This time of year business owners are busy establishing goals for the New Year. Most can look at historical data to determine what sales goal is possible for their companies to achieve, as they want to grow at a pace equal to or better than the previous year. Some ask their sales team for input. Others just communicate the goal the team needs to achieve. Some will get lucky, while others will be disappointed when their sales team trends behind goal.
So, how do you get your sales team to be accountable? It starts with leadership understanding exactly where growth will come from.
Reaching a goal takes clear vision and a plan for how to get there.
Define where new growth comes from
Most businesses sell products and services across multiple industries. Not all product lines are growing or profitable. Not all industries are emerging — some may be stagnant or shrinking. Sometimes there is market saturation that prevents a company from growing a particular product or in a specific geographic region. An aggressive competitor may be eroding market share.
A sales and marketing strategy for winning market share from competitors is different than acquiring untapped market share.
Will new business come from your current customers or new relationships? It’s also important to look at your historical customer attrition rate and factor that into the equation.
Armed with this information, an organization can begin to lay the foundation of a plan of action.
Establish the plan
My experience has been that most companies need to develop new customer relationships to realize the majority of their growth goal. Let’s focus there.
Look at the average annual sales volume by customer type so you know how many new customers the company needs to reach its sales goal. When you understand, for example, that $1 million in new business equates to 10 new customers, it’s easier to understand what activity it will take to secure those relationships. Knowing this provides a key piece in the planning puzzle.
Next, determine what has to be accomplished in order to win these new clients. How many prospects? How many calls? How many leads? How many new prospect meetings? How many proposals?
Establish milestones and metrics to track how accomplishments are trending compared to goal.
Managing behaviors, tasks
With the exception of February, there are about 22 workdays in a month. What your sales team needs to do every day should be planned, understood and measured — but not necessarily micro-managed.
At the end of the day, you need to know that the right level of activity occurred to assure the sales goal is on track for the day, week, month, quarter and year. We assume our sales people know this, but the majority don’t.
If you have a sales manager, this is his or her role. If you don’t, assign it to someone who can ensure your sales team is moving toward the company’s growth goal.
Kelly Borth is the CEO and Chief Strategy Officer of GREENCREST, a 25-year-old brand development, strategic and interactive marketing and public relations firm that turns market players into market leaders.