An exit can be an incredibly rewarding experience. You’ve invested years growing your company and are proud of what you’ve accomplished, but you’re ready to hand over the reins to someone else. Whether you’re preparing for retirement or simply pursuing another project, having an exit strategy is vital.
One to three years before you plan to sell, revamp your marketing strategy to ensure you’re following industry best practices for the current moment. This can increase sales, brand awareness and brand authority, all of which will maximize the value of your company so you can gain the highest valuation when you sell. This leaves you with more money for retirement or your next venture.
Updated Branding, Content, Assets And Processes
It may seem odd to be updating so many facets of your company when you’re planning on bowing out. However, the more up-to-date your company is, the better. No investor wants to pour money into a business that’s behind the times, so a little spruce-up is necessary in the months ahead of your exit.
You should start with a thorough audit of all your processes and content to figure out areas where improvement is needed. You may need to update your website with the latest user experience/user interface (UX/UI) design, align content like ads and blogs posts with industry trends and address any technological gaps where your company may be lagging behind.
Account-Based Marketing Strategy
Did you know account-based marketing (ABM) delivers a 97% higher return on investment (ROI)? Account-based marketing means less wasted resources, as you’ll identify and pursue high-value leads. It works by first drafting ideal customer personas and breaking them down according to tiers. You can also create a target audience of past clients, lost deals and companies with the intent of buying your services. From there, drawing from data-driven insights, you work on tailoring messaging and content to hyper-specific, high-value buyers.
These days, account-based marketing is on the rise. In 2021, 70% of marketers reported (registration required) using ABM, as compared to only 15% in 2021. Not only will adopting an ABM strategy help increase revenue, it will reflect well on your company overall. No one wants to invest in a company that adheres to archaic strategies. The sooner you embrace modern trends like ABM, the better.
Sales And Marketing Alignment
Going off of the above point, a healthy relationship between marketing and sales is a key factor in a good ABM strategy, as I’ve written about before. Why is that? Because marketers are tasked with appealing to your target audience, and sales is tasked with closing deals and cultivating relationships with customers. When the two are in sync, it’s better for the company overall, especially with the rise of ABM.
Start taking steps to strengthen your company’s sales and marketing relationship. You should have regular meetings between the sales and marketing team and have them work together on everything from content creation to developing buyer personas. Investors are bound to be impressed by sales/marketing alignment, as it’s evidence yours is a company capable of attracting and securing leads.
Omni-channel marketing seamlessly integrates messaging and branding across multiple touchpoints, providing a more cohesive customer journey. As with account-based marketing, an omni-channel strategy is important to make your company seem relevant to prospective buyers. These days, with demographics shifting fast, omni-channel marketing is vital and can have a substantial impact on revenue.
According to Forrester, 69% of Millennial buyers — who have become the dominant demographic in the business-to-business (B2B) sphere — report marketing materials are often extraneous. Omni-channel marketing takes a less-is-more approach that personalizes the shopping experience. A customer might, for example, spend a few minutes on your website looking at a specific video chat service, but leave without making a purchase. This triggers an automated email prompting them to set up a call with a sales rep to learn more. Or, customers who visit your website are later retargeted on social media.
It’s also important to expand your presence on other platforms. Many B2B buyers are active on LinkedIn, and 70% of Millennials trust brands with videos about their products more than brands without videos. If you don’t already have a presence on LinkedIn and YouTube, it’s time to develop one.
An omni-channel approach shows your buyer exactly what they want without bombarding them, which is a much more sophisticated approach in today’s market that will surely entice investors.
Content Strategy And Development
Content marketing will always be relevant, but best practices change all the time. If you want to attract buyers, you must ensure your content strategy and development don’t come off as dated. Irrelevant content makes you seem like an irrelevant company, so it’s time to upgrade if you’re planning your exit.
Content is getting smarter and smarter, with customers valuing transparency over hard sells or over-the-top claims. These days, people tend to trust testimonials, reviews and firsthand stories, so write a few blog posts spotlighting your customers’ stories or author some case studies to show off on your home page. Relevant educational content that gives customers legitimately useful information about your brand, such as e-books, are also important.
There is also video content to consider, which is continuing to show promise as a marketing tool, with 52% of marketing professionals reporting video content as being effective for brand awareness. Converting case studies and other marketing materials into video format is vital for both increasing brand awareness and making your company a great investment to potential buyers. If you don’t already have a video content strategy in place, get the camera rolling ASAP.
The Bottom Line
While it may seem counterintuitive to pour a lot of time and money into a company you’re leaving, you’ll be much better off in the long run. Take a few months to tune up your business and tie up loose ends before seriously beginning to court buyers. This maximizes valuation and leaves your company in good condition for the next generation of leaders. An exit strategy doesn’t just protect your financial interests; it protects your legacy.