#5 – Personal Sales Plans (STSF Core Components)

By David Masover

Hi, welcome to episode five of The Sales Team Success Formula™

The first 10 episodes of the podcast are designed to be like an audiobook version of The Sales Team Success Formula™, but I didn’t actually write the book – I did these podcasts instead!

In other words, if you really want to take a deep dive into exactly what The Sales Team Success Formula™ is, how it works, what the pieces are, and what it’s going to do for you and your team, listen to episodes one through ten.

It’ll take you a couple of hours to get through all ten core content episodes just like an audiobook would, but by the time you’re done, you’re going to have all the details.

You can start with episode one that’s going to give you an overview of the formula and then decide if you want to listen to the rest. 

Here in episode five, we’ll cover Personal Sales Plans. Up to this point in the podcast, we’ve covered who your reps should be talking to (episode 2), what they should say (episode 3), and how they can most successfully navigate each sales opportunity (episode 4).

Now we need to take on how each rep can manage ALL of the opportunities they have to work on while bridging the gap to sales management to foster the kind of co-created clarity and agreement needed for proper and effective management support and accountability towards sustained sales team excellence and success.

And here is what you will find in the other episodes:

EPISODE 1:  Introducing The Sales Team Success Formula™

EPISODE 2:  Target Client Profiling

EPISODE 3:  Effective Sales Messaging

EPISODE 4:  The Four Level Sales Process™

EPISODE 5:  Personal Sales Plans

EPISODE 6:  KPIs & Metrics

EPISODE 7:  Sales Tools & Tech

EPISODE 8:  Call Reviews

EPISODE 9:  Deal Reviews & Pipeline Reviews

EPISODE 10:  Putting the Formula Into Action

Thanks for your interest in The Sales Team success Formula™ – and here’s to your success!

Transcription

Hi, and thanks for being here for episode number five of The Sales Team Success Formula podcast. 

I’m your host and the creator of the formula David Masover, and I’m glad you could be here for this episode.

So we’ve come a long way so far in this podcast, and in these first episodes where we walk through The Sales Team Success Formula in a pretty deep level of detail.

To remind you where we are and where we are going – kind of like one of those “you are here” maps you see in the shopping malls – I’d like to bring you back to the image of the triangle that we use to represent The Sales Team Success Formula back in the first episode, and which is available from a link in the notes to the first episode in case you’d like to see it and not just have me describe it here.

Now if you remember, our triangle has three corners or points, and each point represents one of the big pieces of your front line sales organization and one of the main focus areas of The Sales Team Success Formula.

The first corner is your salespeople, the second corner is the tools and tech they use to engage with prospects and customers, and the third corner is the person that the salespeople reports to, who we call the front line sales manager no matter what their actual job title might happen to be, even if that’s the CEO of a smaller organization.

So in these first five episodes so far, this one being episode five, we mapped out the full formula at a high level in episode one, and now in these last few episodes we mapped out in more detail what we need to clarify and nail down with respect to the first corner of the triangle, the things that the salespeople need to do with prospects and customers as a part of their work and as elements that will integrate into the other corners of the triangle and the rest of The Sales Team Success Formula.

  • In episode two, we dug into who the salespeople should be talking to as we went over Target Client Profiles. 
  • In episode three we got into a lot of detail around what salespeople should be saying to prospects and customers to increase the likelihood of positive and productive and success oriented sales focused engagement with them.
  • In episode four we went over The Four Level Sales Process to map out what salespeople should be doing with each opportunity they get into – so who to talk to, what to say, and what to do around each opportunity.

Now in this – the fifth episode – we’ll get into how salespeople can stay on top of multiple opportunities over time and how they can commit to specific activities and quantities of work.

This is critical of course, since your salespeople almost certainly have at least a few opportunities cooking at any one time, but also because this mapping of the activity of each rep will lead us to management support and accountability structures as a connection point the other corners of the triangle and the other big and important parts of The Sales Team Success Formula that we’ll get into in upcoming episodes.

So this episode will be about what I call Personal Sales Plans – and it will be the last part of what we discuss in these first episodes about what the salespeople should be focused on before we get into the management section of the program where we will focus on tech, tools, KPIs, metrics, accountability, support, and all of the things that the organization as a whole can do to A) support the salespeople in their mission, and B) to stay on top of all of that collectively and effectively so that the organization as a whole can also stay on track and keep growing.

So a Personal Sales Plans for each of your salespeople  – something they will make for themselves and then collaborate on with the front line sales manager – are an opportunity for each rep and their boss to agree on targets and methodology over some period of time, maybe a quarter, maybe a year – depending on what feels most right given the dynamics of your own business and sales cycle.

Now among the many benefits of getting this kind of clarity for the rep and with their boss, I’m sure that you’ve heard about the many studies that show that people with written goals have a MUCH higher likelihood of achieving them – so this is also a chance to collaborate with your reps and put down in writing what they are shooting for in the coming quarter or year.

Another huge benefit is something we’ll be talking about a lot, and specifically in upcoming episode number nine about to the Pipeline and Accountability Meeting, we’ll start with the question “did the rep hit their targeted results for this period of time?”

This Personal Sales Plan is the place to clarify those targeted results, and some other things as well.

Now when I work with teams as a part of The Sales Team Success Formula, I like to help salespeople develop their Personal Sales Plans by first giving reps some instructions about what should be in the plans, and I’ll go over some items in a minute that we usually try to include.

