How do we make sure your marketing and sales strategies are aligned?
Our marketing strategy is long-term. We want to get establish ourselves in our community and begin to collect emails to start a newsletter. Our sales strategy is short-term. We need to start making sales now to follow through on our marketing plans! How do you keep both plans aligned when it seems like they are in different directions?
Richard Stern- For the Sales Plan to work you must consider the following:
1. Target customer
2. Your company place in the category of products you are selling
3. Price Point
5. Your message
6. Competition differences
7. Are you a local, national, or international brand
8 Take all the answers and draft the Sales Plan
The Marketing Plan must compliment the Sales Plan:
1. Explain your message to the target Sales Plan customer
2. Detail the Marketing outlets to deliver the message
3. Create a budget
4. Develop "Audit" procedures to see the impact of the Marketing plans on the business
5. The Plan must have a start date and end date.
Perhaps my thoughts are all wet but if I were doing it I would rip up what you have done and start over.
First off I would do a vision statement. It helps to define who you are and who you want to be.
Then I would redo the marketing strategy. It needs to be more than get established and collect email addresses. It meeds to be precise, measurable and with the time frame defined. I probably wouldn't even use the name "long term marketing strategy" I would call it something like long term operating plan or long term goals. Then I would look more at setting defined goals such as Sales in 1 year of $ 200,000, 100 regular customers and 6 sub dealers for the maple syrup and products. A mailing list of 250. Then work out the goals for each of the next 4 years. Perhaps at year 5 something likes sales of 1.5 million, 25 sub dealers, and a mailing list of 3000.
Then I would work on y short term sales strategy but I would call it a marketing plan. Break down those numbers. For sales of $ 200,000 work out the sales you need for each month, For 6 sub dealers you need to add one every 2 months for the mailing list you need to add just over 20 per month. Then I would sit down and decide what i need to do in what time from to accomplish those goals. For example for adding one sub dealer every two months you may have to contact 10 people to get one sub dealer so you would need to plan to contact 5 prospects a month. Work out what steps you need to get the monthly quota of email addresses and etc.
Even when mail marketing objectives could be long term, and sales objectives are in some cases short term, there is always room to alignment, and they should be aligned.
In my opinion, there should be a strategic plan above marketing and sales plan, something covering the overall strategy, probably including other areas, like logistics, distribution, operations, post sales services, finances...
If you manage to design this overall strategy, your different departments could be able to state how they will help to reach this strategy.
You can promote alignment with meetings, of course, as some others have suggested. I recommend you to make a strategy map where you can show the strategy vectors your company will run. If you manage to explain your people they are working through collaborative teams towards a major strategic achievement, you will get closer to alignment and also could prevent business silos.
There is an interesting tool, I think it is coming from Balanced Scorecard philosophy, it is called impact matrix.
It's a double entry table, you can put your objectives in row header and your initiatives (marketing and sales) in column header, and check which initiatives will drive impact in objectives. All of your initiatives / project should make real impact into your objectives, otherwise something is wrong. And people should be aware about what objectives they are engaging into a major plan when they work on short term actions.
There is nothing like stating the obvious but here we go..your Business Plan is your bible and should incorporate both marketing and sales in order that you can develop a road map to take you from initiation to successfully achieving your objectives (which evolve as time goes on).
I think you may be approaching this from the wrong direction. For instance, if your sales plan is to sell 100 units then you should be building a marketing plan to support this objective, not the other way round.
Sales clearly sits at the sharp end and companies live and die through the success of their sales people. Marketing may be considered a support mechanism for the sales function promoting your brand, products and services to help develop your market.
There is no point spending a lot of time and money developing a long term marketing plan when your sales people are being rewarded on a short term basis. Sales people, new business or account managers, are the same the world over and will focus on whatever puts money in their pockets. One highly motivated sales person is worth ten others.
From my experience, introducing an incentive scheme to motivate your people backed up with a well thought out marketing exercise is most likely to produce the results you need. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having a long term strategy that includes several short term campaigns. Just make sure your sales people are rewarded accordingly.
If I was in the US I would love to help you! Good luck...
One way to make sure everyone in the organization especially sales and marketing is to make their incentive plans on corporate goals. It is amazing when compensation is tied to making people work together, how fast they figure it out on their own.
First off, be sure to have meetings together. For some reason, companies still separate these meetings which makes zero sense. Secondly, after getting the two departments aligned, have your sales team utilize the marketing efforts in their sales system. For instance, if you incorporate a content marketing approach where you address many of the questions that your marketplace is asking, set up an automated email program where the prospects of the sales team get a series of emails with helpful info (the marketing team will be the ones to set up the automated programs). So when the sales team reaches out to them, they are already getting warmed up to them and your company due to the helpfulness of the info you have provided on their behalf.
Another thing you can do is to have the sales team BCC the marketing department whenever they answer a new questions, this way the marketing team can be instantly made aware of the types of problems or questions that are being asked by your prospects. The marketing team will then take these questions and answer them in the form of medium to longer form content (i.e. a blog post) that will then be made part of the automated programs listed above. It can be a beautiful ongoing cycle of alignment and success.
It appears evident that your long term marketing strategy is significantly flawed if it is only concerned with long term objectives. A Marketing plan should concern itself with the immediate, short and medium term too. Your long term plan serves primarily to provide a reference point for everything you do in the period starting 9am Monday morning until the date that it states as fulfillment of your long term objective.
Go back to the drawing board and look at what is required right now to set you on the path you have defined, then fill in all the banks to build a marketing strategy that can be practically implemented every day you are in business.
The collection of email addresses is (and should be), the result of sales activity never (or only rarely), the precursor for it. Your sales strategy has nothing to do with collecting e-mails, in fact collecting emails is seen by so many start-ups as essential when in reality the process is simply a distraction from actually conducting profitable business.
I think this is a challenge that all businesses face! All long-term marketing plans have a short-term or current component to make sales.
I would start by making sure all sales and marketing teams are clear on short-term goals.
Another great way to spur sales is to offer customers something free and of great value such as a free ebook or gift is not only a great way to build an email list but a a great way to capture email addresses.
I hope that helps and best of luck!
CEO & Founder of Chipperfield Media LLC.
They have to be developed together. A marketing strategy should lead to more sales opportunities. If it doesn't then it will be a problem at the company level. Ask yourselves the questions regarding opportunity generation. What specific marketing activities lead to more sales? It cannot me separate
Here's an article I wrote on a closely related topic: http://www.pjmconsult.com/index.php/2012/07/is-your-tech-business-marketing-or-sales-driven.html