Why Success in 2017 Depends on Your Sales Playbook

2017 sales playbook

With 2017 on the horizon, top-line pressure will continue to play a pivotal role in determining what strategic resources are necessary in your corporate strategy and how they are deployed. One of the keys to driving demand growth and ensuring new sources of revenue are capitalized on can be found in your sales playbook. In this article, guest contributor and leading sales playbook strategist Mark Cox breaks down why the answer to your 2017 growth objectives starts with your sales plan.

The most important metric to gauge the your business’s success in 2017 is revenue. Chances are however, that your 2016 sales performance to date has been below expectations. There’s a few reasons why I’m so confident making such a bold generalization:

  • 48%* of salespeople underperform or miss quota
  • 28%** of salespeople turnover
  • And yet 39%*** of B2B purchasing decisions still favour the firm that sold better

So, while selling well is one of the most critical determinants of corporate success, most companies are not able to master their sales. This is likely because most business schools offer almost no sales-specific courses (the list is growing, however, with institutions like DePaul University’s world-class Sales Leadership Center).

The root cause on why sales performance is so bad can be traced to a number of factors including poor and unstructured hiring practices. The important question for this article, however, is what should Small to Mid-sized business do to inoculate poor sales performance for 2017?

The answer is to develop and document a concrete sales plan (a Sales Playbook) for 2017. All key functions within a business operate off of a plan. You use business plans, marketing plans, financial plans and project plans to chart the evolution of your business and performance against key initiatives.

However, for some reason when we ask to see our clients’ sales plans, they give us a blank stare that says “the dog ate my homework”. There is a false belief that new sales are entirely dependent on good or bad sales people and “the fix” to poor sales results is to replace the current sales team.

This has some validity but is not entirely true.

Of course consistent under-performers who have been given the coaching and tools to make quota should be terminated – and terminated fast – but a good sales person has zero chance of being successful if the company’s sales strategy is flawed.

Without question, the capabilities of the sales team are critical to sales success. However, people are simply one component of the Sales Playbook. Sales success is also dependent on the sales strategy, team structure, sales process, and sales technology.

If you want to dramatically improve sales performance for 2017, work on your Sales Playbook right now.

What is a Sales Playbook?

It is a combination of your:

  • Go to Market Plan
  • Sales Strategy – What you sell, Who you sell to, How you sell it
  • Execution Plan – How you are going to do it, What and how many salespeople are required to execute the strategy
  • Management Cadence – How you will track progress and adjust accordingly

What is involved in the Go to Market Plan?

  • Positioning your Value Proposition
  • Defining your Target Market
  • Developing Awareness Campaigns for your business / brand
  • Initiating Demand Generation
  • Executing on your Sales Strategy

Why start now?

The December holidays provide some ideal downtime to reflect and plan for 2017, but strategic thinking and the tactics that accompany that strategy need to be started today. You want to hit the ground running with your Sales Playbook within the first week of January and roll out to the sales team (however big or small) with a Q1 Sales Kick off.

To Achieve Your Aggressive Growth Targets You Need a Sales Playbook

Sales Performance is dependent on your ability to recruit and hire the right sales staff, train them, establish a formal sales process, and enable them with the right technology, but FIRST you need a plan. For more information, including articles, videos, and downloadable templates on how to build your 2017 sales playbook, we highly recommend you visit the In The Funnel Sales Resource Library.

Mark Cox

Managing Partner at In The Funnel
Mark is a sales expert who has led sales organizations in technology, services and consulting for 20 years.

He now leads In the Funnel Sales Consulting, helping small and mid-size businesses turn around sales teams and develop their Sales Playbooks.

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