It’s that time of year when company leaders, owners, and Presidents focus on wrapping up 2015 and simultaneously work judiciously on their 2016 plans. How do you plan to meet your company sales and growth objectives for 2016?
Leaders review internal forecasts and pipelines and also look externally for economic indicators to incorporate into their plan. Economists’ reports are eagerly anticipated like the newly- released National Association for Business Economics (NABE) economists’ expectations for 2016:
- Modest growth of 2.6% GDP
- Unemployment rates falling to 4.6% next year.
- Business and consumer spending up 3%.
Companies who want to beat the predictions need to gear up to work smarter and harder. And it starts with sales.
Company growth is centered on sales growth. Don’t scoff at that comment. Though we all know that, most strategic plans and goals don’t support this basic premise. In the strategic plans I see and leader conversations I have, there are forecasts and expectations for sales growth. There are also budget line items for investments in equipment, staffing, and product development. There are goals and budgets for what is needed to produce more of what they sell.
What is often missing is the goal and budget line item that really grows sales: the plan that identifies growth potential, alignment of systems and processes, and determining how effective your team will be in growing sales.
Before identifying a goal and budget, strategize the approach to the sales organization as with any other discipline in your business. Begin with an audit. We have audits for operations, production, and accounting. What about an audit of the sales organization? Strip down the personalities and numbers to really identify growth potential, and barriers that should be removed, to achieve your company’s sales potential.
Once the potential and barriers are identified, craft and execute a plan to get you where you need to go (or grow).
Here are initial questions you should include in your sales organization audit:
- How effectively do our internal systems and processes support a high-performance sales organization?
- How consistently does the sales team follow a sales process? Do we have a documented sales process aligned with our buyer’s decision making process?
- How efficient is our sales cycle?
- How does sales leadership impact our sales force? What do they do to help the sales team? What barriers might they be creating? What do they need to do to have a stronger positive impact?
- What are our current sales capabilities? What do we do well? Where do we fall short?
- How motivated are our salespeople and what motivates them? Do we provide what they need to do more?
- How much more new business can we generate? What is this based on? How effective and accurate is our pipeline and forecasting?
- How effective are we at reaching actual decision makers?
- Are we hiring the best possible sellers? How productive were our hires in the past 12 months? What criteria do we use to ensure a high probability of success once hired?
- What process do we use to ramp-up new producers? How effective is the onboarding?
- Does our sales culture support top performance? What’s there and what is missing?
- Who can become more effective in their roles? What do they need in order to become more effective?
- What are our short-term priorities for accelerated growth?
These aren’t easy questions, are they? They aren’t intended to be. The answers will provide the intelligence you need to identify how effective your sales organization is and illuminate what needs to be focused on to grow.
Your 2016 growth is not just about your sellers doing more; your growth starts at the top as you ensure your sales organization’s systems, leadership capabilities, and salesforce abilities support that growth.
The 13 questions you should ask and answer are a great start. As you decide on how to complete your sales audit, please keep in mind that the most effective audits are objective. If you are ready to take a hard look and objectively measure the effectiveness of your systems, strategies, and people start with the Sales Force Grader here:
We can work with you using an efficient and cost-effective process that will give you the data you need to make the most intelligent decisions for using your time, energy, and resources to grow your company.
4 Success Drivers You Need to Know...and Grow
How do you strengthen this "Will" among your sales associates? How does the lack of drive impact your daily life? I discussed this and so much more on a recent virtual training event you can access below. It's valuable information for any business leader who needs to maximize performance of their people to grow their company.
Click here to access the replay.