Sales executives who routinely attain or out-perform their goals – especially those in recurring Revenue businesses – take steps in Q4 of the previous year or early in Q1 of the new year, to maximize their chances of getting a strong start to the year.
These steps are in addition to generating enough motivational energy to light up a team twice the size of what they actually have, and being sure to augment firmness with sympathetic humor and the comradery of group challenge.
Use the data and experience from the previous year to see how to improve and to better predict what might happen in the new one. This includes:
In addition, how did we do as a Sales team and individually in optimizing not only our own efficiency and effectiveness but setting the broader team up for success:
For each of these “why nots”, put a plan in place to get to 100% in the new year. Your Sales attainment – and your broader team’s delivery performance – will improve, as will your esprit de corps. There’s nothing like winning, and helping your comrades win, to generate confidence and spirit.
No doubt there is an existing run-rate of business for the new year:
Together, these might total 20% of the year’s Revenue goal, or 80%. If the former, then the Marketing and Sales plans for the new year must be robust. If the latter, then the year’s Revenue goal is probably too low, and for that reason the Marketing and Sales plans for the year must also be robust.
Thankfully, for the Sales executive, plans for the new year are simple and concrete in nature:
The sum of this activity of course meets or exceeds the budgeted Revenue goal.
In addition, these plans, and the activities that lead to their successful attainment, make up the KPIs which underpin the Sales compensation plans – both base and incentives – for each person and for the team as a whole. This extends all the way up through Sales management to the senior-most position in the company, the CEO. A major part of their incentive compensation should be based on attaining the bottom-line profit dollars, and profit percent, that the Revenue goals deliver. This creates alignment up and down the ranks, which further helps assure attainment and enables proper management and motivation.
The high-performing Solution Providers across all 10 Predominant Business Models™, most commonly use a Sales model which has separate Hunter and Farmer1 roles; each person on the team is one or the other. None are both; in other words, they tend not to have individuals in hybrid hunter/farmer roles, who can say, “I win a new account and then keep it.” There are a half-dozen reasons why this model produces the best results, but in this article we’ll simply focus on planning with Hunters and Farmers, for the new year.
Both Hunters and Farmers should individually present their plan for the new year, as a “business plan” to the group, that is, to their peers and Sales management:
Of course, the Sales executive has helped each Sales person develop and refine their plans, so that what each presents is “double A”: Aggressive but Attainable, as well as complete and well thought-out and -presented.
At the same time, the Sales executive has aligned each plan with the individual’s Sales compensation plan, explained their compensation plan to each individual, and gotten their agreement that it, too, is aggressive but attainable, and a win for both the company and the Sales person. The additional goal is that the Sales person can then explain it to their spousal equivalent. As with all roles in the company, high performance involves family support, and so the spousal equivalent must be able to understand the compensation plan as well.
None of this is done in a vacuum; the Sales executive’s success – and that of the company as a whole – is tied inextricably to the performance of the other executives in the company: Services, Finance, Operations and to the CEO’s:
As each Sales person did with their Sales peers and leader, now the Sales executive must present their plan for the Sales year to their peers and leader, and get buy-in or adjust the plan accordingly. No doubt they have worked with the CEO in advance to make sure this goes smoothly and successfully.
The compensation plans for the executives should be aligned such that when one wins, the others win, and so that when they win, the company wins.
These are the methods by which top-performing Sales executives attain good-to-great results, year after year. Ultimately, with such performance, Sales executives can usually earn more than their non-Sales peers, and in some cases more than the CEO.
Often, they become candidates for inclusion in the CEO succession plan, if they so choose. This is because they not only attain results, but have done so by forming positive and influential relationships with their senior management peers. To be spontaneously nominated by one’s peers to become the leader of the group, is the highest form of attainment, after consistently meeting or beating budgeted goals.
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1 If the firm is a small-business-focused Managed Services Provider, then 100% of the farming can and should be done by Virtual CIOs, who report to Service but are managed and compensated much like Sales farmers.
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