Sales Effectiveness Begins with Planning
Why Must We Plan?
"You hit homeruns not by chance, but by preparation," advised Yankee outfielder, Roger Maris, who hit sixty-one of the long balls in 1961.
Said Another way....
"Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail."
For sales and sales managers, good planning upfront prepares us to seize opportunity and helps us stay focused on the priorities. It reminds us of the direction we've chosen, our goals, and the mile markers along the way that tell us we're making progress. What makes planning "good"?
- It builds off defined priorities - Priorities are defined by executive management annually. These priorities set the stage for the remainder of the planning processes, including the Branch Business Plan, Individual Sales Territory Plans, Key Account Plans, and Key Supplier Plans
- It orders our work - Good planning helps us organize our work so that we are spending time on activities that drive the greatest results. Schedules, meetings, e-mails, phone calls, questions, and administrative duties -- do you juggle so many activities in a week that you're considering a career change to the circus? Opportunities come, and then -- they're gone! Good planning helps us focus on the opportunities that drive results.
- It systemizes - "Routine" may sound dull, but top producers attribute their success to good management habits. Monthly, weekly and daily plans ensure our top priorities established in the annual planning process are kept in the forefront of our minds.
The Dangers of Distraction
What's our biggest threat as sales and sales managers? The economy? Our competitors?
Neither! Our biggest threat to sales effectiveness is distraction!
Too often, our day-to-day "busy-ness" masquerades as vital work that demands immediate attention. It pulls us away from priorities we established earlier and calls us to abandon our goals and plans. The result? We trade systematic and thorough sales management processes for random hits and misses.
Ask yourself the question, "Am I in control of my activities, or are activities in control of me?"
When you master the planning process, your team will be well on its way to claiming more of that sales and gross margin potential under its care.
The liklihood of you and your sales people hitting a home run improves signficantly with preparation. The planning process prepares you for your people for sales effectiveness and to consistently meet and exceed expectations.
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