No Planning for a Rain Day in Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, Aug 24, 2011

As we wind down the last few days of summer, and I was reading The Globe on the beach yesterday, I was drawn to Red’s comment about the end of summer.

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It’s been a spectacular summer.  Perfect weather since the 4th of July and lots of time spent reading, working, sitting on the beach and sorting through plans to attack “the cold days of autumn just outside the gate”.   In fact the comment around our house this summer has been, "Let's leave that for a rain day, and we can do it then".  Well, in fact there's been only a very few rain days over the past two months of NH beach time, so it looks like it's going to be a very busy fall both at work and around the house home in Vermont, where the leaves are already turning. 

As I start making the fall seasonal shift northwest toward Vermont, I now begin to mentally subtract 10 degrees from the thermometer just thinking about the bustling downtown metropolis of Bondville, home of 647 hardy Vermonters.  Mornings are much colder now, and it won't be long before Tom the Woodman arrives with this winter's four cords, but long before that annual pilgrimage, there's weekends and weekends of planned prep-for-winter work to be done.

All part of the rhythm of the seasons and the rhythm of the work year.   With sales planning and budgeting for 2012 kicking into higher gear right after Labor Day, there's the harsh reality that there's no planning for a rain day in the world of sales either.  With just about 100 days of effective selling time between now and the end of the year, the crunch season is here.  Just like Red facing "the cold days of autumn", it's time for all of us to block off a couple of half days before or just after Labor Day and figure out in much greater detail how we're going to move the quota ball from here to there.

Start With Just One Month

If you're not ready to detail out your tactical sales plans for the balance of the year, for whatever reason, then just attack September focusing only on the sales plans for your key accounts.  Get the plans down in detail now during the next week, polish them up for just five accounts, and then set that aside.  After Labor Day, do the same for October while you expand the number of key accounts from five to ten.  Set all of that aside for a week, and then do the same for November, so that you exit this mini-planning process around mid month in September with the next 90 days mapped least for your key accounts, where 70% of your revenue should be coming from anyhow.

Get Out in Front of 2012

Whether it's your boss, the board, or your CFO, during the next 15-30 days, you're going to be asked, reminded or told about formulating your key planning assumptions for 2012.  No surprises there, so the suggestion is to take just one hour at your staff meeting next week and engage everyone in a simple exercise of defining the key business assumptions for your 2012 planning.  Get them up on the whiteboard, see where there's consensus among the team, measure the disagreements and, most importantly, identify where the need is for further analysis, discussion and assessment while you hand out those homework assignments to your various team members.  Better to get out in front of this now since there's no stopping the rhythm of the oncoming "cold, gray days of fall just outside the gate."

As part of your 2012 planning process, we'd enjoy having you at our Sales Management Boot Camp in October.  We have just six more openings, so if you're interested, please email me at jack@derbymanagement, and I can take 10 minutes to answer questions and walk you through the details.  You can click on the link above for the agenda and logistics, or just click HERE for a short summary. 

If that doesn't work with your schedule, at any time, please visit our Solution Center for a variety of business and sales planning tools. 

In the meantime, Good Selling...

Head Coach

Linked In Sales

Tags: sales productivity, Sales Optimization, sales, sales management, sales management effectiveness, sales effectiveness, sales tools, selling, selling skills, Sales quota, sales training