In today’s episode, we are continuing our series about the importance of processes in your business, more specifically, focusing today’s episode on sales and marketing processes for growth in your business. Host Megan Spicer, Marketing and Business Development Manager for PJS & Co. CPAs, and Katina Peters, vCFO, CPA, CGMA, and Partner at PJS & Co CPAs bring some insights on sales and marketing processes that are crucial for growth and scalability.
What we cover in this episode:
- 02:30 – Align sales and marketing goals with your overall business strategy
- 07:04 – Important aspects of marketing processes
- 08:03 – Control over your brand
- 09:42 – Integrated approach
- 12:04 – Training Tools
- 13:50 – Sales and marketing process examples
- 14:05 – Attraction process
- 00:00 – Lead management process
- 20:06 – Content management process examples
- 00:00 – Social media
- 25:29 – Email marketing
- 28:30 – Automation
Align sales and marketing goals with your overall business strategy
Everything you do should align and support your overall business strategy. Before you begin setting up processes for your sales and marketing department, you have to ask yourself the basic question, “What are the results I want to achieve?” We have many fantastic podcast episodes about planning and strategy, including episode #05 in our strategic planning series, because marketing strategy should be a part of overall business planning discussions.
So what is your marketing focus? Time spent on developing processes should be focused on those that will serve your organization and will be the most impactful. Is your focus on increasing brand awareness? Is it lead generation and customer acquisition? Is it client experience and satisfaction? The processes you start with should depend on your overall goals and business objectives. You can use this focus to break it down and work backward in order to determine the most impactful processes to give you a starting point.
You should also take into consideration the time commitment needed for marketing tasks. Also consider the size of your team. Are you as the owner trying to do everything yourself, or do you have a marketing manager to help you do these things? Perhaps you even have an entire marketing team dedicated to social media and content development.
The processes you develop will vary widely depending on the size of your team and your goals. Breaking it all down to the necessary tasks will help give you the vision you need to make sure you are achieving the results you want, and utilizing your time in an efficient and impactful way.
Important aspects of marketing processes
We want to share with you the top three reasons that we believe are the most important for having established sales and marketing processes. As an owner, you may not believe that marketing processes are “essential” in the running of your business. You may put this task on the back burner but keep in mind that it will quickly show itself to be “essential” when you run into a problem, and the importance of approaching your marketing in a proactive way can alleviate stress from potentially challenging situations.
Control Over the Brand
One of the most important aspects of established marketing processes is having control over your brand. Think of companies like Nike, Apple, or other large companies and huge brands that everyone recognizes. They are so recognizable because they focus on their brand.
No matter how small your company is, it is beneficial to have control over your brand. And what does a brand mean? It’s not just a logo. A brand is all-encompassing and includes the way that you talk to people, how people recognize your company, how you choose to represent yourself, the images that you show people, and how you talk to people, as far as your voice and tone. Essentially, your brand equates to the overall feeling you want to leave your clients with after they’ve experienced your services.
If you have one person handling all of your marketing, this may not be an issue, but as the team grows, you want to ensure you have an approach that ties together well. This is very important to consider when it comes to scalability because as you grow you’re going to need more people to handle each aspect of marketing.
Responsibilities will be divided as the company grows, which means you need a way to communicate things department and company-wide. This could look like a role for someone who is managing the content, another person handling social media, someone managing the sales, etc. All of those things tie together under the marketing and sales umbrella. And yes, when you’re small, one person can handle all of these responsibilities. But as you grow, people in these new roles need to have one thing that ties them together and helps them understand your processes.
Using an integrated approach, as far as communication goes, is crucial for your business. You want the messaging on your website to reflect what you’re communicating on social media and other tools you use to market your business.
It’s so important to have training tools and documentation on your processes for the sake of continuity in your company overall. Most businesses experience attrition, turnovers, and terminations. If someone leaves and you’ve trusted them with all of your sales and marketing to this point, but nothing’s on paper, no one else will know how to continue those processes. Even if you’re not set in stone in regards to the processes yet, if you have something documented, it gives someone a starting point.
With documented processes, if your manager decides to leave tomorrow, someone else could come in and start piecing things together. So the time you spend upfront in building and documenting your processes will pay you back in spades if you don’t have to go back and start from scratch every time you have a personnel change. Also, think of the efficiency you will gain as you scale up your business and train new employees. Keep in mind as well that having this documentation in place makes your business more valuable.
Sales and marketing process examples
So you know you need to establish sales and marketing processes in your business, but what kind of processes do you need? Once again, this kind of question can be answered by looking back at your overall business strategy and business goals. We want to share with you some high-level examples that you can use and perhaps scale to your specific business size and needs.
How are you attracting your ideal customer? And what are you using to attract them? There’s a variety of different tactics that you can use, such as freebies on your website, running a YouTube channel, using social media to engage with clients, etc. Think about what you are using. How are you using that tool? Is it working? What’s working best, and who is looking at the analytics? Do you need to improve this? What are you using to measure your success? These are all processes within just the attraction sector under the umbrella of sales and marketing that you could be looking at and determining processes for documentation.
We’ve talked about it in previous episodes, but it is important to have and maintain a scorecard and keep up with the KPI’s and metrics in all areas of your business. EOS Worldwide provides a great how to article about how to create a great scorecard. It’s especially important in the attraction process to make sure you have measurable data you can use effectively. You should be watching the trends from week to week, recording them, and adding those numbers to your scorecard where you have everything you need in summary, which allows you to make quick decisions based on facts.
