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Exit Like a Boss: Elevate Your SME with Strategic Marketing and Sales

Succession Planning

Exit Like a Boss: Elevate Your SME with Strategic Marketing and Sales

By , October 20, 2023

Based on insights from the ‘Exit Like a Boss Podcast – 21-Step Challenge‘, this blog covers Step 11 – Marketing and Sales.

As an SME business owner, you’re likely considering how to elevate your business’s value and ensure a seamless transition when the time comes for an exit. In this blog, we’ll cover the critical aspects of marketing and sales within the context of devising a strategic exit plan.

One of the foremost considerations in this strategy is ensuring that your marketing and sales efforts are not solely reliant on you as the business owner. Over-dependence on personal interactions and relationships can pose significant challenges when transitioning out of your business. Imagine a scenario where a significant portion of your clientele is tied to your personal networking efforts. When you step back or exit, these clients may no longer remain loyal to the business.

To mitigate this risk, two fundamental components need to be in place: a robust marketing funnel and an effective sales capability.

Marketing Funnel: The Path to a Continuous Stream of Leads

Building a marketing funnel involves establishing an online presence through a website, social media, and digital marketing. The goal is to automate lead generation processes to consistently attract potential customers without your direct involvement. While setting up this system requires initial effort and investment, the long-term benefits are significant.

For instance, utilizing tools like HubSpot, your website can become a hub where visitors can access valuable resources such as white papers, eBooks, webinars, or podcasts. By enticing them to fill out forms or provide their details to access these resources, they become part of your marketing funnel.

Sales Capability: Beyond You, the Owner

Your sales process needs to be streamlined and not centered around you. This can be achieved through various means, from e-commerce platforms for online sales to a well-structured sales team that handles client interactions.

In certain businesses, implementing scripts for sales interactions can be highly effective. These scripts guide sales personnel in using key phrases and strategies that resonate well with potential customers, increasing the likelihood of successful conversions.

The Intersection of Marketing, Sales, and Business Strategy

The synchronization of marketing and sales with your business model and strategic financial plan is pivotal. If your goal is to sell the business for a specific amount in the future, your sales plan should be designed to attain that goal. Reverse engineering from the target revenue, understanding conversion rates, and identifying the sources of leads provide a structured pathway towards achieving the desired outcomes.

Regularly evaluating your marketing and sales strategies is vital to ensure their effectiveness. Calculate the return on investment (ROI) for various marketing channels and continually refresh your campaigns to stay relevant and engaging.

In summary, building a strong marketing funnel, developing a sales capability independent of the owner, and aligning these aspects with your business strategy are key steps towards securing your business’s value and facilitating a smooth exit process. By doing so, you enhance the potential for generating consistent revenue even after your departure, a crucial factor in exiting like a boss.

Through meticulous planning and strategic execution, you can position your business to thrive beyond your ownership, making it an attractive proposition for potential buyers or successors. Take charge of your marketing and sales strategy today and pave the way for a successful exit in the future.

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Craig West

Craig West

Executive Chairman | Succession Plus

Craig West is a strategic accountant with over 20 years of experience advising business owners. His background as a CPA in public practice has provided invaluable experience in the key issues of concern to business owners.

In March 2014, Craig was appointed Executive Chairman of the SME Association of Australia, Australia’s largest small business organisation representing over 300,000 business owners.

In October 2014, he was awarded the Exit Planner of the Year at the Exit Planning Institute Annual Conference in Texas, USA, due to his innovative development of an exit planning process to help business owners maximise business value and achieve a successful exit.

Craig’s proprietary structure - a Peak Performance Trust - has won the Australia-wide award for the Employee Share Ownership Plan of the year twice in four years.

In November 2018, Craig launched SME Experts in partnership with Mark Bouris’ Mentored on Podcast One and quickly grew the monthly podcast audience to over 26,500 downloads; in October 2019, he released a new podcast focused on medium-sized businesses - Mid-Market Matters.

In July 2021, Craig joined the NSW Committee for STEP (Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners) – focusing on advising families across generations.

Craig has also launched a SaaS platform, Capitaliz (which captures the 21-step process), to assist other advisers internationally deliver advisory services at scale.

In November 2021, Craig was appointed Executive Chairman of NSW Leaders, a business mentoring group for leading NSW businesses.

In July 2022, Craig West received the award of Doctor of Business Administration for his research thesis titled “Examination of the key factors driving business exit options in Australian Small and Medium Enterprises.”

Craig is passionate about encouraging business owners to think strategically, maximise the value of their business and achieve a successful exit.

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