Right about now most companies who rely heavily on their sales-forces to drive profits are preparing for that 2nd half of the year push, I’m currently working with a client who is expecting an end of year boom. What often amazes me is how often companies I’ve worked will put in place the same exact strategy, tactics, and execution strategies from the prior year especially if the prior year was a successful one. In the “Sales Business” it’s pretty much guaranteed that something is going to change in the marketplace that you did not expect and preparing for such a surprise can be difficult, but NOT preparing for it can be devastating. There are of course a million ways to approach any given year in terms of sales business planning and I’ve always felt that such planning takes more than one or two people but an entire team. Yes, you do have your turf-battles, office politics, and what I call “Fake Leadership” during the last sales business planning push, however, this too is part of the process in determining the best path for the next year. This process is also a good way to find out who are your most competent people. One thing is clear cutting and pasting what you did last year during this time and placing that in your planning for this 2nd half push is…..INSANITY!
There are basic principles that should be considered when planning that 2nd half of the year push:
I. Brand Strategies
a) What are the brand strategies going into the remainder of the year? Have they been pressure checked (e.g. market researched, ATU, corporately vetted etc)?
b) Re-evaluating core message strategies, which message(s) resonate (e.g. market research).
c) A well establish SWOT Analysis, and Strategic Imperatives should be completed prior to building the final sales strategy.
II. Customer Segmentation Strategies
a) A re-visit of your customer base, is there a new customer base? Is the customer base “Stale”? How do we create a uniqueness with existing customer base?
b) “Granular Targeting”, do we pare down our customer base for more focused targeting? Which customers should we spend the most resources on? Which customers do we drop?
c) Do we conduct “VOC” (Voice of Customer) market research? Or Customer ATU’s? This of course is especially critical for new product launches.
III. People Strategies
a) Vacancy Rates and “A-Players Attainment” strategies should be discussed.
b) IC plans, bonus structures, and possible year “Spiff Programs” examined.
c) Personal/Career Development planning discussions. Development plans should be completed prior going into next year. Possible promotions and separations discussed.
d) Evaluation of Training, sales training schedule for following year should be reviewed.
IV. Forecasting Strategies
a) Establishing realistic but aspirational forecasts on promoted brand(s)
b) Forecast should always be based on potential Market Demand and PEOPLE. Marketing resources and sales support should be considered as a priority, however, determining following year market behavior and salespeople should be considered 1st in forecast planning.
c) Importantly, Forecasting should ALWAYS line up with Brand Strategies, Customer Segmentation Strategies, and Personnel Strategies, which is why it’s brought up in the rear after all other strategies have been completed.
DRIVING 2ND HALF OF THE YEAR SALES!!
These are just some basic preparation strategies you can use to finish strong the 2nd half of the year!
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(AH2 & Beyond Consulting)