As globalization continues and competition becomes ultra-fierce, now more than ever, it's important that your company is constantly assessing and reassessing its go-to-market strategy. This strategic marketing function is something that companies often believe that they do well, but the reality is that many firms do not have the resources in-house to do it at all.

A company that is selling into competitive markets needs to be consistently assessing and reassessing its competitive positioning and its Unique Selling Proposition (USP), while realigning its targeting of market segments according to its best opportunities, in order to create last sustainable competitive advantage.

If a company is not hitting its sales goals, it may not be because its sales force is ineffective, but rather because it has the wrong marketing strategy – eg it's trying to sell the wrong products to the wrong customers through the wrong channels. This is why strategic marketing planning is so important. Strategic marketing helps companies to clearly define and refine their approach to the marketplace, focus their resources and shift their marketing strategy in order to align their company with their best opportunities and where the highest likelihood of actually gaining market leadership. If your company needs to increase sales, you may not have a sales problem, but a strategic marketing problem.

How do you know if your revenue shortfall is a sales or a marketing problem? Consider bringing in an outside strategic marketing consultant to do an assessment of your overall company marketing strategy, to talk to your current customers, to reassess the competitive landscape and to figure out whether or not your company is properly targeting the right markets and customers with the right products. This process can go a long way towards helping you figure out how to increase your company's sales, or to stop a decline in sales.