Annual Planning? Maybe a Gift for Your Sales Team

by | Dec 5, 2016

This time of year really is insane!  Especially for salespeople and sales teams with annual planning etc!

We all have holiday events to attend, gifts to buy and things to wrap up before year end.  However, sales teams inevitably end up trying to wrap the year with huge sales wins, while customers are checking out do to holiday distractions while trying to prepare for the coming year, all on top of the other normal holiday distractions.

Preparing for next year means increasing quotas and expectations for the sales team.

Have you considered doing anything specifically for the salespeople?  How can you make this time of year more rewarding, or at least more manageable for them?

One of the most popular posts here in 2016 was an “Open Letter to My Sales Manager”. Some of the ideas outlined on the Sales Team Incentivearticle should be on your holiday shopping list.

Sales Team Plans

It’s tough to put yourself in the shoes of your sales team.  After all, you’ve been working all year to develop new products and marketing campaigns, improve customer service and all the other things you do to grow the business.  In your mind, you want to have a big meeting to share all of the new things they can expect you to roll out in 2017 and get them motivated to break new sales records next year.

Sounds like fun, but how many years have you tried that?  How often does the meeting really reach the heights you initially envision?  How often do the sales results reach the levels you predict during that meeting?

Hopefully, some of the time your meetings are awesome and you beat your sales goals for the year. In my experience with clients in all sorts of industries and economic climates, there is often this odd juxtaposition of management’s excitement and high expectations and salespeople’s “Yeah, whatever.  What’s in it for me?” attitude that can turn into a collision of disruption and distraction.

This is not to denigrate salespeople of course.  It’s just that they’ve seen all this before.  From their perspective, it’s just another episode of the same show they’ve seen every holiday season.

“What’s in it for me?” is the mantra repeating in the head of any good salesperson when they get started.  We like them that way.  Prepare for next year by asking yourself, “What’s in it for them?”

Sales Team Survey

A great way to put your planning sessions on a collaborative and mutually beneficial footing might be to survey the sales team in advance and then open the meeting with a review of the findings.  After all, the sales team is your eyes and ears on Sales Team Planning Surveythe market place.  Find out what they think is important.  What opportunities do they feel you’re missing?  Here’s a list of sales team survey questions to start with.

You don’t have to implement every idea they share,just listening is huge to them.  Picking 1 or 2 ideas to follow through with would help them realize that their input is of value to you.

Odds are that you’ll find that many of their ideas are in line with what you were hoping to accomplish anyway.  Of course, starting with their ideas first allows them feel like part of the process and vastly increases their willingness to come along.  It’s also very likely that you’ll learn some important things you really didn’t know.

Maybe they’d like better ways to know what a customer has ordered.  Or they may want a more effective way to stay in touch with cool leads.   Agreeing to consider their ideas and desires  can have a great impact.

This holiday season, spend some time listening to your salespeople.  Then, plan to implement some of their ideas for the new year.