The Competitive Advantage

tag: process

June 5, 2013

‘Start at the End’… a Book Review

I recently bought and read the book, Start at the End: How Companies Can Grow Bigger and Faster by Reversing their Business Plan, written by Dave Lavinsky.  On a scale of 1-10, I’d give it a 7 – pretty good.

The premise is all about crafting a business plan… but doing so by starting at end.  So, for example, rather than asking, “We’re a $2 million company now… what level can we grow to next year… and the year after that… and the year after that?,” it pushes us to ask, “What will my company look like in 10 years?  Now, how do I get there?”

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May 21, 2013

How to break down writer’s block and accelerate your content marketing.

MR-writers-block-guyEvery (yes, every) Saturday morning since we opened the doors to Harpeth Marketing, I have gone to a local coffee shop (in fact, I’m here now as I write this) to work on things not necessarily related to taking care of clients.  One of those tasks is writing… for my blog, my monthly article for Quirk’s or developing an eBook.

But this week… I hit the wall.  After 60+ weeks of crankin’ it out… I didn’t know what to write about.  I went to my editorial calendar… but I hadn’t looked this far forward so no topics were listed.  What am I going to write about… what do I want to write about?

And then it hit me… that is not the question to be asking.  Then question is (and should always be)… what do my clients (and prospective clients) want to read about?  What’s important to them?  What do they care about?

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January 29, 2013

Sales Management… how are you defining your ‘sales territories?’

children_fighting_568x240Remember back when you were 5 or 6 years old and you and a sibling or next-door neighbor would be fighting over the newest toy… “It’s mine!” “No, it’s mine!” No, it’s mine… gimme!” And back and forth it went… until your mother stepped in to mediate the dispute.

Well, if you work for a firm with more than one person responsible for sales – especially if they are compensated for new business growth – then unless you’ve got a very structured and manageable way to keep leads and clients separate for each rep, you’re going to end up with that same 5-year-old tug-of-war in your office.  And it ain’t pretty!  But there’s a fairly easy way to fix it…

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January 1, 2013

2013 Marketing & Sales Resolutions

Calendar_imageAt this time of year, we start thinking about how we can improve our lives for the coming year.  We start making our annual resolutions like “I need to lose weight,” “…stop smoking,” or “…pay more attention to my spouse.”

But most of those “goals” never happen.  Why?  Simple… because they are not action-oriented.  You can’t just “lose weight,” but you can go to the gym 3 times a week.  You can’t just “stop smoking,” but you can start chewing nicotine gum whenever you have a craving.  And you can’t just “pay more attention to your spouse,” but you can make sure every Friday night is “date night.”

See the difference?

Now let’s look at your 2013 Business Resolutions, from a marketing & sales perspective and see what you can come up with…

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December 11, 2012

It really is all about the customer ‘experience’: A 10-point checklist for providing memorable service.

Twice in the last two months, I have had really lousy experiences at retail specialty stores.  Yeah, I know you’re not a retailer… but bear with me – the same ideas (and ideals) apply.

I went into these stores with every intention of buying (one was a bike shop, the other a computer store – so they were pretty good-sized purchases).  In both instances, I literally stood in the aisle near the products that interested me for 15 minutes waiting for some help to be able to ask some questions and make my purchasing decisions.  In both cases, it was the middle of a weekday and there were store employees just walking or standing around, not busy and simply ignoring me.

I left both stores frustrated and took my business elsewhere.

But those experiences got me to thinking about our industry… are we being proactive and responsive to our clients so they don’t “walk way” frustrated? To help you review your client interaction processes, here’s a 10-point checklist that can help:

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December 5, 2012

Get prepared… part 5 of a 5-part series on how to create your marketing & sales plan for 2013

One of the key parts of crafting your plan (Phase 3) is building in the mechanisms for measuring each of your marketing & sales tactics (which you execute in Phase 4).  If you’ve been disciplined about measuring and testing your tactics, in Phase 5, you will go through the results and decide what worked / what didn’t / and what needs to be tweaked.

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November 27, 2012

Get prepared… part 4 of a 5-part series on how to create your marketing & sales plan for 2013

So, how’s your 2013 marketing & sales plan coming along?  Have you been following the steps in our process?

Have you done your homework and analysis (Phase 1)?  Did you establish the strategies to help drive your business (Phase 2)?  Have you crafted your plan with all the details (Phase 3)?  Great!

OK, now it’s time to execute and manage that plan (Phase 4).  And here are some guidelines for doing it…

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November 20, 2012

Get prepared… part 3 of a 5-part series on how to create your marketing & sales plan for 2013

In last two weeks, we discussed the first two phases of the marketing & sales plan process:  Phase 1 – Conducting your Background Review & Analysis; the results of which lead to Phase 2 – Developing your Marketing Strategies.

Phase 3 is about Creating the Marketing & Sales Plan.  It starts with determining which tactics are the best ones to support the strategies. This is where all of the details are spelled out for your action plan – the what, who, when, how many, how much, how often and so on.   Yes, there is a lot of detail to manage here… but without it, you’ll be flyin’ by the seat of your pants.

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