Why is it that people in a small business do not generally create and implement a written "marketing plan?" And, why is it that people in a small business also do not generally implement a "sales plan" to compliment the marketing plan? Even if your plan is in your head, how are you tracking your activities? These are questions I ponder as I talk with small business owners every day. If your perspective of what exactly a "marketing plan" is and the value which it brings to your business is not aligned, you should take a step back and re-visit your goals, vision, and mission statements.
Your marketing plan is optimal when you're tracking your sales activities, which tie back to your marketing plan and who your ideal client is, what they want, and how they want it! The main key is to utilize strategy marketing vs. tactical marketing. Knowing your client's hot buttons, accessibility needs, what they are thinking, and how you differ from the last coach they spoke to, will give you the leverage you need to find qualified clients. Try to enter the thought process going on in your client's head during their decision process.
A sales plan is absolutely necessary to supplement your marketing efforts and implementation. This will determine whether you run your business with a revenue or expense focus. The no-brainer is we all should absolutely focus on revenue. (Another day, we'll talk about the Pareto's 80/20 rule, which is very interesting when you break down your daily activities). If you are a visual person, mind mapping is an effective way to create your sales process. Creating a sales process, while it sounds administrative, is actually a sales tool, rather than something to be perceived as negative.
Reflect on the following questions as it relates to your sales and marketing plans simultaneously:
1. Do I have a written marketing plan and is it effectively aligned with the values of my mission and vision statements? Are my daily activities reflective of the actions needed to support my vision and mission statements?
2. Am I meeting my financial expectations? Is the business making money? Could I take on more clients? What do I need to do to increase business, sales, and revenue?
3. Do I have different methods that separate me, or a bold statement I can back up with action?
4. Do I have opportunity to raise prices based on demand, my competitors, and the marketplace?
The common thread with small business growth is a well-thought marketing and sales plan. Once you have these in place and implemented, your "ideal client" will be obvious to you and your prospects. This is when you define who your "qualified client" and focus on those prospects 80% of your time. You and your client will have a win-win experience.
Finally, the questions above create great discussion points in any coaching, consulting, or general business. Thank you.
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By Donna Slater