These final two weeks of the year are usually filled with a hope that a few of those outstanding proposals will turn into sales commitments.
This is also a great time to reflect on the past year and prepare for the upcoming year. We’ve compiled five areas you should be spending extra time with during the holidays to ensure you are ready when the calendar turns.
Start with a baseline
In order to start your new year on the right foot, it’s imperative that you know exactly where you will end 2017. This involves working with your accountant and thoroughly going through income statements, management accounts and cash flow analysis and level set your actual levels versus your original projections. Doing this exercise not only helps to build a trend analysis, but also allows you to accurately finalize your 2018 budget.
Confirm your revenue projections
Once you have a firm grasp on where you are financially, it’s time to make sure your sales targets are achievable based on how you will end this year. If you’re like most businesses, sales planning started in early Fall, so tweaks will need to be made. Did you end the year as you projected? Will it affect next year’s business goals? Where are your sales numbers trending? How do these numbers compare to previous years?
Get a pulse of your customer base
In all reality, a customer survey should be done often. It’s the best way you can get direct feedback on your company, your product (or service), and receive ideas for how to get more customers just like them! It’s also a nice way to check in with your entire customer base and show them you value their input, especially if you don’t reach out to them on a regular basis. Questions can focus on why they purchased, why they didn’t, and would they recommend your company.
Plan for new technology
It’s no secret that technology moves fast. Investing in the right technology, whether or not you are getting ready for a growth period, can help streamline your business processes, lower administrative costs, and most importantly, keep you competitive in the marketplace. Take a look at your business software packages, CRM, mobile devices, phone system, laptops and any subscription services that could help you better manage your business. Making updates to your technology platforms early will help ensure you get the most out of your investments.
Align your sales and marketing efforts
Even though you have defined your sales targets, it’s imperative that you know WHO your target audience is and how you can best reach them. The first step is to build a thorough customer profile that identifies the type of person (or company), their major pain points, and where they buy. From there, build out a thorough marketing plan that includes your top strategies, marketing channels you will be using, and your marketing budget. The size of your marketing budget should be a combination of how much your company can invest and how quickly you can acquire customers to build an accurate ROI analysis.
We’re not saying these are silver bullets to your company’s success in 2018, but taking the time to review each area will help put the pieces together for a complete understanding of your business needs, immediate challenges and financial requirements.