Is your sales plan becoming just a pipe-dream?

30 May 2016 by Charles Howden

So now we are in Q2, how is delivery against your sales plan coming together? Are you getting a firm sense that you are on-track to hit your sales numbers this year? If sales delivery is not matching your starting sales plan, you’ll probably know about it by now. Often, this is a question of sales execution.

When you started the year, was your big sales plan supported by a series of operational plans that sellers, either individually or collectively, have developed, understood, and can deliver? If your sellers aren’t orientated around the organisational sales plan, how likely is it that the plan will be delivered?

Here are a series of seven questions that you can ask your front line sellers to determine whether the big sales picture has been understood and is being actioned.

What’s the organisational sales target?
By business / department / unit, however you frame this, can your seller give you a number? Do they understand the organisational picture.

What’s your own contribution to this?
Does your seller understand their own sales target, has one been created / set / agreed with them?

Where will your own sales come from?
How does your seller construct their numbers, new business / account management, target customer groupings / segments?

Specifically, how will you achieve it?
How / does your seller plan their activity?

What process will you use to deliver it?
Does your seller have a sales process to follow?

How will you measure your own progress?
What metrics / measurements are being used to track progress / support feedback? From lead-generation through each defined step in your process, does your seller understand the key metrics?

Where will you go when you need help?
Gives you an understanding of your seller’s working style and approach to problem solving.
A good discipline for sales management (if you are a sales manager, try this) is to ensure that all direct reports can easily answer these questions to anyone who asks them, whenever they happen to ask. When you achieve this, you can have a greater sense of certainty that your sales objective is being operationalised.

Because without this, your sales plan may be just a pipe-dream.

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