Planning for an Epic 2016 {Plus a free workbook}

You've gotten through the holidays. You're ready, you're pumped, you are going to KICK BUTT & TAKE NAMES this year. How are you going to really make your dreams come true this year? So what's your plan? 

Say whaaaa??

Yes, today's post is all about creating a mind blowing, earth shattering plan...and this year, you're going to stick with it. I promise! You know why? Because you rock and you're dedicated to getting out of your own way and carving your own path. This year is going to be your best one ever. This year, because it's well planned out, is going to be EPIC!!

6 Questions to Create Kick Butt Sales Plan.jpg

chew it into bite size pieces

So what exactly you planning this year? Hiking all 46 peaks of the Adirondack park? Having a 6-figure year? Getting organized? These are all great goals but we've heard them before {yawn}. That and they're enormous feats that need to be further broken down. And even after that, there is more hashing out that needs to happen, including asking yourself "why" at every turn.

Imagine if your goal for this year was to build a 4500 square foot home. Your contractor needs to know where to build the house, by when you'd like the house finished so that you can move in, what style house you're thinking of, and so on and so on.

Now try to imagine that you want this house built but you try to put the roof on when the foundation hasn't yet been poured and there are no walls up yet. That's guaranteed to be an epic failure!

Let’s think of your sales plan for this year like the set of plans that your contractor needs in order for him to deliver a well built house by your move-in date.

You're in luck! Today we're going to break down those amazing goals and help to put together a plan for your year. It's going to be something that you can stick to, and soon something that you'll master. You're going to own it!

Make each goal a SMART one

So let's say, for giggles, that this year is the year that you want to see that bank account overflowing. You want to close more sales this year than you ever have. But how are you going to get there? Let's try writing out some goals and see which ones are really attainable.

  • Earn six figures
  • Close more sales
  • Increase my evergreen sales

Again, for giggles, let's try to re-write these goals in a more SMART, attainable fashion. By SMART, I'm using the acronym that stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action Oriented
  • Realistic
  • Time Bound
A goal without a plan behind it is simply a dream

There are plenty of resources out there on the interwebs that explain how to create SMART goals. When I first began creating sales goals, I found that it helped calm my nerves and really set my plan in place. It also validated whether I was aiming for "pie in the sky" or "well that's too easy" or somewhere nestling in the middle. I still use this method for my business goals, mostly revolving around this website.

So let's get back to the lofty but honest goals I listed earlier as examples....

Instead of "earn six figures", I'd otherwise write "sell $100K worth of products via my website courses & services offered by the end of December 2016".

Rather than "close more sales", I might try "sign 35% more deals in 2016 than PY by COB on December 31, 2016".

Breaking it down even further

Finding your plan's real purpose & structurE

It's one thing to plan out your goals in a realistic, time measured, actionable fashion. All great sales leaders love to hear your goals composed in this fashion. But it's another thing when these goals answer another fundamental set of questions. Do these goals have a real purpose and intention?

This is where I reach back to my 5th grade writing skills {thank you Mrs. Dansky}. What are the 5Ws and the H for each goal you have? Answering these take your goal either to the next level and really put some meat behind them or they're allowed to die and graceful and respectful death....and the latter is ok.

Here are some example questions that can help you get to your plan's fundamental purpose:

  • Who - Who does this goal benefit (besides yourself)? Who will need to be involved to execute this?
  • What - What is it really going to take to make take this goal over the finish line? What are you really giving and what is everyone gaining from this goal?
  • When - What is the timing of this goal? When is this going to be released?
  • Where - Where will you be delivering this? Where will the benefits truly be realized?
  • Why - Why are you truly pursuing this? Why will this be viewed positively by your clients/audience?
  • How - Here's where it gets fun......How will you make this goal a reality? How will you craft what this goal needs to succeed? How will you find your benchmarking information? How will you market your product/service? How much will you need to charge new clients in order for you to make a profit? How will your solution be delivered (email, webinars, one-on-one, live in person)? How much business did your clients do with you last year? 
    And so on.....

prioritize your plan's elements

Now prioritize your sales plan's steps. This is like the metaphor I mentioned earlier about the roof, walls and foundation. Your foundation needs to be poured before you can build your structure. From there, your roof can be placed on top, and all the finishing elements really begin after that. So in terms of your sales plan, what needs to happen first? 

an example sales plan from dream to fruition

Consider this example; if my goal is to create a sales training e-course for my audience by April 30th, 2016, my plan might look something like this:

Who: Who is my target audience? (A) Shy, creative entrepreneurs who are looking to become more comfortable in sales.
What: What tools/resources will I need to create this product? (A) Editorial calendar, social media scheduler, SWAT analysis, e-course platform, sales funnel, email marketing tools, supporting lead magnets.
When: When will the sales funnel be finalized? (A) In order to earn recurring revenue, the sales funnel should be completed by January 31st.
Where: Where will the product be marketed? (A) LinkedIn, Pinterest, twitter chats
Why: Why would clients choose me over my competitors? (A) My target market is just like me. I've succeeded as an introverted saleswoman. Now I teach others like me how to succeed like I did.
How: How will I build hype around my course before its launch date? (A) Engage my audience on at least 2-3 platforms. Create and host at least 2 free webinars to gain validation for my idea. Pre-sell the snot out of it! 

Now let's prioritize what needs to happen to make this dream into a reality. I can't get to step 4 {the roof} before the other steps have been executed {foundation, frame, weight bearing walls}.

  1. Put my editorial calendar together 30-45 days ahead of time. Ex: Take every Friday to research and come up with new content ideas for my blog. Write out what next month's blog posts will be about. Stick to this schedule!
  2. Grow my audience so that the minimum amount of clients that I'll need, statistically speaking, will buy and I can earn my target profit. Ex: Using my previously created, 10-15 amazing content posts, market them on Pinterest, join a community where my audience currently sits, listen to feedback, create more content based on that feedback, market my content to the community, continue interacting with them, etc.
  3. Schedule social media posts to further engage with my audience. Ex: Use Buffer to schedule my tweets.
  4. Engage with fellow business owners to grow audience and possibly pursue JV. Ex: Join Twitter chats where other similar entrepreneurs take part, reach out to folks like me, seek out potential webinar co-hosts for pre-launch strategy execution.

So to summarize, having a goal in mind is the first step. Making sure that goal has the SMART elements tied into it, and that you've physically written or typed it out, takes it to the next step. From there, bring in your creative juices and your business savvy and answer the 5Ws and the Hs to start to put together your action plan. 

Your goal is the end achievement you envision in your head. The SMART portion puts your goal into action, and the plan is the blueprint to help you build it correctly.

Now it's your turn. How do you plan for sales success this year? What goals do you have in mind? What motivates you to succeed in 2016?

Click below to grab your free sales planning worksheets for this year. Let's build a solid plan behind your dream to make it a reality.