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?
You need tools, including apps, that enable the user to do their job easier, faster, better. Let's take the case of sales planning apps, for example those that enable a salesperson to do good territory or strategic account planning. The app itself must be easy to use. It must provide specific functionality that gives the user unique insight into their territory, accounts and enable the user to: - Create strategic plans - Gain insight into their target market - Identify sales opportunities - Prioritize their accounts and opportunities - Identify and develop important relationships - Establish competitive differentiation - Take meaningful action to implement their plan Further, it is important to have the app reside within the CRM/Sales Force Automation tool of choice, making it easier to: - Actively work the plan - Enable team participation - Coach the sales team - Share best practices - Respond to change quickly and effectively - Report on and track progress If your sales people had a tool like this, wouldn’t they do a better job and improve their results?
By Ashley Furness, Guest Blogger and Market Analyst for Software Advice, a research site. Dimensional Research recently reported an impressive 78 percent of employers planning to deploy tablets across their organization in the next year (83 percent of which chose the iPad). But oddly more than half have yet to define a clear implementation strategy. “We talk to companies all the time where they literally purchased iPads for their team with no idea of what they were going to be doing with them,” said Matthew Suggs, vice president of enterprise sales at Mediafly Inc., a company that develops iPad sales tools. With all the hype around using iPads for sales, it's easy to imagine the device as some sort of silver bullet for increasing productivity. But unfortunately, an iPad alone won't be a game changer for your team. Like most technology investments, a clear rollout strategy is needed to ensure management gets the most bang for their buck. So this week, I set out to find experts top tips for getting the most from their Apple upgrade.
The best salespeople I know have a sales plan, check it regularly and update it often. In our dynamic world, this has become imperative- to respond to the changes in our industries, territories, accounts and competition. 1. Check/Update It Often Have it with you or have it easily accessible (i.e. via mobile access). Keep it up-to-date so that it reflects the changes in your selling environment. Reviewing the plan helps you see what you are missing; key players, articulating important aspects of your offering, responding to important opportunities and threats. 2. Have It in Your Sales Force Automation System This enables you to easily refer to, review and update the plan. It also makes it visible to other members of the team so they can help you achieve your objectives. 3. Review It with Management Getting management input helps you catch something you missed and keeps the plan fresh. Further, this enables you to get management support to get access to the resources needed as identified in your plan. 4. Use It in Your Quarterly Business Review Rather than either starting from scratch to prepare your quarterly business review, or starting with an out of date plan from last quarter, using your current plan saves time. Many of our clients present their quarterly business reviews out of our territory and account planning apps, saving additional time.
In the movie, "Money Ball," a young Yale graduate who has never played or managed baseball, comes up with a better measure to predict a team's success. Rather than the traditional measures of batting average, home runs, hits, etc., he said the objective is to get on base more often. If you get on base more often, you will produce more runs and more runs will produce more wins. So, they managed to “on base percentage” and took the Oakland A’s to the American League playoffs spending much less money than other teams. Two years later, the Red Sox used this approach and won the World Series. The “Advance” is the analogous measure in sales. An Advance occurs when a potential buyer commits to do something specific in a specific time frame that moves the sale forward. If you earn more Advances and progress through the sales process more readily, you will win more sales. So, the Advance is the key leading indicator of sales success. It is important to create a clear picture of the stages in the sales process and the key milestones within each stage. Management’s role is to use this to help the sales team navigate from one stage to the next; achieving more Advances more efficiently.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could just buy a new tool and not have to do anything else to have your team use it and produce dramatic improvement in performance? Unfortunately, members of the team are already busy and having them do anything different takes effort on their part and yours. Resistance within the organization- especially the user base- and poor management of the process are the two biggest reasons software implementations fail to produce their intended results. However, the effort is well worth it as it can dramatically:
- Increase sales
- Improve predictability / forecast accuracy
- Enhance sales efficiency and effectiveness
- Drive team effectiveness