How many times have you sat in a territory or account review and heard great sales strategy after great sales strategy being proposed only to find out a month or two later that none of those strategies are actually implemented? We all know brilliant strategists who, because they do not implement their strategies, do not produce results.
1. Create a process by which plans and strategies are generated and reviewed. Without this, many sales people will “wing it” and get caught by surprise. Hold regular (monthly or quarterly) territory or account reviews. These are very helpful; forcing sales people to reflect and create a thoughtful plan. Except in rare cases, the one with the best plan and execution wins!
2. Do good analysis. It is critical to assess emerging trends in this dynamic environment. This is the only way to generate strategies that will be effective and respond to new opportunities before the competition. The plan format must enable a logical flow from:
- Trend analysis to
- Goals to respond to the trend to
- Strategies and tactics to
- Action plan and resources required.
3. Regularly review plans and progress. Reviewing the action plan often identifies other actions that need to be taken additional resources necessary to move the action forward. This often makes the difference between being stalled and winning.
4. Leverage the team. I have seen account reviews in which the account manager was stuck. There was no obvious way to proceed. However, using the collective wisdom of everyone in the room, we came up with a great solution that enabled us to won an opportunity we would have lost.
5. Make it easy to generate and access the plan. The biggest challenge is getting sales people to use the tools. Your planning template must be easy to use and readily available in your CRM/sales force automation system (i.e. Salesforce.com) so it can be quickly reviewed and updated.
Though it may be obvious that you must focus on both strategy and action, I have found that most organizations favor one or the other. This is insufficient to win consistently in today’s challenging selling environment. Focusing only on strategy is likely to create great ideas that bear no fruit. On the other hand, too much emphasis on action without thought just creates a lot of busyness and insufficient results.
Creating the environment in which strategy consistently translates to productive action is one of the key jobs of management. How is your organization doing?
By the way, the new versions of our territory and account planning apps have the ability to connect strategies to activities in SalesForce.com.account business plan, account management, account management plan, account planning, management of user adoption, sales leadership, sales management, sales plan, sales planning, selling tools, strategic account management, strategic account plan, territory planning, user adoption