If you want to make more money, you need to look at how you are harvesting the opportunities within your key accounts and across your sales territories! Research shows that World Class Sales Organizations performed 25% better on key sales metrics by using sales planning methods like these:
- Using specific criteria to define a strategic account
- Having a method for deciding on opportunities to pursue
- Allocating the right resources to pursue large deals
- Being highly effective at advancing opportunities
- Leveraging the best practices of top performers
1. Establish a process.
Determine how you will establish and monitor the progress of territory plans each quarter. A clear set of action steps helps each member of the team understand what’s expected as the quarter unfolds. This includes having territory managers:
create and update territory plans
and review the plans at the regional and then national levels.
Support, marketing, and other functions should be included in review sessions as appropriate. In addition, you need to include steps to maintain continuity from quarter to quarter, such as working on territory, account, and opportunity plans that take longer than one quarter to implement.
For more details on the implementation of the process across the quarter, see our Manager's Checklist for Territory Planning.
- See the article on Selling Power Blog.
You should always know what you’re gonna get! Unlike Forest Gump, who never knew what he was going to get from life, best-in-class territory managers have a plan for achieving the results they want. They set clearly defined goals for their territory. More importantly, they create a plan and engage in focused activities to accomplish their territory objectives. Success for them is not by chance or based on random activities. These sales people are most likely to meet their goals because of their preparation and the execution of defined territory plans. They win because they have made good choices about what to focus on, they know what must be accomplished, and they make deliberate decisions on how to invest their time to develop and win business. Sales territories are like a box of chocolate. With twenty-four varieties to choose from, which ones do you select and in which order? Do you consume thousands of calories quickly or do you manage your consumption? It all looks so good! What do you do when someone else takes one of your favorites? Know your territory, have a plan, execute by making considered, deliberate choices!
“Are your territories managing you… or are you managing your territories?” This is a question that has helped improve the results of many sales organizations. We have worked with many senior sales executives who have set up, ramped up and turned around a number of sales organizations; enabling them to achieve dramatic growth even in tough selling environments. One of the common elements of their systems for sales success is installing a good territory management process and template to ensure the sales team is making the most of the opportunities in their areas of responsibility; including territories, vertical markets and channel partners. Further, it is important to always look for ways to “connect the dots”… to understand what was happening in a territory, who the power brokers are, how they affect opportunities across the territory and how to leverage our contacts to make progress in target accounts and sales opportunities.
Here are 25 ways having sales plans will help you predictably achieve your results.
- Increase your team's sales effectiveness and efficiency.
- Having a plan improves your probability of success.
- Maintain better visibility into your pipeline and changes in opportunity status.
- Focus on both short-term and medium-term objectives.
- Have early warning signals to course correct quickly.
- Avert unnecessary stalls in the sales process.
- Leverage the new insights and plans across the entire year.
- Address new challenges in your territories, vertical markets and industry.
- Take advantage of new opportunities.
- Take a fresh look and implement new strategies.
- Proactively create new opportunities/ change the game.
- Make sure each strategy is turned into action.
- Identify new key players in your territories and strategic accounts.
- Leverage new partners; or current partners in a new way.
- Effectively respond to new events and opportunities in strategic accounts.
- Keep your finger on the pulse of important decisions in your accounts.
- Implement new ways of adding substantial value to your customers.
- Build new skills and develop your people in important new ways.
- Recognize and fill gaps in product knowledge.
- Generate strategies to beat specific competitors.
- Use a wider range of resources to accomplish your goals.
- Create/learn new tools and methods.
- Manage time and territories more effectively.
- Create new processes that help the team be more effective and efficient.
- Coach people even more effectively using their plans.
As published in the Selling Power Blog (October 1, 2012) 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!
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. How do you ensure that strategy will turn into appropriate action to produce the desired results?