For those of you who make a habit of reading my mental meanderings you will find this post a bit repetitive but it is December and January 2009 looms large, especially for salespeople and sales managers. If your fiscal year ends at the end of this month then you’re probably spending a fair amount of your time sewing up any last minute PO’s that need closing. With that and Xmas shopping you’re busy. I get that, but do you really want to start 2009 without a clue in the world as to how you’re going to make plan?
I was reminded of this because I am in the process of documenting the 2009 sales plan for my client. The scope of this particular plan is huge with enough variables to drive a sales manager crazy. But the question is what are you or your salespeople doing to ensure that you make plan for 2009?
I have to admit that I am a walking oxymoron when it comes to plans because when I do a sales plan with a client I start with the small stuff and work up to the grand finale but I suggest to salespeople that they do the opposite-start at the top and work down. The top to me is what income do you want to earn in 2009. It has always seemed like a joke to me when sales managers give salespeople their targets for the year and the salespeople immediately sit down and hit the calculator to figure out what they’ll earn if they make plan. THAT IS BOGUS, CRAZY, AND UTTERLY RIDICULOUS SO PLEASE STOP DOING IT THAT WAY!
And I know what you’re thinking. Salespeople typically sandbag when it comes to forecasting and they will continue to do it that way until sales managers give them a valid reason to look at forecasting from the perspective of potential income the rep can earn rather than what they will earn if they make the company number. Working down from income (that a rep wants to make) makes sense only if the sales manager and salespeople develop a sales strategy that focuses on what sales activities the salesperson has to do daily and weekly in order to achieve the desired income.
It’s tempting to continue this line of thought in this post but the aforementioned plan for my client needs some time today so that takes priority. I’ll follow up on this post with another at the end of next week on the same topic. Enjoy your weekend!
Excuse the slight profanity in the the final thought but it has meaning in the context of the quote. And thanks to the US Army for the 6 P’s.
The Final Thought: Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.