OPTIMIZING THE 1ST QUARTER – A case For The All-Important Sales Plan.

Now that March is here and you have just about 22 sales days to make the entire quarter’s numbers of what’s left of it, we feel the need to revisit the strategic importance of sales planning to you and your team’s success. Whether you lead a large sales team, or you are assigned to a territory, or you are a one-man lean mean selling machine, the principles are the same.

A critical success factor in all kinds of professional selling work is having a data-driven Sales Plan. Our experience has shown that this success factor is not commonly embraced, and we would like to highlight it again as the beginning of the last month in the quarter,….talk about right timing….. so that success can be achieved for you or , if you’re already on track, be sustained in all the other remaining quarters for the rest of the financial year.

FACT: Strategies are not plans. A good Sales Strategy still needs a solid Sales Plan to execute it. Else it will fail.

The burial grounds of many strategies gone bad are littered with those that specifically had no properly aligned sales plans to execute them. Even a good sales strategy (a sub of Business Strategy) is best executed with a purposefully prepared sales plan which is why it has been proven that having a sales plan in place as you pursue your financial year goals and objectives increases a sales team’s or sales person’s odds of making quota by up to 97%.

Having a sales plan increases a sales team’s or sales person’s odds of making quota by up to 97%.

A Sales Plan outlines how the period’s goals and objectives will be met in clear terms. For a sales organization, be it called unit, department or division, the sales plan is the only document with a set of activities and investments that help align sales with the overall business strategy, and ensures the sales team are focusing on delivering what drives the business strategy.

A principal part of the sales planning process is creating the cascades from your company’s overall business strategy to the individual product or geographic tactical plans, down to each individual sales rep’s account or territory sales plans. A properly cascaded sales plan will have every duck in the approved rows.

At individual level, a sales professional’s sales plan must answer the question of how and where s/he will make the numbers from and deliver on all the other qualitative goals as may be communicated in a contract or target/quota communication document cascaded from the top. To prepare a good and feasible plan the sales person should start with understanding the summary of Sales Revenue Objectives he or she will be held accountable for, and the timelines that these need to be delivered.

Next, he or she will need to take this number, using historical performance data and other available info, like the addressable revenue or consumption volumes in the market, to breakdown the Sales Revenue Objectives into named territories, or within named industry verticals and/or Strategic Accounts, for example. This clarity one gets from doing this can be as important as it is uplifting to achieving sales success within the period.

In the concluding part of this article, we will be discussing how to determine if and when your plan is ready for execution. Read Here


Credits:Oliver Nnona