Strategic Planning on My Mind
Are you planning to sell? Silly question. Of course you are. But probably not the way I mean. This time of year, as a business owner, I have strategic planning on my mind. I am evaluating how my year went so far and with only one quarter left, predicting how I will end my year. If I haven’t hit my sales goals, I am working hard on a plan to insure that I hit them. If I have exceeded them, I am looking at how I did that and if I can continue to do it. I am thinking about product development for 2014, strategic alliances, training and programs and how to make 2014 even better and more successful than 2013.
All business owners need a strong strategic plan and part of that is a sales plan. All salespeople need a plan as well. I coach business owners to have a strong sales plan as part of their strategic plan and salespeople to build a mini strategic plan based on the vision and direction of the company and their sales goals. It helps them better understand the overall plan and their part in its success. As most of the business owners I know are also selling, this becomes crucial.
I’m not a strategic planning expert, but I do build one for my company each year and I help many of my clients with their plans. I use www.mystrategicplan.com. There are other great programs out there as well but this one is easy to use, affordable and walks you through the process with explanations on everything you need along the way. If you’ve never done a strategic plan now is the time to start.
I have made so many plans now that I can tell you the sales portion of the plan for most companies tends to be the weakest. They have great revenue targets they want to hit but the detail on how to accomplish those are missing. Writing down your sales goal is a great start but putting together a plan to attain it is crucial. Then, of course, executing is what counts but that’s another article.
Start with a Sales Objective
Let’s work through an example together. Start with your objective. Let’s work with this one: Generate $40,000 of sales per month. That’s the easy part, most people know what number they are trying to reach. Next, set your goals. Many people get this far. Take a look at the goals below. The next piece is usually missing, that’s the action steps for each goal. If you take the time to plan to this level you are much more likely to hit your revenue target. Here are some example goals for the sales objective of $40,000 per month and the action steps to support them.
Goal: Attend 2 networking events each week by starting Nov. 1, 2013
- Determine which networking events to attend for 2014 by Dec. 1, 2013.
- Develop a networking strategy for those events by Jan. 1. 2013.
- Prepare appropriate follow up and schedule time to do the follow up prior to each event.
- Assess your networking efforts and determine if they are getting results, if not, make appropriate changes to your networking strategy.
Goal: Schedule 3 meetings per day consistently starting Jan. 30, 2014.
- Block time on your calendar for meetings.
- Attend 8 networking events in Jan. to fill sales funnel with prospects.
- Schedule meetings with people met at networking events for Jan. and Feb.
- Be sure you have enough prospects to hold three meetings per day, either initial meetings or follow ups. If not, get referrals, make calls, go network.
- Put time to follow up from each meeting on your calendar.
Goal: Develop a plan to have a consistent flow of referrals by Jan. 1, 2014
- Put a customer satisfaction plan in place to determine satisfaction of current customers.
- Develop a referral program including the best way to ask for referrals and rewards.
- Ask satisfied customers for referrals on a regular basis.
- Measure quantity and quality of referrals.
Plan to Hit your Target
These are just a few of the goals that would help insure you meet your revenue target. Taking the time to write them out yourself and with your team is essential. Once your plan is written out, it’s easy to start executing. Note you are not done with your plan at that point. It’s important to revisit your strategic plan on a regular basis. Once a month might be too often, quarterly is usually right for most companies, waiting 6 months is too long. The review allows you to assess your success and make changes to your plan before you get too far into the year and end up not hitting your revenue target. We are all very busy these days and there are so many things that need our attention and steal our attention. If we have a sound plan, stick to it and review it, we are highly likely to succeed.
Originally published in the October 14, 2013 issue of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.
For more upcoming training, great tips on sales and how to generate great leads by adding value, visit my website www.aliceheiman.com now.