Amongst many small business entrepreneurs we receive a common question: “How FORMAL or INFORMAL should my sales plan be?”
Well, that depends. If you want to have mediocre results, then create a mediocre plan. However, if you are MOTIVATED, if you want to ACHIEVE your GOALS, you might want to get to the tailor—quick—because that old tuxedo isn’t going to cut it.
We’ll volley it back in your court. How motivated are you to hit your sales and revenue goals for the year?
What we’ll tell you is that no winning CEO or CFO would run a company or be responsible for the financial success of a company without having a financial plan, measuring the financial success monthly and making decisions based on revenue, profit and cash flow.
So we ask the obvious—why are so many small to mid-sized businesses running their revenue-generating engine—sales department—without a documented formal plan while they act with such precision on their financial plan?
The answer is simple. Building a sales plan for most executives and leaders is a daunting task that forces them out of their comfort zone. Additionally, entrepreneurs constantly feel pressed for time, and the concept of planning is frightening. Planning means time away from day-to-day tasks and management.
Building a financial plan is relatively straightforward and within the executive’s comfort zone. These plans are completed, reviewed, updated and reviewed again. Financial sponsors, investors and bankers also put the clamps on leadership to deliver these financial plans.
The dichotomy in this approach is the key to executing the financial plan is developing & executing a sales plan. So getting back to the title of this article, put on the bowtie or pull out that little black dress. It’s time to waltz your way to your sales goals.
Growth-oriented companies have formal documented sales plans.
- They research their industry, market and specific target markets.
- They understand the competitive landscape and pressures.
- They develop their products and services for specific target markets.
- They invest in their marketing function to maximize the return on sales.
- They align their sales distribution channels to their target markets and segments.
- Their value propositions are clear for each client and prospect.
- They manage their prospect and sales pipeline with precision.
- They refine their plans and make timely decisions frequently throughout the year based on their performance.
- And they take corrective action when performance is poor when the symptoms appear not when the financial plan turns in the diagnosis.
When you read each step independently it seems like common sense. When you review the list it seems logical. But when many executives and leaders sit down to take action they simply come dressed in khakis or jean shorts (jorts!) and let the chips fall where they may. It’s kind of like going to the gym, walking around a bit, picking up a weight or two and expecting to lose weight.
If your sales planning session is formal and you have a plan, congratulations! If not, please recognize you are not alone and quite frankly you are the norm. But also realize you will probably come up short of your desired success.
Wear a TUX! Execute on your company’s vision. Become a growth company. Plan to accelerate your VISION.
About Brendan P. Keegan
Brendan P. Keegan is Founder & Managing Partner of velocityHUB, a leading management consulting firm. He is a 5-time industry leading President & CEO of large, private-equity-backed companies and served as the Fortune 100’s youngest Chief Sales Officer for EDS, a $22-billion technology industry leader. Brendan has raised nearly $1.0 billion in capital and returned over $2.2 billion to investors through successful exit strategies. He has trained over 100,000 leaders, led nearly 50,000 employees, driven sales of over $100 billion and worked globally in over 150 countries. Brendan was named a Distinguished Fellow by Dartmouth College, a Fast50 Executive by FastCompany, a successful entrepreneur by Enterprise Bank, Best-of-the-Best CEOs by Incentive, 100 Fastest Growing Companies by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Business of the Year by NH Business Journal, Top 10 Coach of the Year by USA Football, and Volunteer of the Year by & Youth Coach of the Year locally for his commitment to community service. Brendan is a sought-after speaker by companies across the globe on leadership, sales and performance. He has authored over 200 articles and been published in global publications including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week, Fast Company and InformationWeek.
Brendan serves on corporate boards to include Revolution Armor, Merchants Auto Group, ExpressIt Delivery, Olaeris, velocityHUB and nashuaHUB. Brendan and his wife Dana founded the Keegan Courage & Faith Foundation with the goal of giving back $1.0 million for youth education, athletics and at-risk youth across Southern New Hampshire.
velocityHUB delivers results-oriented training programs, high-value consulting and targeted executive coaching to many of the world’s leading companies, small and medium businesses, and non-profits. Our vision is to build one million leaders to drive performance, sales and revenue growth.
Contact: Brendan P. Keegan | 603.402.1701 | firstname.lastname@example.org