You Need A Sales Plan To Succeed

What are we going to do to make our next quarter’s quota, and more importantly, our annual quota?

If we simply keep doing what we have been doing, we may simply cause our own failure.

Sales Actions With The Biggest ROI for the Sales Rep

You own the assigned quota so the biggest impact you can have on your performance output is your personal sales actions.

  1. Put the rose colored glasses and the happy ears in the desk draw; carefully review your pipeline to honestly determine what actions and resources are needed to close these deals this quarter, and, next quarter.
  2. Internalize the fact that traditional prospecting techniques are time-tested and actually work; look in the mirror every morning and give yourself a pep talk, then double down on prospecting techniques with a committed, daily prospecting schedule. Do your homework before reaching out to a prospect, leverage social media platforms for prospect research, and leverage trusted referrals whenever possible. Have a clear value statement and ask business-oriented questions often.
  3. Be tenacious about lead and opportunity qualification! Working on poorly qualified leads will just waste your time and wear you down. If you fill your pipeline with poor quality opportunities, that have little chance of closing this year, you will cause your own failure. Don’t let that happen.

Sales Actions With The Biggest ROI for the Sales Team

If you are a Sales Manager, you own the team quota, so the biggest impact you can make right now is ensuring that everyone on your team is going in the best direction to achieve our goals.  Sure, you need to provide on-going support, coaching and leadership to your team.

We must ensure that we are always leading our team down the best path for success.

Sales Plan Mid-Year Checklist

Our goal is to uncover a few adjustments to our current Sales Plan that will result in a meaningful impact to sales production this fiscal year.

We need our Sales Plan to effectively address our top 3 Sales Objectives (according to a CSO Insights study):

  • Capture new accounts,
  • Increase sales effectiveness
  • Optimize lead generation

Here is a quick checklist to figure out if we’re going in the best direction with our current Sales Strategies and Plan:

  1. Sales Strategy: Have we sufficiently adapted our sales strategies to align with our target Buyers, who are self-educating online, even when our Sales reps are involved?
    1. According to a study by McKinsey & Company, a buyer-focused selling approach yields 10 percent sales growth and reduces the sales cycle by 10–20 percent.
  2. Sales Process: Have we sufficiently adapted our sales process to support our sales strategy?
    1. According to a study by the Sales Management Association, Sales teams with a well-defined sales process (consisting of six to ten sales stages that are linked to increasing levels of prospect commitment) achieved 18% more sales growth.
  3. New Logo Business: Are we using the most cost-effective methods to develop sufficient new logo business?
    1. According to a study by Aberdeen Group, 99% of the sales organizations that figured out how to leverage the “free” new logo business leads from Marketing achieved their sales budget (versus industry average of 61%).
  4. Sales Enablement: Do our Sales reps have the buyer centric content they need throughout the buyer purchasing process to shorten the sales cycle and improve closure rates?
    1. According to SiriusDecisions, most of B2B Marketing content is product-centric not buyer-centric, resulting in 60-70% of B2B Marketing content going unused.
  5. Sales Incentive Compensation:  Are we actively managing our sales incentive compensation planthroughout the year by effectively motivating the right behaviors of our sales team to achieve our sales targets every quarter?
    1. According to the Corporate Executive Board Company study, identifying and implementing the right sales compensation design can improve individual sales rep performance against goal by 11%.
  6. Pipeline Management Software: Does our CRM implementation enable buyer-focused, pipeline management with a formal/dynamic sales process, to increase forecast accuracy and quota attainment?
    1. According to a CSO Insights study, companies with a dynamic sales process built into their CRM, enabled an additional 12+% of the sales reps to reach quota.

A Great Sales Plan Is Our Roadmap To Success 

Sales people are notoriously tactically focused. It’s an advantage when we need sales to close “today”.  It’s a disadvantage when we need to determine an annual plan of attack for “tomorrow”.

We need to set aside some time to develop a plan, measure its impact on an ongoing basis, and make necessary adjustments. Our Sales Plan must be:

  • Simple: The real value of our sales plan is the thought we put into it. It should initially be in bullet-form on aBuilding A Successful Sales Plan - Marketing Outfield couple of pages.
  • Focused: Just identify what you are going to do differently versus last quarter, why we think it will work, and how we will measure progress.
  • Measured: We cannot afford to wait a few quarters to determine if our plan worked or not! We need to identify key indicators that will help us understand if it’s on track or needs to be adjusted.
  • Realistic: Identify where we are going to increase focus on, and, where we are going to decrease focus. There is only 24 hours in a day! If you’re going to focus more on one thing, and not focus less on something else, you’re not being realistic.
  • Ours: It needs to be our weekly working action plan, not a document that sits on someone’s shelf gathering dust.

If we want to consistently achieve our quarterly and annual quota goals, we must work smarter, not harder.

Every Sales rep, Sales manager, VP Sales and CSO needs to take action in the current tough environment to achieve goal consistency.   Hire an expert Sales and Marketing consultant to help do some of the heavy lifting.  You can find an in-depth discussion of suggested changes that you should make to your Sales Strategies and Sales Plan here.

How will you consistently make quota?  Please keep the discussion going by commenting and sharing this post with your colleagues. Thank you.