Every business owner and manager has a vision about the future of their business. But knowing where to begin and what to do TODAY is the biggest challenge. The process starts when you carry your vision into the real world and create a detailed roadmap. This is where the gap analysis template comes into play. In this article, you’ll learn how to conduct a gap analysis and transport your vision from the mind’s eye into a concrete plan.

What is a Gap Analysis?

Gap analysis is a reflective process for planning your business’s future by assessing its current state. When it’s done right, a gap analysis can give you a series of actions that will help you tackle your current business problems to hit your future goals. The process is much like building a bridge between today and the future. We’ll teach you how to conduct a gap analysis in detail. And to make things even more actionable, we’ll give you our (downloadable) gap analysis template, so you could follow along and implement new information as you go.

What are the Benefits of a Gap Analysis?

  • It forces you to think deeper about the current state of your business.
  • Based on your thoughts, it gives you an action plan for your organization’s future state.
  • The concrete plan and actionable steps put you under the sweet pressure of doing and acting.
  • A gap analysis template can help you measure your performance between time intervals. Therefore, you can see the tangible wins of your efforts. Or losses, which could teach you a lot in the next run.
  • A gap analysis framework can be built by multiple strategic thinkers in your organization. These exercises could bring different aspects together and help you create a cohesive strategic plan for your business.
Now let’s take a detailed look at our 5 step approach.

How to Perform a Gap Analysis: 5 Step Process

Before we dive into the steps, we’ll talk about the mindset a little. Gap analysis is easy to conduct but to get a great plan out of it, you’ll need two things: an open mind and an honest perspective. Be honest about your shortcomings: this part might be challenging. Admitting that you’re far away from your goals is not easy. But you’ll need to be brutal about your organization’s weaknesses to transform them into strengths in the future. Feet on earth: remember this is a business plan. You should identify your current conditions and constraints, then set your goals for the future. This is not about aiming higher, accuracy is more important. Set specific goals: vague statements will cause intangible outcomes. Be sure to fill the gap analysis template with concrete qualitative and quantitative statements.
If you want to fill your gap analysis template with a seasoned expert, you can schedule a call with our expert Nicholas.

1. How to define your focus areas

Wishing to be the best company in the industry doesn’t make the cut. In the first step, you need to get more specific about what you want and from where you can start to make improvements. The most common areas people wrote here are: Pick a maximum of four areas to keep your focus more concentrated. Onwards!

2. What does your future look like?

90% of the time, experts prefer to start from the current state of the company. However, with some practice and experience, we discovered filling the future state first is more fertile for two reasons. First: no matter how good you shoot, you can’t hit the target when you don’t have a target. Assessing the current state of your organization based on your future goals is much more efficient. Second: every department or person in your organization has a different “current state” It’s more beneficial to evaluate the current state of a given department based on the future state goals. So in this step, you’ll use the focus areas you chose to frame your desired future state. Say, if you’ve chosen lead generation as one of the focus areas, your desired state could be: ” Increase the number of leads we get by 100% by the end of the year” Here, another example for the Martech stack: ” To automate most of the daily/dull work to create space for the sales and marketing team.” As you can see, we are not focusing on tangible benefits or KPI’s here. We’re just outlining our intentions on a higher-level. But we’ll get more specific with KPI’s in the next steps.

3. Reflecting on your current state

Based on the answers in the first two steps, we’ll write a sentence that gives an honest summary of your current state. It doesn’t have to be long. Contrary, it should be as concise as possible. For example, for lead generation, this might be your current state: “We have a beautiful product, but we don’t have any presence in social platforms therefore people don’t even know we exist” Another one for Martech stack: “We lack the right marketing tools and know-how to create more value. The marketing team needs to adapt and learn how to work with new tools.” Keep in mind, being realistic about your weaknesses is the key to the right gap diagnosis. You need to know the exact gap between today and the future. Next, we’ll define what we want to do and how we’ll get there.

