By Peggy Bekavac Olson
The fourth quarter is typically when companies develop business plans and budgets for the coming year. But for many businesses, sales and marketing planning is difficult. They struggle to create plans for growth that are actionable, easy to follow and aligned with business strategy.
The reasons companies struggle include the absence of a clear plan for growth, gaps in sales and marketing skills, a lack of sales and marketing alignment and a shortage of resources needed for execution, such as staff and money.So what can you do if your payment company is struggling with these types of problems?
Here are four key sales and marketing planning best practices:
Let's look at some specifics on addressing the difficulties around sales and marketing planning.
Bring key members of your team together in a planning session to:
Once your plan is approved, have your sales and marketing leaders create detailed timelines, deliverables and milestones for each campaign, activity and initiative in the plan. This helps ensure that only approved activities receive needed human and financial resources. This rigor brings complete transparency, accountability and alignment into the planning process by providing all stakeholders full visibility around objectives and schedules.
Next, take all necessary actions to prepare for the execution phase, such as securing any new employees or vendors to support your efforts or conducting training to improve sales and marketing skills. You'll want to manage and fine tune the implementation of your sales and marketing plan throughout the year, reviewing your progress at least quarterly and adjusting the plan as needed.
Take a look at some of my previous articles in The Green Sheet for additional help. "The annual marketing plan," Dec. 14, 2009, issue 09:12:01, and "Sales and marketing: Allies, not foes," May 10, 2010, issue 10:05:01, contain great tips to help you effectively tackle important aspects that affect the sales and marketing planning process.
To start the year off right and make sure your plan is solidly in place, you may even want to seek professional help and guidance. Sales and marketing planning is critical to achieving your business and revenue goals, and there's no time better than today to get started.
Having a clear plan for growth that everyone in your organization understands and can execute on, securing adequate staff and financial resources, addressing deficiencies in sales and marketing skills, and aligning sales and marketing will plot the course for your success in 2011. So what are you waiting for? It's time to step up and plan to get results.
Peggy Bekavac Olson is the founder of Strategic Marketing, a full-service marketing and communications firm specializing in financial services and electronic payments companies, after serving as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for TSYS Acquiring Solutions for more than five years. She can be reached at 480-706-0816 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about Strategic Marketing can be found at www.smktg.com.
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