By Alice Heiman
In my experience, the sales part of any strategic business plan tends to be the weakest for most companies.
That’s why my biggest tip is to clearly set your sales goals and then really dig deep into the action items necessary to meet those goals and the budget. (Be sure to pay adequate attention to lead generation. This work may be done separately from your strategic plan but must be done.)
Once you have a strategic plan in place, you can create a plan specifically for your sales team. The obvious goal of any sales plan is to grow sales. But, often, the harder question to answer is: by how much and – harder still – how?
Some companies apply percentages to the expected growth based on what returns investors and stakeholders want. Unfortunately, this method is like picking numbers out of thin air. Typically, there is little research behind this about what is possible in the marketplace, with the people, resources, and dollars available.
Some companies are looking for a percentage of the market. I’ve heard things like, “It’s a $6 billion market; we just want 1 percent of that.” Sounds reasonable, right?
You need a plan – and the plan needs to start with realistic goals. Instead of deciding you need 15 percent growth because that’s what the company leaders or investors expect, go to the sales team and figure out their capacity. Then decide what people and resources are needed to go beyond that and what that will cost.
Three questions to ask:
- With the current sales team, how much of an increase is realistic?
- With the tools and processes, do you provide what is possible?
- What will be needed to get the increase desired?
Once you have a plan to grow sales, you need to turn your attention to yourself.
The fact is, success for your organization starts with you, your mindset, and your plan to develop yourself. You need a plan to advance your skills and capabilities so you can fully support your team, be a role model, and develop a winning team.
Start by making a list of what you’d like to improve on in the upcoming year and what resources you can use to get there. This list can act as a map for success.
For example, if you’d like to have better sales meetings, check out Alice Kemper’s site at salestrainingwerks.com. Her program can help you develop a year’s worth of impactful meetings.
Let’s say you want to get better at holding 1:1 meetings with your reps. Ask other sales managers what they do to hold their 1:1s, collect best practices, and then build your own process. Or, call me and I’ll help you build one.
Start reading! I am sure you do, but are you reading books that will help you change your behavior to become a superior sales manager and coach? Here’s a list of a few of my favorites.
Of course, the fastest way to develop yourself is to find a mentor or hire a coach who has the experience and expertise to accelerate your learning process. Behavior change is hard, but you can do it. If you want increased sales, watch this video interview with my Sales 3.0 Conference cohost, Gerhard Gschwandtner, and Sales 3.0 Conference speaker, Jeb Blount, to learn how powerful a mindset shift can be.
Plan now for sales success! Join me at the Sales 3.0 Conference in Las Vegas, September 18-19.
Alice Heiman is founder and CSO at Alice Heiman, LLC. Alice works with business owners to get consistent and sustainable sales growth; she has been helping companies increase sales for more than 20 years. She regularly co-hosts the Sales 3.0 Conference and is a certified Peak Performance Mindset trainer.