Mackenzie | January 28, 2020 | Digital Marketing
You want to grow your company. But, you're not sure where to start. We get it.
It'd be great if we could all just grow our businesses and companies by taking on more projects. Unfortunately, sustainable growth needs a little bit more direction and structure than that.
If you're looking to grow your company by pulling in more of the right leads, and converting them more efficiently, you need to start developing a growth strategy.
A growth strategy is a detailed plan of action designed to help your company grow — that is, increase sales and revenue over a specific period of time. Effective growth strategies are specific, measurable, and focused on continuous improvement.
No two growth strategies are exactly alike — they're unique depending on the company, the company's specific goals, and the resources you have available to implement that strategy.
What is universal to all companies, however, is that you need a growth strategy if you want to build your company in a specific way: to close bigger deals, to shorten your sales cycle, and grow your company strategically for the best results.
If you're working on developing a growth strategy that gets your company moving in the right direction, here are 7 steps you can take to start creating a growth strategy that delivers the tangible results you've been looking for.
Use this menu to jump to the steps you're most interested, or read on through for the complete step-by-step guide to developing a growth strategy that delivers results.
You can't grow if you don't know where you're growing to. If you want to grow, you have to set goals. Otherwise, how will you measure your success?
Real, effective growth strategies start with SMART goals. We've got an entire post about how to determine your SMART goals, but here's a quick cliff-notes version:
So, "I want to grow my business," is not, in fact, a smart goal. It doesn't give you any mile-markers. It doesn't really tell you what you want, or where you want to be.
A SMART goal is something like: I want to grow 20% in the next fiscal year.
Now that's still a pretty broad goal, which is fine. You can have big growth goals, but it's also important to set small SMART goals too, so you know you're keeping your company on track. How are you going to reach that 20% growth mark by the end of the year?
Examples of smaller growth goals that can help contribute to your big growth goal might be to:
One or all of these goals are great mile markers that help keep your team on track while moving to your big, overarching SMART goal. Defining these little goals also makes it easier to start developing strategies that put you closer to your big goals.
Saying, "oh, I want to grow by 20% in the next year" sounds great. But it doesn't give you a lot of direction. Saying, "I want to convert 500 leads per month" does give you some direction — how are you generating leads now? How can you generate more leads? Are there lead generating tactics you haven't tried yet that you could check out?
Now you have a launching-off point to really start moving your company towards your growth goals.
Okay, so you've got your SMART goals, big and small. Start with the small goals first. Let's go with generating 500 leads per month as our example.
If you're generating leads primarily through word of mouth, you have a lot of room to improve:
If you already have a web presence and are hoping to generate more leads, start by really drilling down on the efforts that work:
You can also start expanding your lead generation efforts. Try new tactics like social media advertising, guest blogging, or adding more lead touch points to your marketing and sales process.
The point is that if you have specific, attainable (etc.) goals, determining your plan of action is a lot easier. If you know exactly where you want to be, it's a little easier to figure out how to get there.
Another great way to bolster your growth strategy is to consider investing in tools and software that can make it easier for you to implement your new strategies and reach those growth goals.
Using that same lead generation goal as an example, let's say that one of your new strategies is to start promoting your content more often, and follow up with new leads more promptly.
It's important to remember that all of these changes aren't always on your sales and marketing teams — there are plenty of tools out there that can help you reach these goals and implement these new efforts.
Consider investing in a social media publishing tool that allows you to schedule posts out when it's convenient for your team.
Many marketing software platforms also offer automated email and workflow tools. The minute a lead downloads a content offer or signs up for your newsletter, you can have them automatically entered into a welcome workflow that sends them helpful, relevant communication that nurtures that lead for you.
At Evenbound, we're big advocates for the, "work smarter, not harder" mindset. Implementing a growth strategy can be tough work. If there are tricks and tools that can help you reach those growth goals more easily and that offer your leads and prospects better service, use them.
