But planning alone won’t do it. An element of reaction is very necessary. Mike Tyson tells us “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
Living like John Cusack, though, goes to an unwise extreme: “I’m not making any plans. I’m just going to let the universe surprise me.” Reaction alone is a poison that slowly kills sales leaders.
This post is for Sales Leaders to plan for success in the new year and beyond. HR and Sales Ops leaders are called on to help enact the plan – and remind Sales leaders of the plan. Planning is not a quick task. It takes quite an effort. Abraham Lincoln has some advice on this. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Planning Starting Point
Here is some help to get you going on a plan. The Sales Leader 2014 Planner helps with the “first 4 hours”. When you download it, you get an ICalendar (.ics) version and PDF version. The .ics version can be imported directly into an Outlook calendar.
The planning calendar has multiple entries per month. Some entries, such as the Quarterly Business Reviews, repeat. The items on the calendar are laid out to coincide with effective timing. For example, planning for Sales Kickoff has to start months before it usually happens.
The Busy Months In the Plan
The 2014 Plan has 3 times that are particularly busy. January, June/July, and December are flush with many activities. Most of these activities have to do with review and planning. For example, in June/July, a look back at the first half performance forces these tasks:
- A refresh of the year’s sales strategy
- Assessment of the comp and quota plans for a possible change
- Starting a Sales and Marketing Productivity Benchmark
- Updating your Sales Leader Value Statement (*future post coming on this*)
In December, there is much planning and finalizing for the following year. A lot of the draft work for December gets done from September on. Note that some of these tasks often get done before annual numbers are known. Here are some sample tasks from December.
- Finalizing the 2015 Sales Strategy
- Finalizing the 2015 Sales Budget (often close to final in Oct/Nov)
- Finalizing 2015 hiring plans
- Creating the Sales Leaders 2014 Value Statement
How to Use the Plan
This plan is set for a company on a fiscal calendar year. Also, it assumes a cycle of seasonal low points during the summer. You’ll have to adjust if your company works off a different calendar. If you have specific buying seasons different than here, also adjust. Here’s how to use the tool:
1. Download the Sales Leader 2014 Planner Zip file and unzip it.
2. For the iCalendar format you can import the .ics file to your Outlook. This .ics file is from Outlook 2010. It should import to 2007 or 2010 version. Follow the steps at this link. It is recommended to “Open as New” instead of “Import”. This way, the events won’t mix with your personal calendar.
3. Use the PDF version instead, if you wish. It’s also in the downloaded zip file.
4. Once you have the 2014 Planner, look through the events. Adjust them as you need – both the content and the timing.
5. Contact me if you have questions on any of the items.
Get started on your 2014 Planner now. Remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s words: “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”
1(Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net -> digitalart