http://www.paloalto.com - This session covers your initial plan setup, built-in help and guidance, financial forecasting, formatting, and publishing your plan (printing & exporting).
Okay now everybody should see Marketing Plan Pro on this screen. And this is just the start a plan screen for Marketing Plan Pro. I’m going to bring up the chat panel so I can watch for any questions. I’ll keep the teleconference unmuted through the entire demo so as long as there's not any background noise and everything if you do have any questions I’ll keep the conference unmuted so go ahead and ask the question. You don't have to wait until the very end or if I go past something too fast and you want me to give you a little bit more detail feel free to interrupt with the question. So this is the start a plan screen for Marketing Plan Pro eleven. you have two options at this screen and that's to create a new marketing plan which will give you a brand new plan with no information in it but it will include all of the examples and instructions that you need to create your entire marketing plan or you can choose to open an existing plan if you're already working on a marketing plan from another computer and you need to bring it over to this computer you can click more here and then browse to wherever your marketing plan is saved and then select it and open it. And then you'll have it on this computer as well. At the bottom of this screen are just a couple of quick links to help resources for the software. So if you want to watch the introductory movie which kind of guides you and introduces you to Marketing Plan Pro you can click this link. It’ll open up a window and play a little flash movie for you it's about five minutes long. And then we have the .pdf file that's the getting started guide that kind of walks you through the initial use of the software to get you used to some of the features. That’s also really good if you have the time and really want to do that. So what we're gonna do for today is we're gonna choose to create a new marketing plan so I can kind of demonstrate starting from scratch here. It’s gonna take a moment to prepare that marketing plan file. And let me bring it over to the screen where we can see it here. It’ll take a moment to prepare that marketing plan file. and then it'll just open up the program and display the plan set up wizard so it kind of guides us through setting up this plan for our initial use and this entire program is gonna be filled with wizards like this that just gives you some information about what you're going to add. Then you click the next task and it starts to take action on the actual plan. And here's another link to that introductory movie if you missed it on the start a plan screen but we'll go ahead and get right started. So the very first question here is going to be about what type of marketing plan you need to create with the software at this time. And all of these questions in the plan set up can be changed later. So you can start with a really simple plan here if you need to get a plan ready for a meeting or get out the door with a plan really quickly. And then later you can come back and change to one of the more advanced plans if you need to do a more detailed marketing plan at a later time. So the thirty minute plan is just the basics. A really simple marketing plan that you can get done quickly in about thirty minutes if you have all of the information right at hand. a basic plan is a scaled down marketing plan kind of a standard plan with just enough information for you that takes a little longer to complete. And then a standard the actual standard plan contains all the extra information you need for a really detailed marketing plan. So you can change this option at anytime. You just pick the option that you want to start with and then fill in the information for that type of a plan. And then later just come back to the plan setup wizard and make any changes. If you want to go to a straight to a standard plan at that point it'll add everything in there for the additional information. For today's demo I’m just going to choose a standard plan so we have all the items in the plan to start from. The question here is asking when you want the plan to start and this isn't when the business starts. That’s different. This is when you want your forecasting in this marketing plan to start. Marketing Plan Pro is going to take this date as the starting date for all your financials. And then you'll forecast your first year in monthly increments out from this point and then your second and third or fourth and fifth year will be beyond this beyond that first year. Marketing Plan Pro does use a twelve month year for the first year in the plan so if we chose January of 2009 we'd be forecasting in a calendar year format where we'd be forecasting from January through December. But if we choose February to make it very current as our starting month then we'll be forecasting from February of 2009 to January of 2010 and that would be a fiscal year. So the program's gonna labeled the year as fiscal year. And your first year will be fiscal year 2010 because fiscal years are labeled in the year that they end in. you also have the option here to replace your month and year labels with generic labels. So if you're not quite sure when you want to start forecasting from you can check this box and then the program won't worry about the starting month and year. It’ll just label all of your months and years as month one month two month three year one year two year three. So that makes it easier so you don't have to worry about the starting date right now. And then later when you're sure of your starting date you can come back and uncheck this option and then choose your starting month and year and the program will relabel everything for you automatically. This question just asks for the plan title. The program uses the plan title as the default file name for your marketing plan. It also put the plan title at the header of every page. So most people just type in their company name for the plan title and then the program will use that to just pick a title. And then this question asks if you need to do a standard term marketing plan which is a three year plan with the first year being in monthly increments and then the second and third year being and in annual summaries. Or you can do a long-term marketing plan which is a five-year plan. Again the first year is in monthly increments and then the second third fourth and fifth year are annual forecasting. So just choose whichever term marketing plan you need to do and then click next. And then this question has to deal with your sales forecasting whether you want to do your sales forecasting based off of a units-based forecast or a values-based forecast. the difference between the two of those are if you choose a units-based forecast the program is going to ask you to list out all of your products or services. And then it'll ask you how many units you're gonna sell in any given month or year how much you're selling each unit for so what your retail price is. And then what percentage of that price that you're selling it for is attributable to cost of sales. Then the program will take the number of units times your unit price to come up with your sales. And then it'll take the number of units times your unit cost to come up with your cost of sales and subtotal everything up for you. If you do the values-based or the values-based forecasting then the program will ask you to list out all of your products and services again. but this time it's just going to ask you how much you're going to sell in dollar amounts and how much it's going to cost you in dollar amounts and you have to come up with those numbers. units-based or the values-based forecast is a little bit easier to set up initially but the values or the units-based forecast is a lot easier to make changes to in the future. So if you get through with your plan and then realize I really need to increase the price that I’m charging for this service or this product you can go back into the units-based forecast make a change to your price and the program will recalculate everything for you. whereas if you're using the values-based forecast you'd need to go back to your sales forecast figure out what the difference is going to be in price as far as what it's going to make a difference to your sales and then your cost of sales and then enter that manually. So it just is a little bit different as far as when you need to make adjustments in the future. For this demonstration we'll just go ahead and choose the units-based forecast because we normally recommend that. Then this question asks if you need to include a second year of monthly data in your financials. Normally we recommend not including a second year of monthly data just because of the challenges of forecasting out in monthly increments and two for two years. However there are some specific situations where you may need two years of monthly data. Like if your plan starts midyear and you want to stick to a calendar year. So you're gonna have monthly information for half a year for the first year and you want a whole year afterward. Those situations would be a position where you may need a second year of monthly data or some specific loan application will ask you to include a second year of monthly data in your financial as well. So we do have the options here and you can use it. And this just changes your second year which would normally be an annual forecast to a monthly forecast. So you can fill in that data. And so I’ll go ahead and say no to that and we'll go ahead and click finish. And now the plan is setup for our initial or initially set up for our use. So we have the information that we want.