Strategic Planning Links for Easy Access to the Entire Series

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

Hello everyone and Happy Holidays!

I haven’t posted in a long time due to other work in which I am involved.  I will share this “other work” with you in my next post.

I sincerely hope all of you have had a productive and successful 2011.  If you have struggled in 2011, let me know, perhaps I can share some ideas for success.

Recently, I have had some individual questions about Strategic Planning.  This is normal for this time of the year as company leaders look to 2012.  One problem with a blog is that it is not easy to navigate to earlier posts on a particular subject.  So, to tell someone to go look at the Strategy section of my blog is not really an easy solution to their problem. This is especially true for subject matter that is treated in a series of posts…which I tend to do.  To make it easier to see the series in order, I have listed the posts below.  Simply click on the links to see the post.

  1. Getting from A to E
  2. Qualitative Benefits of Strategic Planning
  3. Elements of the Strategic Marketing and Sales Plan
  4. Data – The first Strategic Planning Element
  5. Assumptions–-defy-the-old-saying-that-results-in-“ass-u-me”/
  6. SWOT Analysis
  7. Key Strategic Goals–-making-the-commitment-for-the-year-ahead/
  8. The difference between Strategies and Tactics
  9. Key Strategies and Supporting Tactics–-turning-talk-into-action/

10. From the Strat Plan to the Budget“there-is-nothing-quite-as-wonderful-as-money“-from-the-strategic-plan-to-the-annual-budget/

Hopefully, most of you are already in control of your 2012 plans.  If not, the posts listed above may help you get on track.  Don’t fall into the trap of being tactical.   Sure, exhibiting at a particular trade show is a no brainer.  But it should be tied to a strategy that gives the trade show purpose.  And, being part of a strategy may move you to get more out of you activities at the exhibit.

Plan and execute!  Good luck as you prepare for 2012!

Finally, if you think any of you friends in the medical device world would benefit from this series, please forward this email to them.

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“There is nothing quite as wonderful as money“ – From the Strategic Plan to the Annual Budget

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

“There is nothing quite as wonderful as money
There is nothing quite as beautiful as cash
Some people say it’s folly
But I would rather have the lolly
With money you can make a splash”

“The Monty Song”  Monty Python


This is the 10th post in the series on Strategic Planning.  Note that you can subscribe to the blog postings by completing the form in the “Subscribe Free” tab.  Or, you can link with an RSS feed.

Isn’t this true.  “There is nothing quite as wonderful as money.” Maybe I should qualify that and say….there is nothing quite as wonderful as enough money to get the job done.  And, if your experience in business is like mine…it seems like there is never enough.  That brings us back to the focal point of Strategic Planning.  With good planning, you focus your financial resources on the most important activities of your company or your area of responsibility within the company.

You can now transfer your strategies and tactics to a spreadsheet.  The first column of the spreadsheet (column A) will be the listing of strategies and tactics.  The columns to the right will be the months of the year.  Now you can plug in the costs of the various tactics into the month(s) they will be executed.  Total the columns and you have the monthly costs of the strategic plan.  Total the rows and the final column and you have the annual cost.

One could argue that you can take these tactical expenses and put them into the line-by-line chart of accounts in the company wide budget.  This is true.  Eventually, that is where these expenditures should go.  No doubt you have a budget line for trade show expenses.  And, several budget lines related to advertising.  However, if you jump right to this, you will lose the big picture.

By seeing the budget from the standpoint of Strategies and Tactics, you can make tactical financial decisions.  If, for example, the budget seems to high, you can look for a specific tactical area to eliminate to reduce expenses.   It is easier to locate and agree on a low priority tactic that can be cut.  Perhaps it is a series of exhibits at tradeshows in a secondary market.  When the Strategic Plan was originally written, everyone agreed that this secondary market would be good to explore for additional revenues.  However, when costs were associated with the plan, it became obvious that this year it would be too expensive to explore the secondary market.

In earlier posts about strategic planning I made the point that a strategic plan is a dynamic tool.  We just used the example of eliminating a tactical area to bring the budget into line.  At the same time, if in the first quarter or two of plan execution, your team is overachieving revenue goals, you could decide to re-instate this strategy and its tactics.

“I know money is the root of all evil
Do funny things to some people
Give me a nickel, brother can you spare a dime
Money can drive some people out of their minds”

“For the Love of Money”  The O’Jays

My hope is that good strategic planning tied with a budget that is related to real tactics will prevent the money from driving you out of your mind.
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Key Strategies and Supporting Tactics – Turning Talk into Action!

