Part 2: Get Ready for your 2015 Sales Year Now!

sales_growth_big Have you begun your 2015 sales planning yet? You should have! It’s important that you think about your plan for success early so that you are ready to hit the ground running when the calendar turns over to another year. In my last blog post we talked about the first three stages of successful sales planning:

1. Set Your 2015 Sales Goals
2. Update and Recommit to your Funnel
3. Define/Redefine Your New Business Target Accounts

This post will cover the next three steps:

4. Develop Your Sales Plan
5. Utilize Time Blocking
6. Build in Accountability

4. Sales Plan

Determine your selling strategy to reach clients for additional business and prospects that fit your ideal profile. Referral selling should be one of your top strategies and LinkedIn is a great resource here. Make a list of all of your connections (I exported my LinkedIn connections into Excel) and then sort that list into those that will be easiest for you to contact down to farther-reaching connections. Then you will want to consider these other ideas:

• Phone call campaign out to current clients, past clients and your other connections
• Targetted e-blasts to those clients and prospects whose permission you have gained
• Direct Mail or Letter Campaigns
• Networking with the Chamber of Commerce, charities, industry associations
• Social Networking – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook
• Tradeshows

Develop a calendar of when you would like to accomplish each of these tasks, so that whichever ones you deem to be relevant are scheduled and will actually happen.

5. Time Blocking

Develop a time-blocked schedule of your ideal week. Use these broad categories of tasks:

• Maintaining existing business
• New business prospecting
• Weekly Planning
• Other Paperwork and Tasks

Decide how much time you’d ideally like to spend on these tasks in a typical week and then go ahead and put them into a blank calendar either on paper or electronically. For example, if you’d like to spend 20% on new business then schedule a day or two half days in the week to do this. If you’d like to spend 40% on maintaining existing business relationships, then schedule 2 days, 4 half days or some other combination that suits your own individual working style. And then continue to apply this process until your work week is full. Finally, post that schedule so that you can review it every week to make sure you are on track. Trust me, it works.

6. Accountability

This is one of the most important things I do in my business. I have a business coach and an accountability partner, both of whom I rely on heavily to ensure I get my commitments complete and can discuss strategy on opportunities in my pipeline. If you work in a large organization this could be your sales manager, a trusted colleague or someone else outside your company that you know will help you. If you’re lucky enough to have a mentor in your life then this is a wonderful person to fill this role. Look around, there are many people in our lives that we can ask to take part in our business in this manner.

It is also a good idea to assemble your team (sales support, manager, executives and others) and review your goals, resulting tasks, any support issues, etc. This way you involve your entire team in the planning process and can head off any issues that you can anticipate may arise in the coming year. So as you prepare for 2015, be sure to put all six ideas into practice. They will truly set you up for success.