If you don’t think you need a marketing and sales program for your company, think again. After all, how can you prepare a financial budget if you don’t know how much new business you are going to sell?

The good news is that it’s not too late to put one together for this season. That is if you start now. Keep reading and I’ll walk you through the process. It’s not difficult. You will find it will help you achieve more sales and grow your business.

  1. Decide how much you want to invest for the year. Owners seeking growth for their companies usually budget between 4 and 8 percent of their annual revenue on marketing and sales expenses. They typically choose a percentage based on how much growth their businesses can manage without compromising their company’s level of quality and customer service.
  2. Select the types of marketing you want to invest in for the year. With today’s digital technology, it’s easier than ever for small businesses to reach a large audience through social media and online marketing. Many companies – large and small – still also use direct mail, radio, door-to-door hangars, referral campaigns, and the list goes on. Regardless of the type of marketing you try, it is imperative that you measure the sales you get from each effort. The customer service representatives in our Massachusetts-based lawn care company always ask the same simple question when a prospect signs up for our service: “How did you learn about us?” If your company is a newer business or has never tracked this information, it’s never too late to start. As they say, you have to start somewhere.
  3. Lay out your marketing and advertising program by season. Include the types of marketing you will use and the dates when you will launch each type. You want to be prepared to respond promptly to new leads and convert them to sales. This is especially vital if your advertising pieces contain call-to-action offers. Your employees should always be fully aware of these offers so when prospects respond to them via the telephone, your employees can better guide them and close sales. Prepare your marketing to launch at opportune times prior to seasonal service needs. In our New England lawn care company, for example, we keep an eye out for a week of sunny weather in early spring. We have learned that we get good results when we launch a direct-mail campaign just when folks in our market start looking at their lawns again.

Creating and following a marketing calendar will help ensure that you and your company follow through with your marketing strategy for the entire year. It helps keep your team members engaged in what services you are promoting at the time. It also helps you manage your cash flow as it is integrated into your financials so that you can smoothly manage the cycle of your business.

Make building and managing a marketing program for your company your New Year’s resolution. And remember to track the results for each and every marketing or advertising effort you try. You will be wasting a lot of time and money if you don’t. Learning which marketing programs result in the most responses will allow you to spend your marketing dollars more effectively as you progressively close more sales and grow the size and reach of your company.