In my last article I talked about the importance of understanding your target client base as a key part of building a sales plan. This time I want to consider goals and processes that lead to a defined action plan.
When building a sales plan we are all taught that the most important element is to set a goal, and this is very true. There are numerous books articles and seminars available on goal setting which will be of help if goal setting is new to you and I would recommend you research the goal setting process and ensure your goal is based on sound principles.
As important as goal setting is however, it is only a part of the process of building a successful sales plan. Having a goal, even a well-defined goal, will not generate any revenue. In fact your goals can sometimes stand in the way of your success. What I mean by that is, if you start to fall behind the pace necessary to achieve your goal, focusing only on the ultimate goal can prove de-motivating rather than motivating.
So what is the alternative?
Well it’s not really an alternative, it’s an as well. Success is achieved when goals are supplemented by a process that leads to action. If your goal is to generate £500,000 in revenue over the next 12 months you firstly need to believe you can achieve this goal. However belief itself is not enough, you need a process of defined actions that are capable of returning the required £500,000 in revenue. It is the focus on the process that is more likely to keep you motivated during the difficult times than the goal itself.
Let me explain
The process is the way we break down the goal into an action plan that we can use to guide us over the next 12 months. Here is a simple example;
Goal £500,000 new sales
Average sale £20,000
Number of sales required 25
Conversion rate from proposal 1:2
Proposals required 50
Conversion rate meeting to proposal 1:3
Meetings required 150
Meetings per months 12 (rounded down)
Meetings per week 3
So what has this process done for us? Well it has taken a £500,000 goal and broken it down into an achievable weekly none revenue objective that leads us to the achievement of our £500,000 goal. It has also given us a range of metrics by which we can measure and adapt our on-going sales performance.
Focusing on achieving £500,000 at the start of the year when the sales board shows a big fat 0 is difficult. The key to succeeding is to break it down into smaller chunks that can be achieved and monitored on a weekly basis. In the above example its simple – this week I need 3 new sales meetings, and next week…I need another 3 new sales meetings. Get the idea?
It is easier to focus on achieving an objective of 3 sales meetings per week than getting too caught up with a £500,000 annual sales goal.
In your sales plan now you need to focus your planning on a series of actions that will generate 3 meetings a week, rather than focussing on the big monster of £500,000.
An example of things to consider
- Define the sources of your new leads
- Professional introductions
- On-line & social media
- Cold calling
- Set an action plan for each source
- Diarise your actions in advance
Focussing on the actions rather than the goal is the way you will stay motivated to succeed.
Sales need not be complicated.