You have to be able to define your leads through each step of the sales process. What makes someone a qualified lead to your organization? There are going to be different criteria for every type of business in order for them to go to the next step of the sales process, and you need to have it defined and documented. This is a very finite part of your overall sales process, but it’s an important aspect of it, and setting up those definitions helps you define how you move those leads forward.
Another question you need to answer in your lead management process is, how are you keeping track of a lead’s progress through the sales process? Are you communicating the progress to your other teammates as needed? It’s important to have processes for internal communication rather than focusing solely on your clients. Internal processes between departments are going to help with operations and creates more of a team environment.
Content Management process examples
When it comes to content management, it is more focused on marketing than sales, and there has been a shift happening over the past ten years or so, from outbound marketing to inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is a tactic used to help your ideal clients come to you, rather than using tactics like cold calling.
You want to be a leader in your industry, known as the expert that people come to when they have questions. That is essentially what inbound marketing is, it’s when you become the authority on that specific topic. So there are some processes within content management that you will want to think about in order to have that integrated approach when it comes to communications because that’s very important when it comes to this area.
When you are looking at marketing efforts for social media, this is an area where you will want someone who is savvy to current trends and platforms. You will also want a way to communicate your brand voice effectively. It’s important to keep in mind the tone of your posting and decide if what you are doing on social media aligns with your brand. Would it be considered business professional? And how silly are you comfortable being?
Many new platforms that have popped up, like TikTok, that include dancing or voiceovers. Lawyers and doctors are jumping on these trends to get engagement on social media. Your presence on social media really becomes your business personality. What are you comfortable with sharing, and what language do you use? Ask yourself, what standard are we holding ourselves to?
Once you’ve answered the questions above about how you will communicate and conduct your brand on social media platforms, that must be documented. In addition, a planning and approval process is important for social media posting. With anything external, once you put it out there, it’s out there forever. You want to ensure that anything posted with your company name attached is appropriate for your business, your industry, etc. Someone senior with your organization should be reviewing all posts before a newer employee or team member has full control.
It’s very interesting to see what shifts in social media trends may come up in the near future because it’s changing all the time, and it seems to change so quickly. You really have to stay on top of the processes that you create for your social media, and constantly review and reassess to make sure you are staying relevant.
Lastly, make sure you are integrated with your communications because you can’t be super silly and get all these great engagements and laughs on your social media, and then when they actually engage with your company, it’s buttoned up, and very serious. All communications coming from your company, regardless of the channel (website, social media, email, radio, tv, etc.) should have a united front with the way you actually conduct business.
The last of the process examples we want to share with you are along the same lines as what we mentioned about social media processes and, in particular, how it is helpful to have some kind of schedule to follow for your outgoing communications. There are various topics within each industry that are timely at certain periods throughout the year. Seasonal, or monthly, happenings vary widely depending on your industry, but in general, every year, there are certain things that you want to notify your clients about. In having a schedule, you don’t have to recreate the wheel every year.
In addition to having a schedule, having a process to identify different audiences that you’re communicating with via email can be very useful. In social media, you’re communicating to everybody, but by email, you have the luxury of defining a specific audience or a specific industry, or even how they found your company. Maybe there are different interests you want to target in your emails, or what’s important to a specific industry.
There are a number of great tools when it comes to marketing automation, but we want to also mention as a disclaimer, that you don’t want to just hop in and start automating everything. You have to test your processes first to make sure they are working, because automating things that are not working for you, will not do you any good and will not yield the results you want.
For example, if we get a newsletter sign up, or somebody signs up for a freebie, they may be added to a long-term nurture list (to receive monthly newsletters and updates.) This is easy enough to automate, but you will have to test and analyze multiple parts of that process before you get to automation. What is most effective? How often does my audience consider “too much” communication? What’s “not enough?” What headlines are people opening? There are a number of things you will want to test out before you automate everything.
Once you’ve determined what works for your audience, lead nurture is a really big area where automation is possible. We use Keap here at PJS & Co CPAs, and it’s a great sales and marketing automation program. You can set up campaigns, you can automate your newsletters, set up all kinds of deliveries of freebies and other things, so it’s a really great tool. If you’re familiar with the software, it used to be quite pricey, but the costs have come down quite a bit for smaller businesses, offering many reasonable plans.
Another thing that we’d like to mention, which is relatively easy to automate, is posting to social media sites. Once you’ve planned out your posts and they’ve been approved, you can utilize a scheduling tool, where you can plan out your posts ahead of time. There are multiple free tools, like Hootsuite and Later, that you can use to schedule out those posts so that you’re not having to hop online to post constantly to social media. You can plan them out for a week, two weeks, even a full month in advance.
Our goal to help business owners grow their businesses and share proven strategies that will get you the results you want. We’ve discussed today how setting up processes in your sales and marketing for your business is one way to help operations, gain consistency in your branding, and invest in the value of your business. Understanding the importance of documentation and regular adherence to processes can ultimately increase revenue and help you accomplish the goals you’ve set for your organization. With your larger company goals in mind, aligning your sales and marketing processes with them will help keep you on track in attaining success in your business.