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This post is one in a series of tips designed to guide small business owners through the challenges of today’s startup environment and is sponsored by Canon MAXIFY the printer lineup designed to help small business owners increase productivity so that they can focus on everything else that matters. For more information about the Canon MAXIFY printer lineup visitCanon MAXIFY?
The start of a new year is like waking up on the morning of the best day of your life. It’s a clean slate. Each year is a new beginning; brimming with ideas and opportunities. This is usually a time when everyone takes a step back and looks for ways that they can improve their business. And I was curious about how bootstrapping business owners got themselves ready for the coming year, so I asked a few of my DIY Marketing experts?to share their tips for organizing their sales and marketing for success in 2015.
Their tips come in three categories:
- Planning and organizing
- Getting new customers
- Measuring and tracking
See which of these you can snag for your own business! Along with the expert’s marketing tips, I’ve added some sneaky tips of my own. I’ve been using my new Canon MAXIFY MB5320 to print many of these checklists and templates so that I can keep them on my desk and stay focused on the task and plan.
Tips on Planning and Organizing
What’s that phrase? ?Measure twice, cut once? When I asked small business owners to give me tips on organizing planning was at the top of their list.
One of my mentors always asks the question Do you know what the biggest predictor of profitability is? — Having profitability as a goal!? So, dig into these great planning tips and start planning for profitability.
Create an annual planning checklist: Most businesses struggle with organizational systems and management, a well though out checklist can help them you prevent potential marketing ?fires?.
[optin_box style=”12″ alignment=”center” email_field=”email” email_default=”Enter your email address” integration_type=”aweber” double_optin=”Y” thank_you_page=”http://diymarketers.com/confirmation-page/” list=”3695420″ name_field=”name” name_default=”Enter your first name” name_required=”Y”][optin_box_field name=”headline”]SNEAKY TIP![/optin_box_field][optin_box_field name=”paragraph”]PHA+VXNlIHRoZXNlIHRlbXBsYXRlcyBhcyBpcyAtLSBvciBjcmVhdGUgeW91ciBvd24gY2hlY2tsaXN0IHRvIGdldCBhbmQga2VlcCB5b3VyIHNhbGVzIGFuZCBtYXJrZXRpbmcgb3JnYW5pemVkPC9wPgo=[/optin_box_field][optin_box_field name=”privacy”][/optin_box_field][optin_box_field name=”top_color”]undefined[/optin_box_field][optin_box_button type=”0″ button_below=”Y”]Get Instant Access![/optin_box_button] [/optin_box]
Create a 1-Page Marketing Plan: Without marketing planning your chance of success decreases. You don’t have to write a 100-page tome! Keep things simple with a 1-Page Marketing Plan that will keep you and your team focused on your top sales and marketing priorities. Review what you did last year and basically use it as a scorecard by creating a S.W.O.T. analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). yourself. Pull these together and keep them in a basic binder that you can refer to. Keep them as a reference and you’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come.
SNEAKY TIP: Print off a copy of your 1-page plan each week or month and post it up around your office. You can train your team to use the plan to help them make their own decisions instead of constantly coming to you or their supervisor. Simply say Will doing this new thing take us to where we want to go? If yes, do it, if no let it go.
[optin_box style=”12″ alignment=”center” email_field=”email” email_default=”Enter your email address” integration_type=”aweber” double_optin=”Y” thank_you_page=”http://diymarketers.com/confirmation-page/” list=”3525090″ name_field=”name” name_default=”Enter your first name” name_required=”Y”][optin_box_field name=”headline”]Get Your 1-Page Marketing Plan Template[/optin_box_field][optin_box_field name=”paragraph”]PHA+SGVyZSdzIGEgc3VwZXIgc2ltcGxlIHRlbXBsYXRlIGZvciBhIDEtcGFnZSBESVkgTWFya2V0aW5nIHBsYW48L3A+Cg==[/optin_box_field][optin_box_field name=”privacy”][/optin_box_field][optin_box_field name=”top_color”]undefined[/optin_box_field][optin_box_button type=”0″ button_below=”Y”]Get Instant Access![/optin_box_button] [/optin_box]
Create a visual breakdown of your process: This will allow you to get a bird-eye view your entire sales and marketing system. This process map, you can see if the processes you have are using are actually contributing to sales and profits.
