Does Your Sales Impact on Your Business Positively? What Should You Do?

  • Sumo

Planning is one of the first functions in the process of sales management. As a business owner, sales director or manager, sales reps, marketers etc,

Before you undertake any other managerial function, having a good plan is imperative. The reality is often that certain aspects of a plan are carried over from the prior quarter, half, year, and so on.

Typically top management deals with long-range plans, that is, where the organization is heading, what changes may be necessary to generate more profits, what new products will be introduced, and other strategic issues that may occur over the next three to five years or longer

As is true with many of the areas of management, you do not often have the chance to start with a clean slate. However, just as your business likely already possess some star salespeople, your business current plan likely has certain very useful aspects.

2009 University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire College of Business Sales Warm Up

Corporate Strategy with the Sales team

 

Plans exist at all levels within an organization. Typically top management deals with long-range plans, that is, where the organization is heading, what changes may be necessary to generate more profits, what new products will be introduced, and other strategic issues that may occur over the next three to five years or longer. On a departmental level, planning is just as crucial. While your business will incorporate some long-term strategies, the majority of the plan deals with the short and medium term (up to one year and between one and three years).

Medium-Term Planning: This part of the sales plan deals with the means by which longer range objectives are to be met. The focus is on defining roadblocks to success and then planning solutions.

Short-Term Planning: This is probably the most important focus for the sales manager. Short-term plans concern goals that need to be met over a period of ninety days to one year. These are most often very tactical in nature, having specific objectives that exist within the framework of higher-level plans.

Whatever the time period associated with each part of the plan, nothing can operate in a vacuum. Corporate planning needs to take into account departmental plans, and each plan needs to consider the period of time.

The Sales Plan

The sales planning process deals with numerous constituents. However, the key ones to focus on are:

• Customers (industry and markets)

• Employees (the sales team)

• Your products/services (R&D, finance, engineering, manufacturing, operations, suppliers, etc.)

• Competition Of course, you will need to ask many questions when preparing the sales plan that will fit into one of these four categories.

Depending on your industry, the questions you will need to answer could be as follows:

  1. What is the length of a typical sales cycle (one week, one month,

one year, etc.)?

2. How do you segment your customers (industry, regions, etc.)?

3. Do you have major, key, or strategic accounts, and does a separate

structure exist to manage different types of accounts?

4. Do you have global customers?

5. At what level will your salepeople be selling (multilevel, senior level, team selling, etc.)?

6. Do you have many competitors or are you involved in hyper competition (a few major players controlling and competing in the market)?

7. How do you match up to your competition in terms of products,

reputation, etc.?

8. How does the sales team tie into the new product/service development process?

9. How is research conducted on products, markets, competition, etc.?

Depending on your business, you will need to answer these and many other questions, sometimes in great detail. However, before taking a look at some of these questions in more depth, you should understand your corporate structure and how sales fits into this structure, and also how sales touches the customer.

 

Where sales fits in the corporate structure

It is critical that your department’s planning process ties in with the overall corporate plan. The corporate plan should also be one where you have some influence, meaning not only does the plan filter down to you from the top, but this bigger plan should also be developed taking into account your guidance in the sales plan and sales forecasting for the future. If not, the corporate expectations are out of touch with your part of the business. This could mean that your team is working toward something that does not match the goals and expectations of the overall business. As importantly, this can have a major effect on the resources and budget you are allocated to generate the desired results.

Most important, whatever corporate structure you are in, the goal is to serve the customer

In order to be an integral player in the corporate-wide planning effort, you need to know the key areas that could affect your team both directly and indirectly. One way to look at the overall role that sales plays in your organization is by looking at your corporate structure. There has been a long-standing debate about the best fit and

reporting structure for sales. Some believe that it is a part of the marketing function, while others say it belongs as a stand-alone unit. The answer is that it really does not matter. What is key is that they collaborate well with one another.

Of course, sales not only needs to tie closely in to marketing but also needs to work in tandem with the entire organization. This includes R&D, finance, human resources, manufacturing, customer service, and so on. Most important, whatever corporate structure you are in, the goal is to serve the customer.

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