A goal without a plan is only a wish. An effective sales action plan starts with collecting, measuring, and inspecting key success metrics that directly impact the end goal.
Have you ever noticed that some of the sayings you heard the most when you were growing up have turned out to be incredibly accurate? In this blog article, I want to focus on one that I absolutely grew sick and tired of hearing, and that was “People don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan.” I might not have liked hearing it over and over, but there is no arguing the accuracy of the statement.
And you really can’t argue the veracity of this axiom when it comes to sales action plans that are built from solid sales metrics. I am stunned (and perhaps I should not be) at the number of salespeople and sales organizations that do not operate with sales action plans. They simply come up with a number for a sales goal, and then they hope the team gets to that number. But as Rick Page wrote in his fabulous book by the same title, hope is not a strategy.
A strategy would be a sales plan that is built on sales behaviors that the sales team is expected to execute on a weekly basis. A strategy would be having a sales action plan that allows the sales leaders to hold their teams accountable with agreed-upon, reported sales metrics. A strategy would be knowing the critical conversion ratios in the sales process – meaning the number of first appointments that result in opportunities, the number of opportunities that reach the proposal stage, and the number of proposals that result in wins.
Every single step in the sales process can be measured, and the data you need is easy to collect. At Anthony Cole Training Group, we know that salespeople fail for one of two reasons:
- Lack of effort
- Lack of skill
Why not engineer out #1 by having a sales plan tied to weekly sales metrics? And if you don’t grab that data, how do you even begin to know which parts of your sales process need more coaching?
That sounds like a plan.