Most of us have just about finished the arduous task of submitting our revenue plan (or revenue guess) for 2019.
Now what? I think that the next few weeks are critical to really set the stage for how you’ll make the number you submitted.
I found a great quote this week from a fantastic speaker and writer, Joe Calloway. (I love his book, Be the Best at What Matters the Most: The Only Strategy You Will Ever Need.)
Calloway says, “The ultimate purpose of strategy is to create an intense focus on the few things that matter the most.”
An INTENSE focus on the things that matter the most. I see way too many sales managers almost frantically trying to win 30 different fights when they would likely be more successful if they identified the fights they absolutely needed to win and focused on absolutely making sure they won those.
Getting ready to win those fights should be a big priority now that budgets have been submitted. Said another way, “How can we make things happen rather than wait to have them happen to us.”
What are your KEY fights? Your market position and the quality of your team will determine some of them. I’ll list a few below that might be on your list, but the key thing is that you can’t have ten. The more things you call important, the more likely it is that nothing will get accomplished. Remember Calloway’s line… an INTENSE focus on the things that matter most. It’s always better to execute well on 3-4 big things than to be average on a list of 10.
Here are some of the things that I think should be on your list:
1. Do I have the right people?
As Jim Collins taught us in his book, Good to Great, having the right people on the bus (and in the right seats) is key. As I’ve written before, today’s C player is a D in two years as the business gets more challenging. And someone on your team who doesn’t want to play in digital or new business the way you need, may be that C player, even if they handle a big list. There’s nothing more important than the quality of your people.
2. Where’s the lower hanging fruit in my transactional business?
Are there a few accounts where the demo match gives us an opportunity for increased share?
What zero share accounts should we be focused on right now to work to change for 2019. Even if we’ve already lost Q1, there’s still lots of 2019 left.
3. What is my plan to dramatically increase my new business?
This is the biggie.
Get specific. How many asks? What does the average $$ ask need to be? What’s the current closing % and how can we improve it? If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. This is hugely important.
What skills/resources do we need to work on to get our team prepared?
What categories are we targeting? Are our AE’s effective prospectors? Do they know how to leave voicemail messages that get returned?
4. Do I have realistic expectations for when this business is going to be written?
What % needs to be written in each quarter?
Be realistic. Lots of your Q4 new biz sales won’t run this year.
Critical importance of winning Q1. You can’t wait until July to focus on new biz. That’s too late.
5. How can I grow my digital business?
Since every business needs digital, it expands our prospect base. That’s good unless our people spend too much time with smaller opportunities that won’t lead to much.
Are your people totally sold on the value of your digital products? If not, what’s your plan to get them there.
6. What are the major product fights you need to win?
Do you have major sales promotions? How can you make the launch of them huge?
How do you maximize the business development opportunities of having your JDA consultant in your market (for our clients, obviously)?
How can you make key products like football bigger than ever? What can you do to increase excitement and belief for your key sports franchises well before the sales season begins?
I’m sure there are other questions that you can add to the list depending on your specific situation. But this list should be a good thought starter.
Here’s the bottom line for this message. In 2019, you cannot let business just happen. The best leaders have a plan. The best leaders are taking a step backward from the day-to-day focus of sales management to take a realistic look at their team. It’s a more strategic approach to leadership, and it’s one that these times require.
One final thought. A decade ago, in the middle of the last recession, I spoke to a client group in a southern market. That morning, I met the owners of two different furniture stores. One was bemoaning the economy and shared how crappy his business was. Just 5 minutes later, the second store owner told me that sales were up a fair amount and he believed the economic challenges were giving him an opportunity to grow market share. That day, I was reminded of one of my smartest car dealers who taught me this: “Just because sales are down by 10%, nobody ever said it had to be mine. They’re buying something from somebody. It’s my job to make sure it’s with us.”
An attitude of a winner. That probably makes whatever strategy you pick work a whole lot better.
Hope these thoughts help as you set the plan in place to actually over-perform on those 2019 goals.
Have a GSM or GM meeting in your future? Why not have Jim Doyle or John Hannon speak to your meeting about how to turn your sales staff into a Sales FORCE? We promise powerful, thought-provoking content customized to your company’s needs. Contact Jim Doyle at email@example.com or call 941-926-SELL.