Do you really need to breath oxygen to stay alive? Yes, the answer is yes.
Almost every company, if not all, has the goal to increase top-line sales growth. Even if growth is your overall marketing objective, each business puts a different spin on how that goal is achieved.
So, why can’t I just say I want to increase sales? First, because increasing sales is an outcome and a measurement tool for your marketing plan, how do you plan to increase sales through your marketing? Are you wishing? Or are you advertising? To achieve the outcome of increased sales try out one of the most effective methods for setting goals: SMART.
If you’re familiar with our blog, you’ll remember this from Create SMART, Professional Objectives. Check it out if you haven’t already. But before you do, keep reading.
Be specific. Let’s say you’re trying to increase sales for your seed company that sells multiple types of seed. Is there a specific seed you want to focus on selling? How much of an increase do you want? 5%? 50%? Pinpoint what exactly your goal entails, so you can progress towards it.
Break your goal into measurable segments. Measuring data allows you to gauge how far from your goal you are at any time. If your goal is specific then measuring the end result should be easy enough. Though you may want to measure progress towards the goal as well. Think on what types of data you have access to that will tell you your marketing is working. Perhaps it’s number of leads generated, increased visits to your website or increased sales volume for a specific product line.
When measuring it’s best to stay away from “how did you hear from us?” People are inundated with marketing, from the label on their toothpaste to the ads they hear on the radio as they drive home at night. It’s hard to distinguish what really made them contact your company.
Also realize that your marketing may not yield huge gains right away. For example, if you plan to track sales volume there may not be much of a change for the first few months. Instead, track the number of website inquiries and meetings set. If you see a positive result in the entry metrics but not an increased sales volume by mid year, you may have good marketing and a sales pitch that’s not built to close the deal. Tracking multiple variables throughout the sales cycle will help you identify where you can improve.
Make sure your goal is attainable. Ask yourself if it’s possible to accomplish your goal under your current circumstances. If it’s your company’s first year of business, is it reasonable to think you can increase market share by 50% your first six months? Probably not. You can always simplify or enhance your goals as needed. Also realize that your marketing budget needs to accommodate your growth goals. If you plan to spend the same budget on marketing as last year and complete the same activities yet increase sales by 50%, that’s not a realistic or attainable goal. You may need to rethink your plan.
Your goal should be relevant to your values, long term vision for your company and your other goals. For example, if your goal is to build custom high end vacation homes it may not make sense to start advertising first time buyer spec homes. It may confuse the public about your brand image and make them question your quality of work.
Set a time frame. Deadlines create a sense of urgency. To best achieve your goals, pin a specific date to achieve your goals by. Circle that date on your calendar and don’t let it slip your mind. Create benchmarks along the way that will allow you to monitor your progress towards your goal. If you want to build 20% more decks this year, you may need to have increased leads by 100% by end of first quarter to build your pipeline to start work in the spring. You may anticipate starting slower and ramping up towards the end of the busy season because by then your marketing activities will have had time to work their magic.
All of the SMART method components work best together. Set specific, measurable, achievable goals that are relevant to your business. Don’t wait forever to achieve them either; set a time frame. And don’t forget to include your new, SMART marketing goals into your marketing plan!
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