One of the benefits of entering a career as a salesperson is the independence and entrepreneurial spirit to determine your earning potential ultimately. Most companies offer compensation programs that allow commission based on sales performance. While this attracts many people, it is very similar to starting your own business.
Each salesperson should treat their role as their own business and understand how successful new companies achieve their goals. The first step in most successful business is a Business Plan – or what we call Territory Plans. It starts with understanding first your business results, then objectives, and finally what activities they can control to meet the objective. Should you require all potential new hires to complete one and ensure your tenured reps revise their plan every year – YES! Companies typically do not see a return on their new hire for 6-12 months, and although we want our sellers to be independent, they should also have a solid business plan.
Since 2007 Territory Planning has been a way of life for the company’s I have supported and clients wanting to challenge their salespeople to look further than their next sale to ensure success. While this process for some may seem to be very time consuming; the information gathered asks a salesperson to step back from their daily routine – for an hour or two – and look at how they can increase their chances of success next year.
The best part of years of experience, there are key learnings of what worked and the many mistakes we made down the road. The most important lesson learned is the form, or the technology is almost the least important part of the exercise. The two most critical areas to ensure success have been: Leadership support and engaging the team with a facilitator who walks the team through the process which is independent and not their supervisor.
Steps to a great Territory Planning Process
- Find an expert facilitator in Territory Planning – either within your team or ClientWon could help to lead this effort for you.
- Start with a year in Review -Start in Q3 or Q4
- Conduct a “Kickoff Call” – explain the “”
- Encourage open and honest feedback
- Remind team the plain is theirs, not the company, and they own it
- Review results and share summary with the team
- Share changes in 2019 with the group
- Have salesperson now create their revised plan based on gathered during the process
- Finalize by December – review progress on a quarterly basis
Sample Questions to Ask
CEO gives you 2 minutes to explain your 2019 sales strategy. Provide 1-2 two paragraph responses.
Describe your territory? Where can you sell?
What are the Top 3 products or services you have sold in 2018?
What would three goals you like to achieve in 2019?
Which five cities you have focused most of your time this year?
What are the 3 Large Volume Accounts (Big deals) you need to close in 2019?
What five cities would you like to focus most of your time in 2019?
What are the top 3 barriers for you hitting your 2019 Goals?
Prioritize your Top 3 Markets (Healthcare, Hospital, Restaurant, etc. (#1 Should be Top Priority)
What would you like to START doing in 2019 that you didn’t try or do in 2018?
What activities would you like to ELIMINATE in 2019 that didn’t work?
What activities worked in 2017 that you would like to ACCELERATE 2019?
What activities were not as successful in 2018, that you want to MODERATE (or do less) of in 2019?
If you could receive additional training in 2019, what topics would be the most value?
How would you like to receive this training?
What three suggestions do you have for leadership to ensure an amazing 2019?
Following a solid Territory Planning process can yield tremendous insight into your team’s knowledge and skills; while helping your training team determine the best topics for 2019 and delivery method. You may be surprised, frustrated or even a little scared during this process when reading your team’s responses. Candor is normal, healthy, and the best part you now know many of the questions you’ve asked yourself for years. It’s out in the open, and much easier to solve.
You may already have the staff to deploy this initiative or could use some help from a company like ClientWon. Feel free to contact us for a no-obligation consultation or to share best practices.
Written by: Steve Buergey, Founder ClientWon.