All of us as safety and business professionals, have found the need either occasionally or frequently to gather support to a major project or task. We find ourselves in these situations, acting as "salespeople" presenting our "product/service" of safety to customers in the organizations that we work. Our responsibility is to determine the needs of these customers and how we can provide support for them to achieve their desired success. To meet those needs and goals, large or small, some level of a systematic plan should be used. The plan and we as the leader of the effort to develop, implement and sustain it should be flexible. This is so our efforts can survive all of the possible changes, whether desired or not, that are always part of the process.

There are a variety of tools available to assist in helping assure the successful completion of our safety efforts with our customers. One of those is applying the format of traditional business marketing and sales plan to implement the project or plan in question.

One of the key questions that we have to ask before using this format is "Why"? There are a variety of answers to this question. It provides a foundation from which projects or programs can be successfully built. A "mission statement" or "corporate vision" is included within this format, helping maintain a reference and clear understanding of the overall existing business goals. In a usual marketing and sales plan, it is developed looking at a 3-year implementation, but this can be adjusted to the scope of the specific project. This format helps blend a marketing style with your safety and business goals. It helps clarify roles, responsibilities and realistic work schedules, along with establishment of an appropriate budget.

Developing a marketing plan for your safety efforts also creates a framework, focus and motivation for creative thinking. Through the planning process you discover and create strategies and tactics for success. The planning process also helps uncover the possible opportunities and threats your efforts may face along the way. Lastly, it provides a framework and guideline that allows the evaluation of the project from beginning to end.

There will be several basic requirements of your marketing and sales plan for safety. First, there have to be measurable and specific objectives. Next, realistic and attainable goals have to be defined, with workable programs to support them. The plan has to be based on what your customer wants or needs. Above all, the plan has to be simple, clear and precise. You assure that clarity by reviewing the plan with your customers to confirm that it truly serves their needs. The plan has to be consistent with the organizations objectives and also determine who is accountable.

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