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July 31, 2018

Planning for 2019? It’s not too early to start.

While it’s only the beginning of August – and we’re all in the middle of the summer doldrums – now is the perfect time to start planning for 2019 and thinking about your marketing & sales for next year. Five months may seem like plenty of time to get ready… but you’ll get busy this Fall, and January 1st will be here before you know it.

So, block of a little time RIGHT NOW to start thinking about improving your marketing & sales efforts for next year. And the absolute best way to do that is to make sure you understand all of the things going on in and around your business. What you learn will form the foundation for making smarter marketing & sales decisions next year. To help, here are 6 suggestions to get you started

  1. Take a look at the marketing & sales metrics KPIs you’ve been monitoring. The purpose of the time spent measuring is to learn what’s working and what’s not, so you can make adjustments along the way. Look back now over the first seven months of the year… what do you see? What did you learn? Is it time to make some of those adjustments?
  2. And if you’re not measuring your marketing & sales, get started now to give yourself a baseline of data as you get closer to the end of the year. Key marketing metrics should be around website activity, lead generation, content readership, social engagement and email response. Sales metrics should center on the sales pipeline, sales vs. goals, bids vs. wins and Key Accounts.
  3. What firms to do you consider to be your top competitors… and what have they been up to lately? Not sure? Then block off some time to browse their websites. Are they offering any new products or services? Have they opened any new locations? Have they hired any new key personnel?
  4. Get smarter. Over the next several months, read, watch and learn everything you can about what’s happening in the Market Research industry and in the vertical industries you serve. Read blogs and magazines, sign up for free webinars and enewsletters, set up targeted Google Alerts and get to a conference or two this Fall. What are the new trends, technologies, methodologies and products you need to know about?
  5. Get some feedback from the people who matter most… your clients. Not your typical c-sat study, but getting feedback at a higher level… e.g. “Overall, what do we do right/wrong?”, “What do we do that’s unique in the marketplace?”, “Why did you choose us over all the other possible vendors?”, etc. And consider reaching out to your ex-clients, as well, to find out why they left you and moved on to another supplier.
  6. Account by account. Sit down with your sales team (or whomever handles biz dev) and do a detailed account-by-account review, especially among the top 20% of your clients. Discuss what went right/what went wrong, the quality of your relationships with them, what opportunities are being missed (i.e. who else are they working with and for what kinds of work?), changes in the client’s business that could impact yours, any new key hires, etc. The more you know now, the better you can plan to ‘delight’ these firms next year.

Understanding your business environment is the best way to prepare for marketing & sales planning for 2019… but it’s not something you’ll be able to do ‘over lunch one day.’  It requires broad data-gathering, careful review and insightful analysis (you know, like a good market research project!). And with just a few months to go until next year, now is the time to get started.

Good luck.

Need some help with your marketing & sales planning for 2019? The Think. Plan Do. Workshop™, launching this October, might be the solution. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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