Putting in place a very straight line sales plan

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, May 01, 2020

This morning I'm thinking very differently about the words "a long hard slog", and looking at this business environment not as a world of chaos and interruption, but as one of creating a much more simplified process that creates a much straighter line between "start" and "purchase".  

Gartner 2020 Long Hard Slog for Sales

Great attribution for my friends at Gartner for the graphic above, which was part of an excellent recent article titled, "Virtual Selling:  A New Era Is Upon Us". from the guys at SalesBenchmark a couple of weeks ago.  The article is worth a quiet and thoughtful read considering its depth. 

This morning, however, I'm thinking very differently about the words "a long hard slog", and looking at this business environment not as a world of chaos and interruption, but as one of creating a much more simplified process that creates a much straighter line between "start" and "purchase".

On March 9th, which now seems much further away than just eight weeks, I held our annual dinner for a roomful of the presidents of our companies-an event which would become unthinkable just one week later.  By luck and through prayer no one directly or indirectly became sick.  Just two weeks later Zoom had become a verb used everywhere from business to happy hours.  Like you, I've gained hours of commute time every day (3 hours daily for me), and I've used that time to study, listen, and think about where we're going in our profession of Sales and Marketing.  I strongly believe that we're just now at the early beginnings of making huge jumps forward in changes for the better...even in this time of chaos...and ending the long hard slog.   

Here we are this morning...

  • We've all taken a pause in life.  Forget just for a moment, the business side of things and the financial chaos caused by this virus.  If you can do that, and I well realize that many people cannot, then I believe you would agree that the impact on the quality of time with friends and family has improved. We are taking more time since we have more time.  We are more caring, we are more trusting, and we often now see life differently as more of a lighted candle in a wind, which we cannot always control.  
  • We're just now figuring it out.  Sure, it's difficult, and the financial impact is very real and very personal. We also know that we have only two choices:  Do nothing and complain either out of fear or just wanting to blame someone, or we can StandUp, take responsibility, figure it out, experiment just a bit and charge ahead with a new business model. I've now personally seen this happen countless times during April among customers and students including at our own firm where we've figured out a new practice. 
  • We're just at the beginning.  Already in this new normal of Sales and Marketing, we've adapted very quickly gaining more directness, quite frankly I believe more trust and more ability to drive value with our existing customers than ever before. Simply because we're expressing that we care more, we're more emphatic, and we're listening much more sharply.  From where we are today, there's no return to any yesterday of day-long travel to see just one customer or staying Sundays in hotels preparing for trade shows and long hard selling slogs. 
    We're just now at the beginning of using highly integrated tech stacks to make obsolete the entire pre-virus process of slogging through unnecessary twists, turns and waste-of-time dead ends.  This is a time of "we ain't seen nothing yet" rather than "let me get back to the good-old-days"...since those days weren't really that good...especially for our customers and our prospects.  If they were, our average quota achievement results or 55% would be higher, the annual salesperson turnover rate of 35% would be lower and customer satisfaction rankings regarding salespeople would be higher than 40%. 

5 things to think about this weekend 

  1. Plan out your Sales & Marketing plans for May & June only!  Do it again in 4 weeks
    The Sales Tools section of our site has helpful ideas...not yet updated for the crisis.
  2. Write out the details of the 10 critical assumptions behind those plans and their numbers. This is actually much more important than the numbers that come out of your sales plan.
  3. Plan out how you'll become fluent in the tech stack you're using now and then add 1 more.
  4. Commit to training in 2 new Sales or Marketing skills by July 4th.  Use Hubspot Academy.

Four is more than enough.  You don't need five. Take the extra time with your family...and be safe because we've now learned that life itself is too fragile and too precious to put up with the stupidity of a long hard slog in something which can and should be as simple as a straight line between intent and purchase that's between buyer and seller. 


Jack and Tufts Entrepreneurship Center -1If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board for Sales or Marketing stuff, just connect at any time.  Text or email me, and I will quickly set up a call.  I'm a very good listener.

Obviously, no cost-just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.

Be safe and positive today and enjoy the weekend !


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Tags: improving sales productivity, best sales practices;, sales forecasting, sales effectivness, sales motivation, 2020 sales plans, writing sales plans, sales readiness