Putting Together an Annual Sales Plan
by John Chapin
It amazes me how many salespeople don’t have an annual sales plan. Of those that do, many just put it together once and barely, if ever, look at it again the rest of the year. We all know that people with written goals and a plan for their achievement, who focus on those goals continuously, are much more likely to hit their goals than those that don’t. Yes, it’s some work up front, and during the year, but the payoff is tremendous. Here are the steps to set up your annual sales plan.
Step 1: Set your goals.
What ultimate annual sales number are you trying to achieve? Once you have that, break that down into monthly and weekly goals. So, ultimately, you’ll have three goals: your annual number, your monthly number, and your weekly number.
Step 2: Do the math.
Once you have your three numbers, do the math. How many contacts do you need to get an appointment, how many appointments for a presentation, how many presentations for a proposal, how many proposals for a sale, and how many sales to hit your goals? In order to figure out the math, you’ll have to know things such as: how many calls do you make to get a contact, how many contacts for an appointment, how many appointments for a presentation, how, many presentations for a proposal, how many proposals for a sale, and how much is your average sale? Once you’ve done the math, you’ll know your daily activity. How many calls do you need to make a day in order to make the number of sales you need to make. By the way, if you don’t know your average sale, you can figure it out by looking at past sales. Same with your closing percentage, presentations, proposals, calls, etc. Just look at the past numbers and results on each. If you’re new, or you don’t know, talk to your manager and other salespeople to come up with averages, then be conservative with your numbers. In other words, figure it will take you more than the average.
Step 3: Figure out where the numbers will come from.
Now that you’ve got your goals and you’ve done the math, who will you call on make the necessary sales? Ideally a lot of your sales will come from new accounts and new business. As a salesperson, your job is to hunt for new business first and foremost. That said, most of you are likely in a business where you can do more business with current clients. So, that said, how much business will be from current clients and how much from new? Again, ideally the vast majority of your business will be from new accounts, say, 80% or more.
Step 4: Chart the course.
Based upon the above, what will a typical day and week look like? What is your daily activity and how and where will you fit that in? How many calls do you have to make each day and who will you make them to? How many presentations and proposals do you need to hit your numbers? Based upon your numbers, time-block those items in your calendar. The goal is to be prospecting, presenting, and closing 80% or more of the time during prime-calling time, or the time that your prospects are available.
Step 5: Anticipate what tools, resources, people, and skills you might need.
Is there anyone’s help or are there certain tools or skills you could add or employ that would make attaining your goals easier? If so, set up a plan to talk to those people and acquire those skills and tools.
Step 6: Anticipate possible roadblocks.
What could get in the way of you achieving your goals? Industry changes, company changes, economy changes, family changes? What changes can you possibly anticipate and how will you navigate these and perhaps even take advantage of them?
Step 7: Know your WHY.
Why is it imperative for you to achieve your goals? It’s simple, your success is up to you, you own it, and you control it. If you have strong enough reasons why you need to achieve your goals, nothing will stand in your way. You are 100% responsible for your success.
Step 8: Develop yourself personally and professionally.
Studies show that the happiest people are those who are growing and becoming more. You grow and become more by developing yourself personally and professionally. From a personal standpoint, the biggest boosts typically come from being healthier and from an increase in self-confidence. For health, eating better, exercising regularly, and good sleep will have the greatest impact. Good health will also positively affect self-confidence. The better you look and feel, the better you feel about yourself. From a professional standpoint, getting better at selling and making more sales will have the overall greatest impact on your growth and your confidence. That said, first, what will you do to get better at selling? What courses will you take, books will you read or listen to, or who will you learn from? Second, what will you do to ensure you’re applying those new sales skills by calling on plenty of new prospects? Who will hold you accountable? How will you reward or punish yourself?
As I mentioned in the opening, the above steps take work, and they are worth it. If you follow these steps, not only are you much more likely to hit and exceed your sales goals, you’ll also most likely find that all aspects of your life will improve, not just your work life.
#1 Sales Rep w 34+ years’ experience, Author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia (Axiom Book Awards) – also the largest sales book on the planet (678 pages).
John Chapin is a motivational sales speaker, coach, and trainer. For his free eBook: 30 Ideas to Double Sales and monthly article, or to have him speak at your next event, go to www.completeselling.com. John has over 34 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year, Sales Encyclopedia (Axiom Book Awards). You can reprint provided you keep contact information in place.