A sales rep may know their sales goal, but are their daily sales activities aligned with that goal?
As a sales leader, there’s a lot you can do to help your team align their activities to their goals. Here are three best practices.
Use Prospecting Action Plans
A monthly Prospecting Action Plan is a simple resource that allows sales reps to take a step back and look at their goals strategically. Effective selling requires planning.
A Prospecting Action Plan helps focus prospecting and sales activities and creates a log of actions and impacts that sales reps can use with their managers to refine their processes. Over time, reps and managers will be able to compare plans against outcomes and see where they can improve.
Sales reps should draft Prospecting Action Plans monthly and review them with their managers in one-on-one meetings.
To develop a Prospecting Action Plan, reps will first need to identify their ideal targets. Next, they’ll identify 3-5 desired outcomes for the month, then list the potential assets they will use to help achieve that goal. Next, they’ll identify some potential pitfalls that could prevent them from achieving their goal. Finally, reps will list the individual behaviors for success and set specific and measurable goals for each.
Here’s a sample of what a Prospecting Action Plan might look like.
- Identified at least six new prospects
- Qualified at least three significant opportunities
- Closed at least two opportunities
- Identified an entry point for getting onto the board of directors of a charitable organization
- Added value to at least ten existing network partners
- Added at least one new person to my network of partners
- My manager
- My coach
- Internal subject matter expert
- My network
- Specific network partner
- New product launch
- Marketing team
- Getting comfortable and relaxing my prospecting activity
- Firefighting; not being proactive
- Giving in too easily
- Be more intentional and persistent
- Block off prospecting and selling time each week on my calendar
- Spend at least four hours a week brainstorming potential new prospects
- Push myself beyond my comfort zone
- Prepare for sales meetings as much as I do for client meetings
- Make at least one difficult/challenging call every day, as early as possible
- Complete a day-opening and day-closing process every day
- Perform at least four different prospecting or sales activities every day
- Reach out to 4 contacts in my network to explore joining a board of directors
You might notice that the Goals section is listed in the past tense. This is a trick some people use to help them “pull the future into the present.” It’s a subtle tweak in phrasing, but helps maintain strong intentionality by declaring the goal as already accomplished. Try it and see if it works for you!
If you have a Sales PlayBook, that can be a great place for reps to post their Prospecting Action Plans. Each rep should have a personal page that only they and their manager can see.
Provide Weekly Coaching & Accountability
Once your sales reps have developed monthly Prospecting Action Plans, you’re not done. A monthly plan is generally still too big to keep someone focused—sales reps need weekly accountability.
Each sales rep should have a coach, which could be their manager or someone else, who checks in weekly. The coach provides accountability, support, and feedback. They’re like a personal trainer or fitness buddy, just making sure the rep stays on track.
You might consider asking your sales reps to set weekly goals, which typically consist of specific sales activities that support the monthly Prospecting Action Plan. This may seem like overkill, but it really keeps reps focused and accountable.
Again, if you have a Sales PlayBook, sales reps can post their goals on their personal pages so they are visible to their managers. This transparency can really help boost accountability.
Use KPIs and Leading Indicators to Monitor Sales Activities
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are an essential element to monitoring sales activities and aligning them to sales goals. It’s easy, though, to get caught up in tracking too many sales activities and lose focus on your sales goals.
This is where leading indicators come in.
As you track KPIs over time, you will be able to see which indicators result in future changes, and how they relate. For example, you might see that when meeting requests double, closed deals three months later increase by 30%.
When you have identified leading indicators, you have a powerful predictor of new business. Use leading indicators to plan for future growth and expansion. And watch for any dips—they will result in future problems. Your earliest leading indicators give you time to make up for mistakes before they turn into catastrophes.