Start Sales Planning for 2013

When the calendar turns to a new year, many salespeople suddenly feel like their troubles are behind them, and “this year” is going to be a lot better. While I think it is great to be optimistic, I also think that there are no real solid economic trends that clearly indicate that 2013 will be a much more prosperous year. To believe that your sales plan rests on a new economic high tide is a recipe for failure. Top salespeople know that the best way to get back on track is to develop a plan of attack that creates more precision around the strategies and tactics needed to reach performance targets. Most of them develop a plan that focuses on the three key revenue-generating buckets: winning new business from new clients; further penetrating high-potential existing accounts; and retaining as many billing clients as possible.

Each of these three elements has different challenges and requires different approaches. Even the very simple task of segmenting your overall target so that you know how much revenue you need to do in each of these buckets is something most salespeople never get around to doing. This first step will give you better insight into where your biggest challenge will be and where you need to spend most of your time. But doing this is not enough.

Now you need to clearly think through the 3-5 most important things you need to do in each category. For example, one of the most important things you may need to do to generate new business from brand-new clients is to develop a plan to target companies in the industries in which you and your company have a successful track record. Growing revenue in high-potential accounts may take some creativityon your part to gain access to more buying influences in the client company. And in order to retain your existing clients you may need to design a solid quarterly business review program that gives you the venue to review all of the great things you have done for them.

The point is that each of these key revenue components requires precise thinking and specific actions. This kind of clarity leads to more effective management of your business and improved discussions with management around resources and overall sales performance.

The next time you hear your salespeople talk about the difficulties of reaching their target, challenge them by making them speak more specifically about the revenue buckets and the strategies and tactics that support each of them.

Louis Partenza is a sales and business consultant and partner of Activate Group Inc, based in Miami, Florida. Activate Group brings science to the art of selling. We help you develop the strategy, implement a practical process and build sales skills to rise to the top of your game, hit your numbers and make quota. We help sales organizations drive revenue, predictability, operational efficiency and superior performance. Learn more about how we can help.

Business Coach, Business Planning, Sales