Is it time to write a Sales & Marketing action plan that will actually help generate leads and create sales (and actually be used by the business)?
Many companies start the process but end up creating wishy washy documents that have no business benefit.
Here are 11 steps which we use when helping our clients to think ‘outside the box’ and get organised.
- Give yourself space and room to think.
- Take a moment to think about the longer term and ‘bigger picture’ for your business.
- Where is your business heading?
- What do you want from your business;
- is it more turnover,
- more profitable customers or
- to expand a new market?
2. SWOT not SWAG
Get your team (or trusted advisors / associates) together and firstly think through
- What is great about the business,
- What your customers like
- What you are best known for.
Then think about the areas where you could improve,
- Maybe some products or services that are not being promoted
- What elements of the business are holding you back – remember its critical to be objective and honest. Otherwise you will end up with SWAG (please feel free to ask if you are unsure about SWAG)
- List your biggest opportunities and note any possible threats to your business.
- Remember – Ask your customers for feedback.
3. Define your markets and customers
- Look at which markets you are operating in. (From a jargon perspective this activity is called segmentation)
- Group together any products or services which are aimed at a similar market.
- Divide up your customer base into types of business or types of people so you can work out what makes them tick.
- Now identify the most profitable products, services and markets for you
- Are there any markets that you could expand into or are there some markets / sectors that either need boosting or exiting ?
- Who are your customers?
- Can you divide them into groups by
- type of business
- industry sector.
- Could your existing customers buy more products or services from you (upsell / cross sell)?
- Are there new customers in sectors that you need to attract to your business?
- Can you divide them into groups by
Its important to remember from a business development perspective it is far easier to sell to customers who already know you and so they are often a good place to start.
From experience this is one area where many businesses participate in SWAG. It is important that data collected is factual and robust (not anecdotal or assumed)
- Who are your competitors in each market place? Yes for each different product or service you provide you will potentially have a completely different set of competitors
- Direct Competitors
- Indirect Competitors
- Future Competition
- What are their strengths and weaknesses from the perspective of PUV
- How do you compare especially in light of PUV and Pricing
5. Why Should I Buy From You?
- Ask yourself what makes your business different?
- What is it that people actually buy from you?
- Is it your excellent product range, your unique services or is it the way you sell?
Note: We often find that customers buy “emotionally – even on B2B transactions” because of the relationship with a company and they like the service.
Remember: Ask your customers directly and find out exactly what they value.
6. Your Customer’s Pain Points
- What are the issues that keep your customers awake at night?
- What are their concerns when buying your product or service?
- What is your customer looking for that would significantly transform their performance?
Note: You will only gain these insights by talking in detail and getting really inside your customers shoes
- From all this analysis, which are your best opportunities from a product / customer perspective?
- Where are you going to get the best return on investment for your business?
- Do you have a new product or service that you need to communicate to existing customers?
- Do you need a campaign to attract new customers and expand your market?
8. Clarify the critical PUV’s
- For each of your customer types you need to establish the top 3 PUV’s
- The best way to identify these is engage in detailed conversations and discussions with your customers.
- These PUV’s should not be about your business but primarily you need to identify what your customers need to hear?
9. Communication and Promotion
- Unfortunately this is the sexy and tangible point and often the place where people start.
- In our experience over the last 20 years companies have wasted huge amounts of money and time by creating and implementing incorrect communication and promotion
- Activity 9 is so important we will dedicate a separate dedicated article to the activity and include the development of your sales and marketing action plan
10. Action – Make It Happen
Once you have your sales and marketing action plan developed you can then get on with the actions.
The purpose of the plan is to generate sales and marketing actions so get on with it.
11. Measure & Review
- All sales and marketing activities that you perform should be measurable
- Tracking telephone calls
- Website analysis
- Analysing proposal to sales conversion ratios
- Number of people who click on an e mail link
- Sales conversion for those who respond to an advert
- The measurement points are endless and we will look at these in detail in future articles