4. Apply Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to your gap analysis template.

Until now, the scope of our gap analysis was quite broad. In this stage, we’re going to get more specific by attaining KPIs to your focus areas. How to pick and write down the right type of KPIs on your gap analysis template?
  • Pick KPIs which you have a reference point for today. So you can compare and benchmark different timelines in your journey.
  • As a growth marketing agency, we encourage our customers to pick KPIs that they can measure. If you can’t measure and track your progress, filling the gap analysis template won’t be worth your efforts.
  • Set leading and lagging KPIs. This will give you a better overview of your focus areas.
In case you don’t know about leading and lagging indicators, here are short explanations for both: Leading indicator You can consider thinking of it as input. They define what actions must be taken to achieve the desired state results with measurable outcomes. From a lead generation perspective, our leading KPI could be something like: “Getting at least 50 sales calls per quarter” Lagging indicator In contrast, a lagging indicator measures current performance. The leading indicator is dynamic and in the future point, meanwhile, the lagging is in the present and is not changeable. From a lead generation perspective, our lagging KPI could be something like: “Right now we’re scoring 7 sales calls per month” On the other hand, for the martech stack, your leading KPI could be: “Automate 50% of daily / no expertise required work of the sales and marketing team with the new martech tools.” Meanwhile, lagging KPI could be: “Our marketing team is not a tool or tech-savvy, the only tools we use are HubSpot CRM and Zoom (10% automation for tracking and daily work)” As you can see, even though happiness is rather an abstract goal, you can still measure it with related KPIs.

5. Create an action plan based on your gap analysis.

This is the most crucial step. So far, you lay down the foundational steps, set the goals/KPIs, and now you need to get into the details. Try to write down your ideas as vividly as possible. You’ll see tangible steps that will bring tangible results in the future. Since it’s impossible to close a huge gap with a single step, the formula here is to plan a series of projects for specific focus areas. The number of the projects are, of course, correlated with the depth and length of your gap. But we advise you to create a minimum of two and a maximum of five projects for each field. As usual, we’ll give you some examples to fill your gaps 🙂 Let’s focus on customer support/success. As you may remember the goal was “Increase the number of leads we get by 100% by the end of the year” We want to double the amounts of leads we get. So it’s a 100% gap, which is quite hard to close at one step. So let’s generate three projects to create a more credible approach.
If you’re low on leads and fill your agenda with sales calls, schedule a call with our lead generation expert Nicholas. He can help you with a fast and reliable growth marketing approach.
Project 1: Optimize your website and other platforms you use for lead generation. Install exit-intents, opt-in forms, chatbot, live chat, Whatsapp line, and optimize user interface (UI) & user experience (UX) on your site to get better results. Project 2 Fill in the growth marketing canvas with your team to define the best platform and find 15+ new ideas to experiment with. Here are some materials that can help you: Project 3: Start to experiment with ideas, create subproject sheets for each campaign to track and measure the results. You can use our growth marketing approach for rapid experimentation and validation. Example of subproject:
  • Lead Magnet Campaign: create a lead magnet and distribute in related platforms to attract leads.
  • Hypothesis: We’ll find a common pain point in our industry and write an eBook to attract 30 high-quality leads.
  • Duration: 3 weeks
  • Results: “Insert hard facts and tangible results here”
GrowForce Experiment Card
You see, creating an actionable plan transforms an overwhelming task into an easy one. Instead of filling a massive 50% with vague ideas, you can create multiple concrete steps to push your organization to the desired state.

Final words and other gap analysis templates

Now you have everything to fill your gap analysis template. Take your time and use the 5-step gap analysis framework to create an actionable plan for your organization’s future. Also, there is one more point to mention before we wrap up: there are thousands of gap analysis templates on the internet. Most of the articles give you ten templates at once, we think it is just confusing for a beginner. This is why we’re giving you a single but a more versatile one to begin with. You can use it for whatever purpose you want. I hope the article was helpful!