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October 15, 2012

Stop resisting it.  Business owners and Sales Management must take a couple of hours to write a short bullet point business / action plan for the company. If you do not get your Sales people to each write a sale plan than you are making a big mistake. Add this to your Good Sales Practices.

As a Sales Coach, I have seen many good salespeople become directionless, and without purpose, because they have no plan.  However, it must first start with the Small Business Owner or Sales Manager.  It does not have to be some long multi-page document that is impossible to follow-up. 2-3 pages with Goals, Strategies, and Actions that will be reviewed regularly and easily is more than sufficient.

Success comes in many forms. People in sales are naturally competitive. Persistence and hard work, many times are wasted, when there is no clear direction, strategy, or metrics to mark the milestones that will lead to success.

Here are some of the most often heard excuses.

Excuse for not writing.  What is Really Meant?
I have not had the time to put it together. That really means you do not think it is important.
We have spent a lot of time writing plans, and it never works out that way. I hate getting pinned down and fear being accountable, and don’t like following it.
I have a plan it’s in my head, it’s just not in writing. I know my business and talk about it enough that everyone in the organization has a clear direction.

I have news for you.  WRITING brings CLARITY. The most frequent complaint I hear from salespeople is that the company changes direction and I am not sure what they want from me. Additionally, I will bet that, if you ask a sales person what the vision and the goals are for the company, they will not know or it is inaccurate.  Here are some other thoughts on why it is imperative for Sales Management and sales people to write plans.

  1.  As a Sales Manager it is important to know how strategic your sales people are, and a Sales Plan is a great way of doing it.
  2. Studies have shown that the chances for success are much higher when the plan is WRITTEN. Changes in strategies are totally acceptable.  However, without a written plan you are not analyzing why those strategies did not work or whether you carry them out to completion.
  3. The goals and strategies are S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Reliable, Timely). Don’t make goals that are totally unrealistic, subjective, or which will only lead to frustration at both management and sales level.
  4. Sales plans find obstacles in the salesperson ability to meet their goals.
  5. Individual sales plans help sales people and sales managers focus on the sales process and sales cycle.  It makes them think about addressing issues before they become problems.
  6. It shows commitment from Management and a sales person to be successful.

Personal development and growth are part of the plan. It’s important for sales people to invest in themselves. Additional training courses, working with a sales coach, or staying up to date on current trends in their industries are very useful in building a loyal sale force.

It is strongly recommended that Sales Managers have a meeting with their salespeople weekly or bi-weekly to go keep the salesperson on track, and accountable. The goals should not change, but sometimes the strategies and tactics must change to fit the situation. Realize that business is not static. Stick to the plan and make the goals!

If you would like help with a plan, or would like to discuss further, please do not hesitate to contact me.

And remember “Sales is NOT a Dirty Word, just a Higher Level of Communications”.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2013 5:58 pm

    Hey there! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 4! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the excellent work!

  2. July 25, 2013 6:24 pm

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s
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  3. August 6, 2013 7:50 am

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  4. August 6, 2013 12:22 pm

    With havin so much content and articles do you ever run
    into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement?
    My site has a lot of unique content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any solutions to help protect against content from being stolen? I’d definitely appreciate it.

    • August 6, 2013 1:14 pm

      Brittany, I have no idea how to stop it, and is it worth the effort is another question?

  5. August 7, 2013 7:22 pm

    I’m not sure where you’re getting your info, but great topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.
    Thanks for excellent info I was looking for this information
    for my mission.

    • August 7, 2013 8:30 pm

      If you would like I will send you a handout to do a two page sales plan, that I recently put together. I use it to help me and my clients stay on track. It is a living plan. Goals do not change, but the strategies and actions do.

      • September 11, 2013 12:38 pm

        Hey Coach,
        I am Sales Manager for a regional manufacturer of building products. We have weathered the storm for the past few years and have grown sales by ~20% in each of the past three years by going farther and farther out. Since ’08, I have been the only salesman, but am now ready to find and bring on board several manufacturers reps to really try and crank things up.
        A two page sales plan sounds great, would you send me the handout and any other info on how to manage reps vs a company sales force.
        Bill Collier

        • September 11, 2013 1:20 pm

          Hi Bill,
          I will send you the two page sales plan shortly. I have to understand a lot more about your organization, the goals, the culture, expectations on managing your reps.Are they hunters or gatherers. What are the key behaviors you are looking for in a sales rep. How important is experience vs motivation? How will you be compensating them? And probably 50 other questions. We can set up a time to talk.

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  7. January 12, 2014 8:07 pm

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