We’re halfway through 2018… how are you doing so far?
Like taking your car to the mechanic every 5,000 miles, halfway-through-the-year is a good time to “look under the hood” of your sales & marketing efforts to see how you’re really doing. If your “engine” is running smoothly… great! If it feels a little rough… it might be time for some ‘tweaking.’ And if it is, we hope this 3-Point Tune-up will help.
Point 1: Sales
How are your revenues looking this year? If you’re like most firms, you’ll measure your revenue for January-June in 2018 and compare it to the first 6 months of last year, as well as to the sales goals you set for this year. And that’s a good place to start.
But it can also be misleading.
Suppose your revenues are up over last year by 10%? Great! Well, maybe. What if that increase came largely as the result of one large project from one client? And while we all like big projects, it’s impact on ‘total revenue’ can cloud your view of the other parts of your business, which might not be doing so well. It’s the old adage come to life, “Good revenue hides bad problems.”
To be sure you’re getting a more complete picture of your revenues, consider adding these simple analyses to your monthly reporting (they’re easy to set up in your accounting software, too):
- Revenue by Service Line or Product Line: make sure your clients are buying what you think your clients are buying; the larger your firm becomes, the more difficult it is to instinctively know
- Revenue by Industry Vertical or Market: like Services/Products, make sure you’re clear on where you’re doing your work. It could be the revenue from one of your ‘areas of specialty’ is not quite as strong as you thought it was.
- Revenue from your Top 10 clients: For most firms, just a few clients account for a majority of their revenue. Are these Key Accounts still sending their business to you? Is it increasing or decreasing over time? Is the nature of your work with them changing? These clients are what’s keeping you in business… make sure you’re paying very close attention to their activity.
- The Sales Pipeline: Whether it’s tracked in your CRM or handwritten on a bunch of sticky-notes hanging on the wall, knowing your sales pipeline is critical to sales success. Look for two key attributes: 1) that new sales leads are continuously trickling into the top of the pipeline and 2) that the firms in it are regularly progressing through it.
And in general, take a look at your selling effort. Do you have at least one person dedicated to business development? Are they properly trained and compensated… and are you managing them effectively? If you’re working under a seller-doer model, are they properly trained and compensated… and are you managing them effectively? More importantly, are your seller-doers able to allocate a reasonable percentage of their time to business development, or do they always seem to be mired in project work?
Point 2: Marketing
I hope you’re keeping an eye on your marketing metrics at least monthly, if not more often. But if not, block off a little time right now to review and analyze your marketing efforts so far in 2018… you want to know what working, what’s not and the impact of those efforts.
Here’s a short list of the most important metrics to monitor:
- Website Activity: Do this through Google Analytics; at a minimum, make sure you’re tracking the number of visitors to your site (you want to see a steady increase over time), how much time they’re spending on your site (you want to see this increase, too) and which pages they’re visiting.
- Content marketing: Use Google Analytics to see which blog posts (or other content) attract the most visitors; and if you’re re-posting content on your LinkedIn profile, use the built-in metrics to track readership and engagement. Finally, for your gated content (e.g. eBooks or webinars), make sure to track the number of downloads/registrations.
- LinkedIn: Keep an eye on the number of your connections, the number of groups you belong to, and any engagement metrics from your posts.
- Twitter: In addition to the tracking the number of your followers, Twitter also has a nice, built-in Analytics page that tracks tweets, impressions and level of engagement.
- Note for LinkedIn and Twitter: If you post through a tool like Hootsuite, you can also see which posts generate the most clicks (you can also test for best day of the week/time of day to post).
- Email: Assuming that you’re using one of the commercial platforms – e.g. MailChimp, Constant Contact or Emma – take advantage of the easy and comprehensive metrics that are built-in. The key metrics to monitor are: # of emails sent / # received / # opened / # of click-thrus and the results of ‘A/B testing’ on the Subject Line.
- Leads generated: Track sales leads from all channels – inquiries, networking, gated content, etc. – and make sure your firm is generating a continuous supply of sales leads.
- Repeat clients: You can’t build a business on first-time clients; so, track all first-timers and make sure they come back for project #2, then #3, and so on. If clients are not returning, take a look at your post-project customer satisfaction results.
Remember, you can’t manage what you don’t measure.
Point 3: Next steps
OK… you’ve done all of that data collection and analysis. Now what?
Do this: Based on all of the data you collected – and what you learned from it – write down 3 things you’ll do differently – starting TODAY – that will have a positive impact on your sales & marketing efforts.
Changes you’ll make today:
Now, think about a couple of larger sales & marketing projects you want to tackle (that may take a few weeks or months to complete) and write them down below…
Bigger projects we need to complete:
So, you looked under the hood of your sales & marketing. What did you find? Is the engine running smoothly… or does it need a little tune-up? If it could use some help, now’s the time to get out your wrenches and make those adjustments. The goal? To get more mileage from all of the sales & marketing you’re doing.
Remember: “If you keep doin’ what you’re doin’… you’ll keep gettin’ what you’re gettin’!”
Have a great second half of 2018!