marketing+sales: Which Way to Go?
Today's business climate presents similar concerns, questions and fears across the board. Here are some of the most common questions I hear from members of our industry:
• How do we increase our sales?
• How do we keep from cutting our prices?
• What do we make of the USPS changes and how will they affect our future?
• How do we fight off online storefronts?
• What is social media all about and what does it mean to us?
• Should we focus on what we do best or diversify our products and services?
• What is it that we do best?
• How do we meet the needs of today's buyers?
• How do we differentiate ourselves?
• How do we communicate our message?
Tough times call for creative, well-planned strategies. And tough questions can be addressed through three components: assessment, challenging the gaps, and support.
Assessment. First, it is important to assess your current situation. Where are you as an organization? What is it that you do well and what areas need improvement? Take a brief time out to determine where you have been, where you are now and where you desire to go.
Challenging the Gaps. After assessing your situation, determine what gaps exist between where you are now and where you seek to go. Focus on areas you want to improve. Develop a plan to bridge the gaps and, in turn, make your business more effective. Specify what, how and when you are going to do things.
Support. This is the third component of the equation. Who is going to champion these initiatives? What support mechanisms are needed to allow the changes to succeed? Without proper support most changes will fail. Change often begins only to "fizzle out." Why? People point to lack of time for strategic planning or cite other priorities that take precedence. Don't make excuses—make time. It is kind of like being too busy to fill your car up with gas: you could end up stranded on the side of the road.