

 

 

 

Combined total sales ($000)

 

 

 

 

Referring back to the 6.5. Medium-Term Projections in 6. Profiles of Target Markets for target markets and the primary 7.4. Sales Forecasts above, discuss the impact of this "worst case" scenario on the 7.5. Market Share Projections above.


Additional Help

The Exl-Plan range of Excel-based financial planners can be used to generate detailed sales forecasts and related cost budgets as part of the process of developing fully-integrated financial projections (income statements, cash flows, balance sheets etc.) for up to seven years ahead.

The Plan Write Market Planner is very suitable for developing a detailed marketing and sales plan to complement a business plan. The Plan Write Business Planner and Plan Write Expert Business Planner both contain extensive sections devoted to the marketing and sales aspects of a business plan.

The Quick Insight software package is an expert system for evaluating business proposals. It could help assess your position relative to competition and identify possible strategies. The more powerful and sophisticated Business Insight will allow you to explore your market position and analyze the competition in considerable detail as a precursor to devising and testing possible marketing strategies.


Strategic, Marketing & Sales Planning Tools
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  Plan Write for Sales
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  Plan Write for Hi-Tech Marketing
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  Plan Write for Pricing
Expert system for determining optimal pricing and writing a comprehensive pricing plan.
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  Insight for Sales Strategy
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* To download & use now. Special bundles of packages available for managers, consultants and entrepreneurs. More info
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