Every one of the above focus areas and strategic management activities need to be done well so that the business is assured of meeting its sales targets. We will pick out just a few key activities to discuss in a little more detail as follows.
Assurance and Contingency Plans – this area is at the heart of the subject matter for this module. We have provided guidance on how best to analyse your sales pipeline and calculate the most probable value of sales that will emerge, then how to decide your strategies for filling any gap by identifying new leads and prospects.
Recruitment and Induction – one of the key activities for sales managers is to define the type of salespeople needed and the skills and experience they will have. When this is used to search for appropriate people – and when the right interview and selection process is applied, you can be much more confident of meeting your targets. When new salespeople are employed, the induction process is critical to ensure they are properly introduced into the culture of the organisation and they are aligned with the corporate vision, goals and objectives – and with the sales methodology and processes.
Training, Mentoring and Development – all salespeople will need to be given appropriate training in the products, markets and channels so they can be fully effective. In addition, they will need to acquire the best sales techniques and develop the skills needed to sell and negotiate effectively in order to meet their targets.
Performance Management – sales management will need to provide a professional framework of reviews, both of the individual performance of salespeople – and to ensure objectives, strategies, plans and actions are updated so that targets are assured and goals can be achieved.
Control and Corrective Action – as we all know, reality has a habit of disrupting the best laid plans, so it is essential that sales managers continuously review plans and ensure that all sales activity is focussed on winning the business that will achieve our goals. Sometimes it may be the strategies and plans that need to be updated. At other times it may be the performance of salespeople that needs to be uplifted, often by providing relevant training that was not envisaged in the original plans.
Communication – it can be very challenging to ensure that effective two-way communication is always achieved in the organisation – from top to bottom and back again. It is no good having the best sales objectives, strategies and plans if these are poorly communicated. It is also no good having the best salespeople if they do not understand what is expected or if nobody listens to them when they try to explain what’s actually happening at the sharp end.
This blog is an extract from ‘Sales Target Assurance Planning’ by Alan McCarthy and Steve Hay of RDC.