There is no doubt that planning is essential to SME business success. It’s essential regardless of what size your business currently is. “If you don’t know where you want to go, then it doesn’t matter which path you take.” I love that expression. It’s cribbed from Lewis Carroll. It’s so relatable to business. Another expression I use when running training, and when we do lead generation for clients is ‘if you can’t see the target, how will you hit the bullseye?’
You’ve probably guessed by now that this is a blog about planning. But, this isn’t a generic blog about that topic. It is specific to business development i.e. lead generation.
Does your business have a plan?
If you want to grow your business, it helps to have a plan. A plan is the business equivalent of a Sat Nav. It’s unlikely you’d leave home without clear directions to get to your destination unless you specifically know the address where you’re headed.
I’ve had many new business meetings where I’ve asked a simple question and got disturbing answers. The question was:
“’What are the main objectives of your marketing and business development activities?”
Answers ranged from ‘to grow our business, ‘to promote awareness’, ‘to generate new connections’, all the way through to ‘generate more leads!’.
These vague statement are in addition to all manner of other ill-defined objectives. I generally follow this question up with additional questions e.g.
- Who is your main target audience?
- What challenges do your prospects face that you solve for them? and
- What message about your business do you want prospective customers to take away?
- Why should prospective customers meet you?
Clarity of Purpose
These questions often provoke furrowed brows and more unclear answers. The thing is this. If you don’t know who you’re targeting, where you add value, what challenges you solve for your clients, what you want them to feel about your business, and what your specific objectives are, how will your business ever grow? And, why should prospective clients consider your business to add to their shortlist for new suppliers? Indeed, why should they contemplate removing their current provider of services when ‘it ain’t broke’.
Maybe you’ve been lucky so far. Maybe you’re in a market where you dominate. Perhaps your product or service is in great demand. Great, if that’s the case. But sadly, that isn’t the case for most of us.
Devise a Marketing and Business Development Strategy
A plan and clear objectives are indispensable to business growth. Lack of clarity and unclear marketing goals mean that growth will take you longer. That’s, of course, assuming you grow at all in the face of competition. It will almost certainly cost you more. The absence of progress and direction will frustrate you and your team. So, make sure you don’t fail to plan or you will most certainly be planning to fail.
Of course, having a plan doesn’t guarantee success. Equally, if your goals are unrealistic and/or unattainable, you’ll still fail, or at least be disappointed and out of pocket. You need to be analytical in order to come up with your KPIs and your targets. This will, almost certainly, depend on your proposition, status in the market, the market itself, and many other factors.
Focus your Plan
Whatever your timeframe for growth, put together a succinct but clear marketing and business development plan even if it’s a one-pager. Monitor your progress towards specific, measurable, and achievable objectives and KPI’s. It’s a roadmap for you, your team, and any outsourced suppliers. It will also help shape your new business development, client retention, and ROI.
GSA Business Development is a London-based new business development and telemarketing consultancy. We have clients across the UK and internationally. We offer new business development and marketing strategy, senior-level telemarketing services, and telemarketing training to ensure that clients generate more new business and deliver ROI.
If you’d like to find out how GSA Business Development can help Generate Growth for your Business, give us a call or use the form on this site.