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Plan, Plan, Plan (and Be Efficient)

As a former Eagle Scout, I can attest to usefulness of the motto, "Be prepared." Especially after last Sunday.

Sunday was Boom's Day, the largest fireworks display in the United States, which occurs each Labor Day weekend in Knoxville, Tenn. An estimated 400,000 people flock to the riverfront to watch the event -- boats on the river, people lined up on the docks and roads, and every home, parking lot and condo packed with friends and neighbors. It's 45 minutes of noise, color and lots of "Ooohs" and "Aaahs." And the potential of rain.

For the two weeks before Boom's Day, I asked everyone about the event -- where to park, when to arrive and so on. I double-checked my reservations for my dinner cruise and planned what to pack. The good news was, I found a parking spot in the first ramp I drove into. Arriving at 2:30 p.m. allowed my friends and I to casually walk through Market Square, stop for refreshments and sushi, and then walk the 10 blocks to the riverwalk and boat launch. When the rain came, we had hats, ponchos and umbrellas. At 9:30 p.m., when the show began, the rain stopped. On the walk back to the car, I took out my flashlight and the four of us made it home by 1 a.m. A great evening to remember.

What does this have to do with sales management? As a manager, you must be prepared at all times for almost any event. The best plan is to have a plan, and to consider what might go wrong or what could impact your ability to exceed your objectives. Below are a couple of items to consider when refining or forming a plan for your sales team:

Do you have a plan...

  • if you lose a salesperson
  • if your sales team needs training
  • to boost the sales culture of your team
  • to increase your networking/partnering function
  • that generates excitement for your products/services
  • to say "thank you" to your support team
  • that increases your level of professionalism/education
  • to create a sales contest that drives revenue
  • that adds net new customers to your base
  • that drives the necessary sales leads for each month
  • to say "thank you" to your existing customer base
  • to increase your public relations exposure within your community or market
  • that will increase/improve your vendor relations
  • to improve your CRM effectiveness
  • if your computer systems fail or are destroyed

That's enough for now, but if I missed anything, comment below. Let's build a complete list for the future.

Hint: This is a great idea for your next management meeting. Simply begin by asking each of the departmental managers about their problems or contingency issues that arise on a day-to-day basis or what might occur if a disaster of any kind happens. Then ask them for their plan.

Why is this critically important today? In any kind of business environment, the organization that operates the most efficiently generally outperforms their competition. In more challenging times, a focus on efficient effectiveness must become the mantra for the day.

Posted by Ken Thoreson on September 09, 2011