The New Year is upon us.  With it comes high hopes and great expectations.  As the holiday festivities wind down, take some time to double-check your sales plan.  It’s always good practice to ensure you are ready.


Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”


                                                                                                                                                                      ― Abraham Lincoln


As you review next year’s sales plan, use SBI’s framework below. (Click here to enlarge.)




The framework will help you identify possible gaps in your plan. 


If you haven’t yet, it’s not too late to download SBI’s 2014 Research Report.  The report outlines how other sales leaders use the framework to build their sales plan. And sign up for the workshop to stress test your 2015 sales strategy.



Sequence is critical when using the framework to double-check you sales plan.  To be effective, your plan must follow a particular order.  Building your sales plan out of sequence will produce gaps.  Gaps will cause you to miss your number.  Start with Segmentation and work your way down and across.


Step 1: Segmentation – Understand your market, your accounts and buyers inside your accounts. This ensures your sales strategy is differentiated from the competition while being aligned with your buyer needs, the corporate strategy and the product strategy.


  • Market Segmentation will focus your sales efforts on the right markets that will drive growth.
  • Account Segmentation identifies which accounts inside your target markets will drive the greatest revenue in the shortest amount of time.
  • Buyer Segmentation helps you understand in precise detail how your buyers make purchase decisions.


Step 2: Planning – Leverage the segmentation findings to develop revenue, budget and data plans that once executed will allow your organization to hit your goals.


  • Revenue planning defines how you will achieve the revenue goal. It accounts for multiple variables – changes in products, prices and competitors.
  • A Budget Plan outlines how and where you will invest your dollars in pursuit of the revenue goal.
  • Your Data Plan details how you will use Big Data to drive informed decisions. It defines what metrics to track, what systems to use and how to keep your data clean.


Step 3: Engagement – Define the processes for how the sales team is going to interact with prospects and customers.


  • A prospecting methodology spells out how your sales team will generate new opportunities on an ongoing basis.  
  • Your Sales Process provides step by step guidance to your sales team on how to win more deals in less time.


Step 4: Organization – Make sure the organizational structure is set up correctly so the right people are in the right roles to execute the processes.


  • Your sales org design should align to how your buyers are segmented and want to buy from you.
  • An optimized channel program will select, sign and enable partners with whom you can secure the greatest share of their resource commitments.
  • Your Talent program must source, hire, onboard, coach, train and develop talent required to execute the sales strategy.
  • A best-in-class Territory Design process ensures the right reps are placed in the right territories.
  • Your process for setting quotas should be based on reality. Quotas should be tied to actual, measurable potential in the rep’s territory.  Unrealistic quotas demoralize your sales force and cause costly turnover.
  • The comp plan should align with the corporate budget, but also attract and retain top talent. To be effective, it should motivate the right behaviors in pursuit of the revenue goal.


Step 5: Execution – Begin executing the strategy by focusing on areas like sales enablement, sales adoption, pipeline/forecast management, reporting, etc.


  • Sales enablement ensures you get the right content in the hands of the right people at the right time.
  • A sales adoption program addresses the challenge of getting improvement initiatives to stick.
  • Make sure your 2015 plan addresses forecasting and pipeline management. Inaccurate forecasts are costly both to the company and the individual’s credibility.


Step 6: Support – Help the sales team be effective in perpetuity by supporting them and making the internal organization easy to do business with.


  • A fully functional sales ops function allows you to move from being tactical to strategic. This support function is essential to driving efficiencies through data analytics and reporting.
  • Sales Systems allow you to leverage automation to empower your sales team and increase selling time.


CALL TO ACTION: Make sure next year is a raving success.  Double-check your sales plan.  Use SBI’s ‘Make the Number’ framework to look for possible gaps.  It’s not too late to make adjustments.


Happy New Year!