Do you have a clear sales and marketing strategy to grow sales in this new financial year? If you don’t make the time to dream big for your business, and to plan how you’re going to get there – how will you know if you’ve arrived?

All our clients come to us with a common goal of ‘I want to grow my sales’.

However, a goal of ‘I want to grow my sales’ needs to be fleshed out more, so that everyone in your business (or your sales team, if you’re fortunate enough to have your own sales team) knows what success looks like for them, for their role, for their team, and for the wider business goals.

The best goals are SMART Goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound. Goals should also be visible so that everyone on your teams understands the direction your business is pulling in this year.

How to Develop your Sales and Marketing Strategy

So, if you haven’t already got one, we recommend that you develop a Sales and Marketing Strategy for your business. Here’s how you can get started.

First, you’ll need to dream about what you’d really love to see happening with sales in your business. Close your eyes and think about what you’d like to see twelve months from now.

Do you want to enter new markets, in new industries or perhaps to expand your customer base into more countries? Do you have new products/services to develop and roll out? Would you like to increase your sales by deepening existing customer relationships, and uncovering additional needs that you can help your customers to meet? Perhaps you’d like to achieve all three of these goals, maybe others as well.

Include an Innovation Strategy

Do you have an innovation strategy, as part of your sales and marketing strategy? A specific focus on innovation means you can spot opportunities as they appear, and that you’re ready to move into them. Each new opportunity should be considered against your overall business strategy, to check that it takes you closer to reaching your sales goals.

Factor in your Content Marketing Strategy

What about your content marketing strategy? How will your online communications support your sales growth this year? With the majority of buyers starting their purchasing journey online, and potential new customers doing their own research whilst they’re making buying decisions, your content marketing is an important team member of your salesforce. Get help if you need further training or support in this area.

Interview your Current Customers

Your current customers are a valuable source of information as you craft your strategy for the year ahead. Where appropriate, interview them to gather information about how they view your business. This will have multiple benefits for your business.

First, your customers will feel valued and therefore more loyal to you and to your business. This will help your business to retain existing customers and potentially to grow their sales, as they will also tell you pain points that they need to find solutions for. Your customers may give you suggestions for how you could improve your products/services or your internal processes. They may even tell you more about their vision for their own business. Perhaps you’ll even get inspired to innovate further and create something completely new for your industry as a result of their customer feedback.

Consider your tactics

Now that you’ve articulated your goals and done your research, you’ll need to consider your tactics. How are you going to achieve your sales and marketing goals for the 2019 year ahead? What can you see on the horizon for your business, your competitors, your industry? Do you see challenges ahead, or is there a wide-open space around you, just waiting for you to stake your claim to that untouched new market? Do you need further sales resources, sales training, sales tools?

What can you do with the resources you’ve already got? Don’t despair if you lack the resources your competitors may have. Consider this part of your Innovation Strategy. The heart of innovation is the ability to make the best use of what we have available, to step out and try something new even though it may be an imperfect solution. Having less resources than you’d ideally like may work in your favour. You might become more innovative, and therefore more successful in your market, as a result.

Once you’ve looked at your tactics, consider your budget and your available time. Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of annual, six-monthly and quarterly plans. Monthly and weekly plans will help you check that you’re on target to reach, and even exceed your sales goals.

Keep your sales metrics visible

When your company grows to more than five team members, it gets harder to have full visibility on what your team are doing. This is where a good CRM system and sales metrics really come into play. You need to understand what best practice looks like. You also need to be able to check, at a high level, that your team is on target to achieve their sales goals. If you don’t have time to run sales metrics yourself, talk with your team about what you’d like to measure and why so that you can agree on what you’ll see in your regular reporting. Remember that you can’t measure what you can’t see. Make sure you’ve got full visibility on your sales progress and results.

Keep agile and pivot

We’re living in a changeable world, so you and your business will need to be agile enough to pivot as the 2019 landscape unfolds. ‘Agile’ has become a bit of a buzzword – it’s no longer just for IT projects, but for the wider business. If your business needs help to become more agile, check out Agile training options. Your ability to pivot will help ensure that you still meet your sales goals, despite any unforeseen events (staff changes, market changes, customer changes, etc) in the year ahead.

Get started

This brings up another important point. You might be planning carefully and going down into details for your tactics, but your sales and marketing strategy does not have to be completely perfect for you to get started. When you map out your plans, all that you can go on are your results from last year, your honest assessment of the resources you have available, and your most educated guess about how the next twelve months will pan out. You may have the best sales metrics possible, but unfortunately, none of us can know the future absolutely.

Even Steve Jobs knew that plans are never perfect, and that they only appear perfect when we’re looking at them in hindsight. There is great power available to your sales team, just by getting started. Your willingness to dream and your openness to pivot along the way, combined with your ability to trust your team and yourself, will help you to create the future that you’d like to see for your business in the year ahead.

As the business or sales leader – who are you accountable to, to check that you’re on track with measuring your team? Where will you go to get your input and inspiration for 2019? Who can you go to with any concerns you may have in the year ahead? Can you name five people whom you could turn to for advice and support as you boldly step into the future? Who has your back when you face challenges?

Get your team on board

There’s a lot to consider when you start your sales and marketing strategy, so make sure you include as many people in your team and in your business as possible. As the leader, you are the keeper of the vision. Remember that everyone in the business who touches your customers will have insights about sales that you may not have thought of yourself.

Your whole team needs to own the vision. You’ll get better results as your team carry out the tactics of your Sales and Marketing Strategy, when your team has been canvassed for their ideas and their ideas have been included in the strategy. A strategy that they have helped to create will result in your team having a greater degree of buy-in and commitment, which will help them to persevere as they work to carry out your strategy. Keep an open mind and you’ll get the full value of your team’s collective wisdom.

Start your epic journey to Sales Success

Once you’ve brainstormed and dialogued and then written your strategy, it’s time to get started. While your strategy may not be 100% perfect, it’s an excellent start to begin the year with a plan as you and your team move forward together. Give yourself a big pat on the back. You’ve just taken the first step of many, on your epic journey to sales success in 2019.

Mary Crampton is the owner and principal consultant at Magnify Consulting

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