Your sales pitch can say a lot about your business. It’s your opening line and your chance to show a great first impression when meeting with your customer.
Understanding how to meet your buyer’s needs and engage with them is a crucial step in sales. The first half of having a successful sales pitch is securing their attention, and the other half is closing the sale.
To optimize your sales pitch to the maximum, in this article, we will show you ten easy ways to optimize your sales pitch.
What is a sales pitch?
A sales pitch is an optimized sales presentation where a salesperson explains the benefits and ideas of their business in one or two minutes or less. Sales pitches are frequently referred to as the ‘elevator pitch,’ a term that states you should be able to deliver the sales presentation (message) in a time frame equivalent to a single elevator ride.
Ten Ways To Optimize
Your Sales Pitch
1) Do research
Every interaction with a buyer will require you to know about their market and which problem you can solve with your sales pitch. Buyers are always searching for an answer, and when you conduct the proper research, you may be their right solution.
Avoid approaching people at all costs when you don’t know the industry well. Additionally, whenever you present your sales pitch, try to be as simple as possible and make everything easy to understand. Avoid using complex language or trying to prolong the presentation.
Ideally, you should be able to continue the conversation to close right after you present your sales pitch. Although, never forget that when you don’t do enough research in the market, your sales pitch can never be simple to understand.
2) Make it short & clear
A sales pitch isn’t going to a classroom and presenting a 1-hour presentation. You’re not going to have people’s attention for too long until they are interested in buying. A short sales pitch lasts about 15 seconds.
According to a study done in the early 2000s, it was shown that the average attention span of human beings only lastedeight to 12 seconds. This is shorter than the average attention span before the 2000s. Considering this, you know that you have to make your Pitch enjoyable or else it won’t succeed!
3) Show who your customers are
Show your potential buyers who are buying your product or service. That way, you show how you are approaching the market and whether the buyer you are presenting matches your target audience. Be specific in finding out who is interested in your product or service and try to convince potential buyers why they should be interested.
4) Address the problem
Your target audience can only consider you valuable once they know you can solve a problem for them. Address the situation they are consistently facing. For example, the potential buyer you are approaching faces an issue when sharing files, and you have software that solves this issue.
After that, you can discuss further how difficult it may be for the potential buyer to share files without your software.
5) Show your progress
People want to invest in things that are proven to work. Ideally, you can do this by showing them your current customers and how well your growth rate has been in the past year or six months. Additionally, you may even show past achievements you have accomplished and revenue rates that have been achieved from your product or service.
Trust is built when you show potential buyers that others are buying from you too. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool and directly can affect how well your sales pitch may go.
6) Describe how the outcome looks like
Show the benefits behind your product or service, just like the example we took before with the software for file sharing. Show your potential client how they would save time while using your product or service. Or even show them how their overall life would improve when they choose to buy your product.
In short, your Pitch should look like a brief conversation that summarizes what your business does, how it does it, and who is it doing it for? By stating this, you are painting a clear picture of what the outcome will be for your potential clients.
7) Tell a story
Keep your listeners engaged by telling a story about your product or company. Interesting stories include how customers succeeded while using your product or service. Maybe even a story of how difficult it may have been for your company to succeed, but with your new product or service, you managed to succeed.
Stories create emotions, which may be a great way for listeners to feel an urgency to buy.
8) Show facts
Consumers do buy when they feel arousal of emotion behind it, although every consumer rationalizes before making any decision. By providing proven facts such as case studies or statistics, emotional decisions feel satisfied. This is you showing a proven reason why they should buy from you and will help them feel comfortable that they made the right decision.
Teach your potential buyers more about your product or service. Additionally, while doing that, you may include some issues people of the same target market are going through and how to avoid them through your product or service.
While doing this, you are adding trustworthiness to your Pitch and maybe even teaching consumers something they may have never heard of.
10) Implement the fear of missing out (FOMO)
A powerful motivator when it comes to deciding whether to buy something or not. It is just like when the new iPhone comes out, and many people will buy it because of the fear of missing out. Make your product or service look the same way during your sales pitch.
It would be best to create a sense of urgency to buy and not let the decision wait and fade away. For example, urgencies can be a limited-time offer, showing your brand authority, offering a gift if they choose to purchase no, and much more.
Examples of a great sales pitch
If you need some examples to look at before your creativity can start coming into play, here are a few examples from top sales pitch examples.
“Deliver your next deck faster with our free presentation templates. They’re fully customizable, professionally designed, and delightfully easy to use.”
If you were about to make a presentation and wanted to customizable the way it looks, then you would be convinced right away from this sales pitch. Why?
