Happy New Year! Time to kick your 2017 sales plan into action. Ready-to-Roll, Almost-But-Not-Quite, or Not-Yet-Started? No matter where you are in the sales planning process here are three vital suggestions for success.
Power Launch for the Ready-to Roll:
Welcome 2017! You are ready to roll. This is YOUR year. Turn that sales plan into a power launch that will blastoff the year.
- Three-dimensional sales kickoff: Involve customers, team action heroes, eco-system partners, and cross-functional players. You’ve got all the numbers in the plan — let customers, team, partners, and players communicate the game plan and goals.
- Interactive 2017 launch: Co-create chat groups on key business success factors. Ask for quick win suggestions by end of the month. Ask for longer range suggestions by quarter end. Relevant focal topics for the groups should look at your business opportunities and threats: internal, external, strategy and collective.
- All-in together: Common goals and objectives — company, theater, division, geography, and team. One message. It doesn’t matter if you bring everyone together … in one location or virtually. You are one business family. Real-time or time-shifted. It doesn’t matter what media you use … Tweet, chat, Skype, text, VTC, email, con-call, YouTube, or something else.
Priorities for the Almost-But-Not-Quite:
Those with the sales plan still under construction will find three priorities to accelerate completion.
- Structure follows strategy: Your sales plan is like a gem with many facets, each facet is unique and reflects the entire plan. Examine the six major facets: offering, channel, customers, markets, accounts, and geography. Offering is product/service mix and new/exiting products. Channel is direct, reseller, VAR, distributor, online, retail, etc. Customer is new versus existing, conversion rates, and churn. Markets are specific to your business like industry verticals or departmental horizontals. Accounts could be basic, major, national or global. Geography is territory structure from global theaters to a local patch of ground.
- 2017 Partnerships: Every business lives in an eco-system of customers, partners and competition which affect your sales plan. The customer eco-system is consideration of the customer buying cycle, including budgeting, decision making and implementation. Partner eco-systems are the vital cohorts that make your plan successful, combining the efforts of external channel partners, 3rd party organizations, and internal resources. The competitive eco-system is often avoided in planning but its consideration can give you a competitive edge to clash, co-exist, cooperate, or crush.
- Bottoms-up: Toast, you’re almost there, bottoms-up. Before taking that drink, do a final plan review looking bottoms-up at the performance base; you want the sales plan to build UP from your strengths. Evaluate the playing field, who’s buying? Evaluate your players, who’s selling? Evaluate your evaluations, which of the many metrics tracked are indispensable indicators?
Complete these three priorities and the next step for the Almost-But-Not-Quite is to blast off with the Ready-to-Roll suggestions.
Ignition for the Not-Yet-Started:
OOPS, Not-Yet-Started, here’s a three-step recipe for ignition success.
- The spark: The top-down target sparks the process. Translate the top-down goal into sales action by working it backward and apply a relevant combination of sales cycle time, ACV (average contract value), ASP (average sale price), and book-to-revenue time. Build the plan in Excel.
- Fuel-air mixture: Historical sales performance is the fuel-air mixture of context and trending. Dust off last year’s plan and look at what worked and what didn’t, evaluate customer buying behavior, and consider competitive threats. The fuel-air mix will shape quotas, territory assignment, and compensation plan structure.
- Ignition: The ability to deliver is ignition in action; this involves the coordinated effort of marketing, customer service and sales. Marketing supplies fuel with quantity and quality leads that develop into prospects and sales. Customer/client services detonates usage as delivery transforms a booking into revenue, and satisfied customers turn into referrals and repeat business. Sales staffing and skills must but be able to meet the plan demands. For success, your sales plan requires integrated components in the marketing and customer service plans.
You will be moving fast and you can make it happen. Once you have ignition, you can get the sales plan on the launch pad with the Almost-But-Not-Quite suggestions.
Have a great year!
“Shoot for the Moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars.” Love this quote, even though I don’t know the origin … Les Brown – author, or Brian Littrell – singer/songwriter, or anonymous – which could be you!
Need help with your sales plan? Janet Gregory is a veteran sales executive and co-founder of KickStart Alliance. For assistance with sales strategy, sales planning, training, or entering new markets contact Janet.