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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Plans are Worthless, but Planning is Everything

plans are worthless but planning is everythingHandling an Account List is much like running a small business whose performance is the result of the owner’s initiative, resourcefulness and choices.  As a business person it is important to identify which opportunities are subject to your influence…and then determine what actions to take to ensure that your influence will have effect.

As you plan for 2013, I urge you to consider going beyond spreadsheets and forms and include decisions about which activities are going to pay off for you and then determine and deploy the resources to accomplish your goals.

A four step process that will help you plan for growth in the next year:

  1. Know your Strategy/Strategic Position
  2. Determine what Skill Development will support your strategy
  3. Identify Profit Drivers and create a process to ensure you’re maximizing profitability
  4. Implement your plan

Your Strategy or Strategic Position should be based on what is happening in the marketplace now.   Keep in mind that great fortunes have been made by simple shifts in strategy. 

To zero in on a strategy that will work for you here are some questions to ask yourself:  

  • Who are the core decision makers? 
  • What offerings will they value most in 2013? 
  • What are the current buying criteria they are considering for your product? 
  • Are you a preferred vendor?  Is there an unfilled need or opportunity?
  • What do you want to be known for? 

Once you know your strategic position it should be easy to identify the skill development you will need in order to actualize your strategy.  If your strategy is going to be to close more business, the skills you might want to work on are negotiation, mini closing, presentation skills, building value and desire for your product/service.  If your strategy is to specialize in a certain business category, then your skill development will be focused on learning as much about that business category as you can.

Driving profit is something professional sellers often overlook.  The opportunity to do so exists in the DELIVER step of the our sales process and the best practices in driving profits include having a process that enables you to consistently ask for referrals, or a process that enables you to upsell existing clients, or motivate repeat customers through a client retention program. 

Dwight Eisenhower said that “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”  What makes plans worthless is lack of execution.  What makes planning priceless is that it gives you the power of anticipation; gets you ahead of the events and enables you to exercise control over the outcomes.  Without a plan, you are simply responding to what is happening, not controlling the outcome, but simply managing it.

Each of us is responsible for the outcomes in our life,

are you feeling good about your plans for 2013?

 

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Topics: annual planning sales performance sales management Sales