Pitch offersppt templates that are customizable and professionally designed. Many business people may lose time thinking of what design they wish to add to their presentation. Pitch is offering them a solution by giving them ready-made templates with world-class designs. You even see how straightforward their sales pitch is when claiming that it is fully customizable, professionally designed, and easy to use.
“There’s a better way to grow. Hubspot offers marketing, sales, service, and operations software that helps your business grow without compromise. Because ‘good for the business’ should also mean ‘good for the customer.”
By reading this sales pitch, you see Hubspot is getting straight to the point. It is telling businesses that they benefit when the customer benefits. Your customer is busy and has other things going in their mind, so a pitch that gets straight to the point saves their time and yours as well.
“Vidyard is the best way to sell in a virtual world. From prospecting to proposals, record and send videos that personal touch to every sales email.”
Vidyard, in their sales pitch, is getting personalized, mainly because many salespeople find videos a unique tool. Sales pitches are best when personalized, but Vidyard also makes you feel comfortable when they say, “Vidyard is the best way to sell in a virtual world,” stating that remote selling can be done quickly and easily.
Why shorter sales pitches are a better idea
Having shown you the examples above, you see that all these sales pitches got straight to the point and were maximally optimized for a short conversation. Talking too much, not providing the correct information, lack of market research, and talking for more than two minutes can quickly kill your sales.
A long conversation isn’t important but a short one that is quality. It is just like when you are told not to talk too much in class or by your parents when you were a kid. So furthermore, keep your sales pitch clear, short, and simple! It will help a lot and have customers thanking you after for your efforts!
Today I’m going to show you 1) what long-term goals are and why you should set them, 2) types of long-term goals 3) tips for setting long-term goals, 4) techniques for achieving your long-term goals, and 5) ninety one examples of long-term goals. (Grab my write-up about how Jeff Bezos used five clear long-term goals to take Amazon from $10,000 to making him the richest man in the world in a few decades.)
Then read on for help on how to set clear and effective long-term goals for your business.
Long term goals are a great route to help you advance both professionally or personally. Such goals may take some significant time or effort to achieve. If you can understand how to develop long term goals effectively, it would help you monitor your progress and keep you motivated as you press towards achieving them.
In this article, we explore long term goals: what they are, how to write them, how to achieve them, as well as an exhaustive list of some long term goals examples to inspire you as you develop your own long term goals.
What are long term goals?
A long term goal is a statement of something you desire to achieve in the future. Long term goals usually take more time, planning, and steps than short-term goals would take. It is commonplace for short-term goals to take less than one year to accomplish, as opposed to long term goals, which can often be achieved after a year or even more. Since they can often take so long, long term goals usually consist of short-term goals, smaller and achievable steps that add up to the long term goal, which is the desired result.
You can set goals for various purposes, professional and personal. For example, you may be aiming to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business administration, which is an excellent long term goal example. This long term goal can be broken down into a short-term goal like enrolling in a leadership course. Depending on the type of leadership course in this fictitious example, it can take you a day or even less to achieve, some weeks or maybe months, to complete the course. However, obtaining a bachelor’s degree will require months and even years of study and a combination of several courses to fulfill all the requirements to receive the degree.
Pro-Tip:Grab 30 minutes on my calendar for help setting effective long-term goals for your business. I’ve launched and grown 12 businesses with a clear set of long-term goals, and everyday I help other business owners set long-term goals and create a plan of action to achieve them, regardless of what stage of growth they’re in.
~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates
Why set long term goals?
Long term goals are essential in that they give you a vision for the future and keep you purpose-driven and focused on attaining those set goals in the long run. This also helps you live a life of purpose and direction, as you have something to live for and look forward to.
It is vital to have a direction for your life, family, and career, ensuring you’re headed in a direction that’ll make you and your loved ones fulfilled and happy. Without such direction, life may feel not worth living.
To make your dreams come true and become a reality takes hard work and planning. You can’t just sit around wishing things will just happen! You need to take conscious steps to ensure things happen as you desire them to, and long term goals are a step in that positive direction. A career change or improvement often will require new training, education, or networking with new people. Your long term goals will make sure you take the right short-term actions that’ll land you the results of your long term goals.
To summarize, set great short-term goals, and you’d win battles. Set great long term goals, and you’d win wars.
Types of long term goals
As you set long term goals, you can stratify them into identifiable categories, depending on the domain of the long term goals – personal or professional. The types of long term goals include:
Career long term goals speak of the professional achievements you hope to reach. Career goals typically reflect your desire to advance your career or professional standing in some way. They may include a complete transition from one career field to another, a promotion to a more fantastic career vantage point, or starting a new business venture.
