Sales people that are inside or field based should always have a plan. Since most sales teams are measured on monthly, quarterly and annual goals, the question is always “How are you going to get there?”. Sales people need to have a plan that encompasses their entire strategy around hitting their number and building a healthy pipeline that can bring in deals for the long and short term. [tweetmeme source= “insideview” only_single=false]
Even with a pipeline and a list of target accounts you need a written plan. Having a written plan is the baseline for any successful sales person. If you do not have your plan written down, there is a higher chance that you will miss opportunities and lose focus.
Components of a sales plan.
1. Situation (Whats going on?)
- Targets. (Who are my target companies)
- Environment. (Is the industry hot or cold?)
- Competitive landscape. (Who’s the competition? Do they have an advantage because of market share, informed sales people?)
- Friendly contacts. (Do you have partners to help with the goal)
2. Sales mission.
This is an explanation of what you plan to accomplish. Not a short summary of what you want, put some thought into it and write out a couple paragraphs of ‘what’ you want and ‘why’ it NEEDS to happen.
My goal is to saturate my sales region with information about the InsideView product learning the details of the businesses I come in contact with and understanding their needs. Working with them to solve their pain by implementing a solution that gives them business clarity and a means to create a new leads and explain the value of sales intelligence vs. sales data.
By doing this I will gain new contacts in a growing industries by selling awesome products and gaining market share for my growing company insuring my long and profitable career in sales.
That’s just an example.
3. Execution. (this is where the rubber meets the road.)
- Concept of the Plan (Understanding line item 1 how are you going to position yourself?)
- Specific tasks. ( How many calls are you going to have to make? How many hours are you going to put into it? Brainstorm on everything you can think of that will bring about the result you want.)
- Coordinating instructions. (What marketing campaigns are being executed that can be leveraged? What features are being released? Create a starting point.)
4. Support. (Who’s going to help you?)
- General. (Who do you report to and how do you close the deal?)
- Material and Services. (What tools do you have available? White papers, demonstrations, communication tools?)
- Damage control. (When something goes wrong in the deal, who do you turn to?)
- Personnel. (Do you have product marketing or engineers to back you up?)
- Miscellaneous. (Every other support platform you can use.)
- Actions on close. (Send out an email on the win and ring the bell)
This seems like sales 101, but I’d venture to say that 60% of the sales professionals I know do not have a clear written plan of what needs to be done and how they plan on achieving the goal, and the other 30% never follow through. The 10% of high achievers in any company will have some variation of this report handy and revise it as needed.
For sales people, having a plan and executing it, is the difference between steak, lobster and a BMW or PB&J and a Yugo. Consistently hitting your numbers or worrying how you are going to pay the bills this month. Where do you fall in the mix?