All Posts

August 28, 2017

Marketing & Sales Success Begins with a Simple Step… Thinking!

Consider this… nearly every key business process involves three fundamental steps: ThinkPlanDo.

Think: You gather together all of the key players that will be involved in the particular issue. Then you brainstorm, discuss, vet ideas and then settle on a final concept, idea or direction.

Plan: With the direction set, a plan is developed to manage the execution. The plan provides instructions for what needs to be done, by whom, by when and for how much money.

Do: Then finally, you get to work… using the Plan to guide the execution.

And the most important part of the process? The Thinking phase! Why? Because it lays the foundation and sets the direction for everything to follow. It drives the process toward achieving your goals. Without it, you’re rudderless.

A good example of the Think-Plan-Do process is in the building out of new office space…

Think: You sit down with an architect or space planner, discuss what you need now, what you might need in the future and perhaps, what didn’t work so well in the past.

Plan: The architect then takes all of that input, goes back to the office and, ultimately, delivers a set of construction documents for your new space.

Do: With blueprints in hand from the architect, the construction foreman helps his team to build out your new office space.

Now imagine what would happen here if you were to skip the Thinking phase. Yes, you’d get your office space, but would it work for you? Would it be laid out properly? Would the space planner have drawn in the right number of offices and cubicles? Did they remember the server room for your computer system? And so on.

As you might suspect, that same kind of thinking must be applied to your marketing & sales efforts, as well. Sadly though, that rarely happens.

Based on our observations in the Market Research industry, most firms just jump right into the Doing phase, executing on certain tactics so they can feel like they’re accomplishing something. Sometimes there is a basic marketing & sales Plan created… but there is almost never any serious time spent in the Thinking phase.

And the results of skipping the Thinking part of the marketing & sales process?

  • Messaging that misses the mark.
  • A perception of being just like every other firm.
  • A lack of awareness in the market you serve.
  • New no leads for the pipeline.
  • Services that never seem to grab a foothold.
  • And so on.

So, before you go to market with any business development efforts, do what the company above did when planning their new office space… spend some time Thinking.

Gather together all of the appropriate constituents to discuss, brainstorm and vet out all of your marketing & sales ideas. If you have any relevant data – revenue history, sales activity, customer sat. #s, etc. – bring it to the meeting, as well. Talk about what’s happening in your business, in the Market Research industry and in the industries you serve. Discuss your services and your targeted buyers. Consider the competition.

Now, with all of the facts on the table, take as much time as you need to talk through it all and make well-founded strategic decisions. Once you’ve done that, it become an order of magnitude easier to create the marketing & sales plan and then execute on that plan.

Bottom line: As 2017 starts winding down and you start the planning for your 2018 marketing & sales program, remember to begin by thinking strategically. Don’t just “wing it”… be thoughtful and purposeful in your efforts. I promise… your results will be proportional to the “think” time you invested.


Want to explore strategic thinking a bit more? Harpeth Marketing’s Founder & President, Steve Henke, will be speaking on the topic at GreenBook’s Insight Marketing Day, November 9th in Chicago. To learn more about this important industry event, go to:



Search Site: