Spend smart, not more, when building your sales strategy

We can all relate to the following scenario: While standing in the supermarket checkout line, you realize you forgot your wallet. The two crumpled $20 bills in your pocket are not enough to cover the $60 worth of groceries in your cart. You have a decision to make: Put back the brownies or the toilet paper? What do you absolutely need and what can you live without?

The same principle applies when setting a sales and marketing strategy. If you are looking at a lengthy list of deliverables and objectives with a budget that you know won’t cover every cost, you have to determine which of the former will help you best achieve the latter – as well as if you need to cut the latter down from 5 to 3…or 1.

Front-end research is also critical when determining where and how to allocate your budget. If you need a new car and have a hard budget cap, you do extensive competitive studies on makes and models and develop a list of must-haves versus nice-to-have features – not to mention the pros and cons of buying versus leasing. It’s no different when doing the research to establish your strategy baseline.

Cut corners are missed opportunities
The urge to “just get on with it” can influence both individuals and companies to skip the research stage and jump right into promoting themselves or their product. The reality, especially for new companies, is that investing even a modicum of time and money into learning what motivates clients at each stage of their journey – and transit through the sales funnel from awareness to loyalty – can greatly impact a brand’s success.

Don’t build a bigger target, improve your bow and arrows
Research helps avoid the risky “all things to all people” approach to strategy execution. Firing at an enormous target isn’t going to improve your odds of a bullseye if you have 100 poorly constructed arrows and a bad bow. An established company can afford the missed hits – but for a fledgling brand, each stray shot is a wasted dollar. For emerging companies, money is better spent on identifying and constructing the strategies – and delivery methods – that have the best chance of reaching the target and returning results.

Make your strategies persona(l)
Improving your strategic weapons goes back, as it always does, to your data – and the marketing persona is one of the best tools at your disposal. Marketing personas allow you to establish and flesh out unique client types – based on behavior, interest, pressure points, etc. – that you can then use to create targeted messages and related strategies.

Your budget may dictate how much research you can put toward persona development – but it is money well spent to create those client knowledge baselines. Even if you only “get” 40%-50% of the person in terms of needs and desire profiling, that’s a 40%-50% improvement on message content and delivery customization that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

You can economically build out your personas in a number of ways that all revolve around closing the outbound and inbound information feedback loop:

  • Interview your sales reps who regularly interact with clients
  • Integrate client survey questions into your sales reps’ reporting platform
  • Tap into the clients themselves using email, website, and social media tools

Additionally, what you put out in terms of sales and marketing can help you get back the second and third layers of research and data that you can use to further refine your existing personas, as well as develop additional personas, for even better efficiency and economy of scale.

Spend a little, get a lot
Research is your best front-end spend before stepping into strategy development and execution. Done correctly and used properly, a little research can go a long way in ensuring that what you send out is going to the right people, the right way. And reducing economic waste – both in terms of time and money – allows you to reallocate those otherwise lost resources into other avenues of revenue generation to help you build your brand and grow your business.