After a thorough marketing assessment, it’s time to plan.
Once you’ve figured out the answers to those critical questions about the identity and purpose of your business, it’s much easier to take the next step toward success by making a plan. If the assessment was comprehensive, the planning will be straightforward.
Remember, you need to take this one step at a time if you want your industrial company to experience the ultimate pay-off from our proven four-point process for generating B2B sales leads. As a reminder, the four points are as follows:
- Assess = get the facts
- Plan = use the facts
- Build = leverage the facts
- Run = profit from the facts
Planning is the most powerful action tool in the world. Nothing will give your business more meaning and direction than effective planning.
So, do you have a real plan? Are you really prepared?
We relied on the hiking metaphor when we introduced the first step of assessing your business, and we’ll build on it for our explanation of planning.
You don’t go for a hike without being prepared. So, based on careful research about what specific hike you’re going to tackle, you compile a list of things that you’ll need to bring along. You need the right footwear, the right clothes, and the right supplies. It’s really not hard to plan if you’ve done your homework.
It’s the same in business—your planning is based solidly on your research. You’ve already done the hard work, now you need to act on what you know. As we said earlier, your goals and objectives emerge from your research. Marketing is more process driven than a lot of people think. If you do the research, the plan becomes apparent.
Who would go hiking without a plan? But the reality is, the trail to success is littered with dead businesses who didn’t plan well, or who just ignored the facts from their research, thinking that they didn’t apply to them.
Planning to Win
If you’re not planning to win, then why plan at all? As Steven Covey says, “You have to begin with the end in mind.” It starts with a clear vision of where you want to go.
But it doesn’t stop there. It’s not just about having a goal; it’s about having clear and measurable objectives.
That’s why we usually talk about two types of planning: strategic and tactical. Strategic planning is directional. It’s about seeing the big picture and about keeping the end in mind. Tactical planning, then, is about how you’re going to get there. It’s the step-by-step specifics. It’s about breaking the plan down into bite-sized chunks.
Question: How do you eat an elephant?
Answer: One bite at a time.
Tactical planning gives you the flexibility to respond to specific challenges and to solve problems that arise along the way. It’s not just about doing something for the sake of doing it. It’s about doing it with purpose.
Tactical planning is also partly responsive . You’re dealing with the emerging reality right in front of you and you’re working with it, adjusting to what’s there and planning to move forward.
Wiebe helps you formulate both strategic and step-by-step tactical plans that give you meaningful, directed purpose.
You plan to win by anticipating hurdles. Once you have a comprehensive understanding of your product or service, then you need to ask questions like, “Who needs that product or service? How should I talk to them? What objections will they raise?”
In football, the defense plans to keep the offense from moving forward. So they have to be ready for how the offense will try to advance. The defenders do everything they can to stop the offense. They’ve got to figure out how to react to every attempt at advance. It’s about complete coverage.
Business people need the same tenacity in the marketplace, or they simply miss opportunities. If someone says to you, “Sorry, I just don’t see the value in your product,” do you have a quick and meaningful response to show value or just a B/S comeback? Are you able to anticipate a variety of questions and objections from potential clients? That’s a part of planning.
You need to know your market. You need to speak their language, to understand how they communicate. You need to know how to listen.
You need to plan for ugly realities. You need to plan to overcome obstacles. And if they don’t happen, you have a surplus in time, resources, and money to invest in the next level. But you were ready for the challenge. You were prepared.
Today, everything can be measured, so you can know instantly what’s working and what’s not. A plan is always flexible, and real-time metrics allow you to adapt quickly.
Don’t be afraid to revisit the plan and revise it. With careful monitoring, you don’t have to wait for that monthly review. That kind of waiting is unnecessary. You have the marketing data, the selling data, and the data on your cost of operations, so why are you waiting to make a correction? Don’t waste time. If the results are bad, stop the bleeding or if its an opportunity, don’t miss it. .
When you plan well, you understand the need for change, because you’re relying on thorough market research. You know what it’s saying. You know when you need to make a major pivot decision. If the research starts to tell you that you’re going to be the only person on that trail, then listen and make sure you capture that opportunity. But if you have no planning and no telemetry, you don’t see that. If you do, you put yourself in control and you’re able to make those informed decisions that prepare you for the future.
You’ve probably heard the old marketing joke: “I spend $1000 on marketing and half of it works, but I don’t know which half.”
Good joke, but it doesn’t have to be true for you. Because today, you can know what’s working. We have the tools to figure out very quickly what’s working and what’s not.
In fact, Wiebe wants you to be so confident about our marketing services that you’re saying things like, “We’re only spending $5,000 on marketing, but we’re getting the impact of $10,000.”
If you feel like you’ve been wasting money on marketing, then we’d like to propose an alternative. Instead of spending more on marketing, Wiebe wants you to get focused and spend less. Do you believe that? If your plan is real and well executed, your marketing costs should actually go down, and go down by even more over time.
That’s what good planning does for a company. As your marketing becomes more focused and efficient, it starts going to work for you.
