5 Things You Need to do to Increase Your 2018 Revenue

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Right now, the smartest leaders I know are thinking ahead. Because 2017 is pretty much in the history books for them, their sights are set on 2018.  

I'm sure you have lots of objectives for next year - and I'm also sure that one of them is growth. How will you increase your revenues in 2018? This is what I plan to do next year to increase sales for my 10-person company – I believe you’ll find some of these plans suitable for yours.

Clean up data

My customer relationship management (CRM) database is a mess. In the end, a CRM system is only as good as the data that's in it - and I've let things slip a bit.  In 2018 I plan to fix that.  

I'm asking my sales people to review all of their contacts and clean up basic information.  I'm emailing others to verify their information.  I'm double checking who has opted in for communications and reaching out to those that haven't. I'm checking for empty fields and out of date information. For new records, I'm enforcing required fields and drop down lists to limit bad data entry. I'm also implementing a few workflows to alert my database administrator if information doesn't change after six months so that I don't make these mistakes again.

Takeaway: A good CRM system is the central core of all good marketing and without good data it's a useless tool.

Choose a marketing weapon

Marketing in 2018 is not easy - there are simply too many ways to spend your money. You can email, tweet, post, send letters, make calls, advertise in print, advertise online, advertise on social media… the list goes on.  Even though I'll still maintain a social media and online presence, I'm going to focus on what will give me the most bang for the buck while promoting excellence.

Because my business is B2B, I've found that my prospects and customers respond best to email, so my marketing dollars will be targeted there this year. I will get outside help. I will monitor responses.  I will test out different campaigns.

Takeaway: Maybe email isn't the best marketing weapon for your business.  You've got to decide what is.

Create a quarterly content plan

This year, I'm going to stop doing everything seat-of-the-pants and implement a quarterly content plan. I plan to pick a theme each quarter that will be of interest to my customers and community and then blog, email, video and post about it. This way I can bang home a specific point, educate my followers and community and establish my expertise.  

Each quarter I'll do the same, and each time, I'll have a communications plan for distributing this content. If I can do this consistently - quarter after quarter - my hope is that prospects will see my firm as a reliable source of information and a trusted company to do business with.

Takeaway: No matter how good your content is, people need to hear information a few times before it sinks in.

Sharpen the pipeline process

Like many of my clients, our pipeline is a mish-mash of spreadsheets and email messages. In 2018 I'm launching a new, detailed pipeline report that will be generated directly from my CRM system. Any prospect or customer who receives a quote from my company will land on our pipeline report.  I will track the customer, sales value, responsible salesperson, products quoted, expected close date, probability and both next and most recent actions. I want this report to accurately reflect how all open opportunities will impact our cash flow over the next 90 days.

Takeaway: I've learned that great sales managers have great pipeline reports to keep their eyes on the ball.

Finally… follow the money

The majority of my marketing dollars will go towards my existing clients and community – that’s where the money is.  We've been fortunate enough to build up a large list of active clients and other people who have gotten to know us over the past 20 years. We've done a good job maintaining this information in our CRM database.  

To that end, I plan to hold events, seminars, training sessions and provide other informational material to our existing fans so that they can use the products we sell better - and hopefully be interested in paying us to assist!  You learn in Business 101 that the cost of an existing customer is well below the cost of acquiring new customers.  The money’s there – we just need to follow it.

Takeaway: Sure, acquiring new customers is important.  But I know for a fact that we're leaving a lot of money on the table with our existing customer base if we just made more of an effort.

So those are my plans to increase revenues in 2018.  I think you'll agree that regardless of your industry or the size of your business that these plans aren't so inconsistent with what you also should be doing.  If you don’t believe me, ask any smart leader.


Gene Marks is a columnist, author, and small business owner. He writes daily for The Washington Post newspaper and weekly for Forbes magazine, The Huffington Post website, Inc. magazine, Entrepreneur.com, Fox Business and Philadelphia Magazine.

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