So, your diesel repair shop has a great brand identity, you’ve developed compelling marketing messages, and you know where and how to reach your target customers. But, have you determined what you want to get out of all this? Have you established goals and objectives that you must meet to achieve a return on your marketing investment?
Setting and meeting goals for your marketing and sales strategy is critical to your success. The key to setting goals is to make sure they meet “S.M.A.R.T.” requirements. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound objectives that guide a successful marketing strategy. By examining each aspect of these objectives, you will better understand how to utilize them when developing your strategy:
Specific: Instead of setting vague goals, such as increasing sales, or getting more customers, you should establish more specific objectives. State exactly what you want to achieve, like increasing profits by 25%, or performing 20% more engine overhauls. By doing this, you have clearly set targets for your marketing and sales team to hit.
Here are some specific questions you might ask yourself when setting your goals and objectives:
- What exactly do I want to achieve?
- Where do I want to achieve it?
- How do I want to achieve it?
- When do I want to achieve it?
- Why do I want to reach this goal?
- What are the conditions and limitations to reaching this goal?
- What are all the possible ways to reach this goal?
Measurable: You can’t control what you can’t measure. Every successful marketing strategy must include goals, objectives and milestones that you can measure. That means determining exactly what you will see, hear and feel when you reach your goals. For example, some measurable aspects of your diesel repair shop can be: the number of new estimates generated; number of engine rebuilds sold; number of new fleet customers acquired; or the increase in total sales revenue. These measurable aspects of your marketing strategy will give you a clear and tangible number, or quantifiable value by which you can measure and analyze your results.
Achievable: Make your marketing goals achievable. Don’t set high expectations if you don’t have the research or data required to back them up. For instance, if your profit growth is historically 10%, and you set a goal of 30% with no valid data to justify it, then you are setting yourself up for failure. Setting high goals that seem impossible to achieve only lowers the morale and motivation of your employees. But that doesn’t mean you can’t set lofty goals. If you plan smartly and acquire the necessary data for verification, even a goal that seems unachievable can become a reality.
Realistic: Can you realistically reach your goal, considering the amount of time, resources, talent, and costs required to accomplish it? Will the commitment to the goal negatively impact your current operations, profit, or growth? To make a determination, you must weigh the rewards against the risks. For instance, if your goal is to increase fleet business by 30%, what will that require of your facility and staff? Can you hire a few more mechanics and build another bay, but still get the profit margins you need to succeed? Only research and thorough financial planning will help you answer this question.
Time-bound: Your plan to meet your marketing goals must have a scheduled beginning and ending. This allows you to analyze how well the methods worked to produce the projected results. Create a timeline for each marketing project that includes regular dates for monitoring progress and potentially adjusting the plan. For example, if you have a marketing strategy that is scheduled to last six months, then analyze actual results vs. projected results each month to see if adjustments need to be made to achieve the overall goal of the strategy.
The key to getting the most out of your marketing and sales strategy is to delegate specific responsibilities to your sales, marketing, customer service, and operations staff. These areas of your business must work together to accomplish your goals. Constant communication and cooperation is required to keep your plan on track and make adjustments as needed to ensure your success. Hold weekly meetings and require your staff to report on their progress toward achieving your repair shop goals.