Sales Management Group

You’ve Got a Sales Strategy. Do Your Sales Reps Have One?

roadmapYour company’s sales strategy is complete. You’ve identified the market segments and the types of companies you want to reach. You know what offerings you want to sell.

 You’ve got a clear message. All your sales tools and marketing programs are in place.

You’re ready to go. But what about your sales reps? Without them nothing happens.

Putting a sales strategy together is an important exercise. But it’s pointless unless the sales team is ready, willing, and able to implement the strategy.

Don’t expect your reps to figure this out on their own. Management’s job is to give the sales team the necessary training, tools, and support to execute the strategy. Here are the steps you need to take:

  1. Educate your sales reps on the strategy
  2. Show them how to implement the strategy in their respective territories (territory plans)
  3. Coach them as they develop, refine, and execute their territory plans

Why a Territory Plan Matters

A territory plan is a sales rep’s individual strategic plan. It’s also her roadmap. It tells her where to go (goals) and how to get there (action plan).

It’s an essential operating tool for a sales rep and an essential management tool for a sales leader.  

Without a territory plan, your reps will not have a clear focus. And you won’t know what they’re working on. That’s a recipe for failure.

Get Them Up to Speed

First, ensure that your reps thoroughly understand the sales strategy – and buy into it. Schedule a full day workshop to go through the strategy in depth.

Focus on the following:

  • Marketplace positioning
    • What is your market niche?
    • What are your competitive advantages?
  • Ideal Customer Profile
    • Who are your best customers?
    • What industries are they in? How big are their companies?
    • Why do they need what you’re selling?
  • Your Offering
    • What do your products/services do?
    • What problems do they solve and for whom?
    • How do you justify your pricing? 
  • Sales Support
    • What are your sales tools and how do the reps use them effectively?
    • What are your marketing programs and how are they supporting the sales effort?

At the end of the session, your reps should have a clear picture of what they are selling and to whom, and why.

Treasure MapBuilding The Territory Plan

Now comes the real work. Give your reps very detailed instructions on how to prepare their territory plans. This includes templates and worksheets.

Give them a tight deadline (no more than two weeks) to complete the draft plans. Then, review the plans and help them refine their plans.

Each rep should have a final plan approved by the sales manager within two weeks of submitting the preliminary plan.

The territory plan is a very detailed document. But, at a high level, it includes:

  1. Revenue plan – Let’s say Riley’s sales manager assigns her a $5 million quota. Now Riley needs to figure out how to make the number.

    What will she sell and to whom? Who are her best customers? Her plan should clearly identify the potential quarterly revenue from each of her key customers and prospects.

  2. Tactics and programs – Riley’s plan needs to be more than a revenue projection. It needs to show how she will achieve her goals. What she will offer each account, how she will present the offer, and to whom at the account she will make the offer.

Executing the Plan

Producing a detailed and realistic territory plan is an important step. Now Riley needs to execute.

Her manager should closely monitor her performance against the plan with bi-weekly or monthly review meetings. If Riley is not making her numbers, both she and her manager should know why. And they should agree on what corrective actions to take.

In general, sales reps can operate very independently. But they still need a roadmap. And they also need the guidance and support – and the occasional nudge – from the boss.

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