Financial long term goals represent monetary targets you desire to attain. Such financial targets may help you achieve a broader goal. For example, if you desire to buy a house, you will need to save up a specific amount of money. To do this, you can set strict financial goals, such as adding $10,000 to your savings account yearly.
Personal long term goals highlight achievements you desire to reach in your personal life. As we saw in the previous example of buying a house, these goals may sometimes overlap with financial goals. Personal goals may involve issues about your life like your health, hobbies, or interests.
When it comes to setting long term goals, there are many strategies you can use. Here are some quick tips you can use to help you set long term goals for personal or professional advancement:
Use visualization techniques
By visualization, we mean creating mental images of what you desire your life to be like at some specific time in the future, like 5 or 10 years from now. With the end goal fully visualized, you can then work backward to determine what steps you can and should take and the goals you should set to get to where you want to be. Creating these visual images will also help you fully internalize what you want and what your desires specifically are regarding the future.
S – Specific: be evident as you state your goal and define precisely what you want to achieve — be as specific as you possibly can.
M – Measurable: you should ensure you have a straightforward way to measure and keep track of your progress, and you move towards attaining your long term goals.
A – Achievable: Your long term goals should be attainable. What you desire should be realistically achievable, and you should carefully assess whether or not you can possibly achieve every aspect of your goal.
R – Relevant: Is what you’re shooting for necessary? Is it worth working towards the goal now? How does it align with other goals you may want to achieve?
T – Time-Sensitive: for every long term goal, there should be a deadline for accomplishment, as you would be able to hold yourself accountable. Whether it be a few months or years, if the plan is realistic, you’d surely achieve it.
Consider writing your SMART goals down to keep track of your progress. With the SMART methodology, you’ll have a clear path to realizing those long term goals one day.
Drawing from the SMART methodology, including specific details, can help you define the results you want to achieve, as well as the necessary steps you need to take. Let’s take an example: suppose your long term goal is to learn a new language in 12 months. You can add specific details to the long term goal, such as, “I will practice the new language for 1 hour every day”. Such small attainable steps can really break up large chunks of your long term goals into more manageable parts that you can pay attention to.
Make goals measurable
Let us also highlight one aspect of the SMART methodology – measurability. Measurability is the quality of long term goals that allow you to measure and keep track of your progress. This will also help you define the results you want to achieve. As an example, your long term goal may be to lose 20 pounds in 6 months. To make this goal measurable, you can schedule a check-in to measure your weight every week or every month. That way, you can determine whether you’re on track with your goal or you’d need to adjust your deadline. If you desire to take a trip, you can set a long term goal of a particular sum of money every set interval, and once you meet your measurable expectations, you can pursue your long term goal.
Make your long term goals achievable
If you set long term goals you cannot attain, your lack of progress will negatively affect your confidence. Your goals must be achievable and feasibly possible, as they’d keep you motivated to work towards attaining them.
But there’s a catch; just because your goals are attainable doesn’t mean they are straightforward. Your long term goals may be challenging, but once they are possible to attain, even after hard work, then you can encourage yourself to push through the pain to develop that new skill or meet that financial/family expectation, etc., and boost your confidence even further.
There’s no achievement without challenges that come along. As such, you should carefully identify and factor in any challenges you may encounter as you pursue your long term goals. As you identify and understand these challenges before time, you can begin to draw up plans and strategies to overcome or avoid them. This will help maintain your progress because if these same challenges arose unexpectedly, then they could throw you off track and even set you in discouragement.
Pro-Tip:Grab 30 minutes on my calendar for help setting effective long-term goals for your business. I’ve launched and grown 12 businesses with a clear set of long-term goals, and everyday I help other business owners set long-term goals and create a plan of action to achieve them, regardless of what stage of growth they’re in.
~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates
Techniques to Achieve Your Long term Goal
Having developed your long term goals, there is the matter of actually achieving them. Here are some tips you can apply to ensure your goals don’t end up as written-down facts but are attained.
Write down your goals.
It is important to pen down your long term goals. Documenting them will serve as a reminder and allow you to track your progress. Many people make the mistake of keeping their long term goals in their brains, convincing themselves they won’t forget. The reality is, your long term goals don’t carry as much weight written down as they do in your mind. So, pen it down and have it as a reference to keep you focused on achieving them.
Focus on one long term goal
It is essential to focus on one long term goal at a time. While it is ok to have multiple goals, you should have one goal you focus on at a particular time. By doing so, you’d achieve it faster than toggling multiple long term goals at once, which can become distracting, and the result being your failure to achieve any.
Develop a List of Milestones
You must identify any important milestones and benchmarks that can serve as indicators when you’re closer to success. Your milestones shouldn’t be so many and should take a relatively short amount of time than the long term goals. They should, however, still require some effort to achieve.
