Marketing and Sales

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You don't have a business if you can't find some customers.

So you will need to include in your business plan your overview of the marketing and sales strategies and tactics you will be using to build your business.  When you developed your Market Analysis, you covered a section on Landscape Industry Description and Outlook where you discussed your target customer and the rate of growth for your business.

By focusing on your target customer and market segment you have begun building your marketing plan. You have discussed in the Services and Product Lines section the specific services and product you intend to offer and you have clearly articulated your unique selling proposition.

Marketing

  • Market penetration strategy - Since you have already defined your target customer segment you need to state what your customer acquisition strategy is going to be. Broadly outline how you are going to go about acquiring and retaining these customers.
  • Growth strategy - A growth strategy can be as ambitious as franchising your business and acquiring companies or a simpler discussion on how you will be able to add additional crews to handle more business.
  • Go To Market Strategy - How will you deliver your unique selling proposition and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage?  Think about your offering(s) in total, quality, pricing and what makes you different and better for your target.  Focus on your company and customers while keeping in mind the competition's offering and positioning as your write it down.
  • Communications strategy - How you effectively communicate with your customers will be a combination of different tactics.  Write down every form of communication you think you will need to develop and implement going forward. This will most likely include company brochures, presentation materials, a company website, personal sales, public relation efforts and even business cards, yard signs and door hangers.

Sales

  • Sales force strategy - After you complete the above, you need to write down how you will train, recruit and develop a sales force even if today that is just you! If you are a going to hire sales personnel you need to write down how you believe you are going to compensate those people.
  • Sales activities and processes - When you hire a sales force what activities are you going to expect them to accomplish? You will need to think about how they will be measured. You will need to develop processes for your company that sales people will be able to follow and implement within your company. For your business plan, write down the expected number of prospects your sales people will be expected to work each week, and what you anticipate their closure rate to be.  Provide your best estimate on what the average sale volume of a sales person will be and how their compensation will be determined.  Focus on rewarding profitable sales not just gross sales volume.

When you or a potential investor is done reading the marketing and sales section of your business plan, they should be able to have a clear understanding that you have a marketing plan you want to put in place, and that there is a clearly defined role that the sales person will provide within a framework of written processes.