It’s hard to believe we’ve crossed the line into the fourth quarter of 2017. I can’t help but feel a twinge of uneasiness thinking back to my days leading marketing and sales teams this time of year.
We were pushing as hard as we could to find the revenue we agreed to deliver. All the time knowing that the Q4 timeline only provided us with about 40 days of marketing and selling as opposed to the 60 days offered in each of the first three-quarters.
And in the middle of this all-hands on deck focused effort, I’d be asked for next year’s number knowing full well that the expectation was for us to do better. And by “better” I mean generating more revenue with fewer costs.
Though I’ve removed myself from that direct challenge, I still see and hear the frustration from our clients and prospects in their emails and calls, especially as they begin planning for 2018. Most just don’t know where to start in developing their marketing and sales strategy and plan for next year.
So, here are 8 steps for getting both marketing and sales started down a path to do “better” in 2018.
1) Confirm Who Your Buyer Is
You have nearly a year’s worth of data that tells you who your best customers are and identifies the characteristics that make them a fit. Review the data and update your buyer personas and ideal customer profiles.
2) Review and Revise Your Forms
Are you collecting the data you need to identify the characteristics of your best buyer, segment them and deliver relevant content? Probably not. Review and revise the forms to capture buyer interest, pain, and stage.
3) Clean Up Your Data
When’s the last time you cleansed your database and verified your email list? Well, now’s the time to do it. While you’re focused on data, consider creating a communication preference center.
4) Document Your Buyer’s Journey
Your 2017 buyers didn’t just fill out a form and provide you with a credit card. They traveled a path to become your customer, what are the steps they took? Choose a half dozen of your new customers and map out their interaction points – how did they find you, what content did they consume, what made them want to talk to sales. Use your data and take 30 minutes to interview some of your buyers to get it right.
5) Map Your Lead-to-Revenue Process to Your Buyer’s Journey
You know how your buyer buys, so make sure your lead-to-revenue (marketing, ops, sales) process supports the buyer’s journey and addresses any gaps where they may disengage and disappear. From the terminology you share to the statuses and stages you use, to the specifics of qualifying, nurturing and closing – define the process and clarify roles and responsibilities.
6) Update Your Technology
Is your marketing automation and CRM set up to support your process efficiently and effectively? Do the systems talk to one another? Is data mapped correctly? Are there any error messages or upgrade notifications that need attention? Are there features and functionality your team doesn’t use, but should?
7) Review and Organize Marketing and Sales Content
Data will tell you what helped and what went unnoticed or unused when it comes to content. Weed out non-performs and fill those gaps with what your buyers want more of. Organize the content in a way that makes it easy to find and clarifies when and how it should be used.
8) Revisit Your KPIs and Reporting
Make sure the KPIs and reports provide 360-degree visibility into revenue performance and can help you quickly identify and address issues. Also, make sure that your marketing and sales team have individual metrics that allow for accountability and monitoring their performance.
Following these steps will help you create a strong foundation for sustainable, consistent revenue growth in 2018. If you still need help getting there, reach out.