Let’s take a long term goal example of writing a book within two years. Here’s a sample list of milestones you can have:
Milestone #4: Compile the draft of chapter 1, etc.
Create Daily Steps
Once you’ve set your milestones, you then need to break them down into daily baby steps you can take towards achieving your long term goals. Your daily steps are smaller actionable short-term goals. And the good thing here is, it doesn’t need to be overly complex or a giant leap that’ll last hours daily. Your daily steps can be as small as 10 minutes of actions that sum up to your long term goals.
Sticking with the example of writing a book within two years, here are some possible daily steps to consider:
Milestone: Prepare the writing space
Daily Step #1: Choose a location in the house that’ll serve as your writing space
Daily Step #2: Clear out any unnecessary items from the selected space
Daily Step #3: Make a list of items needed for space
Daily Step #4: Research the best table and chair set up, lighting setup, etc.
You can also put the daily tasks into your calendar or to-do list to not miss any of the tasks.
Share your goals with others
One tip to achieving your long term goals is holding yourself accountable to others. You can share your goals with someone else, like a trusted friend, family member, or colleague. This will promote accountability and push you to be focused on achieving those goals, and you’ll have someone to answer to if you don’t. Depending on your goals, these individuals may even be able to help you achieve them by providing opportunities, advice, encouragement, or support to keep you moving forward.
How to prioritize goals
If you’ve followed up until this point, then you know it’s completely fine to set multiple goals, just so long as you stick to one at a time. That is when prioritizing comes into play. Here are a few steps you can apply to prioritize your long term goals.
List your goals
If you have multiple goals, then the first step is to list them out. This will lay it all out for you to quickly choose which long term goals to start up with. And as a pro tip, try not to list beyond 25 goals to ensure you don’t get entangled and confused with too many long term goals to choose from.
Tick the most important goals
Having listed out all your long term goals, the next step is to tick the goals you consider the most important to you. While the definition of “important” may vary from person to person, you generally want to select the most beneficial goals to your life at this point.
Assess the timelines
Having selected the most important goals for your life at this time, the next step is to determine when you would like to achieve your goals. You may, for example, have a long term goal of acquiring a promotion at work within the next five years. Determining the timeline to each long term goal will help you identify the goals you should start working on right away and the ones you can push forward to some later time. And as a pro tip, be sure to set realistic timelines for each long term goal so that you don’t set yourself on an impossible task.
Choose which goals to focus on right away
Having selected the long term goals that are important to you and assigned realistic timelines to each, you can now use this information to prioritize your long term goals. For example, goals with a high degree of importance and short achievable timelines can have a greater priority. And as a pro tip, try not to start working toward another goal on your list until you have completed the initial goal with the greater priority.
Make changes as needed
Having prioritized your goals, it is vital to keep in mind that your priorities can change with time. So, don’t get rigid. Be flexible enough to make any necessary changes to your prioritized long term goals as needed. For example, you may have had a priority long term goal to acquire a postgraduate degree within three years. But then, after meeting up with a friend who opens up a multi-million-dollar business opportunity, you may then set a new priority towards establishing a business with two years or so. Getting a postgraduate degree would now matter less as you’d need to focus on the business idea.
Implement practices to reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes or heart disease
Be able to do a one-rep dead-lift with 100kgs
Fit into your old-size jeans
Follow a healthy diet for life
Get abs or tone your legs
Lose a certain number of pounds
Lose weight from certain body areas like stomach or hips
Lower your BMI
Lower your cholesterol levels
Practice endurance training and strength training
Run a full marathon
Run a half marathon
Long term spiritual goals
Here are some examples of long term spiritual goals you can consider:
Attend church service every Sunday
Be clear about your beliefs
Do a kind deed every day over the next 365 days
Forgive your foes
Go on some mission trips in a year
Go on a personal retreat to reflect and pray
Help someone restore their spirits
Join a Bible study and participate weekly
Mentor a young believer
Observe and recognize the interconnectedness of everything
Read about your religion’s history and origin
Read biographies of early church leaders
Read the whole Bible over the next two years
Reflect on your actions
Support a child through a charity
So there you have it. Do you have any ideas that we overlooked? If so, comment below.
Are You Ready To Set Long-Term Goals For Your Business?
Have you lost site of where your business is going? Every business owner goes through it. Sometimes it’s helpful to take cues from the world’s best business builders and see that clear, simplified goals in alignment with your strategy and values can be the best place to start.
If you want to see how one of today’s most famous entrepreneurs used long-term goals to go from $10,000 to the riches man in the world in a few decades, click the button below:
Want Personal Help Setting Long-Term Goals For Your Business?
Every business owner hits a point of burn out or overwhelm where they lose site of how to get where they want to go.
