A CEO’s Guide to an Attainable Sales Plan


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You missed the number. You presented your solution at a recent board meeting. Now the board is asking, “Are the goals of your plan attainable?”

In a previous post, I recommended you conduct a Sales Productivity Benchmark (SPB). This is a comprehensive environmental scan of your entire sales force. When
completed, an SPB provides the roadmap to correct course and make your number. Now, you and the board are ready for the next step: the Feasibility Guide.

The Feasibility Guide helps calculate the impact of your proposed solutions. It has three main objectives:

Provide a starting point for discussion. This is not a business case, but rather a simplistic compass. It quickly quantifies your ideas. From here, your management
team should build detailed business cases.
Prioritize the possible solutions. The degree of difficulty and expected return of value will vary by solution. Dig into the math to determine which will deliver the
biggest bang.
Save time. You can spend several weeks building a comprehensive business case. You will get a precise answer. But you don’t have time. You need something quick.
Something directionally correct. The Feasibility Guide will get you on the right track.

Simplicity over Complexity

Frame the feasibility of your solutions across three categories: time, cost, and revenue. To keep your analysis simple, analyze each solution in isolation. Pick a
single variable to test. This allows you to focus on a specific pain point that needs resolution. Then create a roadmap that sets expectations for when the benefits
will be realized.

Experience over Theory

As in all sales initiatives, experience trumps academia. You can discuss the various theoretical outcomes. However, experienced-based know-how will provide the
superior outcome.

To get the most accurate information, consider digging below the surface. Don’t hesitate to skip your direct reports and interaction with the working level. The day-
to-day practitioners will provide advice based on today’s experience. Get an unvarnished perspective of how things really get done.

Speed over perfection

Like most CEOs, you want to launch the perfect solution on day one. You want the Mona Lisa of revenue models and organizational structures. But before you go down
that path, answer a few questions. By whose standard is this perfection? In six months, will perfection be defined the same way?

Success is found over time. Perfection is borne of our unfortunate blunders. It is learned by our courage to try in spite of failure. This is not to suggest
intentional imperfection. Instead, it is to take action knowing you might be wrong. Then to trust your team has the wherewithal to modify as you learn.

In sailing, they call this “trimming the sheets.” As the hull of the boat cuts through the waves, the conditions change. The sails are finely tuned to find the winning

Take Action

You missed the number, but the Board of Directors supports your proposed solutions. Now the Board is asking, “Are the goals of your plan attainable?”

To answer this question, quantify the feasibility of each solution. Prioritize them in a roadmap. Then demonstrate your team’s ability to deliver the expected

Start with a conversation based on the Feasibility Guide. Quickly take the next step toward making your number.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dan Bernoske
Dan Bernoske serves as a Senior Consultant at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), a sales and marketing consultancy focused exclusively on helping B2B companies exceed their revenue targets. With 13 years of experience, Dan has delivered results in business development, corporate strategy, product management, marketing, and process improvement.


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