Operational sales plans define the „right“ actions to lead the sales ecosystem to your operational sales goal.
Obstacles we foresee may hinder sales:
This requires preventive operational initiatives to prevent obstacles before they appear,
A constraint exists and limits sales already today:
This requires finding the root cause in the sales ecosystem and design of an operational initiative to resolve it.
Whichever situation your sales ecosystem is in - the most effective format for operational sales plans are one-page tables of "logic trees", arranged from right to left or left-to-right, as you and your team prefer:
Constraint focused operational sales plans are logic trees "backwards from the operational sales goal" consisting of five elements:
The operational team comprises all owners of functions in the sales ecosystem. Some of these owners may not want to engage in the design of operational plans. ("Just go ahead and design you plan and let us have a copy when you have finished"). If some members do not participate you miss their agreement to the operational plan and it will be difficult or impossible to make them accountable for deliverables later.
You must leave no one out of the design of your operational plan(s).
You have a high personal interest to ensure that all operational sales plans are of high quality: only if they are, your sales ecosystem will reach your operational goal.
Review and approve each operational sales plan - in difficult situations even personally lead the planning workshops.
The traditional approach to operational planning throughout sales units is for top sales managers to define key operational initiatives, such as core themes or top priority programs and then asking company entities to work on these with top priority.
This approach assumes that:
Unfortunately, both assumptions are incorrect.
Instead, each unit needs to define its own operational sales plan, defining its own critical success factors and constraints to resolve.
Facing this reality sales leaders must set sales goals top-down and develop operational sales plans bottom-up.
We demonstrate this principle for three sales organizations: