Plan Now For The Rest Of The Sales Year and Get Results – the Science of Sales

Reading time: 5 – 8 minutes

Like I said in a recent post, it is September.  There are only four more months remaining in the year.  If you are a medical device sales manager, are you getting the most out of your team?  If you are a salesperson, are you getting the most out of yourself?  How are you going to optimize the rest of the year?

A Sales Plan is a good start.  An end of year Sales Plan may get you that bump in sales that you need to achieve or overachieve you annual goal.  In this post I am assuming that you have the marketing and selling tools you need to get the job done.  If not, you may want to coordinate the following activity with your marketing colleagues.  Otherwise, KEEP IT SIMPLE!

For the Sales Manager, create positive tension by getting your team together either physically or on a Skype video call (GoToMeeting is another option) and asking them what they plan to accomplish the rest of the year.  Prior to the call, you can give them fair warning and tell them that you will be asking them this question.  You may want to ask them what they will accomplish in key product categories.  I call this positive tension because you haven’t rammed a sales number down their throats.  You have put the burden on them and asked them to set their goals.  I bet that they will offer fairly optimistic numbers.  Then at the end of the call you ask each of them to write a simple plan that explains how they will reach their stated goals.  Finally, you may want to consider an additional reward if they hit their targets.  Have that reward ready.  Only use it if the goals the sales people offer indicate that they are hungry to achieve.  Then pull out the reward and say, “Great.  I am excited by what I have just heard.  Whoever achieves their 4 month goal will receive a bonus of $ZZZ.  I am looking forward to handing out those checks in early January.”  Instead of money, you could also offer a gift card or a technology gift like a Nook or Kindle e-reader or an iPad.

The Sales Plan should consist of the following:

  • Four Month Sales Goal by Key Products:
    • Product Category One Touch Cure-All
    • Product Category B
    • Product Category C
    • Total
  • Monthly Sales Goal by Total Revenue per Month:
    • September
    • October
    • November
    • December
  • Key Strategies and Tactics to Attain Sales Goals
    • Strategy One
      • S1 Tactic One
      • S1 Tactic Two
    • Strategy Two
      • S2 Tactic One
      • S2 Tactic Two

In the Free Downloads page you will find the above outline as a spreadsheet with some simple formulas built in.

Make sure they understand the difference between a strategy and tactic.  If the strategy is “To reduce my use of carbon fuels” a tactic would be “When shopping, I will walk to all stores within one mile of my home”.

Also, as they are considering strategies and tactics, challenge them to select the most important things they should be doing to succeed. 

So, for a medical device salesperson, a strategy could be to “Increase exposure of Product One Touch Cure-All to doctors that specialize in Touchology”.  The corresponding tactic could be to “Increase my average call rate on these doctors from 10 per week to 14 per week through the end of the year”.  Typically, the best tactics are quantitative.  If one of your reps proposed such a tactic, you have something very specific to review with them every week.  Another tactic could be “Make appointments to see 8 doctors at our booth at the International Academy of Touchology in October.”

Once you have received all the plans, you will need to review them for any unrealistic goals, strategies and tactics.  When you are finished with the goal setting you have the basis for a closed loop management system as you review their progress toward goals on a weekly and or monthly basis.  Schedule those reviews ASAP so the sales people have yet another source of positive tension – the expectation that they have to review their progress with you.

For the Sales Person – If you are a salesperson in a small or medium sized medical device company where you don’t get much in the way of direction or supervision, take it upon yourself to create an end of the year plan.  Have courage and offer it up to your supervisor voluntarily.  Setting your own goals in writing will be very valuable if you ever are looking to step up into a higher level of medical device sales.  I have interviewed prospects from such companies. 

  • Ted – “Did you have a quota? And, did you achieve your quota?” 
  • Candidate -“No, we didn’t have set quotas. Everybody did his or her own thing. I was told I was doing a good job. ”

As an interviewer, this doesn’t help me understand a candidate’s drive and ability to meet goals.  Let’s change the above conversation.

  • Ted – “Did you have a quota? And, did your achieve your quota?” 
  • Candidate – “My company wasn’t organized enough to have quotas or other sales goals.  However, I set my own goals and strategies and tactics.  I exceeded my own goals.  If you would like to see my sales plan and results, I can show them to you.”

This candidate definitely has my attention!

Now that you have your sales team working on a four month plan, it won’t be hard to challenge them to an entire year plan for 2014.  

Good luck and let me know if this works for you.  

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