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    05/16/2023 |

    10 Sign A Strategy Before Tactics Approach Can Fix Your Marketing

    I probably sound like a broken record to many of you. I’ve been talking about strategy before tactics for almost 20 years, but it’s still one of the most common issues with companies that come to Square 2 for help.

    Strategy before tactics means you take the time to build all the necessary strategic elements of your go-to-marketing effort before you launch into any tactics.

    This isn’t easy. Most companies think they have a strategy or don’t really value the strategy part. Instead, they want to see the stuff they can touch, like a website, emails, social posts, content, webinars and paid advertising.

    If your revenue generation and marketing efforts are producing less-than-expected results, you’re likely missing some or all the strategies you need.

    Still not sure whether this is you and your company? Keep reading as I’ll identify 10 signals you didn’t take a strategy before tactics approach prior to starting the execution stage of your revenue generation efforts.

    1. A Systems Approach to Execution

    You already have systems for almost every other area in your business, but for some reason, only a small handful of people have a system for generating leads, sales opportunities and month-over-month revenue growth. If you don’t have a system that is repeatable, scalable and predictable, you’re going to struggle with digital marketing and revenue generation.

    Instead, consider adding a revenue generation system, like RGS™, to your company’s operating methodology. A system for revenue generation includes a proven process that defines meeting rhythms, planning cycles and a data-driven scorecard to measure success.

    It includes workshops and exercises to fill in any gaps missing in your strategy work. It gives you a framework for selecting the right tactics and defining the expected contributions from those tactics.

    You would get an approach to campaign design that is omnichannel and provides a high level of personalization. It’s actually the same campaign design methodology we use with our clients today. 

    There’s guidance around technology, which must be in place to support marketing, sales and customer service. These tools both automate and help analyze performance, so you uncover insights buried in the data and create more informed action plans.

    Finally, the system gives you the opportunity to leverage your internal team, external contractors or agency in the most efficient and affordable way, making sure you get full value for your investment in growing your business.

    2. Personas

    Once you understand how to build a system, you can dig into some more specific parts of a well-designed go-to-market strategy.

    This always starts with target persona profiles. Who exactly is your best customer? Do you want prospects that look like your best customer? What do they look like? Consider demographics, psychographics, online behaviors and more.

    While most companies have some type of persona documentation, we often find these to be incomplete, and once completed an entirely new perspective emerges on how to attract and engage these people.

    3. Big Story

    One of the ways you’ll need to engage them is with a Big Story. While most companies have some persona documentation, almost none of the companies we work with have a Big Story.

    This is an emotional, compelling and differentiated story about your business that anyone can remember and share. Think about it right now. What’s your company’s story? Is anyone going to care? Does it make anyone say, “Wow, that’s so interesting can you tell me more?”

    Also, when you think about your company and specifically your salespeople, are they telling the same exact story to everyone they talk to in the same exact way? It’s unlikely based on our experiences. This has to change too.

    At Square 2, the story is simple. We’re on a mission to teach people who run companies to learn how to generate revenue and hit their goals month over month. If you’re interested in learning how to do this, we’re the right firm for you. If not, that’s OK too.

    While we do a lot of different things to help our clients learn how to generate revenue and hit their goals, our Big Story is still the same.

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    4. Differentiation

    This story almost always needs to have an element of differentiation to make it stick. What makes you special? What makes your company remarkable? Remarkable is defined as something you do that NO ONE ELSE can say they do.

    Again, for illustration purposes, at Square 2 we offer Accelerator Engagements, where we do six months of work in 30 days. We offer an RGS (Revenue Generation System) engagement, where a coach helps clients learn the system.

    We also have our own proprietary frameworks around the buyer journey. Our Cyclonic Buyer Journey™ model helps us map buyer journeys, select the right tactics and design campaigns that align perfectly with our clients’ prospect buyer journeys.

    No other agency can say they do this the way we do it. It makes us remarkable.

    You’ll need some of this special sauce too.

    5. Aligned Investment With Expected Results

    You won’t be surprised to hear that most companies underfund their investment in growth. What’s missing here is the connection between the investment and the expected results.

    This has to be corrected as part of your strategy before tactics work.

    If you have lofty growth goals, you need to fund those goals appropriately. If you have more modest growth goals, you can get away with a more modest budget for marketing and sales execution.

