• By Failing to Prepare, You Are Preparing to Fail

    You’ve read the quotes:  “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

    ― Yogi Berra

    “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

    Warren Buffett

    Yet so few of us plan adequately.  And of those of us that do, many don’t execute effectively.  Over the years, I have witnessed the power of a well-executed plan many times.  Unfortunately, I have also seen the results of either a poorly executed plan or no plan at all.  Not pretty.  There is always a detailed explanation as to what went wrong.  The marketplace, competition, not enough marketing support.  The list goes on and on.

    The fact is, those who take the time to create a detailed plan and are disciplined in the execution of the plan, revisiting and making adjustments along the way, almost always meet and exceed their goals.

    The planning part is easy really.  You start with your goal and work backwards.  For example, as a sales rep I need to reach 1 million dollars in net new revenue over the next twelve months.  Knowing my average sale price is $100,000, I need to close 10 new deals.  OK, how do I make that happen?  First off, I need to work at it.  If I sit back and wait for the phone to ring or for marketing to provide me with all the quality leads I could possibly handle, there is a zero chance of making my number.  It’s just not the way it works.  If I’m lucky, I may get to 50% or even 75%, but 100% or more?  Not going to happen.  Great sales reps make it happen, they don’t wait for it to happen.  Anyway, I digress.  Let’s put together the metrics for a successful plan.

    To get to 10 deals, I need 30-40 pipeline opportunities, (assuming a 30% close rate).  In order to get 30-40 pipeline opportunities, I need to have 60-80 sales conversations, (assuming a 50% conversion rate to next step).  In order to get to 60-80 sales conversations, I will need 1200-1600 “quality conversations.”  To have that number of conversations you need 10x “touches” (calls and emails).  So 16,000 touches gets me there.  16,000/250 work days = 64 touches per day.  Sound like hard work?  Well yes it is.  Now there are a few ways to get there.  If you are one of the lucky ones, you have help.  A marketing team to create “MQL’s” which are then passed to business development reps who will further qualify the potential opportunities and pass the interested leads over directly with a scheduled appointment is the best case scenario.  The reality is, even if you have support, it won’t be enough.  In my opinion, the best way to ensure success is to put in the hard work on your own to get you to your number.  Pick up the phone, get on LinkedIn, and attend industry events.  Make sure you are speaking to enough people about how you can help them on a daily basis.  Let marketing support, if you have it, be the help you need to exceed your number, not meet it.

    So the lesson is the same if you are a rep, a manager or a CEO.  Create a plan, revisit often, be hyper diligent and relentlessly focused on meeting the day to day, week to week, month to month and quarter to quarter requirements to ensure you are on track.  As the Nike ad says “Just do it.”

    Look at any highly successful person and I’ll bet you will find two things to be true.  They have a plan, and they do the hard work necessary to make the plan a reality.

    How do you make your plan?

    * Quote in title by Benjamin Franklin

    Paul Alves is CEO of AG Salesworks.  To view all company blogs go to  AG Salesworks blog site.

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