Friday, September 01, 2006

Planning your sales territory for Quota Achievement

Many sales people are so busy answering the phone and replying to emails, that they can hardly find the time to plan their sales approach. "How am I going to achieve my quota?" is a question they should have more regularly on their mind.

It's very easy for salespeople to get wrapped up in the details of a specific opportunity or a specific sales execution action, that they often don't tend to look at the big picture. The focus is on the current pipeline and less on the whole process of building the pipeline, figuring out how to achieve quota, is this one deal really going to help me?

A lot of sales people are so focused on sales execution, focusing all their efforts on making a first call, sending that email or visiting a customer, instead of planning how they are going to attack their territory for quota achievement. That Quota Achievement Plan should drive their daily actions and their interaction with their colleagues.

If you are bounded by a certain territory where you have to make your quota, it's necessary to create a high-level, "how a I going to achieve my quota?" and "on which customers should I focus" type of plan. Your Quota Achievement Plan.

No matter which role you have in sales, if you carry a quota, you need a Quota Achievement Plan.

This Quota Achievement Plan needs to address certain area's:

1. What is the current Status of your Business, and where are you supposed to be heading?

One thing you need to start with is where are we today?
And where should we be at the end of a certain period?...What is it we are trying to achieve?

Here we try to establish a baseline. You take a current snapshot of your pipeline (raw, weighted, ...), look at your sales history (actuals) and define what is still needed to achieve your quota. In this case realizing that not all opportunities in your pipeline are the same. They differ in where they are in the sales process, in the amount of revenue they could possibly bring you, in the date when you expect to get an agreement and in how fast you expect them to (be) move(d) through the pipeline. This understanding feeds the next part of the plan.

2. Where should I put my attention?

Depending on the current situation as described in step 1, you need to consider your approach. You need to find a balance between finding new opportunities, driving current opportunities through the pipeline and managing the relationships with your current customers who may have bought in the past (and may need more in the future).

3. What am I selling?

What are your offerings? Which products or services do you have?

4. To Whom am I selling?

If your sales territory is given you need to find a way to prioritize your customers. Which customers do you believe show room for growth and which customers are more like your cash cows...delivering nicely on revenue year over year (hence very important) but not really offering an opportunity for growth?

Who are really my customers? What departments are buying your products or services...or strongly influencing the decision?

Prioritizing for Growth helps you to find new ways to achieve your quota.

5. Through which Channels am I selling what?

If you sell all by yourself, you know you have a limited capacity. So you ask yourself, which resources can I leverage to achieve my quota more easily?

6. Make an executable Plan

When you have you overall Goal, and you have made the previous analysis, it's time to define what matters most to achieve your quota. You need to develop your plan. This means defining milestones that support you in achieving your goal and show you you are on the right path. Next is to define a strategy how you will achieve each milestone and define the appropriate activities. What are you and other people going to do specifically to turn the plan into reality?

If you run a sales territory, either as a sales specialist, an account manager, a sales manager...or any other role....

If you have to achieve a certain sales quota, the Quota Achievement Plan helps you to take a look from a different, more strategic perspective.

Take a step back from your daily routine and habits, give yourself some quality time, to really consider "How am I going to achieve my quota?".

De Zwarte Consultancy offers the Quota Achievement Plan as Consultancy, Training your Sales force, or by way of personal coaching or executive coaching.

I wish you lots of success and love to hear from you.

Jan de Zwarte


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