Just like the taste of a steak can be enhanced when paired with a good Cabernet Sauvignon, a great sales strategy coupled with a good sales plan of action is the perfect pairing. The Cabernet may be good when you drink it by itself. It becomes an excellent wine when paired with the right food.
In a similar way, a “naked” sales strategy may be something to admire and appreciate on it own. However, if it doesn’t create productive selling activity to complement it, it never reaches its full potential. Exceeding revenue expectations can only be achieved through the perfect pairing of planning and action. This pairing has proven its value in achieving sales results in every era.
Why then, do so many sales leaders neglect focusing on getting the balance of these two elements, right?
With pressure constantly increasing on leaders to achieve sales now, short cuts for meeting revenue goals are taken. There becomes a need to focus on closing deals (action) and a corresponding reduction in focus on evolving sales strategies (planning). When you run out of actions that can yield short-term results, sales leaders may be faced with the realization that they should have invested more time enhancing their plans.
There is a sales continuum that starts with strategy and ends with tasks. Effective sales leadership requires managing every step on this continuum to achieve award winning sales results. We develop processes that link the steps along this continuum with the expectation of optimizing sales. A constant monitoring, reviewing, and adjusting of both plans and actions should be the norm.
A good winemaker will not rush the development of the grapes he uses in his wine. If he cares for the grapes and manages the wine making process and then, allows for the maturation of his wines, he is in position to produce a fine wine. No one can predict if the weather will support the winemaker’s strategy, but he can quickly adapt when conditions change. His strategy will be the foundation for taking the most productive actions when the situation changes so he gets a fine wine that can become great when paired with the right food.
Sales leaders should follow a similar process by building solid sales strategies, employing tools and their experience to manage plan execution, and allowing for the necessity of sales plans of action to change. When its time for “harvesting”“ (deal closings), if they have applied rigor to this process the expected sales results will be achieved. They also will have established a strong foundation for long-term growth.
A great sales plan coupled with managed sales activity, is the perfect pairing. Take the time to get the balance right so you can enjoy the results.