Don't be afraid of tools because they're new or different. They can seriously help you reach those growth goals, usually faster than your team could do it on their own.
Alright, now that you've got your goals nailed down and you've got a plan to reach them, it's time to launch! Put your growth strategies into action. Let your new marketing software do its work.
And give your strategies a little bit of time, too. Especially if you're implementing inbound strategies meant to bolster your organic traffic, you probably won't see results overnight. That's okay.
In general, you should wait at least a month before you start making judgement calls on the effectiveness of your new initiatives. For some tactics, you might even have to wait a few months to get a really clear picture of how your efforts are impacting your bottom line.
It's good to remember that you put time and effort into developing your growth strategies. If you did your research, at least some of your new tactics and strategies are going to deliver results.
When your new strategies and growth campaigns have been running for a while, analyze them. Maybe that's at the one-month mark for tactics like paid advertising and new initiatives in your marketing and sales process.
For organic and inbound tactics like content marketing, you might give it two or three months before you take a good hard look at the results. Either way, when it's time to take a look at how far you've come, it's important to look at the big picture. Make sure you're analyzing both your wins and your challenges.
Let's say your new strategy is doing awesome. You've reached that 500 leads per month goal already, and you're only three months into your new strategy.
Don't just leave it at, "well, my strategy is working great". Take a look at which efforts specifically are generating those leads for you.
Are the majority of your leads coming to your site organically? If so, which pages are they coming to or landing on?
Are your paid ads converting leads like crazy? Great! Which ads were most effective?
Is your new marketing process shortening your sales cycle and converting qualified leads in just a week or two after their first touch? Amazing. What specific efforts are getting those leads so excited about your company?
The deeper you dig into your new growth strategies' results, the better you'll understand how you're generating those results.
This works the other way, too. Maybe you implemented a new email marketing strategy that totally flopped. Look at why it flopped.
Did you just not have the depth of email contacts you needed to make that strategy work? Were people not connecting with that specific message? How can you improve it for the next round of growth goals?
The more you analyze your results, the better your growth strategy will perform in the long-term. When you know exactly what your leads respond best to, and why, you can continue on that upward growth trajectory, and you can keep optimizing your growth strategy with actual data and results in hand. Which brings us to step #6.
After you analyze your results to death, it's important to use all of that information you've collected and actually put it to work. If a specific set of Facebook ads performed really well, start launching more campaigns with similar attributes. If your email marketing strategy didn't work, don't keep doing the same old thing — try something new!
The great gift of analytics is that they give you the data you need to make changes and improvements. Use analytics to your advantage and apply what you've learned to your future growth tactics and strategies. When you do that, you're truly implementing a continuous growth strategy that will continue to support your company even as your goals change.
The key to an effective growth strategy is a mindset of continuous improvement. Once you reach your growth goals, it's time to set new goals, and repeat the process.
If you want your company to keep growing, your growth strategies have to change as your company does. Once you reach your first set of goals, re-evaluate where your company is, set new SMART goals, and keep developing your growth strategy to help you reach them.
The best growth strategies are the ones that are constantly changing and adapting to your business' needs and goals. And it makes sense: a growth strategy that worked for a small business isn't going to work the same for a mid-sized business. Your growth strategy should evolve and adapt as your company continues to grow.
In the end, building a growth strategy that delivers results is all about setting up the structure and mindset your team needs to grow, and allowing plenty of space and flexibility to keep improving. The best growth strategies are the ones that grow and improve themselves.
So, start with your SMART goals for right now, and keep moving that needle forward as your company grows.
Developing a growth strategy and actually implementing it can seem like big, daunting work. If you're just not sure where to start, drop us a line! We help companies like yours grow every day, and we'd be happy to answer any questions you've got about developing a growth strategy, sticking to it, or optimizing it as you reach your goals.
At Evenbound, we're all about helping our clients grow. We use inbound and outbound marketing strategies to deliver you the qualified traffic and leads you need for serious growth. And we have a lot of fun doing it.
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