Remember, marketing is now 75% metrics/25% creative, with decisions based on empirical data not gambling based on feelings. It’s actually not that different from good manufacturing. When a company manufactures something, they have to be very specific: measure three times and cut once. It takes planning, testing, and control. The same rules apply to marketing. It’s also based on a detailed process, and the outcomes should be clear.
If your marketing is not delivering good results, then it simply isn’t working. At Wiebe, our mandate is to generate results, so if that’s not happening, then we’ve failed. If your marketing is not making the phone ring, it’s not worth the money you’re spending on it. Because once the phone rings, you’re 75% there.
Today, we all have the ability to access our marketing and sales metrics in real time.
That means that we’re able to look at our business in reality, including the current financials. If we are executing on the tactical delivery of our plan right now, then we will also be able to know what that delivery is teaching us about what we can expect moving forward.
The days are gone of not knowing how your business is performing. It used to take thirty to sixty days for a clear picture of where you were at. Now, if you want to know, you can know now.
At Wiebe, we facilitate that kind of marketing telemetry. We can know 24 hours a day how your business is performing. With our top clients, we no longer submit monthly reports, because we’re in constant communication about what’s happening via real-time dashboards. We know right now if the plan is working.
We can watch, in real-time, the leads that are being generated. We can learn what a quality lead looks like. If we know that one lead out of every three becomes a converted sale and we know how many leads you’re getting every day, we already know what your sales are likely to be for tomorrow and so on. With those kinds of metrics, who needs a past-tense monthly report?
With our top clients, we have real-time lead tracking in place and we have empowered sellers that get those leads without a filter and without delay. They get actual toll-free calls streamlined directly to them, not through a switchboard. Those empowered sellers are having real conversations with real people with real needs. And those sellers have the ability to meet those needs right there and then.
Knowing is no longer an obstacle. You can know right now what’s happening. The data just keeps rolling in, lead after lead after lead. We literally build lead factories.
Real-time metrics also allows for flexibility, because we know which marketing is generating leads and which leads are generating the highest profit margins and which ones just aren’t working. We know which products we should be taking off the offer sheet, and which products we should be pushing harder. If necessary, we could change the whole marketing program of a company within 24-48 hours.
Every click online tells us something. As we keep learning, we can keep driving the business forward. We stay flexible and learn to pivot quickly.
Measuring everything also means that we believe in marketing that is accountable. We know every dollar that was spent on marketing, where it was spent, why it was spent, and what was the expected return. It’s a marketing process that builds trust.
Planning for Success
When a company has achieved success, the price of their products rarely becomes an issue. Clients already have complete confidence in their quality and value.
What does it take to become that company?
If you’re serious about quality, you have to be satisfied with fewer customers initially. But those relationships will be meaningful, and they will keep coming back. As your business grows, the calls become simpler and simpler. They sound like this: “I need X. Send me one as soon as possible. Thanks. Bye.”
When you get calls like that, you have that customer’s complete trust. Those are the customers that are writing testimonials for your company.
Success is about being ready for anything. If your plan isn’t delivering, adjust. You’ve learned to be flexible and agile. When things get difficult, you’re prepared. When things go well, you’re prepared. You’re ready for the good days and for the bad days.
Imagine, on your drive home tomorrow, you approach a familiar intersection and you see a terrible accident. Four cars are in a mangled mess. It’s really bad. But you can already hear the sirens and, within thirty seconds, the ambulance arrives. You feel a sense of relief. But you can hardly believe what happens next. The paramedics jump out of the ambulance and start dealing with the crowd of people that’s gathered to watch, saying, “Stand back, please. Nothing to see here.” Meanwhile, people are dying. Something’s wrong, right? That’s a ridiculous response from skilled emergency personnel.
Instead, you expect those paramedics to dive into the chaos and do exactly what their training has prepared them to do. You totally expect them to turn their backs on the watching crowd and focus their attention and expertise on the injured. That’s what they do—they save lives.
In business, that first scenario happens all the time—companies are not prepared for the opportunities at hand. They haven’t planned well, so they’re wasting their time on the wrong tasks. They have dreams about success, but they don’t own their own reality. They see themselves as victims and they’re blaming someone else for their failure.
They’re not willing to do the hard work. They’re not ready for success.
We see other companies that are so well prepared. Their plan says, “Strive for the best, but prepare for the worst.” They know exactly what happens when things go wrong, which planned-response envelope to open, which person does this, which one does that. Everyone has a role. Everyone knows what the plan says.
This kind of approach requires consistency over a long period of time. You have to invest wisely and stick with the plan. Winning doesn’t come in giant lumps. It comes in layers and layers of tenacity.
Time to Plan?
We want to work with companies that want to plan well. If that doesn’t sound like you, then move on and find a marketing agency that will massage your ego and give you a shiny brochure. But if you want to face the facts and build a business based on reality, then Wiebe might be the revenue-generation agency for you.
If you’re ready to invest in planning, and planning to win, then give us a call today at 604-556-6032.
Wiebe Industrial Services. Tenacious marketing.