Sales Planning for the Coming Year: Try the 1-Page Report

Sales Planning for the Coming Year: Try the 1-Page Report

As the 3rd Quarter draws to a close we suggest you begin to think about key-account planning for the coming year. Begin planning a few months early this year with this 2-step exercise.

First, identify your top major accounts over the past couple years. Make your own rules regarding how to define them, but we suggest you start with those top accounts that comprise (say) 90% of your sales volume. I suspect that list will contain 50-100 accounts or customers. Make a simple account list on a spreadsheet and collect some data on each, e.g. :

  • Annual sales volume (that’s obvious);
  • Annual gross profit (or more granular profit contribution, if available);
  • Annual sales per order or release;
  • Annual shipments made;
  • Annual sales call required; and
  • ……any other performance metric you think is applicable.

When completed, sort your list by profit (column #2). This is the 1-page Report

Then, hand the 1-page Report to your top sales executive and ask them to look at the results and seek obvious situations where improvements can be made (e.g., more high-profit sales, higher pricing, less company resources applied, too many small orders written, etc.).

Second, request a 2-part response from the sales team.

  1. Ask your top sales executive to identify and report on the top-5 selling (and profit improvement) opportunities revealed in the report and briefly describe what actions or investments are required (report within 2 weeks); and
  2. Ask your top sales executive to then ask their reps and managers to look at their individual accounts on the report and respond with a 12-month plan to grab the opportunities they see (say, report within 6 weeks).

Your 1-page Report can go a long way to helping identify opportunities to improve company profits in the coming year, and will surely form the basis for 2013 account and territory planning. You should be able get a nice ROI for a few hours of analysis.

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