This time of year, many organizations start turning their attention to 2018. Why don't they wait until January? What’s the rush? These organizations understand that setting goals isn’t enough. Growing their business and meeting revenue targets requires planning. Goals without a plan are just wishes. If you wait until January to start planning, then you’ll already be behind. Now is the time to put your sales and marketing strategy under the bright lights and give it a thorough assessment.
But what’s that assessment look like? What should you be reviewing? What questions should you be asking? Every organization is different, but here are a few topics you should cover and a few questions that will get your discussion started.
Do we know who our target buyer personas are? How do we know this? Is it a hunch or based on research?
Does our marketing database reflect our target personas? Is the data accurate? Is the data complete?
Buyers Journey and Sales Process
What are the steps our prospects go through before they decide to buy from us?
Does our sales process match the way our prospects buy?
Is our sales process internally or externally focused? Is it designed to guide our prospects through their buying journey or is it designed to support our operational objectives?
How can our process be changed to accelerate deals through the funnel?
Sales & Marketing Alignment
How do we classify and define leads? Are Sales and Marketing speaking the same language? What is our definition of a lead, Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)?
Are you sales and marketing teams aligned? Do our sales and marketing teams have shared goals and objectives? What are they? Are they the right ones? Should they be changed?
What are the Marketing Team’s expectations of the Sales team? Are they reasonable? Does Sales know what’s expected of them?
What are the Sales Team’s expectations of the Marketing team? Are they reasonable? Does Marketing know what’s expected of them?
Lead Generation Tactics
What lead generation tactics are we deploying? Which ones are effective and which ones aren’t? How do we know? What are the performance metrics?
How much did we invest in marketing last year? What is the ROI of that spend? How should it be adjusted next year?
Do we deploy a mix of both inbound and outbound marketing tactics?
How many leads do we need to generate to meet our growth objectives?
Do we have the resources, talent and tools we need to execute our marketing strategy? Do we need to purchase new tools? Which ones? Do we need to hire additional resources? What type of talent do we require? Can it be outsourced?
Does our website accurately convey our value message to our prospects? Are we using our website to share our expertise and position ourselves as thought leaders?
How are we using our website to generate leads? Does our website have lead capture functionality?
How many contacts are visiting our website monthly? Does the number of visitors increase month-over-month? Are we attracting the right visitors? How do we know?
Does our website content support our sales process and our prospects’ buying journey? Does our website encourage repeat visitors?
Does everyone on the sales team use the CRM tool? If not, why not? Do we need more training? What can we do to increase adoption of the tool?
Do we have the right tool? Is it set up to support our sales process?
Does our CRM make our sales team more or less productive?
Does our CRM produce the reports that we need?
Marketing Content/Sales Collateral
What marketing content and sales collateral do we have at our disposal? Which pieces are used for what purposes? Does it meet our needs?
Does the sales team know what content is available, where to find it, and how to use it in the sales process?
What additional content do we need to create? Do we have the resources and time to create what we need or do we need help?
How productive is our sales team? Do they have all the tools they need to be effective?
How can we help them streamline their process?
Are there tools available that can help them better leverage lead intelligence; improve their communication with their prospects; and make them more efficient?
Did we meet (will we meet) 2017 growth objectives? If not, why not?
What are our growth objectives for 2018?
What are the obstacles that could hinder our growth?
What are the opportunities we need can leverage that can accelerate our growth?
The first step in developing your plan is to map out what topics your organization should be focusing on and what questions should you be asking. When developing the outline for your strategy sessions, solicit input from everyone on the sales and marketing teams. Everyone has a point-of-view and it’s important to give each team member input. In doing so, the team will be more likely to take ownership of the goals, strategies and objectives you adopt. Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list of topics and questions, but hopefully it will provide some food for thought and get the discussions started.