After teaching yesterday and then attending a customer dinner, I drove here to Vermont late last night to run a 2022 sales planning meeting today. Just stepping out of the car a bit before midnight with the headlights stretching to light up the barn between the dense fog, the rain and the pitch dark of November, I immediately sensed that in just the two weeks since I had been here last, it had become the Taint Season in Vermont. That very weird time between leaf peeping and skiing when it Taint Winta', Taint Summa', Taint Leaves. Taint Nothin'.
Super packed weeks now leading up to the Thanksgiving break followed by added intensity on closing the year and delivering solid 2022 business, sales and marketing plans to the board in December.
Always have as your guide the simple fact that no plan is ever perfect, and that most often, it's the planning process of working together as a team, breaking down the walls and agreeing to focus on customer value which is the most important output.
At this time of year, we're running two or three planning sessions every week, and I thought that it might be helpful to take a more strategic and less tactical view of the winning value adders we're hearing about and working on this fall. There's no priority in the following bullets, and I'm very happy to add detail if you want to book some no cost time to discuss.
- Increased direct contact with prospects and customers
We're seeing Sales travel budgets for 2022 are increasing by more than 25% over 2021. Even though virtual meetings are much easier than in 2020 and added tech tools are coming on board very quickly, there's an increased push to travel. Much better planned and sharply limited to who travels, but travel is back especially for C level senior management. Our best companies are planning that 40% plus of the CEO's time will spent F2F with customers and prospects.
- Formal, more tightly defined WFH hybrid policies
20% of our customers have been working fine with no physical office for two years and plan to operate that way in 2022 into 2023. The best of the others have formal definitions with "shifts" of fixed 3/2 or 2/3 days a week detailed by department. The more smoothly operating with less personnel conflict problems also have mandatory vaccines policies. Yes, they have lost some employees, but that is now behind them and hiring plans are in place.
- Tighter market category, geo and size focus
If 2019 was "expansion", and 2020 was "hunker down" followed by "caution" in the first six months of 2021, what we are seeing for 2022 is very narrow organic growth definitions on sub-categories of market size, and tighter definitions of geographies. Cities, not regions or territories. Redefining "mid-market" on very tight definitions of employee counts/revenue/
- Sales & Marketing Processes
More and more fluency and much quicker adoption of formal Sales & Marketing processes anchored in highly integrated CRM and CMS platforms with the top choices being SFDC, MS Dynamics and our personal favorite Hubspot. Along with these processes, enhanced training and certification requirements for all salespeople.
- Strategy is nice, but tactics are critical
A "strategy" example for a primary 2022 initiative might be the adoption of a territory re-alignment or the beefing up the implementation tactics for an existing sales partnership model. Having said that 90% plus of the planning work we're seeing this fall is execution detailing of the Sales & Marketing basics with fingers-in-the-dirt definitions in the clarity of redefined Sales and Marketing playbooks, templates, and tech tools
- Increased focus on speed and agility
A question I was asked yesterday in a two-day Sales planning session was "rather than the second week in January, can we get this done by December 6th? My initial thought, given the huge amount of detailing that now needed to be done, was that "it couldn't be done" , followed in a minute, by "let's work to that date, roll out what we have and fill in the rest of the detailing in early January". In this case, we will double down on the assignments, and I'll bring in 3 or 4 of my interns do complete the research, the interviews and build out the Hubspot tools.
That's it for this AM working out of Boston's Back Bay this morning with an 8:00 AM start to the second day of our sales process building. A very exciting company with highly engaged and experienced management razor focused on 2022 objectives with a need to re-architect and build tighter processes and tools while tightening up on increased responsibilities. Wicked exciting, and just a great way to start the day!
Have a great day selling today!
If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board for your 2022 planning process, just connect with me! Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call. I'm a very good listener, and we can get deep into tactics if you want. Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.
Tags: sales coaching, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, writing sales plans, sales readiness, forgetsalesstrategyfocusontactics, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022 business planning
It's been a very exciting time during the last four months as our 2022 planning ramps with our customers. What I thought might be helpful is to share with you some of the primary themes we are experiencing in our role as business planning consultants as management gears up for 2022. The following bullets are not prioritized, plus they come from a wide cross-section of markets covering healthcare, tech, food, industrial commodities, financial services and not-for-profits.
It's already the third week of my classes at MIT where I teach business planning and marketing, and at Tufts where I teach classes in Marketing and in the "Science of Sales". We're now ready this coming week to jump from knee-deep-testing-the-waters-concepts to full immersion in the reality of my methodology of teaching "Process-Tools-Technology-People & Math" and wrapping those mechanics into the practice of Sales and Marketing.
Tags: marketing effectiveness, marketing productivity, meeting networking, free marketing projects from universities, student intern marketing projects, how to write a sales plan, marketing planning, writing sales plans, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts
As you know, I love Vermont and spend about 30% of my time working from there with more time on the weekends doing what every Vermonter does: shovel snow, rake leaves, tend my woodlot and plant gardens. Plus, every time I'm there, including this weekend, I always take some time out to admire the unique beauty of Vermont by walking down to the river or just looking across to the now-turning leaves on the other side of the pond just up the road a piece.
Six generations of my family before me were born and lived in this same valley, and although I call myself "a Vermonter", I always leave out the fact that I was born and lived my early years in a tough neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. Maybe I'm "a-kind-of Vermonter" since I've lived in this same valley for 50 years, but I do know my place in that I am not "a true Vermonter". Those are Vermont Rules!
For me, it's been a superb summa' even given this weekend's hurricane, the heat of August, the rains of July and the unsettling anticipation of what lies ahead when we return/don't return to offices and classrooms in a couple of weeks. After all...it's the summa, and no matter who we are, or pretend to be, every summa brings all of us back to memories of time off from school, the rigors of multiple jobs, loves started and hearts broken, and always the anticipation of gearing up for the faster, more demanding time of September. And this September accelerating into this Q4 will not be any different !
1 thing Covid has done is to dramatically change my sleep & work patterns:
- Pre-Covid it was bed by 8 or 9, up at 3:30, car into Boston, gym at 5, go to work
- Now, bed by 10, up at 5, Peloton downstairs, walk beach, work at 7 at the house
Tags: sales effectiveness, sales planning, improved sales management, how to close sales, sales management boot camps, improving sales productivity, how to write a sales plan, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts
I enjoy receiving the HBR's "Management Tips of the Day" around 7:00 AM every morning. First, I've been an avid reader of everything HBR ever since my first job as a purchasing expeditor at Honeywell, and second, it's one of those instant pop-ups that takes 10 seconds to read and often stimulates an idea or two. My initial reaction was the headline that I then wrote for this blog since most probably none of us have ever worked in a 9-to-5 environment... certainly not as salespeople, certainly not as entrepreneurs, and most probably just never in any position at any company we've worked in.
With the Olympics underway, what do you think?
As I listen to some people this week, the feedback I too often hear seems to focus on the surrounding negatives of Covid, the cost, the lack of attendance and the decline in viewership...all of these external factors which, in the real world of the athletes, have nothing to do with the extraordinary athleticism that is taking place.