Many of us tidy our desks before taking time off from the office, especially for long durations such as the over the holidays. We organize our email inboxes, fill our recycling bins to the brim with papers have accumulated over months, set up “away” messages, and tie up loose ends. Cleaning your clutter clears your mind, and returning to an orderly desk allows you to work harder, tackle tough projects and be more productive, all with grace and ease.
Take the “clean desk” concept one step further, and envision yourself returning in the first week of the year not only to a pristine workspace, but also to a pre-developed sales plan for the new year. Imagine knowing your short-term and long-term soft and hard goals, exact target markets and revenue amounts, and having an assigned plan for each of your sales reps for the numbers they will make, monthly, quarterly and annually. Imagine having a trackable sales process with universal buy-in from the sales team, one that that is easy to check and allows you do have a transparent understanding of your sales funnel at any time. Finally, imagine a sales team with a common purpose and understanding of messaging and how to expertly handle every step in the sales process.
Having an organized and effective sales plan allows you as a sales manager/executive to take one a “30,000 foot view” approach, instead of worrying about the day-to-day efforts of your sales team. It is a common issue, management taking on an integral role in the sales efforts of their organizations. We have seen this manifest itself in many ways; common examples are management needing to go in the field to support weak reps who can’t close, having to review every proposal before it goes out the door because the rep doesn’t have a good understanding of client needs and how to map a solution accordingly, or constantly having to answer questions that the rep should already know the answer to.
Although it may seem impossible to step off the sales floor, it can be done. Whether you want to remove yourself entirely or you are the hands-on type who prefers to be more involved, there are solutions that allow you to be as integrated in sales as you wish, without it wreaking stress on you or taking away from your other responsibilities.
- Process: Clearly define the milestones in your selling process, from initial contact with the prospect to closing the sale, and map it to your buyer personas. Define each milestone in detail, then map the entire process to a universal CRM system.
- Playbook: Develop sales tools to assist throughout the sales process, from positioning your company/product to qualifying the sale to knowing the prospect. Assign the sales tools to the sales process milestones and train the sales force on both process and playbook.
- For Executive/Managers: develop your leadership traits, identify key team players and their business plans, reset your priorities and learn where to focus energy, and develop key metrics, a trackable process, and a long-term/short-term goals.
- For Sales Rep/Sales Team: train your team how to plan and organize their efforts in different time increments (i.e. daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly), ensure they know how to use sales tools throughout the sales process and track where they are with their leads.
Now’s the time to clear the clutter from your sales desk and make the new year a streamlined and productive one. Make 2016 your most successful year ever, and as always, Happy Selling!