Do you already know how to structure your business planning for 2021? Find out how to structure your business planning or recovery plan here.
With the end of the year coming, it is essential that businesses start to formulate what their goals will be to continue growing in 2021. Or even resume growth after the impact of the quarantine.
Some market leaders are already preparing their revenue generation structures to arrive in the next year armed with the strategies, tactics and methods necessary for the resumption.
So if you’re not planning on 2021 yet, you better start now. And, to help you in this process, we have structured business planning in 5 steps:
- Definition of objectives;
- Definition of strategies;
- Definition of tactics;
- Business operation;
- Control and maintenance methods.
This division will help you to cover all the points to arrive more prepared at the beginning of next year. Find out what each of these phases represents:
1. Setting goals
To begin the business planning for 2021, it is necessary to think about asking yourself first: what will be the plans for the coming year?
Do you want to increase sales simply? Need to improve your conversion rate? Is your process still not scalable enough?
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These are some questions that you, as a sales manager, can ask yourself to start planning for 2021. If you work directly with sales, it is also very important to have goals to keep improving.
After all, the scalable business model should not be based only on management. The sales team itself can contribute to better process management by controlling their own numbers and achieving better results.
Which KPIs to follow?
There are a variety of indicators that can help you measure your next year’s results, but the important thing is that you don’t get lost in the numbers.
To stay focused on your planning, it is important to define some primary metrics that will guide your overall performance and secondary metrics that will help you do more in-depth analysis.
That way, if a primary metric is not met, you can look at the secondary metrics to understand what may have happened.
To better exemplify how these metrics talk to each other, think that each primary metric is the general breaker of an apartment and each secondary metric is a breaker of the electrical components of each apartment.
If there is a blackout in one of the apartments, you will know that there was a problem. However, without the electrical circuit breakers, it will take much longer to understand where this problem arose.
So you need both, first to know when a “blackout” occurs in your team and then to understand the reason for the “blackout”.
To help with your business planning for 2021, we’ve set aside some sample metrics for you to track sales.
Bearing in mind that these indicators may change depending on your business model and, mainly, which objectives you seek more.
- Number of opportunities generated by marketing;
- Conversion rate for sellers;
- Average ticket.
Sales Cycle Length
- Average approaches per business;
- Average time of each stage of the sale;
- Profile of customers served.
Sales conversion rate
- Conversion rate for each stage;
- Conversion rate for each seller;
- Reasons for loss.
2. Definition of Strategies
Okay, now that you have your goals, it’s time to outline what strategies you can use to meet those goals.
Whether it’s increasing sales, shortening the cycle, or increasing team efficiency, you need to think about how you can put this into practice.
As with any business model, strategies will vary greatly according to the type of customer you are looking to attract, what your current coverage is and what product or service you are offering.
So, here are some guidelines to help you choose the best strategy . Because we cannot offer something ready as if it were a golden rule for everyone.
Have an In-depth Knowledge of your Customer
In times when there is so much talk about customer success, this should not be new, but the best way to make your company grow is to understand who you are selling to .
As much as your portfolio has customers from different segments, start looking for patterns that show which customers are bringing in the most profit and which are most satisfied with your services.
Once you have defined your Ideal Customer Profile, start to understand how he behaves, where he usually goes and what are his subjects of interest. This way, your sales team can find them more easily and act more efficiently with these accounts.
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See What Others are Doing
If you are looking for an expansion of a segment or region that you do not yet know, see what the competition is doing and talk to partners that operate in the same market.
Your company does not need to be a pioneer at all. Learning from the experience of other businesses will reveal some proven strategies that will guide your strategy and offer you better opportunities for success.
Organize the House
Before taking a step towards a new market, make sure that you really have everything organized in your sales team.
Do you have real visibility into your team’s results? Are all data correctly filled in? You have the right collaborators for the strategy you are looking for.
Dimensioning the sales team and, before that, having visibility on the performance of each member are two important factors for the success of your strategy.
Set SMART Goals
We must not forget that the goals need to be up to date so that your team can stay motivated to always go further every month.
A widely used method is to think of SMART metrics:
- S (specific);
- M (measurable);
- A (attainable);
- R (relevant);
- and T (time).
We will not go into more detail here, even if the text is not so long, but, in general, we recommend that you:
- analyze past results;
- understand the standard growth / fall curve in each period;
- and think how far it is possible to go with your team without setting unattainable or too abstract expectations.
Define Success Metrics
Regardless of the strategy chosen in your business planning in 2021, it is important that you have figures that show whether your strategy has been successfully implemented or not.
It is also interesting that you separate some indicators other than those defined in the objectives. After all, a strategy can be well implemented and still not achieve the results you were looking for.
An example is the project to implement a CRM to increase sales. If sales increased, but nobody updates the platform, it was not CRM that helped this result.
Now that you have your strategies, it’s time to define the tactics that will provide the structure for your business.
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3. Definition of Tactics
Your planning already has goals and strategies to make the goals possible, now it’s time to think about the structure that will support this process.
After all, making plans is the “easy” part, so to speak. The reality always deviates from our expectations and that is why you need to have tactics to shield your commercial planning from the unforeseen that will arise.
In this context, especially when we think of growing companies, we are mainly talking about the standardization of processes .
The reason for this is because every area has its turnover. People enter and leave a company, but it is crucial that processes are not rethought with every change in the team.