But buckling down and working harder only gets you so far, because there are only 24 hours in a day.
I remember the moment – 8 years into my first business – when I was at my limit and didn’t know where to go next with my business. Then my partner and I discovered the way out – someone who could help us take a step back, analyze our business, and set and prioritize realistic goals.
Finding someone who could help us with goal-setting, planning, overall strategy and regular accountability allowed us to give ourselves raises in under a year.
The right coach can help you set goals, add more profit to your bottom line, free up time on your calendar, and systematize your business so your team performs the right way every time.
A customer success plan defines customer success and what it looks like, as well as how you can aid customers to achieve that success. By customer success plan, we refer to a roadmap that guides the operations of customer success teams. These customer success plans ensure the right resources are being delivered to the customers to ensure they receive the desired value from consuming your product.
What’s the difference between customer success and customer service?
We must stress out that customer success isn’t the same as customer service. You’ll even see the terms “customer success,” “customer service,” or “customer support” used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same thing.
Customer success encompasses a proactive approach to making your customers successful. This is sometimes also referred to as “customer happiness.” By customer service, we refer to a more reactive approach to ensuring customer satisfaction. Customer service or customer support handles unanticipated issues or needs from customers. By being reactive, we mean the customer usually initiates customer service to interact with the service or support desk. Also, we can say that customer service is a tool to put out the fire, while customer success deals with the long-term experience that your customers have with your product.
Why should you create a customer success plan?
Customer success plans are essential, and you should have them for your business. Some benefits of customer success plans include increased trust and transparency with customers, alignment of customer objectives, reduce churn and increase recurring.
Here are the benefits created by outcome success plans:
Success plans reveal a precise alignment to customer objectives
Success plans enable everyone in the company, including the customer, to be able to view pertinent information on client goals and the overall progress of the company in attaining those goals. This allows a clear view of objectives, and from this central interface, work assignments can be given to the appropriate parties – be it the internal or customer team – ensuring that everyone is aligned to customer objectives and is doing their part to help the customer reach their goals.
Success plans help to identify recyclable processes for reliable customer outcomes
When you work from a template of actions, it is a great way to produce consistency and achieve desired outcomes. Such a template of actions can be fine tuned as you set up and use success plans. Improvisations in company actions may sometimes lead to unexpected results, and you want systems that are proven to be effective and can increase success and overall stability.
Using success plans increase trust and transparency with customers
Success plans expose the progress of the company’s product to the customers. This not only demonstrates the value of the product but also increases the trust customers have in the company, as customers can better assess the company’s methodology to see whether it aligns with their values and beliefs. Such transparency will go a long way to instill confidence and trust in the company’s products and processes, and that will keep a steady customer base for the company and products.
Success plans allow for easier Executive Stakeholder assessment
Success plans, especially when digitally represented, allow those in stakeholder meetings to visually illustrate the degree of progress customer teams ate making with each passing day. Such visualizations would help executive decisions as it points out the areas of progress that need emphasis and aspects that need greater scrutiny and adjustments for greater outcomes.
Success plans help reduce churn
Every company needs to have a steady customer base to succeed. Having high churn rates is not profitable for any business. It creates a situation similar to a leaking bucket where customers leave the businesses even as you’re trying to engage new customers. This offsets the top line customer growth as the customer base is kept either constant or decreases steadily despite efforts by the company to gain new customers.
Success plans help decrease churn, making growth much easier as it ensures customers are kept happy as they use company products. With sustained customer satisfaction, customers are less likely to churn, keeping the company on a steady growth path.
Success plans increase the likelihood of upsells and cross-sells
Success plans, by making customers happy and successfully impacting them positively, impact your business as it gives you more success increasing upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Upselling has to do with engaging customers to buy into more feature-rich and more expensive tiers. Cross-selling entails selling additional products to existing users. To be more successful with upselling and cross-selling, you need to make your customers happy and successful with your core product experience. That is the fundamental goal of your customer success plan. Once you’ve done that and achieved good results, you can include tactics in your customer success plan o move your customers towards premium tiers or additional products.
Using success plans increase recurring revenue
Happy customers mean greater revenue. Greater upsells and cross-sells mean greater revenue. Happy customers also increase company revenue by strengthening your brand and giving referrals. This spreads the words of your products without much of your effort, which will boost your customer acquisition trend, and you’d get more inbound inquiries. This goes to make the sales process much easier.
Applying success plans produces consistency of efforts in the customer lifecycle
Using a customer success roadmap ensures you always have the end goal of your customer in mind. This makes sure you don’t wander-off in your efforts towards meeting the customer’s expectations. Your efforts are, thus, kept consistent as you birth consistent results.
