As we get into the fourth quarter of 2021, many of us will start looking ahead and planning for next year. But before you gather the team around the table to work on your 2022 sales & marketing plan, there are a few ‘action items’ you might want to implement first… to make sure your plan is optimized for revenue growth.
#1 – Revenue Analysis
First, get together with your accounting folks and have them provide a revenue review… but not just a typical revenue YTD vs. last YTD. It’s fine, but you won’t learn much from it, especially when comparing to 2020 and the impact of Covid. So, in addition, have your accounting team provide the following reports:
- YTD revenue by service line
- YTD revenue by industry served
- YTD revenue by your top 10 clients
When you drill down into these extra layers, maybe it validates what you think you already know, but more likely, you’ll pick up on trends you didn’t know were there… trends that can have profound impact on the direction of your firm. But either way, now you know for sure.
#2 – Competitor Review
When was the last time you took a look at the websites of your top 3-4 competitors? Yeah… that’s what I thought! So, go do it… now! Read through their sites looking for new product or service announcements, new locations, new key employees, changes in position or focus, etc. In addition, read through their blog posts, watch their videos and download some of their gated content.
While the actions of your competitors may not influence your actions, at least you can factor them into your decision-making.
#3 – Look Backwards
Think for a minute about all of the sales & marketing tactics you’ve implemented so far this year, e.g. your website, sales calls, emails, social media, blogging, networking at conferences, ad campaigns, sales collateral, and so on. Now think about which of them worked… and which ones didn’t. If something worked, plan to do it again (and maybe more of it) next year. If it didn’t work [well], then don’t do it in 2022 or adjust and try again.
And if you have no way of knowing what worked, then your goal for 2022 should be to put in place some measurements systems and processes to track your sales & marketing efforts.
Remember, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
#4 – Listen to the Market
Noodle on these questions… Why did your clients hire you the very first time – when they had other suppliers to choose from? What do you do, if anything, that is unique in the marketplace (in the eyes of your clients)? What do your clients like least/best about doing business with your firm?
These are critical questions you don’t want to guess at… or assume you know the answers to. Instead, now is the time to talk with your clients. Ask them these kinds of questions and spend some time discussing their answers. Knowing their responses can help you establish, validate or adjust your sales & marketing strategies moving forward.
P.S. And don’t forget to talk to a few former clients, as well. In addition to the questions above, finding out why they really stopped doing business with your firm can be very insightful.
Before you can make plans for moving forward, you need to have a strong understanding of where you’ve been and where you are now. The four easy-to-implement ideas above can provide important data and background information that can serve as a launching pad for a powerful and effective sales & marketing plan for 2022. Good luck!