How to Create a Simple Sales and Marketing Plan

Many small businesses and nonprofits don’t have a marketing plan because they don’t think they need one, don’t have the time to create it, or don’t know how. But creating a plan doesn’t have to take a lot of time–in fact, it can save you time, because you’ll stop doing things that aren’t meeting your goals (hello, Facebook!).

Here’s a simple example of a sales and marketing plan.

Intersection of Marketing Ave and Strategy StreetCreating Your Plan
My simple sales and marketing plan has six components: goals, target(s), strategies, tactics/messages, calendar, and measurement. (If you’re creating a business plan or seeking financing, you’ll need a more detailed strategy with other sections, such as market analysis, product, pricing, distribution, branding, and competition, but, honestly, if your business is a going concern and you don’t have time to do a full plan, my six components will get you where you need to go.)

Make sure your goals are specific and measurable. For example, set a target figure for the year. But you also need to break your goals down into smaller sales objectives. If you’re going to go after lapsed customers, you should know exactly how many people are on that list and set a target number–say 10%–who will buy from you again.

Multicolored targetTarget(s)
Your target audiences are the types of people or organizations that you’re trying to reach. The people in each target group should have common needs, motivations, and habits, so you can reach them using the same messages (such as “we’re family-friendly!”) and the same tools or channels (such as a website for parents of young children). You’ll probably need to reach more than one target group to achieve all of your goals.

Strategies, tactics, and messages
Your strategies should be designed to attract a specific target group with a compelling offer that meets their interests and needs. If your non-profit wants to appeal to young adults, events where they can meet like-minded people will probably appeal to them, and a Facebook events page will make it easy for them to invite others. A message about how their participation will make a difference is likely to resonate with them.

Google Analytics chart
Google Analytics chart

Calendar and Measurement
Your calendar must specify which activities you’ll do daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly to reach your goals. You may even need to specify the time of day. The measurement section must specify how you’ll track results and compare the effectiveness of each tactic. If you can’t calculate the number of contacts or amount of time and money it takes to attract or retain your customers or clients, you won’t be able to compare which tactics are most effective.

Ready to start? Click here for a free sales and marketing plan template.

Top image by csjedwar, center image by tj scenes, both licensed by Creative Commons.