9 steps to sales success in 2017

You want a strong start to 2017. Awesome! But if you want to see greater sales results in 2017, you’ll need to get going now!

The best way to start the year off right is to gather your sales and marketing team for a series of planning sessions to get everyone aligned and headed in the same direction. Marisa Smith in her September 2016 article outlined 9 steps for developing your 2017 Sales and Marketing Strategy. Follow these steps to learn from the past, dream big, and put together a sensible plan for achieving your goals in 2017!

1. Budget for Success in 2017. Make sure you’ve allocated enough resources (people and money) to accomplish your company’s goals for the year. The size of your marketing budget will also depend on how much you have available to invest, and how quickly you want to see results. If you have caviar dreams and a tuna fish budget, you’ll be disappointed by your lack of results, and your team will be frustrated by their inability to meet your expectations.

2. Review and Update Your Ideal Customer Profile and Personas. Look back at your best customers and identify the characteristics that make them profitable and enjoyable to work with. Make sure your ideal customer profile and buyer personas are accurate and update them as necessary to reflect the kinds of customers who will help you reach your growth goals.

3. Document Your Buyer’s Journey. Once your personas are updated, document the journey each persona will take toward becoming a customer. Your contacts take lots of tiny steps along the way to becoming a buyer. Plot out every interaction point your personas will have with your content or your company. This is your buyer’s journey—and each persona has their own. Start at the end—what will they do immediately before signing a contract with you? What’s the step before that? The one before that? At each point along the way, identify the persona’s main questions, motivations, and potential objections. Then identify the kinds of content you’ll need to create to meet them at each point along the buyer’s journey. Don’t forget about the influencers in the process. Feed your main contact the content they need to help educate and sell you internally. You should also determine what CTAs (call to action) to include in order to lead them to the next step.

4. Confirm Your Differentiators. Make sure you’re clear on what makes you different from your competitors. Talk to some of your customers and find out why they chose to buy from you—and what could make them switch teams and buy from your competitors instead.

5. Review and Organize Your Marketing Collateral. Make sure that your printed and digital marketing materials are written and designed to attract your ideal customers and communicate your company’s unique qualities to prospects and customers. Verify that copyright dates are updated, that your style guidelines are being followed, and that everyone on your sales team is using the right version!

6. Review Your Website and Online Marketing. Take a look at your website and social media channels to make sure they’re designed to attract and educate your personas. Is your branding and messaging consistent? Are you engaging with the right target audience? Is your content compelling and educational? TIP: HubSpot’s Marketing Grader can give you a quick snapshot of what you’re doing right, and where you could improve.

7. Review and Document Your Sales Process. Is your sales process set up to close the quality and quantity of customers you need to reach your company’s growth goals? Does everyone on your sales team follow the same process for qualifying and nurturing prospects? Is your process documented? Is your CRM (customer relationship management) system set up to support your process efficiently and effectively? Could you be using any automated tools to make your process more efficient? Document any issues you uncover while you’re reviewing your collateral, processes, and templates. Look for “dark pools”—areas of your process where prospects or customers get lost or ignored due to lack of time/energy/resources.

8. Document Your Sales and Marketing Strategy. Prioritize the issues you’ve identified and develop a phased approach to tackling them over the next four quarters. Depending on the issues you’ve identified, you may need to develop tactical plans for content/inbound marketing, social media, lead generation, lead nurturing, or account development.

9. Track Your Progress and Evolve Your Tactics. Make sure you have defined metrics for measuring success, and have assigned individual team members to be accountable for solving each issue. Set up regular meetings to review progress, identify and solve issues, and align activities across teams. Learn from your mistakes and victories, and evolve your tactics as needed to maintain your traction!

There’s a lot of work to do here, and it can be tough to be objective about your own company when you’re so close to it. Is your business financially healthy? How do you stack up against the competition? Email me now at DanYoung@b2bcfo.com for a free Business Check-up, which will give you a sense of how your company is positioned against industry averages.

I sincerely hope you have found value in the recent newsletters. Starting in January, I am planning to share relevant business information on a monthly basis. I hope you will find it useful.

I would like to wish you and your family Happy Holidays!!

Make it a great day!!

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