A client asks, "I would like to do an assessment and strategic plan for my sales organization. I have undertaken projects like this before with other departments, but never in sales. Can you suggest how I can get started?"
The beginning of the year is a great time for this type of activity and I applaud you for wanting to think strategically about sales. Before you start this project, here is a list of questions that you should be asking:
- How old is my current compensation plan?
- Is it driving sales?
- Does it still motivate the sales representatives?
- Is it still aligned with company goals?
- How many salespeople max out on it?
- Should it be changed in any way?
- Which salespeople earned more this year than last?
- Which salespeople earned less this year than last?
- What are their collective sales challenges?
- What are their collective sales strengths?
- How will I go about finding this out?
- What kind of sales skills training is needed?
- Which organization can best provide that training?
- Do I know who the top 10 accounts are for each representative?
- Is each account up or down compared to the previous year?
- Have I met with or spoken on the phone with these accounts in the last year?
- Holiday greetings aside, have I communicated with these accounts in any way?
- Do I have adequate staff to call on the number of accounts I want to do business with?
- If I need to increase my sales staff, how will I go about it?
- Do I hold regular staff meetings?
- Are the meetings interactive and of benefit to all?
- Have I given all the sales representatives quarterly and annual reviews?
- Are they truly impartial and tied to revenue production?
- Am I tolerating mediocre performance?
- Should any of the salespeople be on written warning?
- Do the salespeople have what they need in terms of technology to stay ahead of the competition?
- Do the top performers understand how much I appreciate their efforts?
- What productivity requirements have I set?
- Do the sales representatives take them seriously?
- Have I held my salespeople accountable for those productivity goals?
- Are they regularly met or exceeded?
- Do I monitor them?
- Are they realistic for where the company is today?
- Do the salespeople know our product line inside and out?
- Which products do they know really well?
- Which products are they unfamiliar with?
- Do they need product training?
- When did I last sponsor product training?
- Which product / service do they sell the most of? Why?
- Which product / service do they rarely sell any of? Why?
This list may seem daunting at first glance. If you answer the questions one by one, however, you will begin to see your sales plan come together. Good luck and make it the best year ever!