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 withforce 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 andpipeline. I Rachel, great topic. It's great to be with you again. I'm looking forward to it. It is a great topic. is alsoa hessty topic sales planning, but today we're looking to really boil it downto some of those basic principles that will help you out there as a repor as a manager. When it comes to the plan, John, youcall 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 onthe importance of accountability, especially when it comes to sales planning. Managersneed to drive accountability and reps need to own their territory as if it waslike a business franchise, and we say that a lot. John. Iknow you're really passionate about that accountability point. You've been in here, in thisvery room, pounding on the table about accountability when it comes to salesplanning and I know that that perspective really...

...came from a lesson that you learnedearly in a career. Tell us about that. Yeah, years ago Iwas working for Zerox Corporation and I remember, you know, sitting at my deskat 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 thelargest 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 ahorrible look on my face. He snatched the commission check out of my handand and he started kind of yelling and screaming. He's a good buddy ofmine. He was all excited for me at the you know, the dollaramount 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 whatwas 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. Ifelt 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, youknow, have another year like this. At the time, the company Iwas working for had a you know, kind of a situation where you yournext year's quota was your previous year's achievement, and so I thought there was nopossible way that I'd, you know, be able to be able to dothis. And now it's kind of, you know, for one of therare times in my life, I was getting ready to kind of justthrowing the towel and I had a great boss. You know, the nextday, I think Keith went and talk to my boss and the next daymy boss came to me and said, Hey, John, let me talkto 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. Hestarted 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 meabout things that I hadn't been doing in a t in the territory and hereally 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 withan idea, came up with a quick strategy and, you know, Iwent home, you know, really excited. I mapped it to my financial goalsand 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. Youdon'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 meabout the plan and I told him I was too busy, that I hadall this administrative stuff that I needed to do. And the next day heasked me the same question. He said, Hey, John, what did youdo on your plan today? And I gave him another lame excuse about, you know, the orders that I need to get through the system orwhat have you. On the third day he asked me again and I gota little frustrated with it and I never forget what he said to him andhe said, John, I'm not sure why I care more about your planthan you do. And so I grabbed...

...my stuff, I went out,I focused on the plan every single day and, to make a long storyshort, with his help, that plan to make the plan that we createdtogether 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 breakdown together here, Rachel, but that's one of my favorite ones. Onthe plan to make a plan. So really the to take away was thatthat 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 spiritaround it, but maybe getting you a little bit of set, was thathe 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 whenit 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'sa really important point, but I know...

...that there's keys to to actually makingthe happit walk through that. I think one way to do that, oneway to really own it as if it's your own, is to map yourprofessional, financial and personal goals in the plan. So the number should be, you know, based upon your professional, financial and personal goals, not justnumbers but things you want to accomplish new products, new segments that youwant to go after, but make it personal to you. And then anotherbig one, and I see this a lot. I see this missing alot and plans that I that I review, is commit yourself to actionable, timebased pipeline activities in the plan. Who's doing what when? And Ithink 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 askyourself, 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 socializeyour plan. Yeah, that's a really good point. So what I encouragemanagers to do is to encourage the reps...

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

...really critical. Don't just keep accountsbecause you have them. A lot of times I look in these and Isee all these accounts that aren't getting called on, and back at Xerox allthose years ago, that's exactly what happened to me. I had all thesenon 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 ofvulnerable for the competition. And so you got to own the plan. OwnIt. Don't fill out some form just to get a task done. Whenyou write it down, that means you are committing to it. That commitmentand 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 managersto do your job? Yeah, you know, I like that's one ofBelichick's favorite sayings and he tells his players to just do their job. AndI think about this when I think about managers. You know, your numberone job is to add value to your reps. that should be your primaryfocus. If you ask your team to...

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

...make a plan accountability. Provide thehow, but pipeline cures all ails. You owe it's yourself to pay attentionto 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, notat the forecast level. By the time you get to the forecast level andyou'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 ofyour labor throughout the year. It's your plan. Go make it happen.I love that. Do the work, do your job. Thank you somuch, John. Thank you for your perspective. Thank you for listening outthere to this podcast. Don't forget you can subscribe to this on soundcloud anditunes 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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