Strategies and Tactics

Strategies and Tactics

As the end of the year approaches, the time has come to begin formulating an advertising sales plan for 2013. I’m certain publishers and ad directors will be asking you for a snapshot of how you expect your sales territory to perform next year, so here’s a quick and easy template to keep you on track and ensure you’ll hit your quotas.

Sales plans should be simple yet concise. They paint a picture of how you expect to grow your existing business, acquire new business, and exceed your sales quota. Personally, I’ve always used a revenue ratio of 60/40 when developing a sales plan – meaning that 60% of your revenue will come from existing business through incremental sales and 40% will come from newly acquired business.

As such, there are four basic parts of my sales plan template:

  1. Existing Business Growth Strategies
  2. Existing Business Growth Tactics
  3. New Business Acquisition Strategies
  4. New Business Acquisition Tactics

Many people confuse the words strategies and tactics as being one in the same, but there is a distinct difference between them. Here is how I define each as it applies to a successful sales plan:

  • Strategies: Actions necessary to accomplish your plan.
  • Tactics: The steps necessary to accomplish your actions.

Although we all represent different newspapers in different communities across the state, overall revenue figures will vary greatly so I will leave out sales numbers. However, here is a very simple sales plan to get you started that you can then expound upon based on your individual needs:

Existing Business Growth

     Strategy: Develop a client “touch point” program
     Tactic: Contact existing clients no less than 1x per month to inquire about their business
     Tactic: Have coffee with at least 2 clients per month and invite a new prospect to join you
     Tactic: Create and send a monthly email “newsletter” that highlights your newspaper products and services
     Tactic: Conduct simplified “needs analysis” with 5 clients per month to confirm how you can help them
     Tactic: Meet the top executive/owner/primary decision maker at each of your client’s businesses

New Business Acquisition 

     Strategy: Develop a qualified list of prospects
     Tactic: Make no less than “x” cold calls to new prospects each week
     Tactic: Make no less than “x” face-to-face contacts with new prospects each week
     Tactic: Create no less than 10 proposals each week
     Tactic: Make no less than 5 presentations each week
     Tactic: After a successful new business ad campaign, ask your client for 3 personal referrals


The most important thing (besides creating a sales plan in the first place) is to keep it on your desk and refer to it often to ensure you’re tracking towards achievement of your business goals and sales quota. Also, don’t be afraid to revise your business plan as internal and external factors in the marketplace change. It can be an invaluable document to review with your publisher or ad director once per quarter to demonstrate your knowledge of your sales territory and show that you’re making every effort to become a top sales performer!

Have a terrific week,

If there are specific topics you’d like to see discussed in a future issue of The Sales Cycle, please contact me at 612-278-0223 or