The Most Hated Word in Sales: PLANNING

Sales people generally hate planning. Let’s be honest, many of us do. Still most sales people are driven by action. And the time they perceive it will take to plan their prospecting and account management activities is time they perceive they simply don’t have! In fact our last survey shows that the biggest obstacle sales people feel they have in achieving their goals is that “they just don’t have enough time in the day to do all the things they need to do.”

That’s largely true. Sales teams are very busy people and the pressure is always on for them to show immediate results. However, one of the components to solving this “time problem” is the act of focusing the time you do have in the right places. That can really only be achieved by…yes you guessed it—PLANNING.

SO, we highly recommend that as a team you create a 12-month sales plan. For your sales team, you will need to identify your overall goals, your sales model (do you have the right people in the right place to meet your goals?), your sales compensation structure (do you have the right incentives to meet your goals?), and the needed support systems (do you have the right process, tools, and training to meet your goals?).

But we also recommend EACH SALES REP have their own plan. It is critical to gaining the focus needed at the individual level. Otherwise it is too easy to get distracted with the every day chaos that is too often the life of a salesperson. The steps to creating a Sales Plan for prospecting and account management include:

Establish your individual goals. Some territories require more new business development than others and some territories have a small number of large accounts. Still others require an equal balance. This is the reason individual sales plans are necessary and understanding the landscape for each territory along with how that ties in with your individual goals is the first step to creating a successful sales plan.


Evaluate your historical successes and failures. This applies to both prospecting and account management and requires a good understanding of the lead source for each of last year’s customers, their sales history, why they bought from you, and what their profile is (i.e. industry, company size, need, etc.). Start your planning by doing a comprehensive evaluation of last year’s customers and identify “success trends” you can emulate in next year’s plan, while throwing out the activities that proved to be duds.


Develop a sales plan that balances its focus and provides a clear roadmap for that sales rep—based on the goals of that territory, the historical customer analysis, and some new “out-of-the-box,” proactive, strategic thinking! This plan is a living document, meant to be reviewed weekly, or at worst monthly, and can be modified as more is learned.






























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