When done right market planning can dramatically improve bottom line results. It can drive more leads and deliver increased sales. The challenge is how the plan is developed and having the discipline to follow it.
1 – Getting a Good Marketing Plan
So what is a marketing plan? One thing it’s not is a tactical demand generation campaign plan. It’s not intended to be promotional. Campaigns and promotions are just one element of the overall marketing plan. Savvy marketers understand that every element in the marketing mix must be aligned to generate desired results. So what are these marketing mix items? Marketing Business Majors might say it’s the Seven P’s (Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People, Process and Physical evidence). A good plan will define how and where you can promote your business. It should also outline how to make the most of the demand generation responses (aka- leads) generated to convert them to opportunities. It should detail your customer and prospect personas to give you a better understanding of how to land customers repeatedly and expand your solutions and services within the client base.
2 – Be Intentional About Planning Your Actions
The results from your marketing plan should provide a useful outline of the actions needed within in the business.
For example – If increasing revenue from existing accounts is a goal, then that should be weighted, and campaigns, budgets, and sales initiatives, such as account management should have an appropriate level of focus on the marketing plan.
A good plan will outline the ideal priority for these. A balanced scorecard priority weighting exercise/workshop is a great tool to get the priority right, as well as build KPI’s to measure plan performance. If your plan calls for improved revenue from the base, then some KPI’s could include hiring an account manager, training existing sales team members, and defining your account management processes. The plan could also include campaigns to introduce your offerings more widely to new contacts within your client accounts. Prioritizing initiatives should also be a part of your plan. Understanding which to do first is crucial. Getting this wrong could create marketing results that reduce enthusiasm for the idea.
In the example of improving revenue from the base, the account management process and sales training should execute first. There’s no point in running a campaign to your clients if your sales team aren’t equipped to convert those leads. In fact, a good marketing plan will almost always leave campaign and demand generation activity at the end. Until everything else is sorted – time and money spent on demand gen can be easily wasted if it’s not well supported.
3 – Follow Through On Your Action Items
Many excellent marketing plans never realize their potential because the advice and action plans supporting them don’t get implemented. We as humans are creatures of habit. Despite how much we like an idea it can be hard to move away from the “way we’ve always done things.” A good marketing plan is only the beginning of the process, what follows is usually an effort from more than just the marketing team to improve your business results.
4- Understand Where You Need Help, and Get It
Business owners and leaders often feel like they’re expected to have all the answers. Most companies started because they felt like they could do a better job of producing products, or deliver services better. That becomes your focus. However, when it comes to improving the various aspects of your business that aren’t in your core competency, bringing in talented people and trusting them to help can take a lot of pressure off. Bringing in experts where appropriate allows you to free up your time, which allows you to concentrate on other critical areas of the organization – like developing new products or services.
Tom’s experience in marketing and business development in the B2B Software space started in Analytics, and grew into broader data integration, management, governance, and consulting services for software vendors and their partner channel community. Tom has built and led marketing and inside sales teams at several leading enterprise software and consulting firms. His experience includes brand management, channel marketing, building modern marketing automation systems, developing innovative demand generation programs, building and leading business development teams. Find Tom on –