Planning Feed

Is your marketing plan based on a sales lead forecast?

IStock_000075370299_Large (3)Starting January 1, if you have a calendar business year, you should have a new marketing plan with SWOT, Goals, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics. The plan must be based on a sales forecast by product. It should state how many inquiries by product will be essential to make forecast and the sales quotas.

Each tactic should clearly state how many raw inquiries and qualified leads you will create to make forecast (if the tactic is lead gen based).

Budgets should reflect two approaches:

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A Story: How a Marketing Manager Learned to Build a Demand Creation Plan Based on Sales Quotas

IStock_000018180137Small“How do you know,” I asked the marketing manager, “how much money to spend on marketing, and how many inquiries and leads to produce?”

“I do what we generally did last year, and create as much demand as I can,”   was her reply.

“We have a marketing plan,” she continued with some obvious pride. “And we list what we have to do for the year and stick with it.”

“When do you consult with the sales manager about quotas?” I asked.

“We don’t really…well kind of, because we know the forecast he has to hit,” she said with some doubt in her voice.  “Why do you ask?”

“The issue is if you know the sales forecast for the whole year, you also have access to quarterly and monthly forecasts, as well as the salespeople’s individual forecasts.  Armed with this information, you’ll know how many inquiries and leads you have to create per salesperson based on the average closing rate per product.”

“Umm, so what you’re implying is that I should create the number of inquiries each rep will need to make quota based on their closing ratio?”

Why its important?

“Umm, so what you’re implying is that I should create the number of inquiries each rep will need to make quota based on their closing ratio?”

Sales Lead Management Association

 

“Yes, but you needn’t go all the way to the rep level on their closing ratio,” I said.  “You can take the average closing rate of the

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Do you have your Business Continuity Plan in place?

If you work for a company, there should be a plan in place, and you should know where it is and what your role is in the plan. This is one of the most overlooked pieces of information and documentation for small companies. Large corporations are required to have Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity Plan in place. Some clients require it, as well as financial institutions. They want to know you and/or your company has a plan if something really bad happens.

What happens if you get hit by a bus?

If this is your company, you need this documentation in place because you have staff relying on your

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Never Underestimate the Power of Planning

Tom and I met at a Sushi restaurant yesterday, something we’ve done once or twice a year since I consulted with his company on sales/marketing and planning several years ago.   Tom is his company’s VP of Operations, and we try to meet regularly to discuss the company’s progress, but we had not had a meaningful discussion in nine months. IStock_000007274585Medium signs

Two years ago I moderated their sales and marketing plan.  The end result was a full Strengths and Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) assessment, a plan with Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics, etc.  As we started in on our pot sticker shrimp appetizer, I handed over the planning document and asked him, “Well, will you make the $X Million product goal for Z Product and $X Million for Y Product this year, as set out in the plan?” 

He smiled as he took the document, looked at the goals and said, “Yes, we will make these numbers.”  He beamed, and then looked more deeply into the plan. 

As he flipped through the pages he said, “Of course we worked the plan in the months after the planning meeting, but the review meetings faded away as everyone got busy.  Yet, as I look through the tactics, I see that even without the review meetings most of it got done, and here we are at the two-year mark having made goal. That’s neat.”

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Is your marketing plan based on a sales lead forecast?

“Sales leads create sales in direct proportion to follow-up.”

James Obermayer - Sales Lead Management Association

Starting January 3rd, if you have a calendar business year, you should have a new marketing plan with SWOT, Goals, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics. The plan must be based on a sales forecast by product. It should state how many inquiries by product will be essential to make forecast and the sales quotas.

IStock_000018337527XSmallEach tactic should clearly state how many raw inquiries and qualified leads you will create to make forecast (if the tactic is lead gen based).

Budgets should reflect two approaches:

1. A branding budget (no forecast of sales leads).

2. A lead generation budget with a forecast for the number of inquires (by tactic) and the raw cost of an inquiry, qualified lead and closed lead.

(Image from iStockPhoto.com)

The forecast should include a calendar with the number of inquiries you expect to generate by month with an increasing number of inquiries preceding the expected increases in sales by at least three months (the inquiry count should be an upward slope preceding the expected upward slope in sales).

 

Eight Steps for successful creation of a marketing plan from the Sales Lead Management Association:

1. Forecast Sales by product, by month and quarter.

2. Forecast inquiries or qualified leads to achieve quota (quota is often different than a sales forecast).

3. Create a professional marketing plan: SWOT, Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics (detailed lead generation forecast).

3. Measure each lead generation tactic for quantity and cost: raw inquiries, qualified leads, closed leads (sales) and sales lead follow-up.

4. Repeat what works!

5. Scrap what doesn’t result in sales unless there is a good branding strategy for the decision.

6. Review the plan monthly.

7. Have the courage to change, delete and add tactics.

8. Plan your work and work your plan. Monthly plan reviews are mandatory.

Remember Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke said "No plan survives contact with the enemy.” Your plan won't either in its entirety, but without a plan you have not given your business any forethought; you are just responding emotionally to everyday demands with no thought of the future.

And lastly, remember, "A high percentage of sales leads followed-up by you will buy from you, what isn’t followed-up buys from your competitor."