“If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
The first month of 2022 has come and gone. If you haven’t already, it’s time to begin crafting an effective sales plan for the year ahead. Leaving the management and growth of your sales year to chance is not an option if you want to optimize your business. Planning can feel like a daunting task but being intentional and strategic now will save you time and stress over the next 11 months.
What Do You Already Know?
Many businesses operate on a quarterly or yearly basis, completing initiatives the way they have always been done despite a changing competitive landscape. For example, at the close of last year, the world faced (and is still facing) extreme supply chain issues. We also realized that remote and hybrid office life is likely here to stay and engaging with customers has been more challenging than ever. How have these factors impacted you? Have you taken a step back to examine where you are in your marketplace? Further, on an individual level, look at your previous wins and losses and ask yourself some of the following questions:
- Which strategies led to the most closed business?
- What kinds of customers were most likely to respond to your outreach?
- Did you lose any significant opportunities, and if so, what could have been done differently?
Leveraging what you already know will be the starting point for your 2022 plan.
Setting your sales strategy for the year can be a challenging, intense undertaking. Here are four steps to help you when planning for success in 2022.
Define Your Personal Goals
Once you have taken time to reflect on how you met – or exceeded - your goals in 2021, you’ll be able to establish measurable goals for the future.
- What are you trying to accomplish with your next round of sales initiatives in 2022?
- What are the objectives that will help you reach those goals?
- Where do you want to be this time next year?
Setting goals that are not feasible can feel discouraging and reduce your overall productivity. So, when identifying your personal goals, make sure they are specific and within reach. Try this formula: To (action verb) #/$/% of (product/service) by(date). An example of this would be, “To win at least 10 football games and make the playoffs by January 1, 2022.”
Set Minimum Daily Sales Activities
Once you have your overall goals outlined, you can start setting your daily sales activities.
- When a lead comes in, for example, how will you qualify and nurture them?
- How many new leads should you be finding to contact every day?
- How many sales calls should you be taking?
- Will you have any minimum daily sales activities revolving around follow-up or referral requests?
Setting daily sales activities will help you recognize where to invest your energy each day.
Define Your Target Customers and Markets
A common mistake sales professionals make is having the mentality they can sell to anyone and everyone. At the core, this may be true. You can sell to everyone, but the likelihood of a qualified lead buying is much higher than an unqualified lead. Have you and your organization taken the time to build a profile of your ideal client?
- Who are the current customers of your business? Why do they buy from you?
- Who are your competitors?
Collaborate With Your Marketing Team
Knowing and understanding your target audience means you can maximize potential response rates and have high-value conversations. This might come as the best kept secret in the industry… but your marketing team has the information you need to succeed. Within most companies, your marketing professionals will have the analytics of which campaigns work and the language needed to drive home those sales initiatives you have laid out.
Successful selling requires a plan that is structured, well-understood, and well-executed. As we see every day, though, plans and strategies can change in the blink of an eye. Keep in mind that it’s normal to adjust plans when the world changes. But to reach your goals, you must know where you are, where you want to go, and the plan you’re using to get there. Utilize these four sales planning reminders as you head further into 2022.