We’ve been through many iterations of 2021 planning with several of our clients. Given the environment has changed significantly, a more thoughtful approach to agreeing on the revenue and profitability goals is necessary.
The old method was to get the salespeople together, evaluate what they did this year, and add a growth percentage. Something like—hey Joe, you did $2million this year and $3mill in the prior (non-Covid) year so let’s aim for $2.
This type of approach sometimes does not foster the right belief or ownership of the goal in the salesperson's mind.
Plan the fight. Don’t fight the plan.
We have found it more successful to ask the sales team to come up with their own plan. It requires more preparation and deliberation but greater ownership ultimately equates to greater success.
A good process includes:
Identify their hard backlog
(Written contracts that will install next year)
Evaluate their soft backlog or sales pipeline.
It is good to go through this pipeline to get a handle on probabilities
Current customer growth.
The most predictable business comes for existing customers. Key questions to ask are:
- Are their additional projects coming up-do you know what your customers' sales pipeline looks like?
- Can you map out their organizational structure?
- Who are the key decision-makers?
- What is your plan to getting in front of other decision-makers and project managers in their organization?
- Are you calling on their other offices or divisions?
- What additional services can you offer?
New business segments.
Which segment are you going to focus on? Avoid vague notions like “we are going to target schools” or “we are chasing more multi-family”. Name the segments. List the key companies or institutions. Name the decision-makers. Show the plan to get in front of them.
Again. A basic list is insufficient. Name them. Identify the key players. Understand their relationship network and how you will get in front of them
Key vendor relationships.
They often know where new business is coming from. Make a list of your key reps and ensure you are meeting them regularly. They love lunch!
If you are going to target property managers in your area join their associations. Be where they are. Best practice is to be on their boards or committees.
In the absence of a detailed plan like this you will default to the quote and hope method. The major benefit of this approach is not the ultimate plan but the process of thinking strategically about business acquisition.
PS One last thing. Have your people present their plans in written form.
A 2017 Harvard Business School study found that 3% of their MBA's had clear written goals and a plan to achieve them. This group made ten times as much as the other 97%
We have a planning template for this process. Let us know if you want a free copy.