    No matter where you look or who you talk to, you can’t have highly aggressive growth goals and a low level of investment. This simply won’t work. There is a direct correlation between investment and the amount of work that can get done by a set of experienced and skilled people.

    Get this aligned and your program will flourish.

    6. Sales Process Documentation

    As I tell all our clients, if you don’t have a documented and hopefully visual sales process, you don’t have a sales process at all. Without anything documented, shared, trained, communicated and supported, it’s highly likely your salespeople are doing whatever they want, whenever they want.

    This might not be bad unless you’re missing your sales goals. This might not be bad historically, but it may not be what you need to get you to the next level or scale up your revenue generation efforts.

    To do that, you’ll need a detailed process that outlines every single step, every email, each piece of content, what data you collect, what questions you ask your prospects and how you collaborate with other people inside the company.

    If you want to think about it differently, you have to create a remarkable experience for all your prospects. This experience has to help them know, like and trust you as quickly as possible. The better you are at delivering this experience, the shorter your sales cycle and the higher your close rate.

    Nothing generates revenue faster than increasing your close rate, so this is always at the top of our list when it comes to strategy around sales execution.

    7. Campaign Design Plan

    Even when you have most of the strategy work done, marketing execution can still break down when it comes to campaigns. Specifically, this happens in a couple of places.

    First, you might not have good messaging that connects with your Big Story. Remember, everything has to cascade down from the Big Story, including messaging inside campaigns. What you say matters.

    Next, you might not be personalizing the campaign enough. Today, Dear Mike isn’t going to cut it. You have to know your prospect’s role, their industry and even their challenges. Then you have to personalize all that marketing to them using those data points.

    Finally, your campaigns need to be omnichannel. This means what you say and what you offer via email has to be repeated via social, on social ad platforms, on your website, at events you go to, in your Google ad programs, through your content and, as we stated earlier, in your sales process too.

    This is how you get one plus one equals three. This is how you generate leads in 2023. It’s not easy, but it works.

    8. The Right Technology

    With all the personalization, moving parts and channels activated at once, and with all this data flowing in, it’s impossible to generate leads and revenue without a technology platform that orchestrates marketing, sales and customer service.

    It doesn’t matter what you use, but you have to use something.

    By automating much of this, you can get more done with the same resources. This goes for salespeople too. If your process is efficient and your strategy is tight, you should be able to grow without having to add more reps.

    Perhaps the most important part of technology is the data and the insights these tools provide. No longer are you flying blind or guessing at what you should do next. Opinions and assumptions are checked at the door, and data rules the day.

    Before you know it, your company is making data-driven decisions that improve results and exponentially help you grow without having to dump in additional investment. Your program and your team get smarter, and your business grows.

    9. Alignment Across Marketing, Sales and Customer Service

    Getting your departments aligned is a huge part of strategy before tactics. You can’t build or install a revenue generation system if you don’t have alignment around marketing, sales and customer service.

    These three teams are the only places revenue comes from in any business. These teams have to be rowing in the same direction.

    Part of that alignment means having someone overseeing these three teams. It could be a chief revenue officer (CRO). It could also be a Rainmaker, the role we coined as part of our RGS. Regardless of what you call it, this person is accountable and responsible for everything revenue-related across the company, and they have to hit your revenue goal every single month.

    You’ll have to organize like this going forward if you want to truly optimize your execution around revenue.

    10. Advocacy as a Priority

    Finally, there is one other strategy component worth talking about, and that is customer advocacy. If your customers aren’t telling your Big Story and talking about what makes you remarkable, it’s going to be much harder to grow.

    To hit aggressive revenue numbers, you’ll need your entire customer base activated and advocating for your company, and there is only one way to do that – they have to be talking about your business to everyone.

    This requires a level of execution, service and attention to customers that is difficult to install at many businesses. It has to be a top priority. It has to be a revenue-generating priority.

    Once you make advocacy a top priority, you’ll start to see retention, revenue from existing clients and referrals all improving. Overall company growth will quickly follow.

    Revenue from current customers is always easier than revenue from new customers. This approach helps you lean into that customer base and makes hitting your revenue goals easier month in and month out.

    Strategy before tactics is more like a religion than an approach to business. It has to be something you’re passionate and dedicated to, but once installed, you’ll start to see a level of alignment and efficiency that most companies only dream about. What follows is month-over-month revenue growth and the elimination of any random acts of marketing.

    Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist headshot
    CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

    Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

    Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.

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