Being disciplined and organised makes good dollars and cents.
To be on track with your sales quota you need to be organised, have a plan you stick to, and use a system for effective selling.
It’s never too late to start, regardless of where you are on the road towards realising your sales targets. All it really takes is some thought and self-discipline.
Probably the single biggest reason we see sales people struggle to make sales targets is simply a lack of organisation and/or discipline to stick to a system of selling. We are not talking about a formula, but rather the self-discipline needed to stay focused.
Most of the sales people we meet have a calendar and have defined blocks of time set aside for activities such as meetings, making appointments, training, etc. The problem is that a lot of the schedule is blank, with the intention of using it to prospect for new business or follow up on some sales activity. Yet, somehow those hours get spent aimlessly. And all of that is due to a lack of any real planning.
Sun Tzu (Chinese military strategist – 25 BC) said it a long time ago: “To enter into a battle without a plan is the height of arrogance. Such generals should be put to death for they risk the lives of their warriors…”
What we are saying is that you can’t really expect to be successful if you haven’t done anything to make it happen.
Most people would have been asked to write a business plan as part of their job requirements. Typically, what managers want to see in these business plans isn’t really a business plan at all. It is the old “I plan to make this many calls to get this many appointments to make this many presentations to get this many sales.”
That’s not a true business plan – that’s the old, worn-out sales model that worked once upon a time, but is now outdated and obsolete.
What we’d like to suggest is that sales people write a real business plan for the territory they serve. This will ensure their success.
Start with these tasks:
- Take time to consider your strengths and weaknesses. These are your personal skills, knowledge, motivation, attitude and behaviour
- Next consider your territory – geographic, market segment or other
- Identify the opportunities and threats in the segment – these relate to your organisation and its products, services and solutions
- Evaluate your competition. Gather data on the organisations you repeatedly compete with and the sales executives you often cross paths with in the opportunities you are chasing
- Now set your S.M.A.R.T. goals. Start by looking at what you have to achieve in terms of value and / or volume between now and the end of your sales cycle
- Break down those long-term-goals into 4 medium term goals. Then divide those medium term goals into 4 individual monthly goals
- Now you are ready to develop a range of activities
- Work on a day-to-day plan with the inherent discipline that whatever goals you fail to achieve today, must be added to your activity list for tomorrow
- Any over delivery of your goal is banked for a rainy day – in other words, if you exceed you daily goal, don’t slack off – keep the momentum. If you do have a serious slip in achieving a daily goal, you have a back up
It’s very important to have each and every day planned out in writing. Then, and only then, you can write a master plan that ties everything together into one overall business plan that will work for you to achieve the goals you’ve set out.