By Jeff Bowman
During the first quarter of the new year, we must reflect on the successes and triumphs that we experienced this past year. It was another complex year in terms of the recession, however I prefer to celebrate the victories we had rather than dwell on the difficulties we may have encountered. In analyzing our achievements, we can better plan for increasing the business victories in the next year. The first quarter of 2012 is time to rev up the planning of sales and marketing activities for 2012.
2012 will bring many of the same challenges that we experienced in 2011, so we need to highlight our areas of success and plan around them moving forward as a sales organization. It is important to stress that business should not operate in silos, with marketing having their planning meetings, finance theirs and so on. A sound strategic sales plan is fully interdependent on the actions of every other employee in the company. If operations decide to change shipping procedures for example it may impact sales, finance clamping down on days outstanding will result in a more difficult selling experience and then we may have new product introductions or changes in marketing budgets that directly affect sales. An overarching plan must be in place that incorporates the individual ideas, plans and actions from every department.
I recommend you tune your RADIO. It is an analogy I use to assist business owners to identify and deal with issues affecting their success.
R – Review your successes and performance against your objectives, incorporating frontline accounts and testimonials. The sales force should meet to debrief about their experiences. Special attention should be paid to what was done right, what made the sales process easier, what made clients more acceptable to their calls. Focusing on the accomplishments creates a more driven and motivated sales representative. Who enjoys sitting in a meeting being reminded of negative sales trends, reduction of sales efforts, cut backs in marketing. These are your frontline people, keep them interested!
A – Ask clients what they like about doing business with you. Surveys can tell you important information, as well as demonstrate to the client that you are interested in their views. Everyone in the organization represents the company, and everyone can ask the clients for their opinions. If changes are suggested and undertaken, let the client know what you did to improve!
D – Dialogue creation. Focus on the many different ways there are to keep lines of communication to the clients and prospects open. Twitter, blogs, newsletters, product updates, and surveys keep your name top of mind with the client.
I – Investigate the industry. Keep on top of the competition, be aware of emerging trends, understand where the customer’s real needs are and address then directly. Take the time to train your employees, so that their customer service and consultative sales skills are top-notch. (all employees who have any contact with any prospect or client)
O – Organize, set objectives and obtain results. Analyze the potential that exists in every territory or region that you sell into. The potential is made up of many variables including the competitive environment, trends, population growth, demographics and is closely affixed to marketing activities. I have been working with businesses for 20 years in looking at “real” versus “imagined” potential, and I can tell you, a good understanding results in increased recognition of untapped potential. Create “realized potential” objectives and monitor the results quarterly.
Tuning into your business needs isn’t as easy as tuning in a radio station, however making the effort to tune into those distant and local areas of concern in the business will certainly improve the reception and your business success.
The Marketing Pad specializes in assisting and facilitating the “Success Planning Process”. Call us today to get you to the next level. http://www.themarketingpad.com