Do you feel lost and confused?
Failure comes in many different guises in business, but there is one factor I see again and again. So many marketing and selling campaigns fail simply because even astute managers and leaders struggle to understand the difference between tactics and strategy. So, welcome to strategy central. This article is meant to help you stop falling into the same trap.
Let’s take a look
A client of mine – who we shall call Phil – had just begun his career selling commercial printers. He was given a desk, a phone and a computer and told by his absent boss to sell, sell, sell! Very helpful. You can imagine the panic set in. He had to prove himself day 1 or he would not have his feet under the table for very long. Monday morning he started dialling numbers, he found in yellow pages, he thought would be interested and started his spiel. Sometimes he got a sale. Most times he didn’t.
The end of the afternoon he was lost and confused. He wasn’t sure which numbers he had rung or where to go next and he still needed 5 more sales. He was tired and had little passion for repeating the same script and he knew that boredom was coming over in his voice. Phil didn’t make the sales he needed, things got worse over the next 3 days and eventually he handed in his resignation.
Where had things gone wrong?
This is an extreme case and it is certainly not all Phil’s fault. But basically, he was given the tactics to make a sale and not a strategy. It also suggested that his boss, even if he had a company marketing and selling strategy – did not share it with Phil.
“Tactic are the tools you implement in a marketing or sales campaign. A strategy is how you use and organise those tools to reach a set goal”
Phil only had tactics. He had no real strategy or goal. This prevented him from:
- Assessing the effectiveness of each activity he was using
- Without any real goal, or understanding of the payback from the tactics he was using he quickly lost motivation
- A known goal would have allowed Phil to be more creative in the tactics he was using
- A strategy would have enabled him to organise his time and activities so all his energies could be effectively driven towards a clear goal for himself and the company.
Harvard business School has completed a study on how businesses implement their strategies. The results suggest that unless that strategy is dissipated throughout the company and there is commitment to it on all levels of the corporate hierarchy, there is a danger it will collapse. They clearly show that unless over-arching strategies are implemented, processes and campaigns will not work at full capacity:
- Only 65% of organizations have an agreed-upon strategy
- Only 14% of employees understand the organisations strategy
- Less than 10% of all organisations successfully execute the strategy.
Why do people with their own businesses regularly make such a bad deal of something which should be so easy? These are the primary reasons:
- Businesses do not feel they need to dissipate strategies throughout the whole company so those goals are not intrinsic to everyday procedures
- When there is no pay off realised from a specific marketing or sales technique there is a tendency to change approach even though the strategy in reality has proved to give real results in the long run
- When there is a huge choice of tactics to implement, a salesman or marketing executive can end up fritting from one to another in the desperate hope of some kind of result.
- If marketing and sales are not given the importance they deserve, no central framework is constructed and the result is a scatter-gun technique.
- When things are going good, sales and marketing are often put on the back burner (especially in SME’s), when things are bad it is too late to construct a robust framework for marketing and sales.
So how can a strategy be quickly put in place?
- First of all, you need a clear goal and plan. What do you specifically intend to achieve? Make sure you write these down. This is important as once it is in black and white it has real focus and has boundaries which must be adhered to.
- Understand your client and the world in which they operate. Where will you find them and how do you access their world? Understand what their problems are and why they need your product or service.
- Create a multiple contact strategy that will give you access to your target market and enable you to appear as an expert in your field. This may be social media, blogging forums, emails, phone calls, business visits or whatever, but you need to feel comfortable with the approach and understand what can be termed positive results. For instance, social media posts may not get hundreds of new sales but it can be great way of exposing your brand and creating top of mind thinking.
- Track and measure your results against your goal so that you can identify was is and isn’t working and adapt your strategy accordingly. It is utter madness to continue doing the same thing and expect different results.
- Keep client focused throughout implementation and keep the thread of your client’s problem central to your posts in all of your channels.
- IMPLEMENT You can think about doing something for as long as you like but if you don’t take action nothing changes
Click here to watch a video and listen to a case study which includes this exact strategy.