Inventory all the marketing materials you will need: Map out your sales and marketing process and then determine exactly what marketing materials will best support your customers in choosing you. You must be able to nurture leads, classify where they are in your system and treat them accordingly. A brand new lead needs different support than someone who has been fully introduced to your product or service and just needs to have their questions answered. We’ve all heard that it takes 7 times to close a sale, but most of the business owners I work with only follow up 2-3 times.
Amy Walker, Amy Walker Consulting
SNEAKY TIP: Did you know that Microsoft Word has some amazing process mapping graphics? Just click on the Smart Art? tab.
Evaluate your collateral and organize it by marketing stage: Throughout the year brands create lots of one off materials (one sheets, product descriptions, brochures, etc.) and sometimes in the rush to create something for a specific use case, the proper role of that material in the overall purchase process is forgotten. This is the perfect time to inventory and evaluate your Collateral Material in light of the Marketing Objective for each stage of the communication cycle and customer journey. Put your materials in piles by purpose such as Awareness, Interest, Decision, Action (as an example). That way you can catch inconsistencies, see what changes need to be made and optimize the copy for quick conversion.
Mark Osborne, VP Sales & Marketing, CitizenNet.com
How to get more customers
Even though I asked for sales and marketing organization tips look at all the great tips I got for getting and keeping customers!
The folks that contributed these tips agree that organizing your operations doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have customers to organize around.
Write an old fashioned sales letter: If you run a niche business that serves a specific set of customers and you know who they are and where they live, then standard snail mail sales letters are still a wonderful sales and marketing tool. You can create a series of template letters that you can customize based on where your prospect is in the selling process. Then simply print them in batches, send them to the prospects and don’t forget to follow up!
Jim Herst, Independent Sales Professional
Ignore failure what the heck reward it! If it weren?t for failure, we’d never learn anything. Failure is nothing more than not achieving an intended outcome. Treat failures like the learning opportunity that they are. The R&D team of a manufacturing company I know used to give awards to the person who made the biggest mistake. They would all get together and make a big ceremony of it along with a printed certificate and hard award! Then, when the next person made a mistake, they would bequeath the award to them and so on. Instead of mistakes derailing their process, they acknowledged how valuable they were.
Al Ruggie, Milestone SEO
Use the “F” word ?focus?: ?figure out what marketing channels are already productive. If you don’t know what channels are working the best, then it’s?time to find that out. That means installing web analytics software on your?website (I’d suggest Google Analytics). For a plan of attack, my suggestion is ?focus? on just 3 marketing channels for a 3 month period. Afterwards, choose 3 different marketing channels and ?focus? on improving those channels for the next 3 months. Then when you’re halfway through the year, you can judge for yourself where your time and money are best spent.
Brian Thackston, Directorof Marketing for WebMechanix
SNEAKY TIP: Figure out where your sales conversions happen; phone, personal meetings, online? Now work backwards from there. How did those customers get to the close of the deal? Start counting emails, social interactions, phone calls, meetings, etc.
Retargeting both online and offline: Look into banner ads and most importantly Facebook Dark Posts. Many of you think Facebook is dead, or dying, and maybe you’re right. But with a Facebook Dark post, I can get extremely specific to the different types of people you would like to target to. You can add a Facebook Pixel to your site, add emails from your mail chimp account, target specifically to an individual that loves, Pepsi, kittens, and Urban Outfitters. And if by some odd chance you are trying to market a shirt that has a kitten drinking soda, than its perfect to market to those individuals. A user is 80% likely to use your services if they see your brand on the 12th try. Advice for 2015, don’t quit. Keep chugging!? Don’t stop with retargeting online do it offline as well. Use the same principles of being bold and creative and print offers and distribute them where your customers hang out.
Johnathan Grzybowski, Marketing Director, Dino Enterprise
Outsource some projects: Save your marketing team for strategic decisions and work and outsource projects to freelancers. A poor job market combined with a recovering economy have prompted some exceptional individuals to engage in freelance endeavors, either as a full time job or to supplement their income. For the price of a full time employee, you can hire a team of designers, writers, programmers and even customer service professionals. Try services such as oDesk, you’ll be impressed.
