29 Sep Create an Action-Packed Sales Strategy to Inspire Superior Performance in Q4 and 2021 (Strategic Sales Business Plan) (5 Bold Predictions Series)
Here’s the reality that I’ve discovered in my Sales Strategy work: Real growth and change, both personal and professional, occurs only when:
- excuse-making stops,
- personal responsibility starts, and
- purposeful, strategic action begins.
This process takes mental toughness, followed by a solid action plan, like a Quarterly Sales Business Plan.
How might you provide a track to run on that will challenge them to be more disciplined in grasping responsibility and moving forward?
An Action Mindset Produces the Momentum Needed to Reach Sales Growth Goals
In this series, we’re discussing the question we want our sales managers and salespeople to ask themselves as they’re searching for breakthrough solutions.
“What might I do to make a positive impact on my performance during this period of uncertainty?”
This one question sparks 5 breakthrough mindsets.
Here’s the fourth word in our powerful question.
Another tiny word that packs a mighty punch!
Watch this video clip from my keynote at the Economic Times Sales Strategy Virtual Summit (India): Action Mindset
Red Flags That Warn of Disastrous Sales Growth Results
When the Action Mindset, a Do Attitude, is taking a back seat, here are some of the signs:
- How to increase sales by not giving up too easily when they can’t break into new accounts
- Not digging deep into current accounts for expanded business
- Inability to accurately forecast closing
- Caving into competitors low pricing strategies
- Lax efforts to embrace virtual tools for selling
These signs are Red Flags, warning you of impending disaster with your sales results if something isn’t changed quickly.
Your leadership matters during these times.
A Green-Flag Action Plan to Improve Sales Growth Results
What are some actions you might take to avert a disastrous sales trend?
I believe that your 4Q one-on-one is a prime time to review your sales managers and salesperson’s Q4 Quarterly Sales Business Plan. The process invites your sales manager or salesperson to move from blaming someone or something else for their lack of performance, to taking ownership with a powerful To-Do Action Plan.
For this meeting, I recommend always starting with a Situational-Awareness exercise. Ask them to review the following with you:
- Q3 Forecast
- Q3 Actual Performance
- Q2 Actual Performance against Forecast (as a percentage of plan)
It’s always a surprise to me is that these numbers are often a surprise to the sales manager or salesperson. Why? Because often they are so engrossed in the day-to-day work, that they don’t see the big picture. Situational Awareness is important. They have to know where you are, so that they can accurately plan the steps moving forward.
During the COVID-19 season, these numbers are an affirmation that business is great…and they need to ensure it continues to be strong into Q4 and 2021. For others, the numbers will be devastating. That’s OK also. This will provide them with real-world info to challenge themselves to be creative and innovative. It’s Situational Awareness.
In their Quarterly Sales Business Plan, I also want the sales manager or salesperson to include:
- Q4 Forecast
- Q4 Projected Performance
- Q4 Projected Performance against Forecast (as a percentage of plan)
Again, Situational Awareness is critical. Are they expecting to hit their numbers out of the ballpark? Or, are they needing to double down and be extra creative?
Then, I want to see their plans for how they’re going to achieve their goals.
Notice: This is about –
–theirplans for how
–they’re going to achieve
This is their plan, not yours.
Included in their plan should be their Top 3 Goals for the Quarter. What are their MBO’s (Management by Objective); KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators); OKR (Objective Key Results), Quarterly Rocks, or whatever you call them in your culture?
For each goal, I want to see their written plan, including:
- Key strategy, or strategies;
- Tactics they will consistently implement to achieve their sales strategies;
- Anticipated Obstacles; and,
- Contingency Plans for dealing with the obstacles.
As I’m listening to the salesperson presenting their plan, I’m spotlighting everything that is S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timed. Here are some examples of S.M.A.R.T.:
- Conduct in-depth conversations with top-level decision-makers in my top 10 accounts over the next 30 days
- Gain commitment in the next 14 days from at least 15 accounts to……………
- Attend one Webinar each week to upgrade my virtual communication skills
Talk through the specifics of the behaviors they are going to do differently. Otherwise, it’s just talk and no action. If there’s no action, results will stay the same.Action-oriented or excuse-busting questions nurture the personal responsibility needed for high performance. ~ Danita Bye, Millennials Matter Click To Tweet
I always close each Quarterly Sales Business Plan with a big-picture professional discussion. Here are examples of more Green Flag questions you can ask to strengthen a strong Action Mindset in your sales managers and salespeople:
- What did you do well this past quarter?
- Where did you take risks and do something uncomfortable or “different”? (Developing risk-takers that will push the envelope is key to a high-performance team.)
- What was the most creative thing you did to get business? (Again, recognizing innovative thinking is a must during these uncertain times.)
- What do you need from me, your manager, to support your growth?
- How might you contribute to the achievement of the overall company goals and objectives, in addition to meeting your personal goals?
A Q4 Sales Business Plan will Improve Sales Growth
Many sales leaders haven’t thought of integrating a Quarterly Sales Business Plan into their sales planning rhythm. You may need to work with your sales managers or salespeople on creating an Action Plan that works for your culture.
Yes, it takes considerable time. And, every moment is worthwhile as your sales teams get clarity on exactly what their “DO” looks like moving forward.
I highly recommend the structure of the Quarterly Business Sales Plan conversation. It provides a clear map of what your sales managers and salespeople need to DO.
With your wisdom and guidance, challenge each salesperson to not fall into the victim mentality that pervades our society. Show them how to DO, to take an action mindset approach and chart a productive path forward!
Your leadership matters greatly during this season.
If you’ve missed the articles on the first three Success Mindsets, get them here…
Stay tuned for the next post in this series, One Powerful Question to Achieve Breakthrough Sales Growth to discover how the final part of our powerful sentence ignites an Optimistic Mindset that opens up new opportunities and leads to Leadership development.
Leadership Lesson: An action mindset compels sales leaders to do what is necessary to charge forward and reach their goals.
Leadership Question: What might you do to assist your sales manager to become more action-oriented?