How to Create a Marketing Plan That Works (Part 3)

Caution! – If you haven’t watched Part 1 and Part 2 of this video series, be sure to do that now, before jumping into this one.

When it comes to creating a marketing plan that works, one of the major causes of floundering teams is a lack of cohesiveness in their planning for execution.

I’m not talking about planning in the form of strategy or marketing channel/vehicle selection, I’m talking about a good old one-page plan that says who’s going to do what by when.

We call this your Marketing Activity Calendar (fill out the form below to download)

It’s a simple document that pulls it all together and enables you and your team (including outsource partners) to stay focused and accountable to consistent marketing.

In this video I run you through what a Marketing Activity Calendar is, and of course you can download a free template below.

If you’ve got questions or comments, please leave them below and we’ll do our best to help you out.

Enjoy and good luck!

Cheers
Jamie

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How to Master the Inner and Outer Game of Business Growth

On September 30, Jamie was interviewed by Eric Dye of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network about dealing with growing pains and managing the internal and external challenges that come with growing a successful business.

With tips from our business coaching toolbox Jamie painlessly describes what specific characteristics and skillsets are needed for an entrepreneur to have successful business growth. Give it a listen:

TIP: Invest in you. Your business is a reflection of you. If you want to grow your business and stay one step a head, then you need to grow you. And to find the place to start, look to where your stress is. Stress is usually created by uncertainty, i.e. not knowing how to handle a certain problem. That might be the place you need to learn some more or become more capable in same way.

Listen to Jamie’s interview with Curtin FM for the skinny on the productiviy apps that can help you manage your time and harness business growth

How to Create a Marketing Plan That Works (Part 2)

Caution! – If you haven’t watched the first video in this series, be sure to do that now, before jumping into this one. Not doing so could cost you thousands in wasted marketing dollars (not to mention wasted time).

OK, Now that you are armed with the thinking and knowledge to ensure your marketing is on point with the right message and right target (gained from video #1), we are ready to dive into marketing vehicle** selection.

Our key tool to choose the right marketing vehicles is the Marketing Vehicle Checklist (fill out the form below to download).

This tool is essentially a catch-all for the various marketing vehicles that are available to you. It is not an exhaustive list, but covers most of what you’ll need for now. As you watch the video, you’ll see how it helps you to get clear on how to prioritise your marketing.

Move through the checklist marking off things as applicable, and once you’ve established a short list of vehicles, you’re ready to roll.

The next step from here will be to compile your priorities in a way that you can stay focused on them, and that’s the topic of the 3rd and last video in this series!

Cheers,
Jamie

** We use the term ‘marketing vehicle’ to describe a particular way to market, or a marketing channel if you like. Some other common terminology for this is ‘marketing strategies’ but we intentionally avoid using the word ‘strategy’ here because we believe strategy is a very separate thing. A we call strategy, your Marketing Blueprint (see Video #1 for more about Strategy and your Marketing Blueprint)

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How to Create a Marketing Plan That Works (Part 1)

The marketing blueprint is really about getting inside your customer’s mind to understand how they think. When you can understand how someone thinks, you can speak to them in a way that is going to make a connection. That’s what marketing is all about.

Too often companies make the mistake of marketing in a way that resonates with their own thinking—not the customer’s.

When we do that, we are essentially pushing information out and forcing it upon people. It’s more of a ‘list to me, listen to me’ approach.

To give you another way of thinking about it: It’s like having a conversation with someone who is engaged with what you are saying, versus one who is too busy thinking about what they’ll say next and miss everything you’re saying.

In these two scenarios, there is a difference in the point of focus. The goal of the Marketing Blueprint is to be a listener before you become a speaker.

Does this take some effort? You bet. Is it worth it? You bet.

Not only does answering the Marketing Blueprint questions help you to connect with your customer, but it also helps you get really clear on who your customer actually is (believe me, it’s not as many people as you think). It helps you to be clear on why they will buy from you and on the true value you bring.

Answering these questions not only makes marketing easier, but they will guide your overall business strategy as well. It’s powerful stuff.

Do yourself and your business a favour, watch the video then set aside half a day with your key people to discuss the questions posed. The half-day you invest will save you a lot more than that down the track.

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Why the Title of ‘Salesperson’ Might Just Be Limiting Your Sales Growth.

Modern sales strategies have been a sigh of relief for many salespeople. This is where we put the customer first and operate as a problem solver vs. someone pushing for a sale. But our titles (like that of Salesperson) have not kept up with these changes.

I’m not a fan of whacky titles for the sake of being different, but I do believe titles influence (if not only subconsciously) our identities. And our identities have a massive impact on our behaviour. So where am I going with this?

In any transaction, we have two parties. We have the seller and the buyer. In the modern sales paradigm, we know that no one likes to be sold, but people love to buy—and it’s our job as a salesperson is to find people who have the problem we can solve and help them to buy it. Given that focus (helping people to buy), why do we still use a title that is focused on selling? No one likes being sold, and it’s not where our focus should be.

Perhaps I’m splitting hairs here, but I don’t think so. I believe these small distinctions is what fine tunes our thinking and helps us to step up a level. And I know anytime I’ve been in a meeting with someone who could buy, and I’ve been focused on making a sale, it rarely goes well. And the reverse is also true. When I’m focused on what the other person needs and how I can help them get that, it usually ends up with two happy people because we’ve been focused on the right thing.

Sales are about helping others, being of service to others and helping people to solve their problems and get what they want. And if we can do that well, we can get compensated well. And that’s the way it should be.

