Business owners are quick to set their lead generation goals, but what to include in a marketing plan to achieve them is somewhat of a mystery. They know that a marketing plan is the foundation of driving leads. New leads produce new opportunities. New opportunities convert to sales. Enough closed sales equals growth. It sounds simple. But without a marketing plan, your vision never gets off the ground.
QUESTIONS YOU WANT TO ANSWER
You expect your director of marketing to know what to include in their marketing plan. But how do you know if they’re outlining the right elements of an effective plan?
Recently two business owners posed that exact question during their sales leader coaching sessions. They wanted a way to validate their sales and marketing managers’ work, then hold them accountable to it. They knew what to include in a sales plan, but they didn’t know what to expect from their marketing manager’s plan.
The best place to begin is with the questions you want answered. Here are a few that may be top of mind for you:
- How many leads do we need to achieve our revenue goals?
- Which target markets should we focus marketing on?
- What marketing activities are our competitors doing?
- Does all our staff know how to describe what we do?
- Should we market to our clients?
- What percentage of our leads are converting to sales opportunities?
KEY SECTIONS OF A MARKETING PLAN
Whether you’ve been asked to create a marketing plan that answers those questions, or you are the company owner requesting them, here’s some guidance on creating a plan that will generate leads.
The Goal of a Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan outlines how you’re going to generate the leads to achieve your sales goals and support the sales team in their sales process of closing more opportunities. While one of your goals may be to raise brand awareness or create more visibility, the core objective of your marketing plan is to drive leads and facilitate sales.
3 things to keep in mind as you develop your marketing plan:
1. It doesn’t have to focus solely on lead generation.
2. It should include tactics for the full client buy cycle to support your sales process.
3. A portion of your marketing plan should be dedicated to existing clients to identify new opportunities and ensure client retention.
What To Include in Your Marketing Plan
As you prepare your marketing plan, include the following 9 sections:
1. Overall marketing goals. Set quantifiable marketing goals. For example, generate 40 new leads per month for Sales. Increase leads in a new market by 20% this year. Reduce client churn to less than 5% within two years.
2. Historical Snapshot. Look back and note what has and has not worked in past marketing. Identify where you’ve gotten the best results.
3. SWOT. Conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis on your own company. Include your observations at the end.
4. Key messaging. In a few sentences, outline your company’s differentiation and value proposition.
5. Competitor Analysis. Note how each competitor differentiates themselves, how you stack up against them, and your key messaging to compete.
6. Target Markets. List the target markets you will focus on this year. Include the demographics and needs they have that your solutions will address.
7. Key Products. Describe your primary solutions. Note how they related to the markets you’re targeting. Note the solutions that best fit prospects vs. clients.
8. Marketing Mix. Identify all the lead generation strategies that you want to use, or consider using, to achieve the sales goals. Include timelines for different activities. For example, manage SEO and host webinars.
9. Budget. Include the budget you will require to execute your marketing plan and a list of additional resources you need.
Your marketing plan provides the guideposts for your implementation plan. Use it and you’ll be on the path to generating the leads you need.
If the idea of creating a marketing plan is more than you can manage right now, or you’d like coaching to guide you through writing it, contact us and let’s talk about how we can help you get it done.