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Guide to Writing a Sales and Marketing Plan

Business Insights

A sales and marketing plan is essential to any small business’s success, without one a business may struggle to have measurable and achievable goals in place. The right sales and marketing plan clearly identifies everything from who the target customers are to budget. When done correctly, it can serve as a roadmap for the growth of a small business.

Defining the Sales Versus Marketing Plan

While a sales plan is closely related to a marketing plan or business plan, ideally, they are all viewed separately to meet both short-term and long-term objectives. Both types of plans should identify the following: target market, sales objectives, timelines, budget, pricing strategy, market positioning, business goals, and promotion strategy. Note that a sales and marketing plan can also be directly integrated into a business plan.

Start with Goals

Begin by writing your goals down; this will significantly increase the probability that the goals get achieved. Follow the SMART rule when setting goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Ideally, this is the starting point to developing the sales and marketing plan.

Formulate a Mission Statement

A mission statement should define your small business by summarizing the business goals, target market, and what sets it apart from the competition. The mission statement should encompass a unique selling proposition, or USP for short; this is meant to be the differentiator between your business and your competitors.

Create an Executive Summary

While typically crafted upon the conclusion of writing the sales and marketing plan, this critical synopsis should be one of the first items that someone sees when reading the plan.

Conduct Market Research

Look at where your small business currently stands in the marketplace, then thoroughly research the competitor space and determine what they are doing in both online and offline marketing channels. Define who your ideal customer is, where the best location is to reach them, and how to gain their business by differentiating your product or service in the space. Are your customers predominately on social media, on a mobile device, or do they respond better to other forms of marketing done offline? Carefully examine any market trends that could affect your business.

Market Overview and Analysis

This section is where the distribution channels come into play as well as what the sales trends are. The 4 P’s is a useful technique when writing this section. These are a Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Look at the overall positioning and confirm that the pricing structure will support it. In the small business arena, the promotion is typically what makes the majority of the strategy.

Identify a Budget

Without a budget firmly in place, it’s difficult to create a sales and marketing plan on an annual basis. Therefore, this is a crucial element. It should outline both the projected costs as well as the expected revenues.

Following the Plan

Many small business owners get so carried away in the day-to-day management of the business that they neglect to merely put together a sales and marketing plan that is designed to put a strategy in place to guide the company to stay consistent in reaching current goals but also build new objectives to attain. The implementation of the plan should explicitly be laid out and followed in the best possible manner. The sales and marketing plan is meant to serve as an actionable roadmap, but without action the plan will fall short in driving both existing business and gaining new business.

Measurement and Controls

The last step in writing a sales and marketing plan is perhaps the most important, identifying measurement and controls. This section should allow an in-depth method to monitor progress. This is also where ROI (or Return On Investment) comes in so that a small business can continuously track the overall financial development of the plan.

A well-thought-out sales and marketing plan will allow a small business to set the foundation for converting leads and retaining customers. Without a solid plan in place, there tends to be a lot of wasted time, missed opportunities, and lost revenue.

The views expressed herein are those of Megan Rutherford, as of the date above and are subject to change. This publication is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as a recommendation for any specific insurance product or service. Information has been collected from sources believed to be reliable, but has not been verified for accuracy. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Bryn Mawr Trust, its directors, officers, affiliates, and/or any/all of the contributors to this site. It does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described herein and assume no liability for your use of this information.

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