Over the years I have come across so many businesses, small and medium size, where there is no sales and marketing plan at all.....no really - none at all. From the outside they appear successful. Other customers and business people that know them think; " They have it sorted", "How do they do that".
This surprised me too! Then I get a phone call to come and talk to them as they needed "Marketing" help. Over a lovely cup of coffee the real truth is unveiled. "We have no real structure to our yearly Sales & Marketing activities" and "we would like to have a solid clear list of what we want to achieve this year - from a Marketing standpoint - every year just seems to slip away from us". So all in all there is no plan.....I remarked to one such business - "You know everyone assumes you are running at 100% of your potential and you really do not need more success but expansion". We all laughed......then it sunk in what I just said. They really did need structure because, if the great momentum and goodwill that they had thrived on ran out - they would be high and dry.
What is a Sales and Marketing Plan?I believe the real issue is a lack of understanding of what a sales and marketing plan is and how you use it. This can be as complicated or as simple as your business can handle. Using the Sales figures for the past business year and the projections for the coming year a plan should dove tail with these projections. Meaning - what Sales & Marketing actions do we have to take to achieve these sales figures.
This document is the "HOW" all these Sales will be achieved and "HOW" growth will be achieved.
What do you need to do in your business to match the results of last year?
What new contacts/markets/partnerships you need to forge in order to grow your business?
What are the costs involved? Research and record them all.
Break activity and action points down to monthly tasks and it becomes a very user friendly document.
Once a month re-read the plan, if you have your actions recorded over a calendar year (as your business may be seasonal etc.,) look back over the past month - can you tick-off the action points scheduled for last month? - look these may be as simple as "update the Christmas Packages in our website", "Agree 2014 pricing for forthcoming bookings/orders", "Pre-booking adverts for next month" etc.,. But by going back each month you will see progress and be on top of what actions are coming up this month. You feel in control.
I have worked within the Sales & Marketing field for almost 19 years now and to have a Plan by your side gives you confidence. Keep referring to it; update it, add to it, tweak it but stick to it. Having this Action Plan - which is part of your sales and marketing plan gives you direction. By using it regularly you will not feel the year is slipping away and you will not lose control. You are in control of your business!