Blocking & Tackling or Muscling Up?

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Mon, Feb 01, 2010

With a solid January put to bed, everyone seems to be taking a deep breath, sitting back and taking a concentrated assessment of just how they’re going to accomplish their 2010 objectives now that the 1st month dust has settled. The board has now approved the annual business plans, departmental budgets have been confirmed, sales meeting kickoffs are behind us, and it now comes down to the hard work of day-to-day departmental management and Blocking & Tackling week-by-week through the year. Right?

Well, no, not really. Blocking & Tackling merely lays down the foundation of each month and every quarter, and in the world of Sales & Marketing this is best exemplified by quarterly Key Account Plans and what we call, “30-60-90?s, which are detailed action plans-all carefully laid out in or whatever CRM system you’re using.

Our experience is that Blocking and Tackling is the easy part. It’s what we do and what we get paid for.

The real question that needs to be answered by senior management teams right now is what is it that gets layered on top of the approved business plan foundation that will allow the company to muscle up and position itself for much faster growth, if not in 2010, then in 2011?

Should we be looking for “The Next Big Thing” as one of our customers is currently focused? NBT strategies often connote that exciting word, “innovation” which always sounds very buzzy, and while it may be invigorating for the gang in Engineering, the NBT needs to be heavily researched, carefully planned and stringently balanced against the risk of economic reality in what will still be a year of uncertainty and super cautious customers.

Perhaps the incremental opportunity for additional leverage this year should be spent in exploring in much more detail just how we could add muscle to some of our current strategies and tactics.
Should we be expanding our sales activities to different channels other than direct? Is this the time to make a real investment into international sales, and just where is that country called, “international” anyway? What about trying to roll in an aquisition from one of our distressed competitors? If not the company, what about one of their product lines?

All good examples of muscling up beyond the business plan foundation which has been structured on Blocking & Tackling. The key to success here is for management to actually make the tough choices and not attempt to do more than one or two incremental strategies in 2010…especially in the world of Sales & Marketing.

While focus is critically important this year, so is first strategizing with the rest of the members of your team where you will make the time investments during the balance of this quarter to figure out how you will position yourself for much more accelerated growth in 2011. As a start, think about taking the management team and spending a day or day and a half off campus in March to objectively assess what you, as the senior leadership are going to do to really move the needle in the second half of this year and accelerate the business even more next year. You can use some of that time to do a sanity check against how you’re doing for the year since you will be closing in on the first quarter, but take 90% of that offsite time to analytically think through what the accelerants will be that get layered on top of the Blocking & Tackling.

Have a great day !

Tags: sales, sales management, sales management effectiveness, selling, selling skills, strategic planning