Here are the five strategic areas for business development, crucial to the sales and marketing of your business, that you should begin investigating and implementing today to move towards market domination or even modest growth/survival. If your overall strategy lacks a thorough comprehension of these business components, you could be leaving lots of money on the table – and even head towards unforeseen challenges that could prove unsurmountable down the road.
I’m including not only five strategic areas in this post, but subdividing them into three tactical areas each. Please use this as a roadmap, and get ready to question how you run your business today… and how tomorrow could bring even better results as you make new decisions and take powerful new actions!
Before we start, I’m taking a couple of things for granted when presenting you this tool for innovation and business growth:
- You’re already clear with what your product / service / value proposition is. This is not a tool for “wantreprenurs” or those who haven’t started yet.
- You understand that this is a framework of principles and concepts that can’t take into account all the complexity and surrounding factors of the situation for your specific company. These concepts can and should act as powerful triggers to spark a dialogue in your organization. (Please do share in the comments section what kind of strategical and tactical reflections / decisions were sparked by reading and applying this to YOUR business!)
- The order in which these areas are presented is not by priority! Any business owner/executive will pretty easily be able to discern which area is the most decisive for their respective situation in the now.
With the above disclaimer in place, let’s do this!
1. Business Relations
What kind of contacts does your current network of stakeholders consist of today? Who will you need on your road ahead? How can you position yourself as a valuable, resourceful and generous contact to others? What are the ways in which you can contribute and expect nothing directly in return?
- Take Inventory of / Segment your current stakeholders (of course including your customers, but what about your employees, suppliers, partners etc?)
- Know how to Expand your network – how do you get your brand in front of new eyeballs?
- Optimize/Utilize your network – if your rolodex didn’t fit one more person (and you couldn’t just empty it and start over), how could you start providing value to every single person in new and innovative ways? Hint: for starters, you’d probably start connecting people with each other…
2. Sales Organization
How is your sales function organized? How does the “experience funnel” through which you want to lead your customers look and feel like (pre- as well as post-purchase)? What’s your USP and elevator pitch?
- Is your company a Thought Leader in your space – do you set the tone in your niche, enabling natural openings to your most valuable prospects?
- Internal Team – not just structure and incentives for the designated sales team, but a company culture where everyone “carries the brand”.
- “First Fortunate Affiliate”. You know when they say “the customer should be your best salesperson”? Let’s try taking it literally and find this person! Then, incentivize and reward him or her like your life depended on it.
3. Digital Presence
What’s your awareness and participation level in the digital landscape – the most powerful arena for human interaction? What are the most valuable platforms for your brand? What business purposes can you fulfil with an online presence?
- Are you actively Monitoring relevant news sources and blogs for brand mentions as well as business and trend insights?
- Do you have an Established presence with a well thought-out profile on the big platforms as well as your own website? What about the smaller platforms?
- Do you regularly Interact in the online, constantly flowing conversation about your brand and your space? Do you contribute with valuable content that demonstrates your expertise?
4. Mass Communication
What do your customer segments look like? Which dimensions do you divide your target groups in – geography, gender, age, interests, occupations, etc? How many different target groups do you end up with? How can you tailor your message, and through which channels is that message best conveyed?
- Have you defined and formulated your company Identity in a crystal clear way? Does that include a complex view on how your products and services interact in the context of an ecosystem?
- Have you mapped out and fostered relationships in traditional PR Channels as well as the blogosphere? Do you utilize metrics to follow up on your activity there?
- How do you use (primarily) online ads (along with other Paid Media) to trigger Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action in your target group?
5. Personal Executive Effectiveness Platform
Whew, that’s a mouthful. Now we’re getting into the area of personal productivity and personal coaching… I’m not gonna go in-depth on that in this post, but let’s just agree that this is a critical area for constant improvement as a business leader and entrepreneur.
- Creativity / Vision / Passion
- Social Network
And that, my friends, ties it together for this time! I hope reading this post gave you some new ideas and insights – good, now go back and read it again! The value you will gain from internalizing this information is massive. Now… which one of the strategic and tactical areas is gonna be your main focus to take immediate action on? Please share your thoughts, reflections and questions in the comments!