You Need to Begin 2016’s Strategic Plan Now. Here’s Why. 


You may be asking yourself: Is now the right time to begin developing next year’s strategic plan?


The answer is yes.


Why? Because—when done right—a solid strategic plan takes several months to carry out.


Here’s what that process should look like:


Is now the right time to start 2016 strategic planning?


The Hierarchy of Objectives:

Your teams don’t operate in a vacuum. Each group’s research will influence others’ strategic plans. Here’s how the planning system should flow, and what each team should be asking themselves.


Market Research:

Find out how behavior is changing in the buying community and what your competitors are up to right now.


Corporate Strategy:

Figure out what the revenue goal for next year is. What are you aiming to profit? Are there any market share goals? What type of headcount are you planning to have?


Product Goals:

Based on market research, decide what products you’re going to offer next year.  Are you bringing in anything new? Are you doubling down on existing products? Where are they in their life cycles?


Marketing Strategy:

Now that you know what products you’ll to be offering, you know what financial results they have to produce. What are the needs of the market? How are you going to attract demand? Where are your leads coming from? Where should they come from next year?


Sales Strategy:

Now you know where your leads are coming from, what products you’re going to sell, and what customers want. It’s time to get tactical. What new territories do you have to design? What will your quotas and compensation plans be?


This will help:  Use our Winning Sales Strategy Checklist to assist with sales strategic planning.  Pass this checklist along to Sales Leadership to accelerate their planning process.  You can download the checklist here.


Talent Plan:

In order to accomplish the goals identified above, you’re going to have to hire new people. How much new talent do you need? Will you be replacing existing roles? Will you be creating new ones? This process takes time. Finding someone, interviewing them, checking their references, and making an offer can take months alone.


Given this hierarchy, you may be thinking July is already too late to start planning for 2016. Ideally, you would start earlier. But if you’re just beginning now, all hope is not lost.


Here’s what you need to do.


Just getting started?

Move with urgency. Figure out who in your organization understands the hierarchy of objectives process. If no one does, teach someone and get the ball rolling.


Your teams may not be starting this process because they think it’s too early. After all, the market moves so quickly. If you start planning now, won’t your strategy be obsolete by January 2016?


That may be true. But that’s the risk you have to take. Here’s why.


What happens if you don’t start now?

If you wait until November to start next year’s strategic plan, you set yourself up to accomplish six months’ work in 60 days.


Not to mention, you’d be conducting this process around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years when it’s difficult to tie people down.


In that case, everyone’s going to show up at the Sales kickoff meeting in January, and no one’s going to have their territories, quotas, or compensation plans ready. Your work chart is going to be filled with a roll call. You haven’t take the time to hire new people. As a result, you won’t have enough feet on the street to sell your product.


That’s not a good place to be in.


Don’t go into 2016 with empty holes in your organization chart. Begin prepared, well staffed, and ready to have a better year than before.


To do that, you need to have begun your 2016 strategic plan yesterday. And if you haven’t done that, start now.