Inside Sales Plan for Success: 7 Tips to Drive Revenue from Inside Sales Reps
Shortly after I launched NextStage, LLC, I had the opportunity to meet with the CEO of a Technology company. During our conversation, we talked about his goals for growth, the go-to-market strategy via Inside Sales, and the strategic plan with marketing to drive inbound leads for his team. We also spoke about the 10 Pillars of Success for Inside Sales, and he gravitated toward one aspect that has made a significant impact on other Inside Sales teams driving full sales cycles. It was the importance of having a Business Plan for Success. The notion of this idea grabbed his attention as I shared that this approach had worked extremely well for the teams I led in the past, as it drove focus towards territory development, alignment with the organization, and revenue from each of the accounts.
As I’ve contemplated our conversation, I’ve discovered seven lessons I’ve learned about the importance of having a “Business Plan for Success.”
1. Begin with the End in Mind: Learning lessons from the past on what worked well and what didn’t work well is a good way to look forward. Chances are your number is bigger this year, your goals loftier and your territory probably a little smaller. Setting goals for this year is just more than a number to achieve; by breaking this number into activities and dynamics of your territory, you position yourself for territory success.
2. The Rubik’s Cube Phenomena: The Hungarian designer, Erno Rubik, invented the cube that carries his name with the goal of visualizing three-dimensional objects. The same concept applies to your territory. When you look at your territory from a different dimension, the results lead to better understanding your client. Take, for example, larger accounts, or accounts from the same type of industry, accounts by geography or organizational structure, larger spending accounts or dormant accounts. Looking through any of these lenses can lead to better understanding the dynamics of your territory and your customer base.
3. What is Your Why: When crafting your business plan for territory success, it’s important to look at your own goals, then ask: What do I need to do to get there? What is my motivation? What gets me up and gets me going each and every day?
4. Reality Check: Conduct an assessment of your territory’s status. This reality check includes looking at your pipeline for the next four quarters. The next step is to identify where each opportunity is in the sales cycle. Finally, do a health check. Are these opportunities real? Conduct a gap analysis between your goal, the value of your pipeline and the closing rate. For example, if your close rate is 1 out of every 4 opportunities, your closing rate is 25%; if you close 1 out of each 5 opportunities then it is 20%, and so on. Factor this into your reality check analysis for your territory. Then add the sales cycle to your equation. Is it 30 days, 60 days, 90 days or longer?
5. Milestones: Milestones allow you to work on your quota (the “big goal”) in stages. One of the first milestones to a successful year is to develop a strong pipeline. Prospecting should always be an important element of a successful sales strategy, and advancing your opportunities to the next milestone in the sales cycle should be one of your goals.
6. Measure: It is said that you can’t improve what you can’t measure. Know your numbers, and understand what it takes to win. What is your closing? The number of activities you need to do on a daily, weekly basis to achieve your goal? Measure against your goals, and improve in the areas where you need to in order to achieve your goals.
7. Supporting Your Goals: Look at your organization to see what you need to achieve your goals. Work with your manager, ask for help and feedback on where you need to improve or what you need to do in order to advance towards your plan. Seek help from your sales enablement team or your marketing team for assets you can use to add value. Keep moving, and keep asking for help in order to support your goals.
Having a “Business Plan for Success” is an intrinsic part of your professional approach to reaching your individual goals, the goals of your company and, most importantly, helping your customers solve problems.
Ivan Gomez is the President of NextStage, LLC, a consulting company specializing in all aspects of sales development and Inside Sales implementation and optimization. Now an entrepreneur, he advises companies on best go-to-market strategies, leveraging the power of Inside Sales. You can find Ivan at www.nextstage.io, via LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/ivango, and on Twitter @1Ivango1