The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 4 years ago

Plan to Make the Plan

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Great tips for managers and reps on building an effective sales plan

Hello, I'm Rachel Clap Miller with force management. Thank you for joining us for this podcast on sales planning. John Kaplan is joining me today to talk about this topic, sales planning and pipeline. I Rachel, great topic. It's great to be with you again. I'm looking forward to it. It is a great topic. is also a hessty topic sales planning, but today we're looking to really boil it down to some of those basic principles that will help you out there as a rep or as a manager. When it comes to the plan, John, you call this the plan to make the plan. Yeah, I really like that phrase, the plan to make the plan, and it really kind of focuses on the importance of accountability, especially when it comes to sales planning. Managers need to drive accountability and reps need to own their territory as if it was like a business franchise, and we say that a lot. John. I know you're really passionate about that accountability point. You've been in here, in this very room, pounding on the table about accountability when it comes to sales planning and I know that that perspective really...

...came from a lesson that you learned early in a career. Tell us about that. Yeah, years ago I was working for Zerox Corporation and I remember, you know, sitting at my desk at the end of a quarter, is actually the end of the year, and I had my commission check in my hand and and it was the largest commission check that I had had the date. A buddy of mine, Keith, came up and looked at me and I I must have had a horrible look on my face. He snatched the commission check out of my hand and and he started kind of yelling and screaming. He's a good buddy of mine. He was all excited for me at the you know, the dollar amount and and and he just looked at me and he said, you know, Dude, what's wrong? And I'll never ever forget that experience because what was wrong was, and I know there's a lot of people listening right now, especially this time of year, that had that kind of feeling. I felt like I had drained the pond. I felt like that I had, you know, I had there's no way...

...that I'd be able to, you know, have another year like this. At the time, the company I was working for had a you know, kind of a situation where you your next year's quota was your previous year's achievement, and so I thought there was no possible way that I'd, you know, be able to be able to do this. And now it's kind of, you know, for one of the rare times in my life, I was getting ready to kind of just throwing the towel and I had a great boss. You know, the next day, I think Keith went and talk to my boss and the next day my boss came to me and said, Hey, John, let me talk to you about, you know, next year and as you can imagine, I wasn't that excited about the conversation. But he started to ask me questions, and managers out there, I want you to listen to this. He started to ask me questions that I really didn't have the answer to to. He started to ask me about my non users and he started to ask me about things that I hadn't been doing in a t in the territory and he really helped me find opportunity inside of my...

...existing assignment. And you know, that was his job and he did it fantastically. So he came up with an idea, came up with a quick strategy and, you know, I went home, you know, really excited. I mapped it to my financial goals and and I came in the next day and I had a plan all, all done, and I came to him and I said, Hey, do me a favor. Ask me about this plan every single day. You don't need to do anything else with me, just ask me about this plan. And the funny part of the story is the next day he asked me about the plan and I told him I was too busy, that I had all this administrative stuff that I needed to do. And the next day he asked me the same question. He said, Hey, John, what did you do on your plan today? And I gave him another lame excuse about, you know, the orders that I need to get through the system or what have you. On the third day he asked me again and I got a little frustrated with it and I never forget what he said to him and he said, John, I'm not sure why I care more about your plan than you do. And so I grabbed...

...my stuff, I went out, I focused on the plan every single day and, to make a long story short, with his help, that plan to make the plan that we created together turned out to be the biggest year for me ever in that company, and so there's a lot of morals to the story that we're going to break down together here, Rachel, but that's one of my favorite ones. On the plan to make a plan. So really the to take away was that that pond wasn't drained as long as you had the plan to make the plan, and by him asking you about it and kind of getting you some spirit around it, but maybe getting you a little bit of set, was that he drove accountability. Yes, so let's talk about some of this action steps, kind of those lessons from from the story for both reps and managers when it comes to the plan to make the plan. Let's start with the Reps. I think you talked about owning their territory as a business. That that's a really important point, but I know...

...that there's keys to to actually making the happit walk through that. I think one way to do that, one way to really own it as if it's your own, is to map your professional, financial and personal goals in the plan. So the number should be, you know, based upon your professional, financial and personal goals, not just numbers but things you want to accomplish new products, new segments that you want to go after, but make it personal to you. And then another big one, and I see this a lot. I see this missing a lot and plans that I that I review, is commit yourself to actionable, time based pipeline activities in the plan. Who's doing what when? And I think those two kind of main things will get you off to a really, really great start. Who's doing what when is a great question to act ask yourself, and important, I know that you would say this as well, is that you don't want to keep it just yourself. You need to socialize your plan. Yeah, that's a really good point. So what I encourage managers to do is to encourage the reps...

...to share their plan with with all their colleagues that will call on or execute inside their territories. The reality is most people, you know, they might own an assignment, but there's multiple people inside and assignment and with multiple buyers, with these solutions that were addressing, you know, we constantly addressed on these podcasts. You have multiple buyers and you have multiple people inside these accounts or touching these accounts. So you have to you have to collaborate with them in most. You got to remember this. If you don't make your plan, they don't make theirs. So that's a way to get them invested into your plan. You know, be sure you have a clear plan that covers all the accountabilities. As you said earlier. Who's doing what, when and for the rest on the bottom line really is accountability. But you have to be honest with yourself and your making plan. Just don't throw something out in the air. Yeah, I think being honest with yourself on the plan is...

...really critical. Don't just keep accounts because you have them. A lot of times I look in these and I see all these accounts that aren't getting called on, and back at Xerox all those years ago, that's exactly what happened to me. I had all these non users that I wasn't calling on. So if you can't cover it, give it up to somebody who can, because you're only making those counts of vulnerable for the competition. And so you got to own the plan. Own It. Don't fill out some form just to get a task done. When you write it down, that means you are committing to it. That commitment and accountability also good point of transition to the managers you say that's a lot. Do Your job. What does it mean when you when you tell managers to do your job? Yeah, you know, I like that's one of Belichick's favorite sayings and he tells his players to just do their job. And I think about this when I think about managers. You know, your number one job is to add value to your reps. that should be your primary focus. If you ask your team to...

...put a plan together, you got to be prepared to review it not just once but throughout the year. Have a cadence, a rhythm and operating rhythm that will allow them to kind of understand what your role is in the plan and what their role is in the plan. You got to be open to your reps telling you that they don't have a, you know, enough in their assignment. So some people are going to have more than others and it's really kind of and some people going to have less than others and it's really kind of your job to create winning assignments. There are too many leaders today who don't do this or do this poorly. So you got to give your reps the opportunity to win. And and anybody can ask somebody repeatedly about a forecast. True leaders understand how to help their teams drive real, qualified pipeline. It's about another saying that we say a lot. Provide the how. Yeah, no doubt. And, as we always say, the plan to...

...make a plan accountability. Provide the how, but pipeline cures all ails. You owe it's yourself to pay attention to this. I love that saying it real you should write it down. Pipeline cures all ills and it's pipeline at the territory or assignment level, not at the forecast level. By the time you get to the forecast level and you're looking to try to figure out pipeline, it's too late. You know, do the work at the beginning of the year and enjoy the fruits of your labor throughout the year. It's your plan. Go make it happen. I love that. Do the work, do your job. Thank you so much, John. Thank you for your perspective. Thank you for listening out there to this podcast. Don't forget you can subscribe to this on soundcloud and itunes and make sure you're following force management on twitter, facebook, instagram, all the social sites. Will catch you next time.

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