Thanksgiving shares several parallels to sales planning. Behind the scenes, many moving parts lead up to the big moment when family and friends sit down to enjoy the meal of the year. The key elements that streamline an enjoyable Thanksgiving dinner also provide valuable lessons that you can apply to your 2018 sales planning.
It’s About the Sides
Thanksgiving is not all about the turkey, just like sales planning is not all about the number. Your sales goal should act like the centerpiece and your sales plan like the sides.
To have a successful year, there are several “sides” your plan should have. Although stuffing is not one of them, here are other sales planning essentials:
- Previous year review
- This year’s sales goal broken down by quarter
- Initiatives to support the sales goal, such as training or CRM
- Tools that your sales team will use
- Sales budget and investments/resources needed
- Sales coverage model
- Roles and responsibilities
Make a Guest List
Usually, Thanksgiving guest lists end up with at least one unconventional dinner guest. And it’s always someone who likes to stir the pot or share alternative views that the rest of your guests may not agree with. Nonetheless, these guests keep the conversations interesting.
When it comes to sales planning, different views and opinions are healthy. In fact, we recommend seeking input from multiple sources—especially if their opinion is different from yours. This will shed light on other people and departments that will be affected by your sales plan. It’s also how fresh ideas emerge; when you get others involved, you create a common goal that connects and energizes people towards one common objective.
The following departments can provide valuable input to your sales plan: marketing, operations, financial, human resources, and the sales team.
The hardest thing about Thanksgiving is having every dish ready at the same time. Without planning in advance, the turkey won’t be ready, the stuffing will get cold, and your guests will get restless.
Similarly, to successfully execute the sales plan next year you need to think about timeline. To start, review your sales cycle and how long deals take to close. Consider slow periods that might affect the plan and busy times that can stop you from achieving other initiatives. All of this plays an important role in accurate planning and forecasting.
You should also break the plan into measurable goals—by week, quarter, and/or month. Make sure to regularly revisit the plan with your sales team in 1:1s and group meetings to evaluate performance and progress towards the goal.
Don’t Hide in The Kitchen
No Thanksgiving meal—and no sales plan—ever runs perfectly, and that’s not what Thanksgiving is about. At the end of the day, we gather over a shared dinner to recognize our blessings and appreciate the special people in our lives. You don’t want to miss out by being stuck in the kitchen.
Whether your burn the pie or have a bad quarter, you need to accept it and get back out there. Don’t hide behind a closed door. As a sales leader, you should be in the trenches with your team through the good and bad—celebrate wins and quickly adapt when things don’t go as planned.
Although our CEO cooks a mean turkey, we can’t help you with your Thanksgiving dinner. But we can certainly help you with your 2018 sales planning. If you need a third-party perspective and expertise to build your 2018 sales plan and strategy, contact Sales Result for a complimentary consultation. We’ll discuss your goals and give you tips to make 2018 your most successful year ever.