Hey everyone, I have some end of year contemplations to share. 4th quarter is the time for planning. Or at least it used to be. I remember years ago – before ACA – when 4th quarter was busy, but not tax-season-crushing-busy like it’s turned into for everyone in the benefits world.

My goal in those pre-ACA days was to have our agency organized with producer planning materials prepped for mid-September. I wanted to have individual discussions with producers and plans firmed up by the end of October. This then led to the company planning that we scheduled for November with the goal of kicking off the new year with fresh plans and fresh budgets.

It was a beautiful system! End of year used to be quiet, and people slowed down. I took off the last two weeks of the year.

Now, I’m talking with agencies and feeling good if we can get planning started between Christmas and New Year with the goal of having plans organized by mid-January. It’s a different game. The time between Christmas and New Year is now so often packed tight with discussions, plans, and trying to organize things to still kick off the new year in a timely matter, but without the previous months of prep time.

It’s been squashed down into a few precious weeks, but that lack of time doesn’t make the need for intentional planning any less important. With the limited time to pay attention to the organizational needs, having a plan that everyone can participate in and follow is more important than ever.

Get started and keep going

As you think about your plans for the new year, I have a few contemplations for you to consider:

  • Prospecting and marketing are inextricably linked – you’re just not going to find success without a tightly woven combination of the two.
  • You’re probably familiar with planning for your prospecting and sales efforts and company-level planning. But are you planning for marketing as well with its own focus? And how marketing fits into prospecting and agency plans?

Tackling a marketing plan may feel a little daunting, especially the first time you do it, but it doesn’t have to be. We have a marketing planning guide to walk you through it, help you think about what needs to be on your radar for marketing, and understand what it should look like for an agency or firm of your size.

Download our Agency Marketing Plan here. And then spend some of your precious time in reflection on how you can make progress without feeling overwhelmed. Marketing shouldn’t be a project that gets scoped out so large that it’s too big to take on, and then you find yourselves doing nothing instead. And marketing shouldn’t be a project at all. Just like prospecting or leadership or service, it should be a daily part of life at your company, not a one-time activity to be checked off the list.

Fill in your thoughts on the plan and be realistic and be kind to yourselves. Continuous progress adds up to significant results. You don’t need to do it all at once. But you do need to get it started and keep it going.

Showing up regularly + sharing quality ideas leads to reader trust. And trust is what your sales team needs to get that first meeting.

For regular tips on maintaining that marketing momentum, keep coming back to our website, and follow us on LinkedIn for ideas to guide you along the way! Happy planning!

Defining Your Business Brand 

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Photo by Michail Petrov.