Edward DuCoin, CEO ORPICAL Group
How to Measure and Track Your Progress
The end of one year and the beginning of another is a great opportunity for looking back and looking forward; seeing what worked and what didn’t.
These small business owners got great results from getting good at measuring, making improvements and seeing the results.
Commit to measuring marketing results and compensating accordingly: Most sales and marketing compensation plans are not aligned. Sales is almost always measured on revenue while marketing team members can be measured on fluff and have little of their annual compensation tied to revenue. Marketing must be measured and compensated based on the company’s achievement of revenue goals and very specific quantitative marketing goals such as leads, conversion rates and pipeline value.
Generate reviews and testimonials: According to a recent Alternative Board Survey, 93% of business owners rely on independent reviews and analysis when selecting a B2B vendor. This new year, business owners will be smart to reallocate time spent building out content on their own site to fostering reviews on other relevant sites.
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David Scarola, VP for The Alternative Board
Create and track a dashboard: It all starts with clear communication processes. Marketing needs to notify sales before they launch a campaign, and sales needs to give real-time feedback on the quality of leads. It’s an often overlooked, but essential, element in harmonious sales-marketing relationships. Consider creating a dashboard of the key metrics you want to track in your business. It doesn’t have to be complicated you can track incoming calls, the number of opt-ins you get on your site whatever is the best predictor of what you want to measure but track it in some kind of dashboard. It could be as simple as what manufacturers do print a weekly chart from a spreadsheet. Or you can use an online dashboard like Klipfolio and print THAT.
Jonathan Taylor, Marketing Manager, Klipfolio
Use a spreadsheet pipeline to manage your selling cycle: Yes, there are a ton of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs out there, but nothing beats a spreadsheet for me! Use it to track the people you’ve given presentations to and move them through your selling process. You don’t have to be a programming wiz and it’s already on your computer!? Click print and you’ve got a to-do list of clients and prospects to call!
Julie Rustad, Artist, Julie Originals
SNEAKY TIP: The magic behind the pipeline is having it in your hand and looking at it every day (when you just save it as a file you can’t see it, it’s invisible and you forget all about it.PRINT IT OUT daily and work the pipeline. Watch your sales grow.
[optin_box style=”12″ alignment=”center” email_field=”email” email_default=”Enter your email address” integration_type=”aweber” double_optin=”Y” thank_you_page=”http://diymarketers.com/confirmation-page/” list=”3695498″ name_field=”name” name_default=”Enter your first name” name_required=”Y”][optin_box_field name=”headline”]Download a SUPER Simple Pipeline[/optin_box_field][optin_box_field name=”paragraph”]PHA+R2V0IGEgYmFzaWMgUGlwZWxpbmUgc3ByZWFkc2hlZXQgLSBpdCdzIHJlYWxseSAtIHJlYWxseSBiYXNpYy4gwqBCdXQgaXQgdG90YWxseSB3b3JrczwvcD4K[/optin_box_field][optin_box_field name=”privacy”][/optin_box_field][optin_box_field name=”top_color”]undefined[/optin_box_field][optin_box_button type=”0″ button_below=”Y”]Get Instant Access![/optin_box_button] [/optin_box]
Print and file emails and documents for current projects: This may seem unusual during a time when everything is digital, but if you’re working with a team correspondence can get jumbled or lost in a string of emails. While a project is active, keep files with emails and attachments it’s actually faster and easier to reference. If you want to save on paper, you can use a central project file.
Andy Ahern, the founder of Ahern & Associates
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So, there you have some of the best tips I’ve collected from my community now it’s YOUR turn. What are YOUR best sales and marketing organization tips for 2015.
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Canon will be spotlighting several small business owners on its social media channels throughout the next several months, so be sure to leave a comment and share your thoughts on this post using the hashtag #MAXIFY in order to qualify. If you are a U.S.-based small business owner (1-9 employees) and have faced a unique business challenge in your first year on the job, let us know! We’d love to hear what line of work your small business falls within and what you feel is the most important takeaway from this post. We’ll also be rewarding select small business owners with a prize pack including the Canon MAXIFY MB5320 printer as well as other essentials to help you run your business more efficiently. So don’t forget to leave a link to your website or social media pages that way we can see how well you’re marketing your business and get in touch!