For all my sales colleagues out there, the dreaded moment has arrived. We have gone from hero to zero. Last year’s sales results are in. Hopefully we have exceeded our quotas and paved our way to the much-coveted President’s Club Trip. But no matter what the outcome- last year is history, your Sales VP has forgotten about your big wins from last year, and you are starting at 0% Quota Attainment for the year.
So what are you going to do about it? How are you going to find success? How are you going to put the chess pieces in place to ensure a checkmate before year’s end?
While this is as much a challenge for me as the next guy, with over 2 decades in a quota-bearing role, I’ve come up with some ideas that have worked over time. The key is your Annual Sales Plan, and here are a few of the critical elements:
- Full-Day Team Planning Session
- Account Plans
- Forecast Quarterly Deals
- Marketing Event Plans
- Learning Curriculum
Full-Day Team Planning Session
I covered this in one of my previous blogs, and here’s a recap:
One of the absolute gems that I figured out a couple years ago, was scheduling an all-day Workshop with your Team- which could include your SDR/BDR, Inside Sales Rep, CSM, Sales Engineer and whoever else contributes to your results. We’re talking about loading up on a Venti coffee that morning, bringing in lunch, snacks, and having laptops and a whiteboard ready to go. The best place to start is by identifying the top customers / prospects to target for the quarter. This is a great opportunity to enable the team to help mold the strategy, and get their buy-in. You can jointly research the accounts, to make sure which ones best fit your ICP (ideal customer profile). From there- you will fill out all the fields in a Google Sheet such as contacts, contact info, and key LinkedIn connections to help get you in the door. I know it’s tough to carve out an entire day to do this, but trust me- it pays off big time. My SDR’s have consistently been top performers in generating SQL’s (sales qualified leads), and we agree that the Prospecting Workshop is one of the main reasons.
Develop Account Plans
Do your homework. There is no longer a shortage of data on your accounts, it’s now a matter of scouring your research sources to find the signal from the noise. Identify the top decision makers that make up your buying committee at your top deals. Social map them to your network on LinkedIn and find out what makes them tick. Research the businesses of your top accounts like you’re conducting an MBA-level study on them. Figure out what’s working for them and the gaps that are preventing them from meeting their corporate goals. This will help link your solutions to the problems they’re trying to solve for. And if you’re already engaged in a deal with the account, build out your close plan. Detail the sequence of events between now and the day their executive will sign your deal.
Forecast Quarterly Deals
I know it’s early in the year to forecast all your deals for Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4, but hopefully you were prospecting and cultivating deals in Q4 of last year. With the view you have into your business, take a best guess as to what your target deals look like for every quarter. I know this is a leap of faith and a shot in the dark at best, but how can you make a target if you don’t have one? I chose 2 big deals to focus on in Q1 of last year for Q3 and Q4 that I had never spoken with, and guess what? Both closed for a total of almost $1M by year-end.
And don’t forget to update your CRM / Salesforce to reflect your quarterly forecasts, which will keep your bosses very happy 😊.
Marketing Event Plans
You should have fun with this one. Come up with some brilliant, groundbreaking new ideas for customer/prospect events, and share them with your marketing team. They’ll love your input. The more you’re invested in the event, the more attendance you’ll drive, and the more pipeline attribution will result to make your marketing team look good. And I’m not talking about planning those boring ‘ol lunch-n-learns at a local steakhouse, or tickets to a sporting event. Those have been way overdone, and don’t motivate the right execs to attend. I’m talking about breaking the mold- go race luxury sports cars, do something innovative and new. And while you’re at it, drop off something personalized to an executive you’re trying to reach- specifically centered around one of their unique interests. Works wonders.
How is it for the first 22 or so years of our lives, we were constantly learning, studying, doing homework, taking tests and challenging our minds for the majority of our days? Why is it that beyond our early 20’s that constant learning just stops? Most of our training during our career years consists of corporate mandated HR training and new hire training when we start a new job. This doesn’t have to be the case…
So with the new year upon us, it’s the perfect time to stop being complacent and come up with your own personal learning curriculum based on what will sharpen your skills for the year ahead. This could consist of corporate-provided training, product training, online classes on Lynda.com or a free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) like Udemy or Coursera. Or you could do something more in-depth by taking a class at a local university or extension program, or even get a certificate, degree or MBA. I earned 2 certificates from Cornell’s online program over the last couple years and found it to be highly beneficial.
In Summary… Raise a glass to your successes in 2019, and get ready to chart a new pathway to crushing your quota in 2020.
When Monday comes, go get your Venti latte at Starbucks, put on your AirPods with your favorite Spotify playlist queued up, and get ready to build your plan and successfully execute in the year to come. Good luck!
Does anyone have any other suggestions for a successful 2020 Plan worth sharing?