As you prepare for success in the new year, here are six common planning mistakes to avoid to ensure you achieve your goals. Those sales managers engaged in complex, value-based selling should be especially vigilant to avoid these fatal mistakes. You need a plan to win!
1. No Plan
Many salespeople feel that they don’t need a plan; that they understand their market and how to sell to their customers. However, in a complex selling environment there is so much to consider and keep track of that a plan is essential to success. Otherwise, the salesperson is strictly in reactive mode and is going to miss opportunities and spend more time on opportunities that will be unproductive.
2. No Analysis
Simply working through a list of target accounts, opportunities and contact information is not sufficient to achieve sales goals in proactive, value-based selling. An analysis of your target market and customer profiles will determine the best sales approach. Without this analysis, the sales rep is likely to pursue accounts in a very opportunistic fashion; often creating the selling proposition on the fly. This leads to a very inconsistent approach and results. Your team must have clear criteria of the target prospect, their needs and your value proposition. They must prioritize accounts and opportunities so they spend their time and limited resources wisely.
3. Not Connecting Strategy to Action
Territory and account plans must be based on the trends in the industry, geography and/or vertical market. From here, strategies are generated to optimize results and form the framework for the action plan. Each strategy must be linked to a set of tactics and actions to make sure that the right things get done that will yield the results you intended. The plan must include plans for each critical sales call (i.e. call objectives, participants and their roles, issues to be prepared to address, and the intended next step) – focusing on having sales actions drive the strategy.
4. Not Responding to Change
Every plan must be a living document; enabling the salesperson to adjust to changes in the environment. In order to do this, the plan must live in your CRM and be readily available to use and fine-tune as needed. To support this, there should be reports and dashboards that highlight progress on critical success factors and regular plan reviews that provide input from sales management and others on the team.
5. Not Using All Available Resources
In today’s selling environment, no one person can know everything that is going on in any account or territory. Effective and efficient use of all resources and tools will enable the sales team to compete and win. Confirm that your sales reps know what resources are available and how to use them most effectively in each stage of the sales cycle. These resources include extended team members, (i.e. from technical, marketing, support) and partners. Using the most effective sales collateral available without having to create them from scratch will provide more selling time. Finally, there should be a coordinated effort to leverage references across the organization.
6. Not Making It Easy
It is important that the manager make it as easy as possible for the sales team to create and implement their plans. Provide training to make certain the team understands the key ingredients of a successful plan and is capable of creating one. Using a readily-available template (i.e. in your CRM system) can guide and shape the thinking that goes into creating an effective plan. Finally, there must be coaching, especially in the initial phases, to help people as soon as they get stuck.
Sales people must see how the planning process improves their results. The manager must socialize how specific plans have contributed to sales results; having the successful sales rep share their experience with the team. This is critical to ensure the planning process is adopted by the team.
Creating an environment in which sales people generate plans that are consistently implemented and produce desired results, is one of the key jobs of management. Avoid these mistakes and win in 2013.
By the way, Plan2Win Territory and Account Planning apps enable people to avoid making these critical mistakes and optimize sales from their territory, accounts and vertical markets.Tags: account business plan, account management, account management plan, account planning, management of user adoption, sales leadership, sales management, sales plan, sales planning, strategic account management, strategic account plan, territory planning