Ever meet a business owner who thought, “Our marketing isn’t working?” In my experience, we can say the same for sales, countless technology solutions, and people we hire.
We hire salespeople who can’t or won’t sell. We pay for marketing gurus, seminars, and new software that goes terribly wrong. We see our savings and investments going out the window because we can’t get marketing to work.
When marketing isn’t filling the sales pipeline, we can’t find enough prospects to win new clients. Because of that, we can’t generate positive cash flow. That’s about the time some of us wonder what it would be like to have a steady paycheck and day job. It can get scary being in business for yourself.
Welcome the harsh reality of owning a business or company. The SBA reminds us that failure rates are high, even when there seem to be buckets of cheap money falling from the sky. If your money is on the line because it’s your business, it’s easy to let fear affect us. When we feel fear, we tighten up. Cortisol kicks in. We second guess ourselves. We don’t think straight.
We freeze the ad budget and nuke the landing page we worked on for five weeks. We stop posting on social media because nobody seems to care. On our worst days, we fire everyone and start over again.
What To Do When Marketing, Sales, and Cash Flow Fails
Most small businesses fail because we don’t plan and execute the essential actions that drive measured results. In short, we blow our money and time without getting what we hoped we’d get; revenue and a profitable result.
Here are nine action steps to take if you’re feeling frustrated with marketing and sales results.
- Dust off or write a better strategic business plan. If you plan to grow, you need to improve your planning and execution by aligning your people with the pillars that drive success; marketing, sales, and customer service. Plan with intention and accept you’re never in complete control. You must learn and adapt.
- Check your mindset. Without the mindset to become more strategic and process driven, many of us will stop investing in sales and marketing when we fail. We stop believing and we forget the bigger purpose driving us.
- Work with people you trust. If you’re stuck, find someone you trust who’s been where you’re going. That means hiring and consulting with people who have built something similar in size and scope as what you want in the future. Look at their track record.
- Be a more prudent investor. Humans hate losing money. We also hate missing out on great deals. In our minds, we have to get a grip on our emotions and focus on what counts the most; the pillars of growth that drive the best results.
- Face your fears. Fear can become debilitating when marketing and sales don’t work. The best thing you can do to face your fear is get out of your head and find people who can help you take your plan to the next level. People, marketing, and sales are the pillars of your future cash flow and success.
- Manage your expectations. Expect to win over time and accept the fact that sales and marketing are games of failure. Sales and marketing are games of failure. Accept that every company in the Fortune 1000 started out smaller than they are today, and grew by investing wisely in talent, marketing, sales, customer service, technology, training, coaching, and much more. They had to grow by learning from their mistakes.
- Test and measure your top KPI’s. Successful investors and companies keep track of results. They diversify their investments, manage risk, and test their model to make it better. Key performance indicators can be sales, profit, and core marketing and sales conversion metrics that you determine and test over time.
- Fail forward. Ever meet a small business owner who was failing and thinking about taking a day job? If your purpose is big enough, be willing to accept failure as the price we pay to be in business for ourselves.
- Stay on purpose. Remember your purpose for being in business. When your purpose is big enough, you’ll do what it takes to make it work over the long run.
Remember, building a successful company is a process, not an event. If you want better marketing results, start at step #1; plan with more intention.
You don’t need a fancy business plan. A one-page strategic blueprint will do. My strategic planning process includes a single page; simple, effective, focused. I’ve helped hundreds of companies with blueprints. We align people to the same vision, mission, purpose, ideal customer focus, problem, solution, value proposition, brand, marketing and sales activities, and ongoing training and development. When they buy into the process and do their jobs, results happen.
When we invite employees to contribute to the strategic planning process, they feel buy-in. Being inclusive is the best way to help non-owners feel and act like owners. Invite your key people to help you draft the next strategic plan.
Remember, marketing and sales are team, contact sports. If you don’t have the right players, you’re in trouble. Plan, train and play hard, measure results, grow as a team and win.
What would it be like to have a strategic blueprint on one page? If you have one now, what’s not working? What’s the one thing you believe will drive the biggest result? Do that!
I sell strategic clarity, confidence, and results. I love helping business owners and leaders sleep well at night.
Thanks for keeping me in mind if you know of anyone who could benefit from a free strategy session.
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