Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Planning for the Future

How well do you plan your future? Towards the end of a year is a good time to look at and plan for a new year. For our company we have just completed our 2012 Strategic Plan and one of our big goals for next year is a sales goal of $16 million in sales. This will be a slight increase over this year.

We know from our history that we can do OK if the economy is good and we treat our customers right but in an unstable economy and a shifting marketing mix - we have to do more. We are looking at existing clients that we have more opportunity with and are spending more time working on those opportunities. Our main focus though is adding new clients with net new business. We know as a sales team we need to push hard for next year and add a group of good customers in order to hit our goal.

To hit our goal, we as a sales team are focusing on three primary areas. We are tracking a certain number of business development calls, we are tracking new customer aquisition and we are tracking technology sales. We know if we hit our weekly activity goals our sales goal will happen.

On a weekly basis we meet and report this data. We then use the time to share stories of what went well and what we need to improve.

Take your goals for next year and break them into actions and smaller goals and push hard every week to win. This will make for a great 2012.

Friday, December 23, 2011

One More Push

Being in an economic slowdown gives us all a new opportunity to do more. It seems that most, if not all, parts of the economy are experiencing some sort of slow down. We are now seeing it in our small part of the universe - it's not just a problem for other country or the other part of the US.

If each of our sales people is able to add one or two medium jobs a week, then we are back on track. That is well within the scope of our sales force. The amount of quoting is steady, so the business is there.

I'm sure this is true in many industries and parts of the country. Just a little extra effort each day will bring the level of business back to a point of sustainability. It's time to quit listening to the news and use that time to look for and land new business.

Friday, December 16, 2011

How We Learn

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand" is a saying credited to Confucius. Here is a saying capable of driving everything this blog is about. From sales to marketing to personal effectiveness to lean principles - this saying hits them all.

Without doing there is no sales. No one can help others sell a service or a product unless s/he has been in the trenches and has dealt with the disappointment of making a call, having a first meeting, making a presentation and then delivering the presentation to find out the business has been lost.

Without doing there is no marketing. The most ideal marketing plan is almost bound to fail if the team building the plan has never been part of successful team. Ideas that happen in a meeting room may be spectacular, but they don't have the backing of real life experience.

Without doing there is no personal effectiveness. I remember in the past reading book after book on personal effectiveness thinking this will be easy - my troubles are solved. Then the implementation happens and all the "what if" problems arise. It's after dealing with the "what if" problems that a real system can be developed.

Without doing there are no lean principles. In the lean philosophy, there is a concept called PDCA (plan, do, check, act) which is a system of trial and error with continual feedback and improvement. This is what Confucius was talking about. It takes real life to test any belief and then to improve on that belief.

All of these examples say to just get on with it - just start doing something. And then realize that forever the parts and pieces and systems will be changing and improving.