Improve Your Sales & Marketing Action Plan
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
The 10 Elements Of A High Performing E Mail
Essential Elements For Your Next E Mail Campaign
From our experience of completing e mail campaigns for clients over the last 7 years we believe there are 10 elements that should be considered as part of your e mail.
1. A clear attention grabbing E Mail Subject line
- Having the title “Newsletter” as your subject line is unlikely to create a sense of urgency to read
- Equally having a subject line “Rocket Propel Your Sales by 300%” might grab your attention but if you are unable to substantiate will lead to a high level of frustration
2. An actual person as the sender
- Receiving an e mail from admin / sales / enquiries might be the functional way to remove direct contact but is very impersonal. If the e mail is going to customers you manage then you should be prepared to put your name against it.
- If you have a personal relationship then don’t lose it with an impersonal e mail. Many people will look at who the sender is first and if the email is from someone they don’t know then the e mail is deleted.
3. Company branding
- Whilst we always recommend that make my logo smaller cream is used, it is important that once an email is opened it is easy to identify which company / organisation the email is from
4. Appropriate segment / Personalised content
- Managing your list as with all marketing activities is critical and never more so than with e mail campaigns.
- If you have different customer types then these need to be segmented, that way you can send content that is both personalised and relevant to the appropriate segment
5.. Value proposition and context
- If you are sending emails to a person then the general rule is that the content should be of value / useful. That way hopefully they will
- Either click a link within the e mail or take an appropriate action from within the email
- Read the subject line and then delete
- Worse case scenarios being that they report the e mail as spam or choose to unsubscribe from the list
6. Obvious focused call to action
- If the purpose of the e mail is to inform and stimulate action then it should be really easy to identify what to do
- Buttons, boxes or clearly defined hyper links will help
- I will include examples in the next news post on e mail marketing
7. Relevant Image
- If you are lucky enough that the person opens the email to actually get to the content
- Then if there are words or images the images will be the element that the person automatically focuses on
- Therefore chose your images carefully and make sure that it is both relevant and interesting
- Importantly reduce the size of the image to ensure it is optimised for display on the web. A huge multi mega bit image will be slow to load
8. Social sharing buttons or links – A secondary call to action
- A good e mail delivery package will have the capability built in to allow e mail sharing or social sharing
- These should appear towards the bottom of the e mail and provide an additional call to action for the recipient
- Always good practice to tell your recipients about how you are managing their details
10. Unsubscribe link
- Last but not least you should always give your recipients the opportunity to easily unsubscribe
- This complies not only with e mail good practice but should actually be seen as a positive approach
- If someone genuinely is no longer interested in your products or services better that they are no longer in your system than you thinking you have a huge list of prospects who are ready to buy, when that isn’t the case
Marketing Action Plan Example for a Cardboard box supplier
Cardboard box suppliers 3 important selection criteria
Do your Cardboard box suppliers have the correct size
Depending on the type of items and volume of item that you are looking to transport or store, you may require cardboard boxes supplied in various sizes. For stationery items, your cardboard box suppliers should have archive boxes that match the standard paper sizes i.e A4, A3, A5 etc.
Lidded storage boxes that cover the contents are also available for various types of items that need both extra protection and which are perhaps going to be moved more frequently and the lid will help retain the contents..
If you are using cardboard storage boxes for shipping , your cardboard box contact should pay extra attention to sizing. Too-large a box may cost you more than necessary, whereas using one that is too small may result in damage to contents when they are shipped.
Your box supplier will be able to advise on identifying the cardboard box size, taking into account the volume that any protective filling such as polystyrene fill chips or bubble wrap for cushioning for the products you dispatch.
Consider the Shape and Weight of the Content Items
When buying cardboard boxes, your cardboard carton suppliers will consider not only the size of the items you want to pack, but their shape as well. For example, if you want to transport a tandem, you will need a large cardboard box to fit the tandem’s shape.
Accurately measuring the item is always a good idea before making a purchase. The weight of the content is another factor your cardboard box suppliers will consider. Typically cardboard box manufacturers will have a range of cardboard boxes with various levels of durability. If you want to transport heavy items, you should specify cardboard boxes made from sturdy corrugated cardboard.
Don’t let your cardboard box suppliers bamboozle you
As with all technologies there is a variety of jargon
- Single-wall boxes consist of an inner layer, outer layer, and fluting medium. Ideal for storing or transporting lightweight items that do not require extensive protection.
- Double-wall boxes are the ideal choice for storing items for prolonged periods of time. Ideal for courier or removal company usage.
- Tri-wall cardboard boxes are the strongest types of cardboard boxes you can find on the market. Made from corrugated cardboard, these boxes are a good choice for transporting fragile or heavy items.