The first question your SVP or CEO asked was “why can’t we do this internally”? You were able to provide sufficient data to convince him/her to approve the project, now what?
You know this project is a key to your success. This project will help you hit the number in 2013 and give you the recognition you deserve when competing against your peers. Download the Sales Project Tracking Tool to help you stay on track.
For other great tools for ensuring you achieve your project goals, try the book “Tools for Project Management” by Nicolai Andler.
The first step is to determine what the project risks are and how you mitigate those risks.
Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing. –Warren Buffett
Focus on 3 engagement requirements around time when managing the risk with your sales consulting firm. This approach will ensure proper project execution and the achievement of the desired results:
- Make the time to meet with the team and your point of contact weekly
- Engage in the discovery, design and implementation phases
- Base line the evaluation criteria early and make sure the team understands the methodology for tracking improvement
The project scope should include:
- The expected result: Example: A project of this scope will produce following result: Increase deal closure rates by 20% by January 1st 2013
- The evidence to support the change – Closure rate has declined by 10% and we’re below the benchmark for our peer group
- 3-5 project evaluation criteria (examples):
- Speed – when will I see the result
- Risk – probability we won’t see the desired result
- Cost – relative to the business impact
- Field adoption – measuring tool utilization
Make/Plan the time to meet:
When you decided to engage with a firm you went through the process of determining the time commitment from you and your team. When the project kicks off, you need to commit to that time. Your team will be looking at your level of engagement, if it’s not important to you, it won’t be important to them. Communicating frequently on the project status is essential. Everyone on the sales team understanding the potential change early and often will allow for buy in and project support/success.
Engage in the discovery, design and implementation:
Each phase of your project will have some critical milestones / deliverables. It’s critical to review and take part in the review of each deliverable. These are working succession. Your sales consultant supplies the expertise on the approach, you and your team supply the product and business knowledge. One without the other and the project will fail. Tracking your project on a phased approach basis will allow you to change direction quickly if necessary.
Baseline the evaluation criteria early:
Your neck is on the line for the result. You either show the results of the project over whatever time frame you defined or you’re fired. The average tenure for the VP of Sales in 18 months, your goal is to far exceed that time line. The ability to show early wins and improvements over time are keys to keeping your job and additional project funding.
The worst mistake you can make is not giving the project the proper time commitment. Your commitment will trickle down to the team. If you’re not engaged, the team will disengage and in the end; little to no results will be achieved. The 1 page project plan allows you to quickly stay on top of the project status without significant time commitment.
The sales project tracking tool provides a 1 page view of the project status. We spend a significant amount of time on site with customers. One of the primary reasons for sales project failures is the lack of a planning.
There are 8 major sections of the sales project tracking tool:
- Overall project owner, objective and date of update
- Major deliverables or milestones
- Schedule, end dates, completion status and jeopardy notification (red, green, yellow)
- Ownership assignments
- Issues log
- Action Item log
- Project Risks
- Risk mitigation actions
Each section of the tool is completed prior to the project team meeting and is utilized to drive project actions or schedule adjustments.
If you’re struggling to manage your current sales consultant in order to achieve the project objective; shoot me an email. I’ll jump on a call for 30 minutes and discuss how you might better manage the project.