There may be other things that make sense for you to include depending on your specific circumstances, but this should be a good starting point and can be built upon depending on whatever else might make sense for you and your team.

Once the reps have the instructions or maybe a template, I have the reps complete their own plans on their own.

Once that is done, the reps should send their plans to the front line sales manager for review and iteration if needed, then finally, the rep and the front line sales manager should sit down and go over the plan together until it is clear for everyone and the goals and results that will be reviewed in the Pipeline meeting are unambiguous and agreed to by all.

This way the rep really owns the goals since they were the first to put them down – with some guidance and a framework – and they were able to collaborate on finalizing them – so this is something co-created by the rep and who they report to, which is a MUCH better way too set targets than imposing them on reps which is the common practice.

So to help you get started with that, here are some of the elements that you might consider including in the Personal Sales Plan for each of your reps, and I should note here for the sake of full disclosure that a lot of this is borrowed from the great Mike Weinberg in his epic book “Sales Management Simplified” – which I highly recommend to anyone that wants to excel at the art and science of sales team leadership:

The first section of the Personal Sales Plan is about Goals – What are you going to achieve?

This section of plan is the place to put the hard numbers that will be referred to in the Pipeline & Accountability meetings we will discuss in the section on Management. In that meeting, we will open with the question “did you hit your goals or results” – this is the place to put them down.

Depending on the specifics of the sales role, goals here might include things like total revenue or gross margin; number of new accounts; number of new pieces of business; number of meetings set if that is a key objective of the job, etc.

To be most effective in developing this section of the plan, the reps and then the front line sales manager should look back to The Four Level Sales Process we’ve developed and determine the right categories to capture under goals, set some targets, and then break them down into months so that you have something to shoot for and some number to start the monthly Pipeline and Accountability meeting with. You might need to change these targets during the year – but that is totally fine, as long as you do it collaboratively with the rep so that everyone knows and agrees on the targets.

The next section of the Personal Sales Plan is about Strategies & Tactics – How are you going to do it?

Now that you know what the rep is going to try to accomplish with respect to specific goals & results, the strategies and tactics section is a place to put down how they are going to do it. This section of the Personal Sales Plan might include things like target market focus, specific accounts, specific sales methodologies, cross-sell opportunities, strategic partnership possibilities, large account penetration strategies, etc.

From there we want to talk about specific Actions – What are you going to do?

This section is all about the specific things the reps will do to achieve the goals according to the strategies and tactics. How many, how often, when, etc. This section and the goals section should be full of numbers that the rep and the front line sales manager have agreed on to be used as a basis for execution and a reference point during Pipeline and Accountability reviews and other progress check meetings. If a rep isn’t hitting their goals, and it’s time to examine what kind of activities they have been doing (or not doing) to get there, this plan is a solid point of reference that THE REP has already committed to which makes it a great point of departure for what otherwise might be a tough conversation that has no anchor points.

Once those specific goals, strategies, tactics and actions are nailed down, it’s time to consider Obstacles – What is in the way?

It’s very worthwhile as a part of this exercise to ask reps what obstacles they see that are in their way – what will prevent them from achieving their goals and executing on their strategies. It is much better to get these out in the open here as something to address than it is to have them come up later as excuse. Personal Sales Plans are about being proactive, so why not be proactive about learning the obstacles as well!

And finally, it’s worth taking some time to consider Personal Development – How do you want to grow?

The Personal Sales Plan is a great place to put some ideas in place about what kinds of areas of potential improvement professionally or otherwise are opportunities for growth for each rep, and how they plan to address them throughout the period reflected in each The Personal Sales Plan.

Like obstacles, it’s a great approach to recognize the creation of this plan as a place to capture both potential liabilities and opportunities so that the rep can be proactive about considering and addressing what it will take to growth and making those things visible to the FLSM for accountability and support

So that’s an overview of what should be in the plans and how reps should construct them in cooperation with the front line sales manager or whoever they report to.

Reps can fill out a yearly plan or can do it quarterly or can do it as a kind of a hybrid – meaning that you can have them fill out a plan for the year and collaboratively add in or adjust numbers as goals for the pipeline meeting each month or each quarter. Whats important is that intentions are set and agreed to in advance and collaboratively.

At the end of the day, sales is about hitting targets and finding better ways to do so. Personal Sales Plans are a deliberate, co-created, clear way to do so between a rep and the front line sales managers they report to.

Build this muscle!

So this wraps up our exploration of the first corner of our Sales Team Success Formula triangle – what reps should be doing in the field.

Over the next five episodes, we’ll explore the other two corners starting with KPIs and metrics then tech and tools, then moving on to how management can use all that we have built within the formula to support reps and the team as a whole, hold everyone accountable to what it takes to succeed, and foster an environment of ongoing growth within a culture of improvement and excellence along the way.

So if that sounds good, keep listening – we are well on our way to completing our basic build out of the formula for sales team success, and the infrastructure of excellence and continuous growth that you can enjoy within your whole B2B sales team when you do.

If you’d like to find out what the formula can do specifically for you and your team, head over to my website at www dot sales team success formula dot com and sign up for a one-on-one consultation and assessment with me and let’s find out if this program is your best next move for B2B sales growth and scalability.

See you next time for episode six on KPIs and metrics.