Is your 2022 sales & marketing plan done? If your firm is like a lot of others, you might still be wrapping it up. And even if it is done, it’s supposed to be a living document… to be updated/changed as the year progresses. In either case, I wanted to share a few last-minute tactical ideas for you to consider adding to your plan.
Take ‘special’ care of your big clients. All clients matter, but big clients matter more. Most any firm can handle the loss of a small client, but can you afford to lose a big client… one that’s contributes 10, 20 or even 30% of your total revenue? So, to help ensure that doesn’t happen, create a Key Account Plan for your largest clients. The plan should include the following:
- A listing of all key contacts
- 2021 Revenue
- 2022 Revenue Goal
- Very detailed steps – specific to each account – on what you’ll do to achieve those goals
- The one person in your firm responsible for making it all happen
Create org charts. One of the primary reasons you lose a client is that your key contact – who loved you and was your champion inside that company – leaves (retires, resigns, etc.) and when they go away, so does your business. It’s an all-too-frequent occurrence when your relationship with a company is tied to just one contact. Moving forward, focus on getting to know more people within your clients and to help do that, create an org chart for each client. Literally. Sketch out who your key contact works with inside and outside of their department, who they report to and who reports to them. Then, go about getting to know all those people… so, over time, you develop meaningful relationships (a.k.a. ‘back-up contacts’) should your key contact go away (which inevitably will happen).
Use a sales pipeline. There is no more valuable tool in your sales arsenal than a sales pipeline… whether it’s available through the CRM you use or one that you create in Excel. By quick definition, a pipeline shows you the status of every current sales opportunity – where each is in the sales process and what next steps are. There is no better tool for keeping an eye on ‘everything in one place’ and making sure no sales activity falls through the cracks. [Need a sales pipeline template? Just email me at Steve@HarpethMarketing.com.]
“Whatcha doin’ this weekend?” People do business with people they like. And buyers will never get to like you if all you ever talk about with them is the next project. The key is to get to know them on a personal level. And the easiest way to do that is to simply ask, “Whatcha doin’ this weekend?” It’s a good habit to get into on Fridays. The answer to that simple question will give you insight into their family, their hobbies, their favorite sports teams, their vacations and so on. Oh, and don’t forget to keep track of what you learn in your CRM.
Set-up Google Alerts. Google Alerts is an easy way to keep an eye on what’s happening around your business. You can use it to receive daily emails on your top competitors, key clients, former and prospective clients, trends in the MR industry, trends in the industries you serve and so on. Reading through your Google Alerts feed is a great way to start your day and help you stay on top of your business.
Update your website. When was the last time you updated your website? If it’s been more than a year or so, it’s probably time. Take a look through your site and make sure your employee page shows your newest hires, update your list of clients, add any new (or updated) services or products, include new locations, etc. And here’s one section I’m going to suggest you add, because 90% of firms don’t have it: ‘How We’re Different.’ Make sure to add copy to your site detailing how you’re different than the competition… what makes your firm unique. Or said another way, “Here’s why you should hire us instead of our competitors.”
Update your LI profile. After your website, your LinkedIn profile is the next place a buyer will go to do their due diligence on you. In fact, it might even be where they start. And while not much may have changed in terms of your work history and experience, there is one section that most professionals get wrong… the ‘description’ right under their photo. Most people just write in their title and company. Why… when their title and company are listed just a few inches down the screen under Experience? Instead, use that space to share what makes you unique or how you serve your clients.
As an example, instead of ‘Founder at Harpeth Marketing,’ I use: ‘Revenue driver for the MR industry: positioning businesses in the marketplace, creating top-of-mind awareness & generating sales leads.’ See the difference?
Write… a lot. Writing – frequently and consistently – can have a dramatic impact on you and your business. Whether it’s blogging, in social media posts, articles for industry magazine & websites or creating a series of eBooks, writing can benefit you in numerous ways:
- Build awareness for you and your firm
- Position you and your firm as experts in specific areas
- Generate and nurture sales leads
- Serve as the source of other content (for example, over time, the content you create could be used as the basis for a webinar series or conference presentation)
The best way to get started? Block off some time on your calendar every week for writing. Don’t let anything interfere. When writing becomes a ‘habit’ is when you’ll really start to see some success.
A Final Comment About Sales & Marketing Plans
I’m a very big believer in sales & marketing plans. Done right, they really are a blueprint for growing revenue. And as I alluded to at the start of this article, they should be viewed as living documents. Don’t take the time and effort to create your sales & marketing plan, only to let is get dusty sitting on a shelf. Keep it handy. Review it daily. Talk about it at your weekly sales & marketing meetings. Adjust & update it (this is the ‘living’ part) as new information comes to light that can impact your firm.
And I hope you’ll consider adding a few new elements from the list above to your 2022 sales & marketing plan.
Good luck in the year ahead!