Every stage of the customer lifecycle should have its typical customer success goals. Plans help to make sure you’re always taking steps in the right direction through the right resources at the right time. As you apply your success plans, your efforts are tailored and kept consistent, especially on processes that yield pleasant results for the company.
Making use of success plans helps mitigate unpleasant surprises
By using a plan, you can assuredly achieve your end-goals if you tread the right path. And when any unexpected requests come from your customer, you can more accurately measure in advance whether that is achievable or not. If it’s achievable, then you would know exactly what to tweak in your success plan to meet those expectations. This keeps you out of some unpleasant surprises that come as you make unplanned decisions. A success plan keeps your decisions and actions well calculated for success and mitigates any unpleasant surprise actions.
Success plans help to save execution time
The time spent repairing always out beats the time it would indeed have taken to prepare properly, which applies to businesses. The time spent to bail yourself and the company out of a crossroad is always more than when you would have taken to prepare for such situations. Planning takes out the guesswork from the equation and produces greater efficiency as you tackle firefighting issues. Planning covers any unprecedented situations and keeps you on the offensive for any possible outcome. That saves time in executing strategies when such situations do come up, as you know exactly what to do from your plan. Success plans, thus, help to save execution time.
Success plans create better outcomes with lower operational costs
Operation time and efforts reduce considerably through the use of a customer success plan. You don’t have to spend time and money figuring and guessing what you should do next when you reach a milestone. Your customer success team would always be prepared to move on to the next stage in the customer journey as they simply follow up on the established customer success plan. This greatly reduces operational costs while still maintaining efficient and productive outcomes.
Success Plan Prerequisites
Understand the Customer’s Motivation
Before you can develop a success plan, you must understand what drives the customer’s usage of your product. This goes beyond the features they are interested in and extends to the business value you provide. This assessment should also include any potential risks or barriers, key stakeholders, and any other relevant information concerning their desire to use your products.
Prepare discovery questions to discuss with the customer to collect any missing information
When necessary, you may need to physically engage the customers with questions when you need more specific information. This could be in the form of interviews, questionnaires, polls, etc., to collect any additional information useful for success planning and developing a good relationship with the customers.
Talk with the stakeholders
When it comes to the business objectives that the customer is pursuing, all stakeholders should agree, as well as on which products and services will help them reach that goal. It is good practice to keep the scope focused on 1-3 objectives. As you close out objectives, you can restart the process to define and add new ones to your list.
You can also use questionnaires to validate your existing knowledge of the customer’s business outcomes and pain points, as well as to learn about business outcomes you don’t know yet.
For each business objective, review with the customer:
What is the objective’s priority relative to the others objectives?
Which stakeholders will benefit from this objective?
How should we prioritize efforts for your teams?
Are there any quick wins?
Key contributions & responsibilities of everyone involved
Are there deadlines for individual steps or overall completion?
Understand success plans are living documents
Sharing progress with everyone involved as time goes on is important. You should keep the Sales team and the customer up to date on where the success plan objectives and tasks stand so that they can continue working on new tasks. They’d also be able to share the progress with anyone else they think should be aware.
Change in a customer’s business and strategies is normal, so the value that they need from you will change with that. To stay up to date, you should keep public your success plan so that the customers can always have a fresh understanding of their needs. You can email a report to the customer regularly (maybe once a month or some other frequency), citing the objectives and inviting them to reply if they’re out of date.
It’s also a good practice to set aside key times when you interact with a customer that would be good opportunities to review and refresh the success plan. This could be when discussing business goals feels appropriate, with the right stakeholders at the table. A good example of such a time would be at key hand-offs between teams, EBRs, or executive check-ins.
5 Simple Steps to Creating Your Customer Success Plan
When it comes to creating a success plan, here are some quick steps that can help guide the process to ensure for your company.
Step 1: Define Expectations
You must consciously aid your customers to express their expectations from your product right from the beginning. The customer onboarding phase is a great time to discover these expectations. You could also make use of strategic discussions to unravel their expectations of your product.
Next up, you must quickly demarcate which expectations are achievable and not as soon as possible. Concomitantly, you must synthesize your expectations from the customers, e.g., quick adoption, brand advocacy, etc.
This is a logical first step. You simply can’t plan if you don’t know what your end-goal and milestones are. You must establish why your customers have subscribed to your product. What are their motivations for choosing your product? What are their pain points? What do they aim to achieve? And what does success mean for them? You must know this from the start. Never assume that you know your customer’s expectations– that’s a rookie mistake! Don’t be afraid to let them (and other stakeholders) tell you. And when they aren’t so sure of their expectations, you can always define them together.
