We all know how important creating a strategy is for almost everything we do. Whether you're planning to spring clean your home, coach your kids basketball team, or figure out how to have your most profitable year ever - you need a strategy.
The marketing team is going to write more blogs, spend more on ads, focus on better keywords and make some UX improvements on the site. From there, the sales team is going to make a few more calls, send a few more emails and the pipeline will grow. Bam; it's that simple.
If it were actually that simple and you didn't need to read any further, we'd both be happy. However, we all know that business is never that simple. Creating a strategy for both marketing and sales, and then aligning them to ensure they are working together is of the utmost importance. Here are my recommendations to keep in mind while creating strategies for both teams.
Look Back Before You Move ForwardWhen it comes to growth, it might seem counterintuitive, but you need to go back before you go forward. Looking at your previous marketing efforts to know what worked well for your company and what didn't is crucial. There's no point in throwing time, energy, resources, and money towards strategy that will not work. So, by doing an audit of your current and past marketing to decide the best strategies and tactics, you'l be able to move forward efficiently.
Develop Target PersonasIt's very easy to be generic with your target personas. "Our target is manufacturing companies." "I sell to CTOs." Being this vague doesn't allow you to really target these individuals. How are you able to know where they spend their time, how they want to be contacted, how they consume the majority of their information, how they are influenced? The list goes on. Dive deep into your target personas and make them as specific as possible. This will give both your sales and marketing teams the best opportunity to actually make a difference with these personas.
Analyze Your CompetitionUnfortunately, we all have competitors. Fortunately, those competitors can give you great insight into the industry. Looking at what they do well, and what they don't do well can help guide your strategy and really move your business forward. Start with some basics and just take a look at their website. Take a look at the user experience, the CTAs, the copy, any pop-ups, downloadable content, blogs, pricing. From there, check out their social. See how frequently they post. Are they getting good engagement? If yes, why? If not, why? Run a keyword search to see what they rank for and what they don't. Does that give you some low hanging fruit to start ranking for good keywords? This can help to give you ideas and also surpass them in important areas that they are lacking in.
Perform A Tech Stack AuditTech Stacks are a great place to look for wasted money and also missed opportunities. If you're anything like us, you've bought software that seemed great at the time but ended up not providing the results you thought it would. At that point, check your billing terms. See if you have the ability to cancel right away, and if not, create a calendar invite for a few days before your next billing cycle to ensure you don't get trapped in another cycle. If you're looking to add more software to your stack, be patient. See what is absolutely necessary. If you have the ability to wait, push your buying out until the last week of the month, or better yet the end of a quarter. It's no secret but sales people work on quota and you are more likely to get a deal at the end of the month/quarter than you otherwise would.
Create A Content CalendarHere's a great place for collaboration between both sales and marketing. Before creating a content calendar, make sure you understand your sales cycle. Do you target different personas during various times of the year? Is there collateral for products or services that your sales team needs? Is there something you want to promote at certain times of the year on social, website, email, landing pages, etc? Knowing what your sales team needs and when they need it will help fill out the rest of the marketing strategy. It creates priorities and allows you to build out the calendar properly. From there, and I cannot stress this enough, ensure you have the bandwidth to deliver on that calendar by assigning tasks to individuals. Additionally, know that things are going to change. Keep an open mind and be agile; you will continue to track data and statistics so let those inform your decisions throughout the year.
Develop Goals & Understand The Potential Challenges
First and foremost, make sure you are setting realistic, measurable, and attainable goals. From there though, know that there are going to be challenges in order to reach those goals. There's a bevy of factors that are going to play into you reaching your goals, so plan ahead to get in front of them. See how you can best keep a pulse on the competitive landscape, the financial situation of your target market, new advancements in your industry, etc.
Need help with your reviews and audits? Our GrowthPlan is a great way to get an outside, expert view of current scenarios in addition to ideas on moving the needle forward.