Don't Just Work In Your Business, Work On It Too!
How is your marketing plan working?
Marketing plays a key part in business development. So, what do you do and how do you do it? First of all, remember the golden rule: ''If nobody knows who you are, what you do and how they could benefit from your product or service, the phone will never ring and you will fail to win new business” ...
Today’s business owner is short on time and therefore must prioritise the most important tasks. However, they can become caught up in the day to day 'workings' of the business such as closing sales, invoicing, staff rosters and so on, which results in neglecting the strategic aspects of running the firm.
"Many owners and managers can be accused of being a bit short sighted when it comes to setting goals for the business!"
Marketing is often seen as 'non chargeable time' and may not be prioritised as a result. As such it’s important to focus on the impact that marketing has on the business. The goal of the marketing function is to generate business/sales – after all, if nobody knows who you are or what you do, you won’t have any customers!
Successfully marketing your business entails focusing on what you want the business to achieve, what type of clients you want and the way you target these clients. There are many different strategies for achieving your business targets, but the question we are asking here is simply, "can you afford not to increase your firm’s profile?"
The answer to the above is inevitably no – you can't afford not to - you need to increase your firm’s profile in order to attract new customers. Therefore business owners and managers need to devote time to working 'on' the business.
If you don’t already invest time and resources into marketing then it’s time to build a marketing plan for your business. The plan should include the following:
Identify your target market,
Identify your goals for the next 12 months (sales targets, market share, etc),
Identify strategies for achieving these goals,
Build a month by month marketing plan to enable you to successfully implement these strategies,
Identify the likely cost of the above activities and set this in stone (this is your marketing budget).
Setting goals and creating a strategy for your business is important. However you then need to measure how the business is performing in order to understand if the firm is moving forward and is on track to achieve its goals.
"This is where we use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)!"
It is vital to set KPIs. However many business owners and managers find this difficult to do and see the establishment of KPIs as a pen-pushing exercise so don’t dedicate time to do this.
KPIs, however, form a vital element of the business’s strategy, both for individuals and for the team itself. In order to create a shared vision, commitment and firm-wide motivation, it is vital that the KPIs are discussed with - and agreed by - each member of the team from the outset.
KPIs should cover:
Team targets (i.e. convert 75% of all leads during the first quarter of 2014),
Individual targets (i.e. 80% of chargeable time billed each month in 2014).
The nature and specific tasks of your KPIs will depend very much on your market sector and geographical area in which you operate. However, you must ensure that they follow the SMART principal - that is, ensuring that objectives are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
"Depending on your business, it can be useful to adopt a traffic light approach for each client account, so areas of strength and weakness can be easily and quickly identified!"
This data can be fed into charts which can also be very useful when preparing your KPIs, giving specific objectives and demonstrating how the results have a direct impact on the overall sales and business objectives.
Once set, KPIs should then be reviewed on a regular basis, both with the team as a whole and with individual team members. Any variance in performance can then be identified and flagged appropriately, with remedial actions put in place before any aspect of the traffic light chart turns to amber.
Bear in mind that KPIs should always be dynamic. For example, even if a KPI target hasn't been met, the individual or team performance may still be on course to achieve the overall sales objective, and the KPI target may need to be lowered. Similarly, if a target has been met, then it may need to be increased at intervals, to maintain drive and motivation.
If you feel that developing an efficient marketing plan and backing it up with relevant KPIs is a bit overwhelming, let me help you! Call me on 07521 790284 or click here to drop me an email and let's have a chat soon.
Until next time ...
I'm Kirsty Parris and I specialise in helping business owners, like you, to realise the true potential of your business. Whether that is getting you back on track with your business plan or helping to devise and implement new plans that you never thought possible.
Some of my clients see me as a coach, a mentor, a consultant and some even as a financial therapist!
Based near Milton Keynes I primarily work with owner managed and family businesses between London and Birmingham.
I offer a broad spectrum of business development services including business coaching, business growth planning, sales and marketing support, personnel support and systems reviews.
I am not just another business consultant as I see the job through with implementation should you require it and I will work with you on a retained basis as an addition to your team or on a project by project basis...your call...and there is no tie in. You work with me for as long as you are seeing the results.
Your minimum requirement? You need to be ambitious enough to reach or exceed your personal and business potential. Together we will make it happen!