And it is at this point that tactics emerge to ensure that the processes will continue. Below we will leave some tactics that can help you:
Structuring the Sales Back Office
What is the main objective of the sales area? Sell, right? But we know that the commercial area goes far beyond negotiation.
Scheduling visits, inventory control, contract generation, credit validation among other activities seen as bureaucratic are also part of the sales routine.
I don’t think you want your best salespeople to spend the day filling out the paperwork instead of visiting customers, right? So that’s where the backoffice comes in .
The employees who work in the “rear” of the sales process provide all the support so that the front office team can worry about the negotiation only.
In this way, they are an option for processes to be respected without harming the results of the sales team.
Define a Consistent Compensation Plan
Your sales team must always be motivated so that the goals continue to be achieved. This is not an easy task to accomplish and just increasing compensation to ensure that the team is motivated is a risky path in the long run.
Therefore, you need a well-defined policy that still motivates your team. An aggressive commission helps make the search for results more attractive, but without a fixed amount, the team’s turnover can increase, making the search for results more difficult.
Other factors may be part of this dynamic, such as market average, seniority level of the team and product complexity, so it is interesting to compare your model with that of other market partners to see what works best in your business.
Standardization of the Business Process
As we said, standardization is essential to shield your business from unforeseen events. Therefore, having tools to standardize the business process is more than important.
This organization can take place through a sales funnel, where each opportunity must follow a sequence of activities, but the means to structure this funnel are numerous.
Team Excel spreadsheets, project management systems and CRMs are some examples of platforms that can help you in this process.
So, now that we have seen all the most theoretical business planning for 2021, the time has come to go to the practical part: the routine of the business operation.
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4. Business Operation
It is not just the administrative part that needs planning. The operation also needs to be well equipped with data, techniques and methods to be able to handle each situation well.
Thus, there are some activities that salespeople can use to better guide their routine:
Customer Profile Study
It is not easy to be a salesperson. Salespeople are often viewed with suspicion, as someone who will outwit you and sell you something you don’t need.
Knowing this suspicion, how do I get my potential customers to trust me more? Know everything about him before starting any conversation.
If you already have some experience with a specific segment or customer profile, you know that the needs are often repeated. As much as each company has its scenario with that problem, the solution ends up being similar in many cases.
And, once you see these patterns, it becomes much easier to generate authority and even get closer to your customer. By knowing in advance how you can help him, it is much easier to sell the solution.
Just as the needs are repeated a lot, the objections also tend to present patterns among themselves.
Many customers are expected to react suspiciously to salespeople at first and if you work on the front line you should be used to some phrases like:
- We don’t have a budget for that at the moment;
- It is not a priority;
- We are developing this internally.
These are some examples of common objections, but they can multiply depending on your industry. And how do you deal with them? Planning in advance
As we want to show in this text, the salesperson can also prepare himself by mapping each objection and trying out some methods to get around them. Thus, he is ready to deal with any situation.
If you already know the book The Weapons of Persuasion by Cialdini, you must already know the term ” mental triggers “. They are nothing more than techniques to activate the client’s instinct and make it faster for the negotiation.
Since the merit of this article is not to talk about each of the triggers, let’s just leave a list with some examples of triggers:
- Reciprocity : you do the customer some favor and he feels forced to give back;
- Commitment : your client has already shown some commitment, so now he has to deliver on what was promised;
- Social proof : other people have already used the product / service and have already approved it, so the solution is safe;
- Authority : your company has a series of certificates and is specialized in that segment, being the safest choice;
- Scarcity : a special condition needs to be taken advantage of in a certain time or it will no longer be available.
These are just a few examples of mental triggers you can use on a daily basis. So it is always good to study other techniques that can help you in this process.
And speaking of a study, let’s move on to the last section of business planning for 2021.
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Control and Maintenance Methods
We said in this article that planning does not always go as expected. Therefore, in addition to the structure to keep the operation working properly, it is important to have methods to ensure that, from time to time, you will correct errors in the processes.
Bearing in mind that this does not mean that you must micromanage your team, especially in an area as competitive as sales.
There are some more productive ways to ensure that planning is being followed correctly. See some examples:
Worse than losing a well-trained professional is being stuck with an accommodated team. So it is critical that you train your team from time to time to ensure that they are following the guidelines set out at the beginning of planning.
Examples of training actions are:
- Listening to the recording of the calls;
- Sales role play;
- Training with more experienced employees.
Link Goals to Reports
Does your team not fill in the trading system as it should or do the data arrive inconsistent with the balance sheet for the month?
In this case, following the philosophy of “if it is not registered, then it does not exist” may be the best way out. When placing the importance of data on the team, it is essential that it not only serve as a guide, but an obligation.
This also does not mean that your employees have to be forced to deal with all the bureaucracy. Automating the registration of manual tasks or having a back office can be some solutions to improve the productivity of the team while keeping the reports well updated.
Make Dashboards Available to the Team
Results can only be measured with numbers. So it’s not enough to just have your team register them, but to ensure that your team fights for them.
Make available reports that show that the efforts of employees are resulting in their personal growth and the area as a whole.
As a manager, you also need to have your own dashboard to keep up with the day to day.
Do you Already have Everything you Need for Business Planning 2021?
We hope these tips will help you better prepare for the resumption next year. Remembering that it is always important to take into account the specifics of your segment to consider each action.
If you want to discover more planning techniques, then follow the our business planning sections for more information