When it comes to business planning, most CEOs and sales managers agree: they don’t want to be micro managers.
Asking sales reps to create a formal sales plan every quarter is sure to get glaring stares and many an eye roll. No one wants to be responsible for transforming top sellers into annoyed sales reps—especially during this first quarter where motivation is high.
At the same time, this request might just be exactly what your sales reps need! Requesting a quarterly sales planning presentation not only helps to keep overall business planning on track, but it also helps your sellers prepare for a strong quarter and it strengthens their presentation skills. In turn, your sales reps become better sellers—and you become a better sales leader (NOT a micro-manager!).
Business Planning for Sales Success
Sales managers are tasked with two primary goals.
- To do whatever it takes to ensure their team hits its sales quota every quarter (or month if you’re on monthly goals).
- To arm their sales reps with the information, organizational skills, structure and ironically, freedom as well, to help them to be top producers on the team and within the organization.
In order to accomplish both of the above, sales managers act as role models, function as mentors, and once in a while assign the difficult tasks—like creating business plans regularly.
Success takes planning, and business plans guide success.
So why are sales planning presentations so important to business planning? Here are a few points to consider.
They require your sales reps to take a hard, honest look at their pipeline each quarter and be realistic about what will and won’t close.
Focused sales planning will help your reps to prioritize top accounts and prospects.
By prioritizing accounts and prospects, sales reps are also able to create specific game plans for each account and prospect.
Sales plans often provide a wake-up call if a rep doesn’t have a strong pipeline. This allows you to tackle this issue together at the beginning of the quarter.
Presenting in front of others—be it senior leadership or even other sales reps—can be extremely nerve-racking. But this is actually a good thing. Practicing in front of the team helps reps to become more comfortable preparing and in turn will make reps feel smarter, stronger, and more confident.
To Plan or Not to Plan?
Ultimately, the choice is yours. As you prepare for the year, consider inviting your reps to embark on building sales plans.
We’d love to hear more about your experience either way. What is does your business planning process look like in terms of sales plans? Feel free to comment below.