The first quarter hasn’t even come to an end, and its full-year sales plan has already gone down the drain. Those results you predicted in December didn’t come close to what you expected and worse: you don’t even know where the problem is.
So, did you identify with this situation? So let’s talk seriously in this text to understand once and for all why your sales planning is already failing and how you can improve!
Well, as we’ve explained here on the blog, efficient sales planning consists of the following activities:
- Analysis of past results;
- Preparation of the commercial goal;
- Definition of how many people should be hired;
- Best speech to use;
- Tools to be used;
- Strand of the market to be wholesaled.
In addition to the situation of the commercial area and team level, of course, they also contribute positively or negatively to the difficulty of building a sales plan.
Looking at this list of things, you might think that good planning is easy. But all it takes is one wrong decision to sink the entire year’s earnings.
If you’ve gone through all the planning part and want to know the exact reason yours is already going wrong, I suggest going to the next part of the text.
But if you want to know the main point that makes it difficult for teams to structure a sales plan, I’ll reveal it now.
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- The Decisive Factor in Creating a Sales Plan
- Because your sales planning is already failing
- How to make a mistake-proof plan
The Decisive Factor in Creating a Sales Plan
In a world that demands more and more execution and good performance, it’s complicated to stop for a while to get your head on straight and plan the next steps, don’t you agree?
It is very difficult to think calmly about a fire. But this fireman’s behavior is what causes us to get burned.
Not sure what firefighter behavior is? I explain.
Having a firefighter’s behavior is constantly putting out fires in your work (urgent demands) when you should be focusing on getting gas away from the fire (making optimizations, improvements and management).
Fixing processes like a boss #SóQue Não
This behavior is mainly due to the absence of structured processes, the biggest problem your company can have.
We’ve already talked about how the absence of a sales process can kill your company, causing problems such as:
- Lead generation based on specific activities;
- Qualification of non-existent leads;
- Absence of measurement and analysis of metrics;
- Lack of scalability, among other factors.
As a consultant, it’s amazing how each day I see how the sales process has its value. And this is also true in sales planning.
The main factor that can help to make and execute a sales planning is exactly to have a validated process, always looking for predictable revenue.
Stop for a second and think about how each of the following factors can help you when planning:
- Constant lead generation;
- Clear metrics for conversion;
- Someone focused on business intelligence;
- Training and motivated employees.
Recalling what makes up efficient sales planning (the six topics at the beginning of the article) and joining the four previous topics, you can clearly see how the sales process makes the manager’s life easier, do you agree?
You see, a grandiose plan is nothing more than several smaller plans added together. Being able to analyze the results, for example, it is possible to think about improvements to reach the final result more easily.
Someone with a focus on business intelligence is able to both analyze the conversion between stages and also look for the best speech for the sales team.
With a constant generation of leads, it becomes possible to know the number of leads generated per year and, together with the conversion value of the metrics, to assess the expected value of new customers per month.
And lastly, the topic of our example: nothing like training and motivated employees. Having a structured process, it is essential that employees are motivated to follow it, being able to convert to maximum capacity and not be overwhelmed by difficulties.
The sales process is a hand on the manager’s wheel and facilitates the team’s life and results! If you have a structured process, you can be sure that you are already ahead of the competition.
Now, let’s get to the main subject of this text. If you have a process running and want to know why your sales planning is already going wrong, let’s find out!
Because your sales planning is already failing
Rushing to plan
This is the most common mistake in terms of sales planning.
Tell me that in December of last year you weren’t desperate to hit the goal and didn’t even find time to stop and think about the next year? Typical firefighter behavior!
This is so common that in December 2015 I created a prospect email template with the subject:
Did you leave to beat the goal at 45 of the second half?
It had a very high opening rate, due to the desperation at the end of the year.
The same happens every month, as the manager spends the four weeks putting out fires and chasing the goal rather than stopping by one and planning. So, when he reaches the end of the first quarter of the year (like now), he is already behind on the results.
Then the death spiral begins and the cycle starts again… He will plan late, not do something that should have been done calmly and arrive at the end of the year in despair again.
If you started that way, you started wrong! Stop and redo your planning.
Wrong quotation of resources
This error can have an even greater impact if you are late. Some companies reserve the beginning of the year to plan and close spending/investment planning for the new year.
Imagine the manager who did not have time to plan and quote what he will need to invest to reach the goal stipulated by the board or even reach the goal that he said is possible.
Heads will roll, hehe
Leaving the sales team without ammunition, either a tool or training that encourages improvement is fatal, especially if it was quoted to meet the goals. The manager can never negatively impact the team’s goal and motivation.
The quotation of resources also involves the need to contract at some point of the year to increase the inclination of the graph period of the year versus the goal achieved. If you don’t raise this investment and don’t carry out the hiring process, you end up in that situation: you have the cheese (capacity to be selling more), but you don’t have the knife (the employee who would help you sell more).
It’s a classic planning error. You’ve already made a great general lose the war, and I don’t doubt too much that the Sun Tzu talked about it.
Execution and Planned Disparity
Perhaps this is the exact opposite of the previous topics. After all, what’s the point of making a Gantt chart that makes you proud to see if you can’t implement it?
You had an eagle’s eye seeing the mishaps ahead and made a report that would give you an A grade in college, had difficulty like Phelps’s in the Under Armor ad, and delivered the report like a champion to the board.
It acted at the right time, started in late November, and was approved before the start of the year. But at the end of the first quarter, the target was not met, either because of the crisis or because the dollar rose absurdly and made it impossible to invest in that tool that would be so useful.
That’s how the plan goes down! And the only way to make that not happen is to think of scenarios.
At the time of planning, you also have to evaluate which uncontrollable factors can affect your estimate because you will have to be agile to deal with this.
Can you imagine arriving in the middle of the year counting on the hiring of six employees and, suddenly, receiving the news that you will have to fire instead of hiring? How to reach the goal at these times?[
A manager needs to have a plan that encompasses this type of problem and advance the solution, ensuring the best performance of the team in any situation.
How to make a mistake-proof plan
Now that you know where you’re going wrong, you’re definitely asking yourself: How can I be agile enough to plan my sales and still handle the changes in this Information Age world without just being reactive?
We have a full article here on the blog, where we teach you how to make a failsafe sales plan.
In addition, this ebook down here can help you measure your entire business process and ensure the best use of resources and the best strategy!
Any questions, you can send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. It will be a pleasure to help you!