Imagine this: You’re overdue for a vacation. And you want to take two weeks off to get away. What’s the first thing you do? If you answered, “Plan the trip,” you’re right. You’d plan everything from your destination to how much time you can take off to how much money you want to spend.
The point is: Planning a vacation comes naturally to you. Nobody wings a vacation. Too much at stake. You want everything to go just right. That’s why you plan it out.
Now, focus your natural, planning vision on your sales for the next 12 months. Winning at sales takes planning. More specifically, you need to plan SMART. Look at it this way:
S stands for specific. When you plan a vacation, you nail down the specifics. Do the same with your sales plan. Include specifics like calls, first meetings, time to close, and budgets. Do everything in your plan for a reason. Leave nothing to chance.
Mis for measurable. Quantify what you propose to achieve. That way, you can measure what you do. For example, how many calls and first meetings do you need to close a sale? How many sales do you need to meet your quarterly goals? Whatever you plan for, put a number on it and measure it.
A stands for accountability. Whom will you be accountable to and how? Keep yourself accountable by the records you keep and share these with a person who can review your progress with you. The simple truth is: If you make yourself accountable, you’ll succeed. If you don’t, you won’t.
R is for realistic. Make sure you can reasonably hit the marks you set out for yourself. Stretching yourself to improve makes sense, provided that doing so makes practical sense. Doubling last year’s sales may lie beyond your reach. On the other hand, stretching to boost your sales by 30 percent of 40 percent just may be achievable. Let practicality rule. No wishful thinking here.
T stands for time bound. This relates closely to measurability. Including a start and end time keeps you on track and dismantles procrastination. Making your planning time bound helps you to keep your sales energies and activities on track. A lack of specific timing keeps your planning too loosely defined to serve your purposes well.
So what are you waiting for? Isn’t it time you got SMART about your sales planning?