sales and marketing strategyI heard  quote the other day: “Hope is not a marketing plan”.

I thought this was very interesting, mainly because I have spoken to so many business owners who have just thrown some money at an advertising campaign, with no real sales and marketing strategy or funnel in place and say they ‘hope it works’

Lets be clear here. You can’t just pick a marketing strategy and “hope” that it will work. Instead, you need to put together a detailed plan where you lay out a clear sales and marketing strategy and a funnel that meets your business goals.This isn’t a to-do list of tasks. It’s a breakdown of each sales or marketing tactic you want to use and the process you’ll put in place for implementation.

Here’s a short guide to developing a strong sales and marketing plan for your business.

1. Start With Your Business Model

Not all sales and marketing strategies work with every business model. You’ll hear lots of “proven” tactics and marketing methods, but that doesn’t mean they’re the ones for you and your business. Take a good look at your own business model first and then outline some of the characteristics of that model and your target market, including:

• A detailed description of the key features of the target customer – demographics, spend levels, interests, etc.
Where your customers will come from, such as organic search, paid search, joint ventures, offline sources, affiliates, etc.
A detailed plan of your budget and estimated costs. There’s nothing worse than getting half way through a  campaign and having to pull out due to lack of business funds.
• What are your prospects’ buying triggers? i.e where when or how do they usually make a purchase decision? For example, it could be from a product review, a personal recommendation, through surfing content sites, etc.

2. What Are Your Competitors Most Popular Sales and Marketing Strategies?

Now check out your competitors and find their most popular sales and marketing strategies and tactics. How do they convert from prospect to customer? Where are they advertising and how to they get in front of the customer. Study carefully and research both offline and online. Examples include;

• Stand alone sales pages that include giveaways or freebies in  return for an email address (lead generation)
Flyers, postcards and handouts.
• Coupon codes and discount vouchers.
• Regular free teleseminars or webinars that include an exclusive offer at the end.
• SEO and traffic generation organically.
Social Media engagement and offer promotion.
• Multiple joint ventures and recruiting of affiliates.

3. Which Strategies Will You Focus On?

If you try to do too many marketing campaigns at once, you could fail at all of them. You’ll need to focus on just one to start with. Better to do one successful campaign than multiple failures. Plan it, test it out, find out if it works, and only then start introducing more elements. There are endless methods to pick from, so don’t try to do them all at once.

Try selecting the easiest marketing strategy first so you can put it in place and get moving right away. You should always have at least one easy tactic you can use that doesn’t require a lot of thought and planning. For example, you can create an autoresponder series that starts every time a person signs up for that list. It’s a passive form of marketing that requires very little hands on work. Then you can start planning out more campaigns.

In Summary: Your Sales and Marketing Strategy

Start at the end and work backwards.

Start developing your sales and marketing plan by looking at all the steps involved and getting it down on paper. Map everything out. Think about the activities you need to complete in order to implement and maintain each strategy.

Now put those steps into a priority order and process you can follow. How will you get from A-Z. Which steps do you take first? You can even use a mindmap to lay out a visual of your plan, which makes it easy to move things around. Mindmeister is a great, free online tool for creating mindmaps online. You can export any of the mindmaps to a pdf so that you can print and hand them out to your team or put up on display as a reminder.

Make sure you set deadlines for each step in your plan. Some sales and marketing strategies are dependent on a number of factors, including time between emails or follow-ups. Make sure you sett those dates in stone and stick to them!

Your sales and marketing plan will dictate the tasks you’ll need to do on a day to day basis. For example, if you know that your emails need to be sent out at specific intervals, then you’ll need to make sure these are created in advance and ready to go according to your deadlines.

Makes sure you don’t fall into the trap that many business owners make by trying to do everything at once. Focus on each strategy, one at a time, set deadlines, and deploy your sales and marketing plan like a pro.

What tools do you use for your sales and marketing strategy recently?

Written by Caroline Baxter
Caroline Baxter is a serial Entrepreneur, Business Start Up Coach, and recent bestselling author on Amazon. Having started her first business aged 24, she now has multiple businesses in property, the motor trade and online and offline business consultancy. Caroline is now starting a series of live training events to support entrepreneurs looking to plan launch and grow their business