Having established what each customer expects from your product, you can begin to segment customers and create a user persona. With these subgroups in place, you would be able to create success plans best suited to meet the specificities of each group. This stems from the notion that not all customers are the same, and they’re likely to churn of you fail to meet their needs individually. Specifically tailored success plans would be best suited to achieve this result.
Once you have defined expectations/ goals and segmented your customers, you can prioritize and address each one of them, moving ion from expectations to actual action.
Step 2: Go from expectations to action
Create processes to meet goals. Expectations are the goals you would be directing your customer success plan towards. While expectations are the “what,” you need to lay out the “how.” You must establish clear, attainable steps that you would be following towards meeting those goals. This entails figuring out what processes to put in place to ensure you meet and even exceed the customers’ expectations.
This step moves you from a theoretical framework to a practical application of your plan. No matter how exciting expectations are, they’d never materialize without an actionable step by step guide to achieving them.
Step 3: Measuring the deliverables (based on the goals)
While customer goals and expectations can vary, they would always reflect improving the business. You should also note that each expectation has a metric that can be measured and followed up to see whether it is being attained or not. This would help you monitor customer health and identify red flags that may need to be addressed.
It is also important to note that for every expectation of the customer, there should be a specific individual responsible for that expectation. For example, if your customer expects optimal value from your product, then you should have someone assigned who’d measure whether the customer is getting the best value from your product. Such measurements could take the form of quarterly business reviews.
Having measurable and actionable objectives is important. If you have a company objective to maximizes customer value intruder to achieve negative churn in the business, for example, then a measurable and actionable way to achieve this could be to ensure that averagely 50% of customers who renew their commitment to the company over six months have an agreed upon and well-discussed success plan!
Step 4: Strategy and tactics
Having set every groundwork down, it’s time to draw up the success plan so that you can start measuring and tracking success and results. And you dint need to be overly complicated with this; a simple spreadsheet can get the job done.
Having established the detailed plan, you must consider the following:
Define your timelines and stick to them
Make sure responsibilities are assigned to the relevant individuals
Be flexible enough, but always stick to the plan
Use metrics to measure the progress
To measure the progress of each point of the customer success plan, make use of measurable metrics. You should, therefore, have a predefined metric for each stage of the success plan to help you determine the efficacy of your processes.
Assign employees and schedules for each stage
To ensure the successful execution of the success plan, you should have a person responsible for execution at each stage of the success plan. They should ensure the goal of their respective stage is closely monitor and met satisfactorily. They should also measure the data for their respective stage and cross-reference with the predefined ideal metrics.
Schedules for stages of the success plan must also be followed to track the progress of tasks accurately. Any lag in executing a task on the success plan should be appropriately reported to the right quarters for corrective action to be taken.
Having established a great plan, it’s time to implement it! The implementation process can/ should involve:
Regular Business Reviews (quarterly or each semester)
Regular check-in meetings
Communication and feedback systems
You can also use customer success platforms and digital tools to keep you on track with your success plan.
A few mistakes to avoid when creating and implementing a success plan
It is entirely normal to ace challenges while executing a plan, which isn’t different from success plans. While you can’t always address all the challenges that come with developing an implementing a success plan, there are some key mistakes you can avoid to ensure your success plan follows a less hurdled development and implementation.
Not considering customer’s inputs into the success plan
No matter how thorough and fail-proof you think your success plan is, it would never really get the results you intend if you forgot or neglected the customers’ input into it. The first step to setting up a success plan is considering customer goals. You shouldn’t just assume their expectations. Consider customer reviews and expectations into your success plan if you intend it to succeed.
Don’t be too ambitious in your success plan
When creating a success plan, don’t over deliver. Ambitious goals may be hard to achieve and end up being a failure. Make sure your set goals are realistic and achievable. You should have achievable goals that aren’t so magnificent to set out lofty objectives you cannot attain.
Using vanity metrics to measure fruition of success plans
Measurement of the attainment of goals of your success plan is important. You must have metrics to measure your progress as you implement your customer success plan. But making use of vanity metrics to measure your efforts is just as bad as not measuring at all. Such metrics can be misguiding and can even give a false sense of achievement. So, be careful when picking out the metrics for measuring the achievement of the success plan.
Lack of improvisation
A plan exists as a set of guidelines to execute when all things are in order and place. But sometimes, when surprises occur, you need to improvise and re-prioritize your actions to get quick solutions to these impromptu situations. A plan is a guide, but there should always be room for improvement and quick improvisations.
To wrap things up
Success plans are important for the progress of the business, as it gives a picture of what success is, with a practical step-wise approach to achieving such success. These plans synthesize the expectations of the customers and executives of the business into an actionable and achievable set of actions towards business success. By steadily following up on your success plan, you can better identify how and when to engage with customers, mitigate chances of churn, and actively (and proactively) work towards achieving the goals and objectives of the business. This keeps your eyes on the prize at all times and sets you on the path to business success. Check out this article about becoming a successful business owner.
