With the snow now coming down heavily and with my birthday coming up next week, I am not going to recount the wicked storms I've been through.
Too much of the old guy thing of "when I was a kid, there were snow drifts 10 feet high...".
- I walked to high school in all kinds of weatha'.
- I rode my motor scooter to BC every day in rain & snow.
- Too many times, I slept in a snowbound car on the highway.
Living anywhere, the unknowns of the weather are just a normal part of life, which is the reason every school system builds in x snow days every year. The very good news is that in today's business world of instant video, cancelled sales trips due to weather are just an inconvenience and do not, in the majority of cases, really slow down the pace of the deal except in the case of hands-on demos. Needless to say, my long-planned, hands-on visit to my dentist at 7:30 this morning got scrubbed.
No Plan Survives the enemy...
I've been an ardent student of Sun Tzu for decades, and although in today's customer-centric world, none of us would want to compare our sales planning to preparing for a battle or refer to our customers and prospects as the enemy, the fundamentals of planning a combination of both strategy and tactics are comparable.
"Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small"
“Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus, do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat. How much more do no calculation at all!
Way too often in sales planning, I see "pretty good" tactical action plans focused on the month or the quarter. Plans that tell me to: do this, go there, and invest here coupled with short-term objectives and metrics, but they lack overarching and longer-term strategies.
An example of a longer-term sales strategy could be to experiment opening up a new channel of a specific type of partnership with another sales organization. Partnerships are often the most difficult channel for most companies: they take multiple years to figure out and they too often fail because the details (Sun Tzu's "calculations" in his quote above) are not worked out at the most important level which is the salesperson on the street or on the phone. And too often those details come down to the issues surrounding the "calculations" of compensation and related quota balanced between the salesperson's core products and the new partnership product line.
As we enter into the last month of this quarter and speed into the most critical quarter of the year, it would be a good time before this week ends to put a date into your early April calendar to take the team offsite for a day of thanks, congratulations, training and unfolding of a revised sales plan for the balance of the year. Let me know if we can assist in the planning, the facilitating and the training either at your location or one of ours.
Snowing like crazy now here!
2023 SALES PLANNING
For more than a few ideas and real fingers-in-the-dirt details, take a look at our free Writing the Winning Sales Plan for 2023.
Or you can just email me, and I will send you a free copy, and, of course, you can connect with me at any time for questions, comments or just catching up.
Connect with me at any time for some quick ideas and feedback.
There's never a cost for a call or two, plus I love listening and talking about Sales & Marketing.
Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts.