Business Blog No. 8 – Strategic Planning – Sales & Marketing Part 1

Last week, we identified the three primary strategic objectives of your business: Cash, Profit and Return on Investment (ROI).

This week we will start looking at developing strategies to achieve these objectives. Let’s start with the profit objective. To achieve a profit objective, we need to start with the top line Sales and Marketing strategy. If sales are not where they need to be, the rest of the strategic financial objectives will more difficult to achieve.

Sales & Marketing Strategy

This is the first of a 2-part focus on your Sales and Marketing Strategy.

Whether you are an existing business or are just starting out, your business and management team should undertake a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis. What are the Strengths of your business and how can you capitalise on them? Conversely what Weaknesses does your business have that are development opportunities? What Opportunities are there for your business to pursue? Finally what Threats are there out there? Work through each of these and be honest with yourselves so you are clear where you are currently.

Based on your self-assessed SWOT analysis, you then need to develop your “Unique Selling Proposition”, or USP. In other words, what is your unique mix of product/service (or range of products/services), price and customer service that will help customers differentiate you from your competitors in such a way that you help these customers make the correct buying decision. Some examples of well-known differentiation strategies are Apple and Uber (Customer Relationship); Intel (Product Leadership), and McDonalds, Bunnings and Dell (low cost efficient operations).

A sustainable business should generally move away from being a commodity style volume driven model (unless you have scale on your side) where you are a ‘price taker’, to more of a business focussed on profitable growth orientated products and/or services, where you are more a ‘price setter’ in the market.

Differentiation and a clear USP provides you with a competitive advantage over your competitors for which you may be able to charge a price premium to your customers. Your customers will want to deal with you because you provide value to them beyond simply price.

Having a clear USP will also help you in your branding and marketing activities as you focus on the positives created by your differentiation strategy.

So this week, with your team, start brainstorming your SWOT analysis and Unique Selling Proposition. Figure out how you can use your business’ unique attributes to differentiate your business from your competitors and provide a sound foundation for business success.

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