Thursday, February 25, 2010

Plan Goals and Plan On The Means Of Hitting Them

We may be nearing the end of February, but it's never too late to make new goals and reassess old ones. This advice from sales trainer Tibor Shanto will help get you on the goal-setting (and goal-keeping) track!

"Companies and individuals spend way too much time on setting goals, and not nearly enough time on the means to achieve said goals," says Shanto. "This isn't a Zen thing where the journey is "more" than destination or arriving. It is based on the practical reality that most tend to feel that having a goal is half way there to achieving it. Yes, it is important to set goals, near term and long term, but having a game plan, a playbook that will help you get there is more important."

"When you ask most salespeople how they plan to achieve their goal, they will tell you that they will work harder, work smarter, leverage their relationships, or other cliches. When you drill down for specifics, you get the nervous laughter or smile. Very few talk to you about reviewing their territories and adjusting. While not exhaustive, here are some things to consider, no let me rephrase that, here are some things to execute."

Start by reviewing you account base, intimately know your top clients, and fire the bottom 10%. No really, these bottom 10% suck up you most valuable resources. Understand what your churn rate is, not only who is likely to disappear from your base in 12 months, but why. Is it attrition, which needs to be replaced; is it mergers and acquisitions which could leave you flat or down in revenues, and again a need to replace. How much of the churn can be made up from the base, with existing buyers or new pockets within client companies, how much will require the acquisition of new leads?

Segment your territory at least by size of company and type of products/offerings bought. There could be a host of other factors, but these two allow you to plan your time and resources. In a very general way, small clients and small buys will deliver smaller sales in less time than a large company will with "formal buying processes" buying bigger dollar amounts. You may find that it makes sense to have two small opportunities in your pipe for every large one, or you may not, you really won't know until you do the exercise.

Another output you get from the exercise above is a clear picture of what your best prospects look like. As you do this over time, you will also learn which and when some of you existing clients may grow, and how to leverage that; conversely which may fall off and when. For example, a simple indicator may be time to payment. If you notice that a client who extends their payments from 15 days to 30 days, generally reduce order size within three months, you know that you have to prepare for that by finding the volume elsewhere.

You can combine many of these data points to discover the Yield Per Call, based on the nature of the account, volume or dollars per call, and more. The aim here is to have a blended pipeline that will allow you to get to your goal, and your company's goal in the most efficient and profitable way.

Planning your goals and setting them is not easy, but planning the means of hitting goals set is paramount.

Tibor Shanto brings over 20 years of sales experience to Renbor Sales Solutions Inc., from telemarketing to leading a global sales team focused on providing top end solutions. Tibor has helped to improve performance for sales professionals in a wide variety of fields, from financial services to on-line B2B specialists.

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