For many people, moving into a New Year is associated with making resolutions for change. In business, it’s also a perfect opportunity to take stock – then armed with that knowledge, make plans for the year ahead.
So with that in mind here’s my 5-step guide to getting things off to a flying start in 2016.
Do some navel gazing
Time to review last year’s business plan (hopefully it’s covered in virtual coffee stains, is well thumbed and not stuck in an online filing cabinet gathering dust). Which bits of your plan really worked well this year? Can you recreate this success again in the year ahead?
It’s also worth having an honest appraisal of things that didn’t quite work out as you planned. Sometimes, regardless of how tenacious and single-minded you are about achieving a goal, it may turn out to be unrealistic. The real skill is in knowing what is worth pursuing and what needs to be dropped so you can invest your time and energy in more fruitful projects/products/business relationships.
Know your customer
The better you know your customers the easier it is to anticipate their needs and offer them the products and services that add the most value to their business.
It costs 6-7 times more to find and acquire a new customer than retain an existing one* so selling to existing customers and gaining a larger share of wallet makes sense.
It may be as simple as recording details of conversations on your CRM and creating alerts that ensure you follow up at appropriate times. It may mean engaging at a more strategic level to understand their future plans and be part of them. It certainly means knowing the key contacts names, what they are responsible for and developing a relationship with them.
Knowing your customer will also help you build accurate buyer personas, making your prospecting work more targeted.
Know your market
Do some research into your market and make some New Year predictions of your own about the sweet spots for your business in 2016.
For example, we’re starting to see a rise in colour multifuntion printer (MFP) demand along with the steady rise in demand for mobile print solutions. Does this open up a new opportunity for you in providing additional services?
It’s also worth monitoring the market for new competitors and their offerings. The more that loyal customers view your business as a trusted adviser the easier it will be to counter any threats.
Set goals and objectives
Time to bring all the above points together and set the plan for the year. First have a look at last year’s goals. Did you achieve them? Were they realistic? Set overarching objectives for your business including growth targets for existing business and targets for new business opportunities. Underpinning this will, of course, be your detailed sales plan.
Plan your promotions and offers to keep customers engaged
The other cornerstone to your business plan is mapping out marketing activity to promote your business to customers and prospects. This may include social media, pay per click advertising or web marketing and any other number of tactical activities to support the efforts of your sales team and drive inbound leads.
It may mean delving into new ground, learning something new but embrace the challenge.
Whatever your plans for 2016 we certainly wish you all the best for a successful New Year.
Our plans are to continue supporting our channel partners With a relevant portfolio of products, services and solutions that help us all build a profitable business model and offer customers the highest level of quality.
(*Source: Bain & Company)
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