Search by keywords:
Search resources by: Competency
Content Format


Not a member? Sample unlocked content here.

Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=sales planning'>sales planning</a>
Sales Strategy
Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

Although many people use the terms “sales plan” and “marketing plan” interchangeably, they are in fact (or should be) two very distinct documents. One simple way to outline the differences is to think of the marketing plan as the macro view, whereas the sales plan is the micro… however both plans are working towards the same overall company revenue goals and targets.

The purpose of a marketing plan is to identify your target market and outline the strategies you will use to build awareness, advertise and ultimately sell to them. The purpose of a sales plan is to identify how exactly you will meet your revenue goals, outlining the strategies you will use to sell your products and services to your customers. In a way, you might like to think of your company’s marketing efforts as the bait that lures the fish toward the rod, whereas your company’s sales efforts are the fisherman who actually reels them in.

The Marketing Plan
As mentioned above, your marketing plan is the strategy map for how you will reach your customer base.  The first step in devising a marketing plan is to understand who your target market is. Then, once you have identified this target market, the marketing plan must layout which strategies you will use to create brand awareness, get brand recognition, and advertise your product/services to the right audience. 

Essentially, it defines how you can differentiate your product or service (what are its unique selling points and benefits) and make it stand out in a crowded marketplace (how does it solve a particular problem better than any other solution out there). Your marketing plan will also identify the appropriate channels (e.g., print, email, social media, television, etc.) for promoting your products or services.


The Sales Plan
While the marketing plan looks at identifying the target market and creating awareness, the sales plan is focused explicitly on achieving conversions. The two plans are directly related: the intel from your marketing plan about to whom you are selling, and what will make your product or service stand out from the crowd, will feed your sales plan.

The sales plan itself, however, will have a narrower focus and gets into the nitty-gritty: a month-by-month forecast of the number of sales you need to achieve in each territory and precisely what you are going to do to get there. Excellent sales planning is integral to sales success. It encompasses past sales, market issues, who your ideal customers are, and how you’re going to find, engage and sell to them.

As you can see, a sales plan and a marketing plan are clearly connected and must be aligned for your company to achieve sales success. Many businesses fall into the trap of neglecting marketing efforts and putting resources solely into a sales-focused approach. This places too heavy a burden on the sales team, often resulting in a need to slash prices or rely on promotions. When marketing and sales work together to create a product-focused approach - highlighting your product or service’s benefits and how it solves a business need - your marketing plan will reel your customer’s in and make it easier for your sales rep to close the deal.

This content is exclusive for CPSA members

Become a Member

Already a member? Login to see full the article.

About the author:

Related Resources

Need to get in touch with us?
Toll free number
1 888 267 2772
Membership Access
Sign in or join us to unlock over 3,000 tools, resources and more!