Let's start with agreeing that simply hoping that things will go back to the way they used to be is not a strategy you can count on.
Here are the 7 key strategies for building your successful 2012 revenue plan:
Build an actual plan: Don’t just make a list of things that you need to remember to do. Instead, commit to building a revenue plan to which you can hold yourself accountable. This means you will need to be highly-specific and review your plan at least once a month to see how you are doing.
Focus: Examine all of your current capabilities to generate revenue. Chances are you will identify capabilities that are currently performing well but also have the potential to perform even better if given more time and focus. You will also probably uncover some capabilities that take up a lot of time and do not produce a good return on that investment. Bring laser-sharp focus to your plan, and commit to doing 5 things amazingly well rather than 25 things that are just “okay.”
Talent: This is the first T in our proven success formula (Talent + Training + Tactics = Sales Performance), and it specifically addresses the unique strengths of your people. There is indisputable evidence that a sales organization can only be as strong as the people that comprise it, so this is the time to examine your team and confirm that you have the right talent onboard to achieve success. Once you are certain that you do, ask yourself:
Do I have the right people working with the right accounts to maximize the effort?
Do I have enough sales people on my team to accomplish this plan?
Growth and Training: No doubt your revenue plan will include many strategies to grow revenue, but don’t forget the importance of growing your people as well. The second “T” of our performance formula, “Training,” is a key component. Remember, if there is no room for growth here, your revenue plan will have to rely solely on market growth and economic recovery. Examine each of your current salespeople and pay close attention to:
Their talent (the potential they can achieve with training)
Their skills (the abilities they have already realized)
With those two pieces of the puzzle in place, you will be able to determine your opportunities for revenue improvement if you were to focus on skill development.
Talk with your best clients: Sit down with your best clients and ask them what they see in the year ahead and how you might better meet their needs under those conditions. If you ask open-ended business questions and do a lot of listening, you will hear ideas for strategies and tactics that belong in your plan.
Be Open-minded: Remember, “More of the same gets you more of the same.” Consider what else you could do, and take every opportunity to try something new. Would your team benefit from a new type of hire? A new capability? Maybe a new sales tactic? The key here is to step out of your current situation entirely and look at it with a new set of eyes.
Tactics are key: But you have to be careful and make sure that your chosen tactics drive revenue while still supporting your overall sales strategy. Those that do will provide amazing lift, while tactics that challenge your overall strategy will serve only to frustrate your sales department and fail to pay off. If you will commit to using these 7 ideas when building your 2012 revenue plan, you will find that you have put yourself in the best position for 2012 revenue success.
For more ideas on how to improve sales performance in the new year, download our Sales Performance White Paper.