IBA, as the premier business brokerage firm in the Pacific Northwest, is firmly established as a respected professional service firm in the legal, accounting, banking, mergers & acquisitions, real estate, and financial planning communities. Periodically, we will post guest blogs from professionals with knowledge to share for the good of owners of privately held companies & family owned businesses. The following blog article has been provided by Mary Sommerset of Small Business Rocks (www.smallbusinessrocks.us):
Evaluating Marketing & Sales Systems Post Acquisition of a Business
Once you have purchased a business it is time to review the marketing and sales systems. The first step is to assess those systems that may require updating. This audit will also develop a baseline from which to judge future sales. Without this baseline, many new buyers may feel like they are on a roller coaster ride. The first 12 months is critical to achieving success. Below are some questions to ask to begin development of a marketing and sales system that will guarantee success:
- Understand why you bought this business
- Describe your business? What is your core product or service offering?
- What are the three biggest challenges/obstacles you are currently dealing with in your new business?
Business & Planning
- You will need a business plan that guides your day-to-day operations and includes long-term business goals.
- This will determine what you want your business to look like in 12 Months, 3 years and 5 years.
- Perform a SWOT analysis
- Develop a Policies and Procedures Manual or revise the current one.
- What was the growth trend over the past three years ________%
- What is your projected growth rate for the next 12 months?
- What key initiatives are in place to achieve this growth?
- What would be the average life of your customer?
- How do potential clients contact your business?
- Walk in _______% Phone _______% Internet Other:
- Do you have systems / scripts / call books for all inquiries?
- How many inquiries do you get per day / week / month?
- Of the inquiries, how many sales do you convert per day / week / month?
- Do you track all your conversions?
- Do you have a set of standard sales letters / scripts?
- Do you up sell to your clients?
- Do you cross sell to your clients?
- Do you have any strategic alliances?
- Have you ever created a loss leader or given away free samples of your
- product/ service?
- What guarantees do you offer your clients?
- Have you ever initiated a joint marketing program?
- How do you maintain a relationship with your customers after they buy from you?
- Indicate which customer care initiatives you have in place for your clients
- How do you recognize and reward loyalty?
- Do you have a system for generating customer referrals?
- Who could refer customers to you for cross-selling opportunities?
- Do you conduct customer surveys?
- What is the process to respond to customer complaints?
- How are these recorded?
Marketing & Advertising Promotion
- Do you have a written marketing plan?
- Describe your core target market
- How is your product/service offering different from your competitors? What is your USP?
- What marketing materials do you have to promote your business?
- Corporate ID Kit (Business Cards/Letterhead)
- Testimonials Website
- Company Orientation
- Do you use non-traditional advertising, for example: eMarketing, sponsorships, car signage…? &/or Flyers Newsletters
- What marketing mediums do you use and how much do you spend?
- Direct Mail $ Website $ Telemarketing $ Newspapers Referral Loyalty Programs
- $ eMarketing $ Customer Care Initiatives $ Magazines
- $ Radio $ TV
- Would you describe these marketing mediums as effective? How do you measure the effectiveness in terms of ROI on your marketing spend?
- In what ways would you like to improve your marketing initiatives?
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Embracing the fundamentals of marketing–developing a baseline through an in-depth audit; generating new leads and converting them into sales; increasing transactions; charging higher prices connected to increased value will lead to strong upward trajectory of sales.
In the last ten years we have witnessed many trends in marketing and even believed everything would eventually be online. We now know online is quite important, but it is one of many strategies. A return to the fundamentals of marketing was inevitable.
For example, how do you get quality leads? First you must know your target market. Know their age, sex, income and purchase motivations. Focus on the 80/20 rule. A common statistic in business is that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers. These are your star clients. Focus your effort on recruiting them. Get specific—craft a unique offer for the 20%. Be proactive. Make sure you have a follow-up strategy. You’ve done the work now reap the rewards.
Lead generation is just one of the 19 strategies Leader Publishing Worldwide, Inc. (LPW) has to ensure your success. At LPW we will strategically keep your business on a growth trajectory.
Perhaps you have heard of some of these strategies. Putting them into a system, however, makes all the difference for buyers of businesses. To that end, we apply an approach of working with business coaches to keep our clients accountable and profitable. First we do an audit to create a baseline. Then we develop the long-term marketing strategy with you. With our wealth of tools and templates, that have been proven and tested over 20 years, we can often tweak a campaign to fit a new business. That saves time and money hiring graphic designers and others. In short, a little time and money upfront can keep you from riding the roller coaster and set you on a path to be more than financially free.
Mary Sommerset’s background includes high-level work with start-ups and director level work for major corporations. She is the author of two books: Letting Go For Fun & Profit and Financially Free for Life. She has written numerous magazine articles. Mary is also a certified Business Coach. If you would like to learn more about the information conveyed in this article or the services Small Business Rocks provides its clients you are welcomeMary Sommerset would welcome the opportunity to connect with you at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (503) 827-0739.
IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, and mergers & acquisitions community on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family owned businesses. IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.