Saturday, 24 Oct 2020

10 things to do in the beginning of the fiscal year

A budget is the numerical representation of a chain of reactions, which consequently means that your performance in month one has the biggest effect on your performance in the following months.

Hence the objective of this document is to support you with “the starting tips” that would ensure a strong beginning of the fiscal year, especially for B2B oriented businesses, with no further delay, the tips are:

Be Realistic

One of the main marketing mistakes is the tendency to design an unrealistic plan that goes beyond the organizational capacity. For example, if you were capable to deliver 6 major projects last year, you can’t be planning the next year based on delivering 24 major projects. The tendency to fall in such mistake is relatively high given the management pressure at each budget cycle, yet this is one of the major problems that can lead to an unnecessarily panic mode when you find yourself incapable of delivering what you have promised. Hence, the recommendation is to carefully design the commercial tickets in way that makes it a “realistic stretch”.

Share the Direction

Conduct a proper event for your unit and its supporting function to share the following:

  • What’s the desired End in mind of this year plan
  • What’s the activity build up (whilst sharing the high level direction)
  • What are the areas of focus which each team has to consider

You need to make sure that everyone in the organization can clearly see where the unit is heading. Otherwise teams will take a deep dive in day to day operations without focusing on what will drive better results / enhance the market positioning.

Invest in Hospitality

Hospitality is one of the main channels for:

  • Lead Generation, which is highly needed in the beginning of the year
  • Opening new prospects with competition’s accounts
  • Understanding the plans / directions of the major accounts in the markets, hence better tailor our services
  • Early discovery of potential threats, especially with top accounts
  • Refresh of the decision makers list
  • Therefore, investing in hospitality in the beginning of the year has a higher ROI when compared to doing the exact same activities towards the last quarter

Review your price book

Budgeting is the process of managing a chain reaction of MOM performance, managing to build a layer of incremental revenues as early on will release the tension / pressure till the end of the year. It’s highly recommend to start the year by offering a “more for more type of propositions”. This will allow marketers to be more relaxed when designing their next product and services. A smart price up which offers the client more for more is a proven technique to safely increase prices while delivering value to customers.

Go after the big fishes

Have a target on winning new accounts, clients, and open new markets. Don’t be focused on farming what you already have in hand. New accounts are like an empty territory which can be farmed across the year. This objective can be achieved through adopting the right bidding tactics, having push incentives for the sales force, and finally starting the year with aggressive – yet innovative acquisitions offers.

Attack, Attack, Attack.

Following to the above point, a detailed attack plan should be designed and launched starting the 1st day of the New Year. Attack plans will not enhance your overall figures only, it will keep competition busy trying to protect their accounts, and such defense will divert competition’s attention from perusing their initial plan, which will enhance your competitive position. “Attack plans” is a proven war gaming mechanism.

Start with the “bread and butter”

Some marketers plan to start their year by launching a new complex product / service. Theoretically that doesn’t sound bad, yet realistically the following will happen:

  • New Product Penetration Journey is rather long, especially in the B2B markets
  • This will shift the sales attention from the needed “undivided attention” on the key revenue contributors which they should be working on
  • New products that needs integration with vendors / connection with multiple systems, might not be stable in the beginning, hence the manpower of the marketing team will be invested in fixing those issues, which is a necessarily effort, yet not the kind of effort you should be doing in the beginning of the fiscal year

Accordingly the recommendation is to focus on the “bread and butter” in quarter one, and aim to launch new products towards the end of Q2 and onwards

Kick start the “Marathonic” products

In light of the above point, ensure that you start the project of delivering the complex products that will be planned in Q2 and onwards as early as possible. Kick-starting in Q1 will ensure a smooth delivery of the budget and its building blocks.

Invest in “low contributing sales channels”  

Upscaling the performance of one of the channels can be the T-point on how your organization perform in the market, needless to mention how that would positively contribute to the performance vs. budget.

Accordingly, ensure that you start the year with an investment in the low contributing channels, such as:

  • Communication campaigns
  • Extra incentives for Sales Partners
  • Channel based Segment Promotions

Review your processes

The beginning of the fiscal year is the perfect time to review the processes governing your product delivery. Some of the processes are true hurdles, yet they are either not discovered or it’s being treated as a business as usual. In the beginning of the year, you will have a clear view on what are the activities which you will do differently, therefore it’s the right moment to double check if the SLA / Processes governing those activities are good enough to fulfil the desired objective.

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Hussein Sayed

Hussein has a long track of success in leading commercial units in major ICT Players. He has worked on ground in different emerging markets in Africa, Middle East, and South East Asia. He is an expert in Telecom and ICT and have made a set of contributions on how better education can help emerging countries in reaching sustainable development.

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