You have made your 2018 sales goals, and you are revved to go! Not so fast there, Sparky. Have you turned your sales goals into strategic marketing plans? The answer to that question is usually a resounding, “Huh?”

Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Many business owners are comfortable handing out goals to salespeople, but translating those goals into marketing efforts will make them run to their office to watch Star Trek reruns.

The thought process usually goes something like this, “Um, should we do something on social media? Maybe we’ll send out some emails. No, wait, there was a marketing vendor here who said we needed marketing automation. Yeah, that might work.”

What ensues is either no marketing or badly-conceived marketing. Either way, failure to connect your marketing efforts to your sales goals will hinder your success faster than you can say, “Captain, we’ve lost power.”

Connect Your Marketing Efforts to Your Sales Goals

Many small businesses don’t join their marketing efforts with their sales goals because they don’t know how. They hope their marketing vendors will figure that out for them. Or, if they have a full-time marketing team, they assume the team will do that work. Why hope and guess? Why not make sure your marketing efforts are empowering your sales goals? Lemme ‘splain you how this works.

Turn Your Sales Goals Into Strategic Marketing Plans

First thing, we have to examine your goals. Let’s say your 2018 sales goal is to “Increase revenue by 10%.” That is specific and measurable, but it’s missing the steps that lead to earning that additional revenue. That’s where marketing comes in.

Put thought into what you need to do to achieve that increase and what has kept you from achieving it before. After thoughtful consideration, you might realize that you’re not increasing revenue because not enough potential customers know about your brand and what you offer, so you need to increase awareness of your brand. Perhaps people know about your brand, but your reputation is not that of an industry-leading expert, so you have a trust obstacle to overcome. Perhaps people know you and trust you, but they don’t know everything that you offer, so you rarely expand upon what you’re selling them.

See where I’m going with this? You have to figure out what is in the way of increasing your revenue. Usually, it’s several different issues. (In the graphic, I included five marketing objectives, as that’s usually closer to the truth, but for our discussion, I outline just three of these objectives.) Once you nail them down, you can make very specific marketing goals to address these obstacles. Below I will map out how increasing awareness, being perceived as an industry expert, and educating customers gets translated into marketing objectives.

Marketing Objective 1: Increase Awareness

You might say to yourself, “To increase my revenue 10% this year, I’m going to have to get my business more out there.” “Get my business more out there,” is not actionable or specific enough. Out where? To whom and to what end? Instead, try this on for size:

“Increase awareness of my services among Millennial homeowners aged 25 – 36 within a 25-mile radius, so that they search for my business more frequently.”

That is much more specific as it includes a measurable action you wish to see. This goal includes the campaign objective, the audience, and the desired result. (A marketing campaign is a coordinated series of steps to promote a product or service using any number of different tactics such as social media, email, online and print advertising, TV ads, radio spots—you name it.)

The Campaign Objective: An increased awareness

The Audience: 25 to 36-year-old Millennial homeowners in a 25-mile radius

The Desired Results: Increased number of online searches.

Now that you have the goal specified, you can put a marketing campaign in place to meet the goal. Choose campaign elements based on your budget, the audience, and the message you are conveying.

Marketing Objective 2: Be Perceived as an Industry Expert

Let’s say you want your brand positioned as an authority, the go-to expert in your industry. How does that filter to actionable marketing goals? Well, again, you must begin with a very specific objective. Try this:

“Raise our brand profile with mechanical engineers aged 40 to 58 working in the Colorado Aerospace industry so that they view us an industry leader and fill out the contact form on our website.”

The Campaign Objective: Raise brand profile to that of an expert in the field.

The Audience: Mechanical engineers aged 40 to 58 working in the Aerospace industry in Colorado.

The Desired Results: More form fills completed on the website.

With a clear-cut goal like that, you have the means to begin putting a marketing campaign in place.

Marketing Objective 3: Educate Customers

Maybe you want more share of wallet from your current customers. You want them to use more of your services. Instead of saying, “I want our customers to use more of our services,” try, “Educate Customers who spend less than $1,500 a year with us about all our services so that they understand our full value proposition and order more services.”

The Campaign Objective: Educate current customers to the brand’s full value proposition.

The Audience: Customers who spend less than $1,500 a year.

The Desired Results: Current customers contract for more services.

You might decide that your education campaign consists of customers telling their stories about how they use your services. You might think of some other way to get the message across. Once you have a clear marketing goal, then you can choose the best tactics to help you achieve it.

Connect The Dots

There are plenty of marketing objectives that can propel you to your ultimate sales goal. The trick to figuring out what those marketing objectives should be is understanding what your sales goals require and what’s currently standing in your way of achieving them. Often, a good situation analysis of your business is required to thoroughly grasp what opportunities you can leverage and what obstacles you have to abate in the process of achieving your sales goals.

A situation analysis consists of examining your businesses’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (a SWOT analysis) and it’s enormously informative to this process. Last month’s blog on market research can help you further understand how to make strategic marketing goals, so give it a read as well.

Not sure how to make this actionable in your business? We can help. Contact us today.