Set up sales comp plans. Redesign territories. Increase headcount. All these things are important for you and your team to figure out.

 

You have the benefit of hindsight from last year. Some things worked and the time was worth it. Others bombed and you don’t want to waste the time on them this year. Maybe they failed because your team wasn’t ready. You ended up spending a lot of time and getting few results.

 

You’d like to avoid this in the future. Here’s a way to help you save time when picking sales projects.

 

This post helps CEO’s answer the question: Are we ready for this?

 

Also, you will get the Sales Improvement Readiness Tool. It will help you determine which initiatives your team is ready to tackle. It will save you from spending precious time on projects with low probability for success. Both the session and the tool focus on:

 

  1. Making good decisions quickly
  2. Removing the risk of investing time in a failed project
  3. Picking projects that can get executed

 

 sales improvement readiness cta1

 

The image below highlights the annual sales planning process best-in-class companies use. During the research tour, we will cover this in more detail. For the purposes of this post, focus on the “Sales Improvement Priority List.” These are all the sales initiatives you can focus on next year. Before investing the time, you want to determine if your team is ready to execute.

 

describe the image

 

Prioritizing Your Initiatives

The way to do this is through the Sales Improvement Readiness Test. This tool helps you evaluate your decision across four areas. It will prevent you from wasting time on projects your team can’t execute.

 

  1. Project Readiness
  2. Business Impact
  3. People
  4. Cost

 

Project Readiness

Project readiness is focused on the project itself. The scope of the undertaking. Ability to meet timelines. Buy-in from the team. Prior experience completing similar projects.

If you’re concerned the project is too ambitious, this is where you’ll vet it.

 

Business Impact

Operation focuses on the impact to the business. Disruption. Third party reliances. Leadership turnover.

If you’re wondering if this is going to upset the apple cart, this will help.

 

People

This is about your team’s ability to pull the project off. Skill sets. Resources. Resistance. Ability to communicate effectively.

If you don’t think you have the horses in the barn, this will tell you.

 

Cost

Here, you’re focusing on the expense of the project. There’s the proposal, then there’s everything else. Unbudgeted expenses. Time to results. Forecasted benefits.

If your CFO or board are questioning the spend, here’s your solution.

 

Using the Sales Improvement Readiness Tool

Start by reviewing the readniess items for each of the 4 categories. Then, determine the probability of this issue arising (low, medium, high). Assess the impact it will have on you if it does arise (low, medium, high). In the tool, there are specific instructions how to do both of these.

 

When complete, focus on areas with “high” responses for both probability and impact. These are your biggest reasons for concern.  

 

Your final step is to develop mitigation plans with your team. If these issues arise, you’ll recognize them and know what to do.

 

Tip: You might be concerned the team won’t speak up if done as a group. Bravado and peer pressure can corrupt the process. A solution is to have your leaders complete on their own before you meet. 

 

What Now?

  • If you have a large amount of “high” ratings, you should consider cancelling the project. You aren’t ready. You’re unlikely to get a positive result. Save yourself the time.
  • If you’re in the middle, determine if you can mitigate the damage before proceeding. The cost to pursue is 50/50. You have to determine if the calculated risk is worth the time.
  • If the assessment returns “low” ratings, the project is not at risk. You are ready and can proceed with confidence. You are likely to get a return on your time investment.

 

This is a tool you can use with regularity. It helps you think through big decisions quickly. You will invest time and resources in the right projects.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ryan Tognazzini

Works closely with B2B companies to solve strategic business problems so that they will make their number.
Learn more about Ryan Tognazzini >

Ryan joined SBI in 2010 as a Senior Consultant. Since then, he has worked extensively with emerging growth technology companies, including SaaS, enterprise software, systems integrators and OEMs. Additionally, Ryan works alongside numerous private equity investors, performing both sales and marketing due diligence and organic growth initiatives inside their portfolio companies.

 

Among a long list of accomplishments, he developed and implemented a sales and marketing strategy that resulted in the turnaround of a $1B IT integration clients. He executed organic growth initiatives to help a $100M software company achieve 40%+ year-over-year growth in preparation for an IPO. And he worked with a $1B enterprise software client to transform their sales and marketing go-to-market strategy for their cloud and SaaS offerings. Not surprisingly, in 2014 he was voted SBI Employee of the Year by his peers.

 

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