One thing that almost every small business needs is more sales. Of all the types of planning, we do for our clients, creating a sales and marketing plan for your small business ranks first in importance for most clients.
The Sales and Marketing Plan
The sales process is usually tactical and direct with individual prospects while marketing is generally strategic and aimed toward a group of prospects. To use a fishing analogy, sales would be actually hooking, reeling in and netting your fish, while marketing would be choosing the right time of day, the right lake, the right fishing hole, and the right bait. To be successful in growing a business, the owner needs to employ both sales and marketing. Below are some tips to remember in developing a sound sales and marketing plan.
Your Marketing Plan
Define your ideal customer.
The more clarity a business owner has about his customer, the more effective the plan will be. Advertising dollars will be saved and a more effective message to prospects will be crafted. Determine from your client the following ideal customer’s characteristics:
age, income, gender, generation, marital status, occupation, etc.
lifestyle, values, motivation (leader or follower), activities, social class, ethnicity.
From the ideal customer characteristics above write a one to two sentence summary describing your ideal customer. (This will be included in your USP below)
Develop your marketing message.
Once you have defined your ideal customer, you will need to craft a powerful message to attract prospects. Develop a Unique Selling Proposition and a Tagline that is tailored to the ideal customer.
Unique Selling Proposition(USP)–
A well written USP will include a four to five sentence summary addressing the following four elements:
1. Customer needs wants/pain
2.How your solution solves your customer’s problems and advantages/benefits
3.Point of difference from your competition
4.The motivation for your prospect to take action(irresistible offer/guarantee)
Included in your USP is your description of your ideal client in point 1 above. Regarding the advantages/benefits in point ii above, you want to paint a word picture of the outcome of your product/service. For example, “thrilled,” or “lives enriched,” might be good descriptors. In summary, the USP is similar to the 30-second commercial, except that client stories are not included and it is more generic.
Your tagline is a one-sentence summary of your USP. Generally, it is catchy, easy to state and easy to remember. You will find the SBCA tagline above in our letterhead. Consider some memorable taglines from large companies:
M&M’s- “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands”
FedEx- “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”
Write three different versions of your tagline for consideration. Allow others to give you feedback prior to deciding on the one you will use for your business.
Once you have developed your marketing message, use it on every form of media and all marketing materials.
Decide how much you will spend monthly for marketing. Although there are many low cost “guerilla marketing strategies,” businesses need to plan to spend a percentage of sales on marketing. Although there is no magic formula, ten percent may be a good starting place for a new business. From there you can adjust the amount spent based on your results.
Lead Generation Strategies.
Also included in your marketing plan is how you will reach prospective customers whether through referrals, website, phone, direct mail, walk-ins, email, social media, etc. Pay-per-click advertising is great because you can easily track your results.
Lead Tracking and Results.
Decide what customer information you want to capture in order to follow up with prospects. Then you will need to use some type of lead tracking system. You want to know how many leads were generated by each lead generation strategy and how many leads actually became customers. You want to know the status of each prospect in the sales process. Small businesses use
everything from index cards to a Rolodex to Excel spreadsheets to Customer Relationship Management tools. SBCA offers an affordable CRM through amoCRM. Know your advertising results so that you can make good decisions.
In my opinion, nearly every employee can have some influence on the sales of an organization. If you help the leader develop a shared plan and link bonuses to profits, every employee should be motivated to play a part in growing sales to some degree. However certain individuals on your team will be directly in contact with prospects. These team members need to be incentivized, trained and equipped to grow your sales. Include these members in the sales and marketing planning process.
Decide how you will price your products or services. Most business owners price too low and are reluctant to raise their prices over time. They leave a lot of money on the table! Encourage your clients to raise their prices a small amount every year and over time the increases will add up to big money. Of course, you want to shop the competition so that you know how to compete.
The Sales Forecast.
A sales forecast is simply a goal that you set for your team in the upcoming year. Set realistic goals for your business. If you are too conservative you may not motivate your sales team to work hard enough. If you are too optimistic you will set your team up for failure. Meet with your team members to agree on individual sales performance. Develop a detailed list of activities and the dollar value for each. Your total of all individual sales activities is your organizational goal. Don’t forget to add your price increase to the forecast. For example, if your client’s sales are $1million and you implement a 10% price increase, your forecast is $1.1million.
As you can see, there is a lot to developing an effective sales and marketing plan. However, if you will invest the appropriate time and money in developing and deploying your plan, your client will soon be thrilled with your coaching!