Every spring, we lose an hour as we enter into daylight saving time. In the fall, we get to repeat an hour as we move the clocks back 60 minutes. If you’re like me, you can’t remember whether to move the clocks forward or backward without repeating the old adage to “Spring Ahead, Fall Back.”
For most of us, spring is a symbol of awakening, optimism and new growth, while the fall is associated with cocooning, dreariness and withering foliage. As marketers, we certainly don’t want to “fall back” into old habits or let important marketing tasks go into hibernation. Instead, marketers should use the seasonal transition to take stock of what’s working, isolate and leverage your core competencies, and itemize what you’d like to improve in the coming New Year.
For many companies, fall is also a season during which the sales organization is elbow-deep working to close year-end business. If your marketing department is responsible for sales enablement, this is a great time to evaluate and enhance all the closing tools, competitive positioning documents and collateral that help your sales reps get the order.
So this weekend and early next week, take your extra hour to get started on one of these four tasks:
1) Finalize End of Year Initiatives – Much remains to be done in the last eight weeks of the year. Make sure you have everything in place to ensure flawless execution. Carefully monitor your project plans so that important deadlines don’t slip. Take the time to fully test all customer and prospect communications. Remember, we’re all on the go, especially at this time of year, so this a good time to make sure all your email is mobile-friendly and has a strong call to action.
2) Fill in the Sales Enablement Gaps – Identify what you need to develop to help sales close more business, and make the creation of these assets a top priority. This could mean developing ROI calculators, preparing total cost ownership tools or organizing early purchase incentives. Sometimes these tasks fall to sales or sales operations, and other times they’re the responsibility of marketing. Whatever you do, don’t let sales enablement fall through the cracks.
3) Evaluate Staff Effectiveness – I’m a big fan of Marcus Buckingham’s strengths-based books and evaluation tools. Consider each member of your marketing team and the role they’re performing, and ensure that everyone gets a chance to leverage their true strengths. Make sure you have a good balance of right-brain digital creative prowess and left-brain systems/operational expertise. If you don’t have the right allocation of talent, make plans for education, training, hiring or outsourcing. (For more, see Silverpop’s “Building the Marketing Dream Team” white paper.)
4) Get a Jump on 2013 – Start developing your overarching campaign themes for 2013 and begin to develop campaign frameworks for how you’ll get off to a fast start in the New Year. The turning of the calendar will mean that many organizations will be working with fresh budgets and embarking on new initiatives. Do everything you can to plan now so your marketing department can get off to a fast start in 2013.
1) White Paper: “6 Marketing Trends for 2013 – and Tips for Succeeding in the Year of the Customer”
2) Infographic: “The Marketing Dream Team”
3) White Paper: “Building the Best Marketing Budget for Today’s B2B Environment”