Many of us are currently crunching through data, spreadsheets, analytics and forecasts trying to figure out what our operating plans will be for 2020. Whether it's the almighty CFO continuously prodding us for this information as she assembles the company's financial plan or our sales manager taking even more time out of our already super-packed prospecting week to juggle scenarios, the pressure's on to figure out plans for 2020. Hard enough as a salesperson, wicked hard as a manager and darn near impossible as the boss, but, who cares? It is what it is, and what it is is about business planning and forecasting at this time of year in the seasonal cycle of business.
The weak salespeople and managers will whine, complain and not dive in and do the real hard work of assessing the last 10 months of data and will simply guess. The pros will sift through the analytics, consult with their peers, sit with marketing and then work directly with the quants in Finance to make sure that what their forecasting works for the department and the company. Nothing exists in a vacuum!
So, a few early forecasts to help with your 2020 planning
It's going to snow in most of the northern U.S. this winter!
The accuracy of weather predictions keeps getting better and better through more and more analytics, but it's still far from perfect.
Just consider yesterday's forecasted threat of snow here in MA and NH...which thankfully never happened.
Vague comments about sales forecasting and junk comments from losers like... "I'll know more when we get closer to the end of the month" are not only worthless, they show total disrespect to the team, the company and to the profession of Sales. Everything is forecastable, and the science of accuracy improves exponentially with digging into more data, building more steps into the sales process and involving more people in marketing and in finance in the discussion.
Hiring, onboarding & retention will continue to be the #1 challenge.
Let's assume that the economy is going to hold together for 2020. Last year at this time, I was predicting-based on the numbers-a downturn in 2019, and, the good news is that it didn't happen due to extremely low unemployment, unexpected higher consumer spending and the continued fine tuning on the part of the Fed.
Even given the craziness in Washington on both sides of the aisle and the continuing U.S-China spitting contest, short of "an event", nothing much will change, and with the stroke of a U.S. pen, (made in China, of course), the economy could become markedly better...for at least a short spurt just enough to win the election.
The bottom line of my prediction including my snide remark about settling the tariff war is that Sales and HR leaders are still going to need to pay top dollar, incentivize new hires with more bonuses and continue to reshuffle their comp plans in order to stay ahead of the pack. Not going to get any easier to identify and hire!
3. Tactic: You Must "Plan to Make The Plan"
Professor Collen Honan (aka Chief Sales Officer at Brainshark) lectures in my course in Marketing and in my "Science of Sales" course providing very direct and exacting formulas on how her salespeople and our students are to work through their forecasting process and their quarterly planning.
Solid math, detailed activities and process building all tracked in the students' Hubspot CRM systems. A strict requirement in our course is that all of the students must be CRM and Inbound certified in order to get a grade.
For those of you who are working on the bigger picture of your 2020 business or strategic plan and not just your sales plan for next year, you should download our 2019-2020 edition of our free ebook on Writing the Winning Business Plan. This is an annually updated book now with tens of thousands of downloads and is used at MIT both in my course and as part of their online international business planning course.
Take a look and connect with me for questions and comments,. and I or any of our coaches can bring you through an exciting process.
Have a great day selling or marketing something today...and surprise of surprises, my forecast for today was correct... it's wicked cold in November!