By Heyden Enochson
Part 3: Test and Refresh Your Sales Plan

Organizational growth strategies require a sales plan, especially if you’re selling products or services that solve a customer problem. With the end of Q2 approaching, most organizations, including their sales departments, are refreshing their annual strategic plans. It’s a good time to look at what’s transpired in the previous six months, what’s changed both internally and externally, refresh goal targets if needed, and refine your execution strategies.

Great sales leaders are on top of their numbers. They know where they’re winning, why, and what their performance scorecard looks like. Staying front-and-center in your organization’s strategy efforts ensures you’re adjusting the sales plan accordingly.

Obviously you’ll want to tie the two efforts together. Whether you’re behind plan, or even at plan, here are a few suggestions for added ammunition in muscle-building your mid-year sales plan:

Do I have the right people? Sales effectiveness starts with having the right people in the right roles. Great hunters don’t make great gatherers. And top performers aren’t always the best sales managers. Now’s a good time to quickly move out low performers, hire talent that fits the ideal profile, and make sure you have the right people on the bus and they’re sitting in the right seats.

Are they doing the right things? Now’s the time to assess the actions and activities supporting your sales goals. Are the current activities driving the desired outcomes? Do the activities focus on the right customer segments? Talk with front-line managers and reps themselves. If adjustments are needed, update your plan to reflect those changes, how they’ll be measured, and who is accountable to them.

Are they supported by the right processes? The experience of prospects and customers is only as good as the processes used to support them. Sure, the relationships of sales reps matter, but they can’t cover up bad processes. Consider mapping out the customer experience end-to-end from discovery, qualification, acquisition, to fulfillment. Where are the choke holds? Who can you work with to get them fixed?

Do they have the right tools? Hitting numbers means closing deals. And closing deals means your reps have the right tools to communicate the value of the purchase. Have a huddle with front-line managers and sales reps. What’s missing from the tool kit? How confident are you that having these tools would impact conversions? If you’re feeling strong about the outcome, state your business case with the people required to build them. Be sure to update departmental plans to capture ownership and accountability.

If you’re ahead of plan don’t get over confident. Being even-keeled leaves your sales team vulnerable to the unexpected. Understand why you’re ahead of plan, what’s supporting it, and how it can be leveraged to ensure continued success. Replicating the small things can have a big difference in the long run.

Pairing your customer segmentation from Part 2 with these questions will give your sales strategy the muscle it needs so you can reach your strategic growth in the remaining half of 2016.

Heyden Enochson

Heyden works as OnStrategy’s Communications Manager, focusing on developing and executing effective customer and website communications. Heyden brings with him a design and marketing background in addition to developing integrated marketing communication plans.