Increase the probability of success in 2018 by leveraging the planning approach that top sales executives use to grow faster than their competition and industry.

Many sales executives have yet to receive their revenue growth goal for the new year. Despite this, many SVPs will maintain that they can achieve this unknown target. If your sales strategy can be summed up as “I’ll hit the number next year, because I’ve done it this year,” you’re making a mistake.  To assess where you are, consider accessing an objective view that will help you determine how likely or unlikely you are to make your number in 2018. Answer questions in the How to Make Your Number Workbook.


You had a solid year, here are three things that are guaranteed:


  1. Next year’s target will be bigger.
  2. Your competition has taken note.
  3. “Working Smarter and Harder” will almost certainly not be sufficient next year.


What happens after you have a great year? The biggest mistake Sales Leaders make is “rinse and repeat.” Sales strategies remain unchanged and the status quo rules the organization. Best to ride the train until the wheels fall off.  


This is where star SVPs distinguish themselves from the rest. They embrace a taboo-term among task-oriented Sales Leaders: Planning. Planning has a stigma of inaction associated with it among “B” Sales Leaders. And who can blame them? They have a quarterly number to hit and every second is vital to their success. Even if they saw an opportunity ten moves ahead, the chessboard would change. But great leaders focus on strategic planning. Here are the three planning components:


Revenue Planning: Make sure you define how you plan on achieving your revenue goal in comparison to your competition.


Budget Planning: Determine your budget needs and how to allocate it in order to most efficiently achieve your goals.


Data Planning: Define the data required to drive sales decisions.


Here is how “C” Sales Leaders approach each component. Don’t fall into this rut.

Revenue Planning: Based on the amount your market is growing, spread expected revenue across the entire company. When a new market is targeted, give a conservative estimate, avoiding over investment.


Budget Planning: Take the entire budget allocated and apply it all to more heads. Or worse yet, invest in the latest technology. Assume that you will meet your goals because productivity will increase.


Data Planning: Use CRM for lagging indicators like revenue.  Schedule weekly pipeline calls for a hazy look into the future revenue.


Keep that in mind as we look at how best-in-class SVPs approach the same planning components:


Revenue: Look at how to improve revenue through various lenses. They build Product, Industry, and Geographic models. Set Revenue targets for each segment. They funnel all of this data into creating a core strategy.


Budget Planning:  Great SVPs build budgets to execute their core strategies. They calculate costs that would be associated with the plan’s execution and then create an ROI model to determine where capital can achieve the highest return. They aren’t opposed to augmenting the core strategy if it’s necessary. They ensure that initiatives stay within budget through spending plans.


Data Planning: To make sure strategies are followed, leading and lagging KPIs are determined. Metric calculations are clearly defined, while gaps in current data collection are determined before the new year kicks off so that they can be addressed with a system architecture plan. Owners are assigned to ensure each piece of data is accurate, clean, and timely.


We know that when it comes to sports, the game is often decided before the teams even step on the field. The team with the better game plan hold an immediate advantage. New planning won’t ensure victories every time. But using the same strategy over and over will eventually lead to disappointment. Ensure that your team has victories. Stop your day to day activities for a week and start planning.  After all, “Working Smarter and Harder” can only go so far.


Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you can make your number? Here is an interactive tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test and rate your sales strategy against SBI’s sales and marketing strategy to find out if: 


  • Your revenue goal is realistic
  • You will earn your bonus
  • You will keep your job


  • Revenue Growth Diagnostic



John Staples

Leads teams of highly qualified experts, all relentless in their pursuit of helping you make your number.

John is the global leader of SBI’s account management business unit. As such, he and his team help clients across 19 verticals drive top line growth and operational efficiency in sales and marketing.


John’s marketing, sales and product expertise span a multichannel strategic approach. He has an unyielding focus on strategic and key account development, which enables strategic alignment between all functional team members in order to reduce acquisition cost and increase lifetime value.


His broad experience in sales, marketing, product and engineering allows him to bring a unique problem solving approach to his team and clients. As he has discovered through decades of experience, clients are often distracted by the symptoms of a larger problem and overlook the root cause of it.


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