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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Improving Sales Performance: Sales Calendars and Sales Planning

Improving Sales Performance Sales Calendars and Sales Planning

Many large-scale surveys routinely find time management skills are among the most desired workforce skills, but also among the rarest skills to find.

It comes as no surprise that one of the biggest challenges sales leaders face is time management. And while there are many articles and time management tools readily available, there’s also the old-fashioned sales calendar.

In case you missed Episode 2 of the Improving Sales Performance series, here’s a breakdown of the conversation that host, Matt Sunshine and guest, Trey Morris had on what a sales calendar is and how it can help improve sales performance.

A True Sales Expert

Trey Morris is a Senior Consultant for The Center for Sales Strategy (CSS). He is often described as a leader, creative storyteller, and true sales expert.

He has spent 25+ years in broadcasting and advertising by holding every significant sales role in the sales funnel. He’s sold advertising, managed radio station sales teams, ran his own full-service advertising agency, been a Chief Marketing Officer, and successful entrepreneur.

Weekly Sales PlanWhat is a Sales Calendar?

Morris defines a sales calendar as “A centralized sales planning tool that is used by managers and salespeople to plan big events and initiatives that you have throughout the year but gives priority to what’s important and when it’s important.”

A sales calendar tracks all major sales opportunities for the year every month. It gives you better visibility of what you should be doing, when to do it, and who owns it.

As Sunshine quotes within the segment, “I can tell your priorities by looking at your calendar. If it’s important, you should have it tracked.”

Obstacles with a Sales Calendar

How often do you get to the end of the week feeling like you’ve worked 60+ hours only to fall short of not hitting your goals?

Building, maintaining, and using a sales calendar properly can make the difference in whether you meet sales goals. The challenge is that sales calendars are not urgent, and we get out of the habit and routine of using them.

According to Morris, the three obstacles that get in sales leaders' way of building, maintain, and using a sales calendar are:

  • Time
  • Priorities
  • Benefits are underestimated

When you build a sales calendar, you must prioritize what’s important and plan ahead and we’re just not good at that!

How to Build a Sales Calendar

Great sales leaders let go of more tasks and use more time to coach, strategize, and plan.Sales Leaders: Click Here for an Ongoing Guidebook

To build a sales calendar, you must compile all the sales initiatives and opportunities that you have each year. Today's technology and various sales calendar templates make this easier than ever, the hard part is prioritizing them. According to Morris, you have to ask yourself, what’s the biggest rock that you put in first?

You have to figure out what the three to six initiatives and opportunities that you’re going to focus on are as a sales team and put them on the calendar. You put each month’s initiative and what’s important, then you determine these four things:

  • Who is in charge of the initiative?
  • What’s the planning window?
  • When is the initiative?
  • What’s the financial impact?

The key to building a sales calendar is not to have too many initiatives at once because your sales team will not be able to focus on what’s truly important.

If everything is urgent nothing is urgent.

How to Present a Sales Calendar to Your Sales Team

Once your sales calendar is complete and you have buy-in from various departments and leadership, you schedule a kick-off meeting (or big event) for the entire team.

Salespeople crave stability and reassurance and planning is proven to help reduce uncertainty and stress. This is your opportunity to step-up and lay out a plan that shows all big sales initiatives for the year. Not only can you share objectives and goals in the meeting, but it’s a time to get your team excited about the things you’re focusing on in the coming year.

Click on the episode below as Morris gives a more in-depth overview of how to keep presenting your sales calendar during the sales process.

Make Your Sales Calendar Part of Your Sales Success

Episode 2 of the Improving Sales Performance series covers:

  • What is a sales calendar
  • Why a sales calendar is important
  • Obstacles of maintaining and using a sales calendar
  • The steps of building a sales calendar and rolling it out

Lastly, Sunshine and Morris talk about how sales leaders can truly make a sales calendar an important piece of their sales success.

“If you don’t believe in having a sales calendar planning a year, allocating resources, creating visibility and stability for your team then don’t do it,” advises Morris. “If you’re not bought into the idea, and you can’t embrace it, then don’t spend time doing something you’re not going to use.”

It’s extremely important to plan out your year, but sales calendars are only valuable if you use and adjust them.

Don’t miss another episode of the Improving Sales Performance series where Managing Partner Matt Sunshine speaks with thought leaders, experts, and industry gurus, who share their insight, tips, and knowledge on various topics that help companies improve sales performance.  

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Topics: sales performance annual plannning