Reading time: 4 – 7 minutes

This is the ninth post in the series on Strategic Planning.  Note that you can subscribe to the blog postings by completing the form in the “Subscribe Free” tab.  Or, you can link with an RSS feed.

In the last post on the subject of strategic planning, we made sure we understood the difference between strategies and tactics.  And, we had a little fun using a New Year’s Resolution as a Key Goal.  Then we came up with a Key Strategy and supporting Tactics to support that goal of losing weight.  I sincerely hope that no one in the blogosphere picked up my post in a search for weight loss and ended up buying blinders and a nose plug to use in the grocery store.  If you see someone walking through the candy aisle with blinders on… know where they got the idea.  And, you have my permission to gently take them aside and tell them that this part of my post was just some good humor.  Better yet…maybe I could start a business selling Diet Blinders!  OK…never mind…bad idea.

Back to business!!

In today’s post we will take one of the imaginary Key Goals I used in post number 7 on “Key Strategic Goals” and make a Key Strategy and supporting Tactics for this goal.  All the initial elements of strategic planning seem a bit cerebral at first.  Some people may demand, “Where is this going?  I see lots of meetings and brainstorming and no action!”  By the end of this post we will see very clear tasks that can be assigned to individuals and give very clear expectations.

Let’s use goal #3.  Lead management is a pet peeve of mine.  A lot of companies do a poor job of lead management.  They spend a lot of money to advertise and attend trade shows.  They get a lot of leads.  And, they DO distribute them.  The problem is lack of follow-up.  Another problem is that the leads do not become part of a database for emails and mailings.  So, these companies are not getting a good return on their advertising and tradeshow investments.  They are leaving money on the table.

3. Lead management software and/or system in place by April 1st . (Note – this could be part of a CRM program. I am trying to be very specific.)

The Key Strategy could be:

“Improve return on marketing investments by implementing a lead management system that assures complete qualification and follow-up of leads.”  This is a clear overall descriptor of the effort that will support the Key Goal above.

The tactics and sub-tactics(tasks) that support this strategy could be:

  • Select Contact Management System (CMS) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software by February 15.
    • Assign project manager by January 14.
  • Assign Lead Management Coordinator (LMC) by February 28.  Project Manager to involve LMC in as many planning meetings as possible.
  • Project manager to hold meeting with prospective users and other stakeholders to explain strategy and projects and to get feedback/ideas.
    • In one of these meetings, with an executive leader present, gain commitment of users and stakeholders to support strategy.
  • Via networking with business colleagues get recommendations for 3 vendors or software programs.
    • Study reviews on-line.
    • Present costs, features and benefits to strategy team on February 1 for decision.
    • Place order by February 4.
  • Load software on one computer and run beta testing with other systems if other systems are involved (customer service, accounting, etc.) by February 18.
    • Hire consultant to assist project manager and IT with install and testing
    • Meet with IT support and schedule load by Feb. 11.
  • Write draft lead management protocol by February 11.
    • Review, revise and gain agreement from prospective users by February 25.
  • Train various users and stakeholders by March 25.
    • With help of consultant, create training agenda and curriculum.
    • Set training dates for various users – marketing, sales, customer service, etc – all to occur by March 25.
    • Organize and create training support materials – presentations, handouts, manuals, etc.
    • Coordinate with IT so they have time to load software into user computers prior to training.
    • Conduct training programs.
  • Begin feeding leads into new CMS or CRM system by April 1.

You can get as detailed as you want.  Notice that I did not get into the supporting tactics for the follow-up percentage rates that were part of the Key Goal.  I think you understand enough now to do that.  And, I don’t want to take more of your time here.

A comment on lead management systems – if you are a small company, don’t be intimidated by the feature rich and expensive lead management options available on the market today.  You can start with a simple yet effective system by purchasing one software license to ACT, Goldmine,, etc. and have one person in the company be responsible for managing the leads, distributing them and insisting on follow-up.  From this simple beginning you can always expand and buy more licenses.  The important thing is a closed loop system that really tells you what happened with a lead and lets you go back to the prospect later.

Now, take the Key Strategies and have your team build in the tactics that support them.  Soon you will have the foundation of a Strategic Marketing and Sales plan!!

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