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November 20, 2012

Get prepared… part 3 of a 5-part series on how to create your marketing & sales plan for 2013

In last two weeks, we discussed the first two phases of the marketing & sales plan process:  Phase 1 – Conducting your Background Review & Analysis; the results of which lead to Phase 2 – Developing your Marketing Strategies.

Phase 3 is about Creating the Marketing & Sales Plan.  It starts with determining which tactics are the best ones to support the strategies. This is where all of the details are spelled out for your action plan – the what, who, when, how many, how much, how often and so on.   Yes, there is a lot of detail to manage here… but without it, you’ll be flyin’ by the seat of your pants.

And it all begins with writing down the details of the marketing tactics.  Use this guideline:

  • Name of tactic
  • Brief description
  • Who is responsible? (Internal personnel and external vendors)
  • Timing and/or Frequency
  • Quantities
  • Costs
  • Measurement – how will you measure this?
  • Measurement – what results do you expect?

On the sales side, think about:

  • Defining sales territories (by geography, by client size, by industry vertical, etc.)
  • New sales vs. account management
  • Tactical plans for strategic accounts
  • Pipeline tracking
  • Cross-selling/up-selling opportunities
  • New products/services

Next, revenue goals generally come from one of two sources:

  • Top-down – what the senior executives say it has to be
  • Bottom-up – what the sales and marketing staff say they can achieve

The final revenue goal is generally found somewhere in the middle, based on breaking down the overall goal into smaller bites: revenue from existing clients, revenue from new clients, revenue from new products, revenue from key clients, revenue by territory, etc.

Lastly, there are several ways to set a marketing & sales budget for your firm… but the most common is generally tied to some percentage of revenue.  Your guidelines will be self-imposed, but most we see are in the ‘5-10% of revenue’ range.

A final (and very important) note:  Tactics, goals and budget are not linear.  You can’t simply do one, then the next and the next.  An equilibrium (Tactics ↔ Budget ↔ Goals) will need to be found and it works like this:

  • You select which tactics you want to employ to achieve your goal…
  • Which determines how much money you’ll need to spend.
  • If that amount is too high, you’ll need to go back and eliminate/reduce some of your tactics…
  • Which in turn will lower your goal.

And it goes back and forth until you settle on a tactics/budget/goals solution that works for everyone.

This can be a daunting task, particularly the first time you go through it.  But embrace the process and you’ll gain a competitive advantage the almost no other firms have.

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