Sales planning

2017 Sales Planning – What Should Your Focus Be?

With 2016 in the past, most business owners and heads of sales and marketing departments are hunkering down to finalize their 2017 sales plans.  I am no different and often look forward to the last few weeks of every year.  At Acquirent, we are very grateful for our successes in 2016 and are looking forward to a banner 2017.  

As organizations plan, sales and sales forecasting typically take center stage.  Understandably, I may be biased as the owner of an outsourced sales company, but sales planning and forecasting, in my opinion, is the most important thing any organization can do.  “Nothing starts until something is sold!”

That said, many business owners and sales leaders focus on the end results (closed business) but often don’t pay enough attention to the details of “how” they are going to get there.  

Here are a couple areas that can have a significant impact on meeting sales goals. As you finalize your 2017 sales plans, don’t neglect them!

  1. Be diligent while recruiting the right sales people – Today there is a huge war for sales talent!  Every organization is looking for amazing sales professionals and the fact of the matter is that great salespeople are hard to come by.  That said, you can’t cut corners when it comes to bringing on a new salesperson or team.  Acquirent follows a rigorous sales recruiting process that vastly increases our odds of hiring a successful sales professional.  
  2. Formal (and Continual) Sales TrainingOk you hired a sales rockstar….. awesome!  Now the real work starts.  Considering there are more than 14 million sales professionals in the United States, it is mind blowing how ill prepared most of us are or were when we choose a profession in sales.  The more concerning point is that most organizations are not equipped to provide their new hires with the proper sales training they need to be successful.  Don’t be that organization and plan on setting your sales team up for success by providing them proper sales training    
  3. Data – This comes as no surprise, but we live in a data-driven world.  Sales have been the beneficiary of this wave.  Investing in a CRM is the price of admission, but true forward thinking sales organizations are investing time and resources in being data experts!  Great tools like Unomy, Data.com, LinkedIn Sales Navigator and others are arming sales and marketing teams with data they need to be successful.   
  4. Lead/Opportunity Generation – Today many organizations still have not realized the efficiencies of breaking up the sales process into different roles.  Highly successful organizations have made the leap to segmenting their sales departments into Business Development Representatives (BDRs – Lead Generation), Sales Executives (SEs – closers) and Customer Success.
  5. Sales enablement/Enhancement tools – Technology has revolutionized how buyers buy and how sales professionals sell.  The internet initially shifted the power from the seller to the buyer, as the sales professional no longer was the holder of product information… thanks, Google!  That said, sales enablement (including CRMs, data aggregators, auto dialers , marketing automation, cadence software) tools have evened the playing field.  
  6. Marketing! (Content and Drip Marketing) – No longer can sales and marketing organizations work in a silo!  Marketing automation solutions have closed the gap and help hold both sides accountable for creating and closing highly qualified leads.  The problem with most marketing automation systems is that they are typically tough to set up and constantly need to be fed great content.  Many companies are choosing to outsource this function to outsourced content marketing departments that can not only set the system up, but also keep it “fed” with great, thought-provoking and engaging content.  

Like building a house, sales planning needs to start with a strong foundation.  By concentrating on bringing in the right people, properly training them and giving them the tools they need to be successful, your organizations will be on the right path to crush your 2017 sales goals.

Happy Selling!

GW