One of our online sales training clients in Vancouver has come to a realization. Their Salespeople need support and assistance in creating a practical, user-friendly strategy to reach their 2016 sales targets. Projecting revenue increases without giving Salespeople the tools to create a strategy that they believe in leads to the pain of unrealized expectations. No matter if you’re a Salesperson or Sales Manager, know that the planning you do now will determine your likelihood of delivering on 2016 sales targets. Here’s how to make that happen.
Sales forecasting is always a challenge
Many Salespeople find sales forecasting and budgeting a frustrating experience. Often Sales Managers and corporate executives share the sentiment. Salespeople suffer anxiety because they feel their company sets sales targets that management wants to achieve, yet leaves it up to them to figure out how to deliver top-line revenue. Management is busy trying to deliver bottom line profitability by asking for sizable sales increases while controlling expenses. Everyone has a job to do. Many of us end up spending the vast majority of our time working in the business, rather than working on it. Sound familiar?
The job of a Salesperson
Go on calls, answer messages, write emails, put in orders, attend internal meetings, solve problems and do anything else associated with driving sales. In one word – activity. Here’s the question all Salespeople need to ask of themselves – What am I doing strategically to work with the best clients capable of helping me reach my 2016 sales targets?
Bottom Up Task Orientation
Firefighting is the word that most Salespeople use to describe their typical day, as they are pulled in many different directions by factors beyond their direct control. Many of the tasks and duties they want to accomplish fall by the wayside due to client issues and internal responsibilities. This can leave Salespeople with a sense of real frustration as they fail to make budget regardless of work ethic and drive.
Plan a Strategy Top-Down
Imagine yourself as a Salesperson or Sales Manager getting in a helicopter and ascending a few hundred feet. How would you observe your daily, monthly and quarterly activities? Would you be better equipped to see the direction you’re taking with your Key Accounts? Would it be easier to establish a list of great Growth Accounts and others for new business development?
This is the primary reason our company is contacted by many businesses. Sales are stalled and everyone is busy trying to fix the situation. Everyone is going in different directions based on what they think is best. What’s required is a standardized process giving Salespeople and Management a consistent tool to use. Here’s what works extremely well.
Management by Objectives
MBO is a process that allows Management and Salespeople the opportunity to agree to objectives via strategies and tactics. Bottom up task orientation now meets top-down strategy planning. It is specific to each Salesperson as he or she carefully picks the right clients to work with to create an account action plan with clear, well-defined goals and time lines with each client.
Every Salesperson will have a very different account list. Senior Salespeople with years of experience will concentrate on strategically selecting the best Key Accounts that could become Growth Accounts. They need to minimize attrition from At-Risk Accounts, while continuing their new business development efforts to replace lost dollars and continue to build their account base.
New Salespeople will look to cultivate their few Key Accounts and seek opportunities for revenue growth from their best current clients. These Salespeople are investing their greatest amount of time and effort on developing new business, constantly reaching out to Target Accounts.
The Salesperson is the pilot of the helicopter
Management by Objectives allows Salespeople to navigate their success based on design, not default, luck or fortune. This gives Salespeople the foresight to plan and monitor their year before and during the 12 months. A well thought out MBO is the product of foresight and planning by both the Salesperson and his or her Sales Manager. It provides a working plan to tackle the year with the confidence required to be successful. Regular meetings every month keep everyone educated and well informed of progress being made. Adjustments can be made to the MBO to ensure it stays current.
Here’s the six ingredients in the MBO process for Salespeople:
- The Goal – What is your total revenue target for 2016?
- The Account Categories – Existing clients and new business opportunities
- The List of Clients per Category – a list of existing clients and a Target list of good prospects
- The Revenue Expected per Client – What is a realistic sales target for each client?
- The Strategy per Client – What’s your plan per client to reach the revenue goal?
- The Tactics and Timelines per Client – What are the actionable steps that must to occur to experience success? When will you start each tactic?
How to capture the MBO
Excel tends to be the best program for each Salesperson to create their 2016 MBO. This allows the revenue expected per client to be totaled into a 2016 Sales Target. Based on the amount of the account growth and attrition, a Salesperson can clearly see what he or she needs to produce in new business to hit their goals.
We often recommend that Salespeople use a word program to elaborate on the Strategy and Tactics required per client.
Why MBO works
It bridges the gap between sales target expectations and your selection of the best clients to allow you to reach those goals. It gives Salespeople a working strategy and action plan understanding that while firefighting is an unavoidable part of the job, winging it is not a formula for success. We’ve all heard the saying…
No one plans to fail. The failure to plan brings the same end result.
Management by Objectives was first created by Peter Drucker in 1954. It has seen many modifications since then and is still widely accepted today as a leading management practise. My interpretation of the MBO in this post is made for the practical use of Salespeople in reaching sales targets.
What do you think? Could this help you reach your 2016 Goals?
Thanks for reading!
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY
Author of SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Start Making Money
Available on Kindle and paperback.
Click the link for a preview of the book
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