Business and marketing leaders often struggle to find time to step back from the daily grind and create comprehensive sales and marketing plans. Sometimes the pressure to get things done as fast as possible leads to throwing tactics out there just to keep up the pretense of forward motion.
If you’ve been in a similar situation, you know that running a business without a well-defined sales and marketing plan is risky and stressful. It’s like building a house without a blueprint: you may end up cobbling something together, but it’s weak, costs more in the long run, and is unstable. The ramshackle structure is unable to withstand the long-term wear and tear and forces of nature that threaten to crumble it to the ground.
Rather than angst over a complex planning tool, answering the following ten questions will help you quickly discover your strengths and weaknesses and define an action plan that will continue to improve results throughout 2019.
1. What do you do?
- Core focus: your purpose, reason for being in business, value to the community
- Products/services you want to focus on selling short-term and long-term
- Key terms that describe your business: words or phrases you want to rank for on Google
2. Who do you sell to?
- Target audiences/buyer personas: characteristics of your ideal profitable customer, list of attributes for a qualified sales lead
- Trigger events that drive prospects into the buying cycle: typical reasons why buyers decide to make a change
- Common sales objections/concerns
3. What makes you different?
- Perform a competitor analysis report for your top 3-5 competitors
- Three Uniques: 3 things, that when combined, make you different from any other company
- Core Values: the characteristics of your ideal workforce, what you obsess about doing well, your guiding principles
4. What do you want to achieve?
- Revenue goals: 1 year, 3 year, 10 year
- Other important goals or objectives
5. How do you sell?
- Number of outside reps, inside reps, business developers, and account/client managers
- Sales process: typical steps to get a new customer
- Best lead sources: where most of your customers come from
- Annual Revenue
- Average sale amount
- Average close ratio from lead to sale
- Average sales cycle length
- Customer lifetime value: prediction of net profit attributed to the entire future client relationship
6. Who’s on your prospect list?
- Number of contacts w/ email addresses
- Lead Source: where the names came from (personal, networking, purchased list, trade show, etc.)
- Contact lists you email to now or would like to email in the future
- Platform you use to manage your contacts & sales data (paper and pen, Outlook, Excel, Salesforce, etc.)
Content Writing, Design & Publishing
7. What do you say to people?
Content is the information used to build and sustain relationships with your prospects and customers, such as website pages, blogs, presentations, one-sheets, sales emails, marketing emails, videos, proposals, speeches, seminars.
Content publishing refers to how you get that information in front of the right people at the right time.
- Inventory all the relevant content you currently have
- Content writing: who writes your content, the approval process, how you communicate and collaborate
- Content design: who designs presentations, ebooks, graphics, etc.
- Content publishing: blog and email marketing frequency, who does it, the platforms used
- Social media: types of content you publish, what sites (TW, FB, LI), how frequent, who does it, process for posting
- Paid advertising: what ads you have running, where, who writes them, who manages them
- Website management: website platform, domain service provider (where your website is hosted), who updates, designs, and programs it
- List the web pages you like, don’t like, or want to create
- List of events you want to host or attend this year
8. What do you look like?
- Date of your last website design update
- Current brand elements (logos, colors, fonts, Office templates, etc.)
- List of things about your design you like, don’t like, or want to do differently
9. How are you performing?
- List the business reports you currently use to monitor results
- What you would like to know about your business, but don’t have reports for
- How often you review reports
Technology, Information and Project Management
10. How do you get the work done and keep track of what needs to be done?
- Technology: CMS, CRM, email marketing, social media, analytics, and other technology
- Document management: system you use to store and share documents
- Project management: system you use to keep track of tasks and know who is responsible for doing what, when
- Process: Steps people take to complete the work
Taking time to develop a clear sales and marketing business plan up-front will help you accomplish your goals and objectives faster and more profitably. It’s worth it! Focus on quality vs. quantity: the most important thing is to continue making progress step-by-step using getting better goals.
Once you have your sales and marketing plan laid out, don’t forget to share it with everyone in the company. Employees that have full vision into the goals and objectives of the company are more invested in the outcomes. And that will definitely add to the bottom line!