As we move through March and the end of the first quarter, I always regard this time of year as a critical experiment of the new ideas, new strategies, new tactics, new activities and new people that you and the team planned for way back in October and November. I like to think that both company-wide business plans and departmental-specific sales plans always work because, whether or not they result in the actual forecasted numbers, the planning framework that has been created is actually more important than the results since it provides a consistent process and structure that you can refine and refine again during the balance of the year. By keeping to this process consistently, I guarantee that you will ultimately get to your goals and objectives.
As you move through a review of this first quarter by taking your team offsite to plan for Q2, keep in mind Eisenhower's quote of...
Plans are nothing; planning is everything
Most importantly, it's the consistency of the planning process that counts. Depending on the size of your organization, you should focus on creating a dynamic planning environment by involving all of your sales team. By adhering to this process, you'll discover that you will figure out, as a team, how to achieve your increased results over a couple of quarters. What we've found is that anything less than quarterly planning reviews of your results, discussing the best practices from the team and planning out detailed activity plans for the upcoming quarrter will just result in more educated guessing and playing around with percentages based on gut feel. And, if that's all you have for planning, you'll be guaranteed to be 25%-50% wrong in your forecasting.
Through the balance of March, 95% of your time will obviously be focused on getting across the Q1 goal line. What I would recommend is that you use the remaining 5% to think about and prep for Q2, which I always regard as the most important quarter of the year...
- 9 months left in the year-plenty of time to make mid-course corrections
- Everything that you plan in Q2 will have a huge impact in Q3 & Q4.
- Almost nothing you do in Q3 will have any impact on Q4
As you're moving toward a detailed business or sales planning process in early April, you should also use that same time to do an assessment of where you are in your own personal development plan. At this time of year, take a long look in the mirror and commit to a homework assignment that pushes you to answer these five important questions:
- What skills would you like to learn during the next quarter?
- Improving which skills would have the greatest impact on your career?
- Are there important projects which you like to work on?
- What roles in the organization would you like to learn more about?
- What could you do to bring meaningful value to the company?
Pretty simple...but purposefully complex...questions, and definitely worth thinking through as you plan out not only the rest of the 2015 sales year, but also to step back and carefully think through your own personal career development.
Welcome to 2015. Starting out as a great year... as long as spring is really coming!
Want to know more about Derby Management, click HERE
Plan now on attending our 2015 Sales Management Boot Camp held at the MIT Endicott House on October 4th-6th. Over 7 years of continuing success involving 450 plus heads of sales, President and CEOs. Discounts available registering before June 30th.
Want more information? Just click HERE.