Aaahh, 2021. A brand-new year, and hopefully a brand-new chapter for all of us, too. In other words, an opportunity to ensure you’ve pivoted in the direction you know you need to head: visualising and planning for the clients you want to target, the headcount you want to achieve, and the profits you are determined to report.
I’m being asked a lot “where do I start?” – well naturally it depends on what you have done before, and I can certainly help business on that deep analysis. Perhaps you’re already storming ahead, and just require some fine-tuning? Or, perhaps you’ve done the groundwork and are keen to ‘dig deeper’ this year: Or, like many firms, you might want to go back to basics and rebuild your business a little differently. Whatever stage you are at, I can help you. And, of course, remember that the groundwork always sets the scene for future in-depth analysis. So, as a “Light Guide to the Basics”, here’s what I would suggest:
1) Measure where you are right now
It is so important to check the temperature of your brand; where (and how) your business is listed; what people, sites or bots are saying about you; how many followers you have; and who’s visiting your website. When you input a new lead into your CRM, do make a note of how you connected: were you introduced by a mutual contact? Did they find you via a search engine? Did you meet by online networking? Essentially, if you don’t track all of this, how can you know what’s working, and what isn’t?
2) Tidy up your sales pipeline
Business owners and sales professionals often grow to hate their chosen CRM software, so do keep asking if what you’re using right now still suits your business needs. Don’t be embarrassed if your ‘tool’ of choice is a simple Excel spreadsheet: personally, I’m a big fan of Excel; all areas of my life are logged in a spreadsheet somewhere, but dig a level deeper, and check if the columns and formatting are working as well as they could. Maybe you need something more dynamic… more analytical? There are a lot of sales CRM that are free that might suit your sales process better. Ideally, you should allocate a dedicated amount of time each week to track and act upon your sales pipeline. So, whatever your choice of solution, make it works 100% for YOU, at your present stage of business development. And acknowledge that it may well change over time – because it probably will!
3) Diarise time for creative inspiration and new business
I’ve worked with enough creative businesses – including some incredible minds – to know that spending time on client work, then supporting your team is how your days and weeks are going by, but is never going to get you the business growth you’re actually capable of. Schedule time in your diary to go down the rabbit hole of reading, scrolling, Googling…whatever it takes to seek out valuable inspiration. It’s worth it in order to conjure lots of ideas; and it will certainly benefit your client base.
On the flip side – do prioritise achieving your business goals. Your company may have a mission, but without a solid sales plan or an idea of how to attract and reel in those companies you’re desperate to work with – how are you going to do it? You do have to be in the right mindset, but half a day a week (let’s say a minimum of 3 hours) should get your head straight, and should motivate you to start chasing those leads, turning them into opportunities and winning more work.
4) Write your idea of a sales and marketing plan
To me, sales & marketing sit in the same box. Marketing draws them in, but for the purpose of sales. And, really, 2021 is just like any other year: it has four quarters and 52 weeks, so your commitment to developing sales targets and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely) marketing plans should still apply. Being a business leader means you’ll always have a lot of ‘urgent’, ‘critical’ tasks to attend to; but, without the compass and map that your sales & marketing plans should provide, how will you know where you’re going?
5) Ask for help!
Ah yes. This old chestnut! I know that marketers, outsourced business developers, PRs etc don’t always have the best reputation. But if you pick the right expertise to partner with you, getting the right help can be a massive time-saving exercise. You went to the effort of getting a great accountant, right? So, do the same for the other aspects of your business that you want managing perfectly. After all, at the end of the day it all boils down to money.
So, those are my top 5 tips on where to start (if you haven’t already!) Sending you all my very best wishes for a profitable, killer year, and if you want to learn more about External Marketing’s expertise, you can contact me on zara [@] extmktg.co.uk, #externalmarketing #salestargets #marketinggoals #B2Bmarketing #creativeminds #positivity