So, what am I suggesting? Should we change the title salesperson to ‘buying agent’ or ‘problem solver’? I’m not sure. But I do think it’s worth considering that it’s time to update the titles to match the philosophy. It’s time to change the identity of the ‘salesperson.’

 

Building a Profit-First Budget

Budgeting is not something most business owners would list as one of their most exciting tasks – and that’s ok, but it is necessary, and there is a way to build a budget that makes profit non-negotiable. Here’s how you can create a budget which helps you think differently about how you manage the expense side of your business, and will radically change your profit results.

The Hidden Profit Centre in Your Business

Think HR has no bearing on profitability? Think again…

Having long been denounced as nothing more than a cost centre and a necessary part of doing business, the people management aspects of an organization (specifically HR) have been overlooked as an integral component of the profit structure of an organization. The link, however, is a lot stronger than many businesses have traditionally thought.

In a recent study on management practices in Fortune 1000 companies, the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California found that employee involvement measures (that traditionally sit well beneath the HR umbrella) show a solid ROI and link to the bottom line.

For small to medium-sized businesses who don’t even have an HR department, the impact of this study is even larger, as decisions made at owner-run businesses see an immediate trickle-down effect due to the smaller work structures, and can see a positive impact in the bottom linke much sooner than a larger organization. The key is in increasing the employee commitment to the organization.

Any one of the following measures can be implemented by a company to see a lasting improvement in financial returns (not to mention the cost-savings garnered from reduced turnover):

  • Employees generally feel that if an investment is made in them, they will return that investment in-kind. Establish a feeling of “repricosity” through:
    • Information-sharing
    • Skills training
    • Encouragement of ownership thinking
    • Fostering “buy-in” for organizational change measures
    • De-centralizing decision-making
  • Using technology for process improvement, not just cost-cutting benefits. If employees are brought into the process on the ground level, working backwards and can have input into process design, hey are more willing to manage change, and feel a greater benefit of new technology as a tool for them—not just because it’s cheaper for the organization
  • Building a culture which values job-security – which means attaching value to the person over the employee number.

Each of these measures is fiscally achievable in one way or another, even for very small businesses and engage in the employee’s higher level needs, which leads to increased productivity, better customer interactions, a willingness to tackle challenges and stick with the company–all which have a positive impact on profit.

Small tweaks can often have the greatest impact on profitabilty, particularly if they are seemingly unrelated to the bottom-line. Remember that everything in your organization starts and ends with culture, so before you tweak your marketing, sales prices, or slash costs to boost productivity, have a critical look at how investments to your people-practices can pay you back in spades.

3 Immediate Strategies to Boost Profits

If you are not profitable, your business has a death date. At the very least it is a long trudging journey of survival as you go day to day hoping to have enough money in the bank to pay your bills. That is no way to live, and I’m sure it’s not why you started your business.

It’s time to make healthy profits non-negotiable! Here are three strategies you can implement immediately to boost profits:

  1. Raise your prices – and if you’re like most business owners, your mind is already throwing up the objections “we won’t be competitive,” “Our customers are price-sensitive,” “We’ll lose our customers, ” and the list goes on. Before you spend too much time buying into your sabotaging beliefs, consider the actual impact of pricing through this example:

If your Gross Margin is currently 30% and you discount prices by 10% to win business, you need to make 50% more in sales to still make the same amount of profit. Versus if you raise your prices by 10%, your sales can decrease by 25% and you will still make the same amount.

And which customers do you think you might lose when you increase your prices? Yes, the pain-in-the-ass customers. And in our experience, most of the time minimal loss in incurred. What you really end up with is more profit.

As a small business, you want to be premium and expensive. And be sure your product or service matches your price point through quality and differentiation. If you are the same or worse than your competition, then forget about pricing, work on making your offering better first.

  1. Build a profit-first budget. What this means is you develop a conservative business model that sets you up for success in being profitable. Most people plow ahead with rose coloured glasses and ‘hope it will all work ‘ That is not a good strategy.

Here are your four steps to creating a profit-first budget.

  1. Make a conservative forecast for your sales for the next 12 months
  2. Decide what level of profits you want. (i.e. 15%)
  3. Build in your Gross Margin. You should know this. Make it conservative
  4. Make your overhead fit in the amount left over.

E.G. Sales of $1,000,000, profit of 15%, Gross Margin of 30% = Overhead allowance of $150,000.

This methodology will make you take a hard look at expenses. Click here to view a short video that dives a bit deeper into this point

  1. Negotiate – all business arrangements should be set up with the intention of win/win. That doesn’t mean you should take the first price someone gives you. There are always ways to find a better deal. Perhaps negotiating payment terms or buying in larger Or of course shopping around.

The underlying principle behind boosting profits and making this strategy work is your own negotiating skills. Most people are inherently bad negotiators. It invokes fear in people to ask for a better deal. To help you with this read “Never Split The Difference” by Chris Voss. It’s a game changer.

 

How Strong is Your Network?

It’s been said that your net worth is a reflection of your network, and when it comes to the sales and marketing of your business, a good network is an extremely valuable tool.

However, it’s important to note that a network is not just the sum of the people you know.

It takes strategy and intention to create a network that will help grow your business. Watch to discover what makes a healthy network, and how to make it happen for your business.

 

How to Make Yourself More Referable

This video is NOT about how to get more referrals (well, not directly anyway) It’s about how to boost your level of trust with your clients or customers to become more referable. By identifying your best possible sources of referrals and building those relationships you will see a boost in both the quality and quantity of your referrals.