Infocusselling’s Blog

December 7, 2009

Launch 2010 Now–A New Way to Create Your Sales Plan

Filed under: Uncategorized — Educated and Aware @ 11:11 am
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The best time to start 2010 selling was about a month ago. Unfortunately most people will start 2010 selling just after they recover from New Year’s. That is way too late and a great way to miss a strong first quarter.

This will be the first of three articles to help you launch your 2010 sales today with a plan that will launch you towards success now.

First, start by making a written list of every customer you sold in 2009. If you have a CRM (and if you don’t, you should) then print out a 2009 sales activity report. As you write down the name, pick up the telephone and call them to say thank you. Don’t ask them about 2010 opportunities, don’t ask them for referrals, just tell them how much you appreciated the opportunity to serve them in 2009.

As you check that client off the list, make a note by their name regarding how you acquired the client—referral by whom, a business group, cold calling, email marketing, prior client, etc. Use a consistent abbreviation system as this will come back in step two.

If anyone mentions 2010 sales, go ahead and have the conversation and either log it and the appropriate follow through telephone call in your CRM or make a big red star on your printout next to that customer’s name. Repeat the process until you are all the way through the list. A CRM sure makes this part easy.

You have 300 customers and this call process will take too long? First, congrats on having a long client list. Second, since many of your calls will result in you leaving a voice mail, you should be able to make 50-100 calls a day so this is a week-long project. And, can you think of anything more important than touching every single client one more time this year as they reflect on 2009 and start to think about 2010? I can’t.

Step 2. Tally up your “where did it come from notes” so you know where your business is coming from. Look for trends and blocks of business from one source. You may find one advertising campaign was really successful. You might find that one group is more beneficial than others. One person may be your best referral source. You won’t do anything else with this yet, but you will want to know this for step 4.

Step 3. Look closely at those who brought up 2010 sales opportunities during your thank you calls. Why did that group bring them up? What characteristics make them different from your other customers? Which industries are they in—maybe part of your client base is doing better than another. What specifically did they talk about? Did certain product lines or options get more attention than others? You should spend significant time on this step and really think about why this group is already talking positively about 2010. As you generate a sales plan (step 5), it is much easier and much more realistic if you base it on what you know instead of what you guess.

Step 4 and step 5 will be here in about a week. Between now and then, your best activity is contact and analyze. Touch your customers and listen to them about their plans for 2010 before you create your own sales plan. While you are at it, get a CRM (such as http://www.addresstwo.com) because what you think of as just at tool will soon become your best friend.

July 2, 2009

Halftime

Filed under: INFOCUSSELLING BLOG — Educated and Aware @ 11:32 pm
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July means we are more than half through 2009. Amazing or not, it’s true. When sports teams go into the locker room at halftime, they regroup and rethink their second half strategy. Whether or not you like sports, we should learn from them and ask when you look at your first half performance, what do you need to change for the second half to win the 2009 game?

Good strategists look at offense and defense. Offense is what you are doing to get in touch with your target market and how you are actively converting prospects to customers. Your strategic change is what you are going to do differently to get in front of more prospects. What are you going to do differently to convert more prospects to clients? Look at your sales activity and identify the weak link. If you have more than one weak, pick the most important two aspects and address them. Don’t try to change more than two aspects of your sales process at one time. If you try to tackle too many things at one time in your sales process, you will most likely end up not doing any of them…and you will finish 2009 the same way you are at halftime.

Defense is what you do to protect your market from competitors. Are you losing projects that you should get? How and where are they beating you? What do you need to do to alter that balance? Just like changes to your offense, defensive strategy is to identify the one or two things that you need to do to re-position yourself so that you are in a stronger position relative to your competitor. Don’t try to change too many things or again, you’ll end up 2009 the same place you are at halftime.

Your game is sales and your goal is to sell the volume you projected in January. The good news is, no matter where you are today, you have the time to still win the game. Strategists, like winners, act, evaluate, adjust, move forward, and repeat the cycle. Be a strategist, be a winner.

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