David Parry, one of our most experienced flexible sales leaders, is unequivocal about Business and Sales Planning and launched into a passionate defence when we asked him. Here is a snapshot of what David said:
‘Not only is it worth the effort, it’s absolutely essential, business or sales planning is a key area in my view.
Without exception, whatever company I’ve gone into, no matter if they’re large or small, there is always a lot of talk about aspirations but rarely an actionable plan and the corresponding budget that will take them on the journey to get there. There will more often than not be a financial budget, but that is not enough.
Everything else we talk about relating to vision, people, process and management are the essential elements to putting a plan in place. In essence, creating a roadmap relevant to all staff, which includes milestones, KPIs, and the measurable actions needed to make sure the business keeps on track.
I have written more plans for clients than I care to think about, some have been veritable doorsteps and others jotted on the back of a table napkin, but whatever the form, one thing’s for sure, without a plan no-one is going anywhere.
People look at all the hockey-stick graphs I show them and ask how it was done and say they want some of that, until they realise the detailed planning and hard work that’s needed to bring it about.
And I don’t mean all excel spreadsheets and no fun – it has to be exciting, people need to feel motivated and part of a team – that is the icing on the cake that brings a plan to life.’
David is very clear when he says business and sales planning is the blueprint for how to get from aspiration to achievement. More than that, he describes it as exciting and fun. This is because his experience tells him the plan is the only way to get where you’re going. In your planning, you will start to create the reality of achieving your business goals and that is exciting. As for the fun, well it’s a bit like when you plan your holiday and book the travel and accommodation, you can almost feel the sun, sand and the lapping of a blue bit of ocean. Now that’s definitely part of the fun isn’t it?