Planning is critical if you want your sales team to achieve a high level of success, so if your salespeople are failing to plan, then they are planning to fail or at best underachieve. Salespeople often overlook the planning stage because they find it difficult or don’t see an immediate benefit to themselves however if they continue to do more of the same they will get less of the same.
If you think of developing a sales plan in the same way you might think about climbing a mountain, the purpose and advantages of planning become clearer. When you start up the mountain you never know what to expect, sudden change in weather, lost or broken equipment, mistakes in maps, an injury. Planning for these eventualities will allow you to deal with them and still reach your objective in spite of temporary setbacks. On the other hand, lack of planning can spell disaster.
The more careful the planning, the more likely problems will be anticipated and not allowed to interfere with your ultimate sales objectives.
Sales Performance & Effectiveness
There are ONLY three (3) ways to improve your sales team’s personal sales performance:
1. Increase the value of their prospects by cross-selling or up-selling;
2. Work harder; or
3. Increase their sales effectiveness
The key to increasing your sales team’s effectiveness is for them to spend more of their valuable time with prospects who are truly predisposed to buy from them.
Selling is and always will be challenging, but through effective planning your sales team will be able to find more prospects who are truly predisposed to buy from them. Developing a well researched & thought out plan will enable each salesperson to achieve improved and repeatable sales results.
The first part of the planning process involves learning from the company’s sales history. Much can be learned by documenting past wins along with the associated problems that were solved in a simple reference template. Previous sales wins always provide a trail of valuable clues to lead salespeople to future success.
The second and most important aspect of the planning process focuses on drilling down to uncover ALL of the Tangible & In-Tangible Added Value that your product, service or solution provides. By empowering salespeople with this knowledge, they can offer real business benefits to Approvers – the individuals who matter the most!
The third and final part involves documenting Advantages Features & Functions. It is not always possible for salespeople to initially gain access to an Approver in a complex sale; therefore it is important to have a clear understanding of each of the remaining member’s specific interests within the Decision Making Unit (DMU).
All of the valuable information gathered during the planning stage can also greatly assist with the creation of attention grabbing written marketing material.
Fail to plan and you plan to fail; make your sales team the exception to the rule - plan, assess and plan some more. You MUST have a clear goal and a well defined methodology for getting there.
Ensure that each member of your sales team is investing the necessary time to produce a well thought out sales plan that will result in them spending more of their valuable time with prospects who are truly predisposed to buy from them.
Tim Williams is the Managing Director of Deakon P/L.