Where will your 2011 business come from?
Published: Monday, December 20, 2010
Do you know where your 2011 business will come from?
By Gary Walker, Co-founder of CustomerCentric Selling®
It's the end of the fourth quarter and, if you're like most sales people, you're examining your pipeline trying to determine which opportunities have a chance of closing this quarter; what needs to be done and when in order for them to close; and, which ones will have to be carried over into 2011. After all, you're going to need something to work on come the first of the New Year. Still, other than those opportunities you bring with you, where will your 2011 business come from?
I remember my first year as a sales person, the only thing that changed for me on January 1st was the date, my sales compensation plan, and the amount of revenue I was being asked to generate over the next twelve months! My business plan or strategy (if you want to call it one), was simply to work on the pipeline I brought with me from the previous year. I had no proactive plan in place as to how I was going to generate the revenue that I was being tasked with generating. None! I realized very quickly that if I was going to fulfill my revenue obligation to my employer and earn the amount of money I wanted to make, I was going to have to come up with a plan... a Territory Sales Plan. Unfortunately, there wasn't a system, a plan, a course, or a book... that I could turn to that would tell me what to do and how to do it. However, what I did have was basic management training, skills and education. It was time to apply those basic management skills - planning, organization, delegation and control - to my sales territory and job function. I've outlined below a series of steps, a process, which you can follow to begin gathering the information you need to develop your own Territory Sales Plan.
Step 1: Timing
Almost as important as where to begin is when to begin! If you were thinking you were going to rely on 2010 carry-over, then it's the end of January and nothing has closed... you are late to the party. The reality is, if you haven't closed anything in January, you're going to have to close twice as much in February just to make year-to-date quota! That's a tall order even for the most accomplished sales person. This is December 2010. You have just weeks remaining in the year.
Step 2: Analysis
I think before you begin to lay out your plan, you first need to analyze:
Step 3: Set Goals
Based on the analysis of your customer base, prospects and 2011 revenue requirements, you need to establish goals for what you need to accomplish. Things to consider include:
Step 4: Strategies
Step 5: Tactics
'Top Ten' Prospects Carried Over From 2010:
Step 6: Plan Execution
I'm not going to say that exceptional sales performance doesn't 'just happen', because sometime it does... sometimes. However, the chances of it happening, the probability of you achieving your sales goals are much better when you have thought about how you are going to achieve it and have a plan in place to make it happen. If you're a sales manager reading this article, your role is to accomplish your company's sales goals through the people that report to you. Your job isn't simply to parachute in at the eleventh hour and close your sales peoples business for them. Ask your sales people to develop a Territory Sales Plan; provide them with the data (average transaction size, 2011 revenue goals, etc.) they are going to need to effectively develop their plan; facilitate its development by scheduling a one day planning session; and review it with each sales person on a monthly basis. This activity will pay huge dividends to the sales person, the sales manager and your company.
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