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It's Never Too Early to Be Planning Your Sales & Marketing Strategy

Monday 29 September 2014

11 minute read

By Rachel Townsend Green

Can you believe that we are nearly at the end of the year already? Have you managed to implement and analyse the changes that you wanted to make to your marketing this year?

Many will have embarked on the year with great plans for growth, development and change and will then simply have floundered or lost their way, bogged down in the 'day to day'. So many of us are 'time poor' these days that often the best laid plans...

So, maybe right now is a good time, if you can juggle some time, that is, to review your progress so far and, dare I suggest, look beyond the horizon into next year!

We are big advocates of planning here at Thrive - as we have expounded in previous blogs - we encourage clients to plan, guide them through the process and instill an approach that we like to refer to as 'rigid flexibility. That's to say - have a plan, know what you are setting out to achieve, how and why, but be prepared to make changes along the way. Today's marketing landscape is dynamic and challenging and you have to adapt and change continuously - to do more of what's working, less of what's not and incorporate new methods, opportunities and media.

And breathe...

Sounds challenging! It is, but it is also essential in this world of multimedia, multi-messaging and the fast pace at which it all takes place!

So, in the true ethos of sharing what we know and have learnt along the way, in order to benefit you, our readers, here are our 10 Tips for Sales and Marketing Strategy...

1. Have you done your lead analysis?

Do you have a clearly mapped out sales cycle? Does everyone know and understand it? How do you generate leads? Do you know what comes from where? Are there any 'blockages' in your sales funnel (ouch!)? Where you lost opportunities, did you investigate or analyse what happened? Could you improve your sales conversion rate?

2. Have you done your sales analysis?

  • Are you able to say, hand on heart, that you know where your sales revenue originates? Existing customers? New clients?
  • What is the length of your sales cycle? Can it be improved?
  • Who are your top customers - what makes them so great?
  • Which customers are poor performers - why? Can they be turned into star performers?

3. Webtastic?

  • How many visits do you get to your website?
  • How effective is your data capture on the website?
  • Do you know your metrics for online versus offline leads generated?
  • Are you happy with the way your site is performing?
  • Is it a pleasurable and helpful experience for visitors?

REPORT: Free analysis of your website and online marketing

4. Do you know where you're going to?

What is your company vision? If you haven't done so already, it's really helpful to create a one page summary (written or pictorial) to illustrate what things will look like 12 months on - try to be as specific as you can, combine dreams of world domination with realism! Incorporate the magic wand of marketing too (ideal world)!

5. How are you going to get there?

Use your company vision to create some priorities and goals.

  • What are the barriers to your success?
  • Which projects and activities are pivotal?

Having made the list, priorities and focus on three each quarter. Make sure that you have also worked out how you are going to measure the success of your actions:

  • Which metrics will help you to measure and monitor?

6. Back to basics

We regularly 'bang the drum' about the importance of buyer personas - revisit yours!

  • Are they accurate?
  • Have they changed?
  • Do they match the areas for growth that you have now identified? 

7. Don't be too inward looking

Competitors ought not to be a primary driver in behaviour or strategic change (that ought to happen as a result of what's best for YOUR business and YOUR objectives). Having said that, you still need to be aware of what is happening in 'your own back yard'. Do some research!

  • What are your nearest competitors doing?
  • How is their website performing?

Intelligence gathering helps you not only to be as informed as possible but also consider new angles and options. You could even use our Thrive marketing pixies to do a report on their web activity - how helpful would that be?! You could benchmark your own site against theirs...

8. Are you different? Better? Unique? Objective about yourself?

As well as putting others under the microscope you need to also look at yourself - without emotion or bias. Ask clients and customers:

  • Why do they deal with you?
  • Would anything potentially move them away?
  • Is there anything you could do better / differently?
  • Can you do anything more to make their lives easier?

9. How do you look?

  • When did you last do a visual audit?
  • Do you have corporate / brand consistency across all of your marketing materials?
  • Do they do the job? Are you saying the right thing in the right way?
  • Is everyone in the company not only aware of all the material that they have at their disposal, but are they using the most up-to-date versions?

As with a customer audit, do an internal audit!

  • Is there anything that can help staff to promote the business better?
  • Are there specific areas that are being under-supported or missed?

Talk to your customer-facing staff:

  • What could be doing better to support the brand and products, as well as your staff and processes?

10. Digital dimensions?

How are you performing out in the ether? Corporate consistency applies here - as do 'on message' activities:

  • Are you attracting the right sort of traffic and interaction?
  • Are you hanging out in the right places online?

Wow, that was a lot!

We know, it sounds exhausting, but as your Mother used to say - if it's worth doing, it's worth doing properly! Having doing all of the above - and only then - we would suggest that you embark on the actual creation and documentation of your sales and marketing strategy.

And that's where this blog ends - however, fear not intrepid marketer - there is another blog, hot on the heels of this one which will provide some 'top tips' and guidance for that too!

If you're looking to embark on a website build project, whether it's completely from scratch or a site refresh, our ebook will give you the knowledge to make your project as stress-free as possible.

The Website Design Handbook for Businesses

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