Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Personal Sales Plan

Here is an interesting question: “Do you have a personal sales plan for the year?” The reason I ask is this, I have been managing sales people for almost two decades and in that time I have encounter very few sales executives that take the time to develop a personal sales plan. What does almost everyone do? They take the quota given them by the company they work for, they read the compensation plan developed by the company for the benefit of the company and they figure out how to make a living. This seems counter intuitive to me. As the Buddhist monk reportedly stated, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

The best sales people know when accelerators kick in and maximize their effort to make over target income. These people many times completely ignore the myriad of advice they have been given concerning a balanced personal and business life. They feel money will buy happiness. It doesn’t buy happiness it just eliminates some unhappiness.

I start out every year having my sales people write a Personal Sales Plan. It starts backwards…what do you want to earn this year? According to the Compensation Plan how much do you have to sell and of what? What’s the average value of a sale? How many sales do you have to make to meet your goal? What’s your specific close ratio? How many proposals do you have to write to close the right number of sales? And so on down to the specific lead generation active you need to engage in to have qualified prospect for proposals.

Of course this means that you have to do something sales people, right up to the executive level, hate to do, a little book keeping. Keep a simple Excel worksheet of exactly what you are doing. Compare it with your plan. Are your ratios correct, are your averages high or low, is the activity level where it needs to be? Make adjustments on a monthly basis. Make sure you can measure each tracking element. If you don’t have access to the information, you can’t validate your performance. The whole plan becomes meaningless.

It is easier to manage your personal life if you understand where your business life is heading. If you know you want to go to the cape during the summer, you look at your Personal Sales Plan, accelerate some activities, and go on vacation knowing it’s all taken care of.

“Good plans shape good decisions. That's why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true” - Lester R. Bittel, The Nine Master Keys of Management
Winning is the Science of being Prepared

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