Does Your Business Have an Effective Sales Planning? Part 2

  • Sumo

Corporate-Level Mission

A corporate mission statement should answer the following types of broader questions:

Why does this entity exist?

What is the company’s impact on society (local, national, international)?

As a sales manager of your firm, you will not likely play a large role in developing a corporate mission. In fact, it is probably already in place and only changes if there is a major corporate directional shift. Most companies, for example, have the same mission for ten years are more. However, on a departmental and team level, you can have some or even a great deal of input.

Division- or Department-Level Mission

Of course the mission for a division or department needs to align with the larger corporate mission. This more specific mission is what others would ideally say about the people in the division and the manner in which business is conducted.

It would answer the following types of questions:

Why does this department exist?

What is the department’s impact on the company?

What is the department’s impact on customers?

Who (in general terms) are its customers?

What (in general terms) are the products/services it provides?

It is also a good idea to include something about the employees, answering the question, how does the department take its employees into account? After all, it is the employees who need to buy into the mission. You should find that everything in the plan needs to tie back into the corporate and departmental mission statements.

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Goals

The mission statement is the overall direction. Goals are the mandatory, shorter-term direction to move toward the mission. In its most basic sense, the goals are what needs to be accomplished. A plan should take into account three main types of goals. Some goals are corporate goals, which will be driven by the corporate mandate such as the dollar volume. A departmental goal, on the other hand, might deal with targeting a new market or introducing a new product/service to specific accounts. The third type of goal is a personal business goal. Personal goals include activities that go beyond the corporate and departmental dictates. A personal business goal might have to do with learning a new computer program for making presentations.

Some people set goals too high and actually set themselves up for failure. Other people set goals too low because they do not want to overextend or necessarily push themselves. Attainable goals are balanced and meant to be challenging.

Some would even include a fourth type of goal, personal goals. When thinking of this in business terms, it might include working toward an advanced degree or a certification that might not tie in directly to your business responsibilities but is still something that you value, and at the same time, your company sees as something that helps you to build your character.

Regardless of the types of goals you are establishing, the goals must always be SMART:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Timely

While this is a very common acronym, it is a very important one. In some descriptions, some of the letters represent different words, but the meaning is still similar. (Achievable is sometimes used instead of Attainable, or Realistic instead of Relevant.)

Specific goals are definable. There are no gray areas or room for interpretation. All words used are concrete in nature; for example, a specific goal is a 25 percent increase in telesales calls this quarter over the same quarter last year. Relative terminology cannot be used

in goal setting; ‘‘make more productive prospecting calls’’ is a goal that uses relative terms. What is more productive to you is not necessarily more productive to someone else.

Measurable goals have a beginning and an end. Therefore, at the end of a specific time, it will be obvious whether the goal has been reached. If the goal was missed, you will know the shortfall. If the goal was exceeded, the measurement will indicate the exact

overage.

Attainable goals are real-world goals that push the comfort zone outward. Some people set goals too high and actually set themselves up for failure. Other people set goals too low because they do not want to overextend or necessarily push themselves. Attainable goals are balanced and meant to be challenging.

Relevant goals are directly related to the mission and have meaning.

If the goal does not mean anything, the intensity may be low and the dedication to the goal lacking. Also, if certain goals are relevant and others are not, the associated work will be scattered and not necessarily benefit the company as a whole.

Timely goals could be measured at checkpoints along the way (say every thirty or sixty days) or have one fixed time for completion (by the end of the third quarter). This will vary depending on many factors, including the fact that ‘‘importance’’ should greatly affect timeliness. For example, if a project needs to be done in the next ninety days in order to secure a contract that will increase profitability by 6 per cent, then the timeline should reflect this. What priorities you have set up will be key to making the plan effective.

Objectives in many cases are a subset of goals—your goals broken down into more specifics. Some like to use goals as something that all departments are working toward, whereas objectives are more department-specific. Like goals, objectives need to have the SMART elements. Also, certain objectives can apply to more than one goal. Typically they work in tandem with outcomes—those results, or lack of, that tell you whether or not you achieved your objective(s). For example, after you list a goal and then the associated objectives for the goal, at some point in time you need to verify the outcome that was either obtained or not and when.

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