Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business
How to achieve success by turning concepts into action
These tips will help you get real, measurable results.
Most of us are torn between planning and action. It’s all too easy to get stuck in heads-down preparation mode to make sure our strategy is perfect. Then again, some of us just want to get out there and sell, sell, sell.
Bridging the gap between ideas and execution isn’t easy. You play in this sandbox every day and know how hard it is to walk the line between planning and action to avoid “ready, fire, aim.” It just seems to take a lot of time!
Most businesses think they balance the urge to over-strategize and selling without a plan fairly well. Yet, the reality is often very different. And sales and revenue suffer.
Why? Vision and strategy sessions that seem to go on forever take place. Projects are created. Resources and responsibilities are identified. Spreadsheets with activities and deadlines are built. All of this is then communicated to the team -- staff, partners, and vendors.
And time drags on. Lots of documents are produced and there’s more discussion. Other priorities seem to pop up that push everything back. Oh, you don’t really have the resources, time, or money needed to take action anyway.
No surprise here!
What’s a company looking at growth in the fast lane to do? Converting an idea into a reality doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, it can be fun, exhilarating, and very profitable.
Here are three tips to help you translate concepts and strategies into action with measurable results.
What does success look like? Start with the focused end result you want to achieve. Take the time upfront to talk through your vision and where you expect the plan to take your business. That will help uncover any disagreement of perspective between stakeholders. And, as important as it is to have a plan that aims to improve profitability or launch a new offering, you’ll want to agree on how the outcome will move your company forward and closer to attaining its mission. High on the list is that your project will create market differentiation for your company. Ask lots of questions. Doing this keeps your company’s strengths and purpose squarely in your sights. Plus, it’ll create a sense of ownership among your team and get everyone on the same page -- outside resources included. It’ll also define why your success matters to customers. This is “purpose alignment” -- the intersection of what’s highly mission-critical to your business, a project that results in differentiating your company, and something your target market cares about.
Realistic and specific goals, measurable results. A heavy does of reality is called for -- unless you have untapped resources, a wad of money, and the ability to stuff more hours into each day. Avoid broadly ambitious objectives and realize that everything in your plan is connected to something else. As an example, adding a website landing page for a new promotional campaign requires that the marketing magnet (white paper, webinar, tip sheet, etc.) is ready to go, unique graphics and theme are created, and that a segmented email list has been set up -- all needing team members or outside vendors assigned to make these happen. Then ask yourself what can wrong. Now, create a simple flow chart to track your plan’s journey. Each major milestone is a top-level item of what’s needed and sub tasks to make it happen. Assign who’s responsible and dates. You get the idea. Smart tools will help, such as Todoist for individual and smaller team task management and MeisterTask for larger team-oriented tasks and projects. An added benefit of a realistic plan: it will help you sell your vision to others. Never stop connecting the dots!
Embrace a nimble and responsive framework. Let’s not confuse purposeful and realistic planning with cumbersome and slow planning. Any kind of new business initiative requires definition around it before you can move forward. Yet, the last thing you need to do is create a 100-page plan. Instead of making campaigns more complex than they need to be, create a flexible process to always operate under. Aside from being less complex, you’ll have your plan up and running faster and for less money. For instance, problems arise if a wrong assumption isn’t revealed until far down the road. So, build into your business structure the discipline to quickly produce your offering in a form that is useable, yet not quite complete, and ask trusted target audience members to comment on it, maybe even test it. Quickly make any necessary corrections to your product or service, time frames, distribution channels, and of course adjust your overall action plan. Entrepreneur and author Eric Ries calls this the build-measure-learn feedback loop. This systematic approach will keep you on track with a faster, less expensive delivery of your plan -- and get you the results you want.
Progressing from brainstorming to on-time execution doesn’t have to be a challenge. Yes, stuff happens. But, slippage of your plan can be prevented. In fact, with the right process and tools your ideas will quickly turn into actions and achievement.
Create a simple, systemic approach to every big initiative. Find the tools and process that works for your business. Don’t wait until you have the next idea rattling around your head. Do it today.
You’ll deliver what your buyer really needs and possibly discover a new opportunity along the way.
Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com) and the author of the Rapid Impact Marketing & Selling Playbook. As a speaker, coach, and consultant he works with small business owners helping them to accelerate the path between their vision and the actions needed to reach, win, and keep customers. Ron is the creator of the FastPath to More Customers Now! 7-step marketing system based on more than twenty years as a successful business owner, corporate CEO, business development executive, and salesman. He is also a mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.