As Benjamin Franklin once said “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Planning is a critical part of business success. Today, businesses are rising and falling more rapidly than ever before and technology is shifting and changing the workforce; missteps could result in disaster. In this environment, planning is even more important, but it needs to be done properly. Find out how to improve your sales planning and drive success at your organization.
1. Break your Sales Target into Smaller Goals
Working toward one huge goal can be overwhelming. Instead of focusing on one massive year-end target, break it up into smaller goals. Look at your business model and sales cycle and determine smaller, achievable goals that you can work towards on a weekly or monthly basis to successfully reach your larger target.
2. Work on the Basics
Planning isn’t just about setting numbers for targets, sales funnels and conversion rates. It is also about being prepared to meet these numbers, and in order to do this you need have the right skills. Training and development on activities like prospecting and objection handling will ensure that your team is up to the task of closing sales and reaching those numbers.
3. Plan Your Time
It is easy to get caught up in day-to-day tasks, leaving the important work that really drives results to get done hastily. Improve your planning by ensuring that your team is spending time on the right activities. If your sales team needs to renew contracts with existing customers, for instance, you need to ensure that they are spending their time on building relationships with their contacts at these organizations. Allocate time in their schedules and encourage them to block off dedicated time for the activities needed to deliver their results.
4. Test New Approaches
Creativity and innovation don’t sound like they go hand-in-hand with planning, but, in fact, they do. If you want to improve your sales results, allocate budget for testing new approaches and projects. Some of these tests will fail, but others will succeed. You will never know which tests are going to work until you execute them, but if you plan for them you will gain invaluable knowledge which will enable you to incorporate new, effective channels into your regular sales activities.
5. Measure and Learn from Data
Most leaders are convinced that measurement is important and data should be used to guide decision making. However, not all leaders allocate enough time and resources to gather insights from their data and make changes based on these learnings. Using data to improve your sales planning requires more than implementing a CRM system or having an analyst pull reports on various sales metrics. It requires looking for deeper insights that can lead to problem solving, and it requires a willingness to change based on the findings. Don’t just collect data; improve your planning by learning from it.
While even the best plans can fail, more often than not they are the driver of success. Improve your sales planning and become of the great leaders that not only adapts to new business conditions, but thrives in them.