"My Plan is to plan"...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, Dec 11, 2013

sales at stratton


Stratton Mountain is open, making snow like crazy, fully staffed and humming like a well oiled machine as the season moves into high gear.  Although I'm addicted to snowboarding (but not for this season as I move down to the end of the  bench and go on injured reserves. Ugh!), I'm also a student of how efficiently and effectively Sky Foulkes, President of Stratton, and the rest of his management team bring it all together every winter.  Heavy equipment, millions of gallons of water, hiring and onboarding hundreds of people in 60 days, a myriad of details all crunched into four months-all while creating a passionate culture of dedication, enthusiasm and perfect customer service.  Wonderful to watch the planning and the execution and realize that every day the Stratton management needs to deal with the vagaries of Mother Nature-something which does not impact the majority of us in the B2B world.

What do I know about planning...

  • The better management teams spend 5% of their annual time planning
  • I'm ok at 5%.  Set a goal for just 100 concentrated hours a year.
  • Most management teams bite off way more than they can chew.
  • They take on more and as a result have mediocre results everywhere
  • Focus on just 2-3 strategic initiatives at a time. 
  • There's always next year...or 6 months from now...to take on more. 
Last week, I was following up with one of our newer customers, and the short email that I received in response to my voicemail of "How's the final draft of your sales plan coming?", was that he and the team were crunched, behind their own timeline and that his "plan was to plan" to get it completed during the week between Christmas and New Year's.

I actually liked that...

  • He had a plan to get it done

  • It was a reasonable approach

  • His focus right now should be to finish the quarter successfully

  • A great time to take time locked away for a few hours is that week

Stratton plans for its annual dash to make snow, open on time and provide perfect customer service.  The Patriots planned for last Sunday.  The Red Sox planned to win the Series.  The best military successes are highly planned.  

And, the most successful sales organizations live in this same world of detailed tactical planning. When I walked into Brainshark this morning, or when I visited my ex-students at HubSpot last week (who not coincidentally are some of the top sales producers), it's no surprise to me that the most successful salespeople, month after month, quarter after quarter, have tactical handwritten lists on their desks and detailed work plans posted on their whiteboard walls.

With only two selling weeks left in the year, forget taking time out now to work on your sales or business plan.  Focus on pulling out all the stops for completing the month.  But right now, as in right now, open up your Outlook, cross off a half day in the week between Christmas and New Year's and just write PLANNING into that space.  It'll be the best Christmas present you give yourself.

Good Selling !!!

 Jack Derby 

 Head Coach

Linked In and Sales

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