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The Importance of a Plan

Recently I have been working with a couple of different companies on marketing and business plans.  This morning, while preparing for a two day meeting with a security software company in Florida, it occurred to me how important it is for every sales person to have a plan in place if they aim to grow their business.  Hopefully this will help you put some structure to your next two quarters as we finish out 2011.

You plan should contain some or all of the following:

1. You strategic aim or vision.  This is where you are personally headed with your business –  your long term goal should be to run an account team (including dedicated presales, inside sales, and admin).  You may think this is impossible with the company you work for, however, it’s always a question of return on investment – your management thought you would quadruple sales, they would dedicate some people to you.  Even if you are a hunter, you still want to be running a hunting team.  To do otherwise is to set yourself up for starting at zero every quarter for the rest of your life.

2. Your niche – what will you be the adviser in.  I have written much about this topic, but here you want to identify it.  So stop and write something down, edit it later.  Where is your focus, and where do you specialize?

3. Your people group – again, stop and write this down.  Who do you love calling on, and where will you focus your growth.  You may not have complete control over this right now, but put it down and work toward it.

4. Identify your key competition.  Often when I ask, I hear, “We don’t really have any competition,” or “IT is out primary competition.”  While that may be what seems right, it really isn’t.  Know who is out there, and what they say is their value proposition.

5. Pricing – study and understand fee setting and write down some guidelines for yourself on how you will set fees, where you will discount, and under what circumstances.  Also, have a plan to learn negotiating skills and work through it in the coming months.

6. Identify key partners; if you resell, include vendor sales people in your region that you can help, understanding that they will often bring you into deals and promote you as the go to channel partner once you establish loyalty.  If you are on the product side, the same is true with channel partners.  Plan to make this model work.

7. Plan out campaigns and events.  Encourage your company and partners to join you in setting up events, speak at local business meetings, write articles, do press releases, and set up webinars.  Have a marketing strategy to take this program forward.  Also, get a strategy on how to leverage social media – everyone is doing, few understand how.

8.  Put a plan in place to build your pipeline.  This should include time with existing customers, past customers, and new prospects.  Each should be approached differently, but a plan is needed to balance your time and think through your approach.

Print it, update it, use it.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Selling installation services along with your product is not consultative.  Neither is training, RFP responses, fulfilling orders, or selling to those who already know what they need.  Most of these things are sold on price alone.  There may be a hint of existing customer loyalty, but in today’s economy, don’t expect that to last.  If you are dealing with purchasing, IT, or other procurement functions primarily, consider yourself a transactional product sales person.  This role is destined to be replaced by Google.  Now is the time to rethink your strategy…don’t give up, instead get a plan to transform your sales in 2011!

© 2010, David Stelzl

Growing up, on New Years Day, my father would always say, we’re starting at zero today.  In other words, last year’s revenue doesn’t matter, what matters is, how will our business do in 2010.  It’s often said, dwelling on past success sometimes leads to future failure.  However, if you’ve taken some of the advice I’ve given over the past several years, you’re not starting at zero today.

  • If you’re managed services business is thriving, you’re financial state should be healthy.
  • If you’ve invested in security, Wall Street again predicts this to be in high demand in the coming year.
  • If you’ve established your brand around the value you bring, rather than the product you sell, you have a firm foundation for success in 2010.
  • If your team understands how to present solutions and value, you’ll do well in the coming year.  Wall Street’s article on trends a few days ago not only mentioned security, but also stated the need for high tech professionals to be less geeky and more business relevant.  This has been a core focus of mine since I started this business and it’s true – sales people must learn to meet with business people and develop peer relationships at the top.
  • If you’ve taken time to plan and strategize, and your plans are sound, you’re ahead of your competition.
  • If you have a solid team (right people in the right places) you’re way ahead of your competition.
  • If you’re partnered with vendors who support you financially through marketing and lead generation, you have what you need to start building new business in 2010.

Let’s get started…

© David Stelzl, 2010

Welcome to the Morning Wake Up Call…What’s your plan for 2010?

Black Friday

November 30, 2009 — Leave a comment

Everyone’s watching the numbers, predictions continue to say the recovery is on, and shoppers did spend over 4 million this past weekend…however, don’t be fooled.  No one knows what the economy looks like in the coming year, and shopper’s spending has nothing to do with a consulting company’s success in 2010.  In past years, you may have coasted through December, figuring hard work will continue and you’ll likely make your numbers or continue to some level of growth.  This year I’d recommend taking some time to plan.  Companies that plan outperform those that don’t.  Sitting around worrying is not the answer, and continuing down your current path may not be either.  Take time to reflect on what really did work, what contributed to growth, and what was a waste of time.  Chances are you’ll discover things to cut, and new things to build.  Creativity, determination, and persistence will go a long way as we move into the new year.

Remembering the important things in life

Remembering the important things in life

It’s a worrisome time out there for many.  Remember to take time out this week to enjoy the things that really matter in life.