A question asked on QUORA that I answered as follows:
"Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire." ~Napoleon Hill
Quite some time ago, I wrote about how to write a business plan. This time, I want to touch on a critical part of the Business Plan: your 30-60-90 day plan. The basics to writing a business plan can be found in a multitude of places. Government website, Slideshare, and Google and Slideshare provide you with oodles of samples to get this part of your Business Plan nailed. If you are planning to launch a start up business, a leadership venture, a new job or a sales territory, you need to map out what you will get done.
The 30-60-90 day plan takes the time to map out what you plan to tackle first, later, and down the road. It is a living document that is reviewed constantly, updated continuously and referred to habitually.
This of it as your first day on the job, in a new role, taking on a project, or a division, or launching a new project of service. It doesn't magically happen over night. Your plan allows you to stay on track and disregard activities that can distract you from achieving more in less time.
It isn't unusual to stumble upon something that you hadn't accounted for that will delay your schedule. If you assign a time line, you will easily see whether you are on target, falling behind or way behind.
Sometimes delays are good. They tell you that your timeline was unrealistic, some tasks took a lot longer than anticipated due to holidays,labor shortages, materials not ordered, policies not factored in, purchasing requirements not met, inventory short falls, delivery channels taking longer or any other roadblocks.
Going through this exercise may mean that there is an important criteria or function that was completely left out. It could mean you have to scratch out everything you have done/set out to do so far and begin anew. Don't through out the original one because it may be needed later on or the tasks are more applicable now in this new one.
You're starting to see the picture. You cannot successfully launch, start, implement, purchase anything if you haven't accounted for requirements necessary to meet your goals.
Slideshare is a great online resource. It is a subsidy of Linked In. Although you may pass over it because you think you are a master powerpoint creator, the nuggets there include great templates to follow as you are creating your own.
All you need to start with is a spreadsheet in .xls with three columns:
- 30 days- what will you accomplish within the first 30 days, factoring in scheduled weekly meetings, holidays
- 60 days - are the items you will discover while completing the first 30 days.
- 90 days is the finish line - this may be something you start with and then work backwards.
"A goal properly set is halfway reached."
As you start to find out what will be required, whether it be funds, personnel, budget, activity, training. It becomes easier to recognize how long it should take you to finish one task.
When you find out that some tasks are going to take longer, it is simply a matter of moving it from the 30 days to the 60 days, but not without out tracking the tasks or requirements in the first 30 days to get started.
I found this example on Slide Share to give you a head start and emphasize how easy it is to lay it out and then start getting to work. This roadmap is designed for sales, however, it can be adapted to launch a business, product, sales coverage, distribution channels, etc.
This doesn't have to be difficult. You can start out with one or two bullets on each column. I promise as you start to work through to the final result: your goal; you will be adding, removing, postponing and recalculating just about everything when you dig in and work your plan.
"A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. ~George S. Patton
"The top salesperson in the organization probably missed more sales than 90% of the sales people on the team, but they also made more calls than the others made."~Zig Ziglar
The difference between a customer journey and a sales funnel - is your perception of either. Inexperienced sales rookies are coached to label what phase their customer is at in their buying cycle by their management and/or organization. The most definitive one you tend to see is divided into thirds .... commonly referred to as "the sales funnel".
The top third and widest with the most numbers is "Suspects". Otherwise referenced as leads. You are at the beginning, likely haven't met with a decision maker, or even understand why or how they buy. They have been identified as a potential customer by:
- Cold calls
- Lead generation
The second tier is "Prospects" or called opportunities. Are a mid-volume of numbers. Prospects have moved from being a "Suspect" to a "Prospect" because they have been qualified. The sales professional has identified them as a potential customer from a number of avenues:
- Web contact inquiry contact
- Inbound telephone call asking questions
- Internal leads: referrals, heads up or personal recommendations
- That first meeting, cold call
- They've been identified as having a need that your company can fill
- Follow up from cold call, or investigative meeting
- Someone has read or shared information that shows where growth may be
- Knowledge of key players are: decision maker, influencer, user, authority, payment
- They have the ability to pay for your service or product
- Who you are speaking to has the authority to make a decision to move forward or will simply be making a recommendation or gathering prices
- What internal endorsement is required to proceed with providing a solution, quote or proposal or be established as a vendor, provider or partner
- A decision will or can be made based on the need you can fill
The final third tier is "Customers". These are the fewest numbers. They have traveled through the funnel to arrive at a transaction, contract or agreement to buy. They have satisfied your organizations criteria to do business or you have met their's:
- Set up an account: met credit requirements: credit check, references
- Have the ability to pay: financial resources, how or when and authorized by someone
- You have identified that your prospect wants or is willing to pay for your service or product
- You understand their buying frequency: one time, annual, intermittent, monthly, daily, etc.
- You understand how they work and how to work them within your own system or processes ... sometimes customized
- You know their structure and where they may buy from: global, national, or local
- They have issued a purchase order (PO#), requisition or cheque to buy
- You have broken them down by value to your organization: major account, corporate, enterprise, business, entrepreneur, consumer
- You have systems or structure to match their buying: an account executive, major account representative, territory manager, sales representative, customer service
- You have adapted your structure to mirror your customer's behavior: single point of contact on major accounts or enterprise sales, business to business local or global points of contact, order forms, web order systems, incoming telephone orders, fax'd orders (forms), catalogue, directories
The most successful sales professionals or sales oriented organizations match their behavior or identity system to that of the potential customer. They understand where their customer is in the buying cycle:
- Information gathering
- Price shopping
- Vendor qualification
- Who can provide the desired product or service to match what they think they want
- Criteria outlined on how they will decide to act (make a purchase)
- Established approved list of vendors or providers authorized to be purchased from
- Budget accounted for
- Approval process (by transaction or by location or by authority)
- Payment structure
- Review structure
- Service structure
- Support to maintain orders
- Ability to meet needs
- Reputation to meet requirements or identify unknown needs and proactively fix gaps
- Established trust
How you identify where you are at is important to create a language among your team as to where you are at in a sale: are you on a fishing expedition or are you assembling your team of resources to put all heads together to put together a win-win proposal?
"If eighty percent of your sales come from twenty percent of all your items, just carry those twenty percent."~Henry A. Kissinger
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems have these areas identified and can populate into graphs or graphic funnels to help those:
- Forecasting potential revenue, profit margins, marketing efforts
- Budget resources: people, equipment, processes, tools, systems,
- Have all the systems and resources in place or easily activated responses
- Policies and procedures in place for escalations or when things go wrong or extra assistance required for customer are in place
- People resources match customer orders: equated to response time, hours of operation, scheduling
It is the footprint of your sales efforts success: as both an organization and the customer facing personnel status in the customer's buying cycle. I recommend that you break it down into bite size chunks so that they can be addressed. If you are writing a business plan, a key component is answering: "where and how will you get or retain customers?". This should be long before you are looking for investors or financing to launch or continue operations. I liked this diagram via Google by Andrea Callahan:
Ironically, most start ups and entrepreneurs gear up on marketing, outbound campaigns, telemarketing, sales coverage long before they have answered any of the above. It can easily foreshadow failure over success. Yes, you need to walk before you run. However, assembling and identifying who are suspects, prospects and customers and where they are in the funnel, and the numbers associated with those numbers, clearly outlines the road map to monitor and manage growth.
It takes patience, practice and precision to be able to do this automatically. The more adaptive or fluid you are in meeting demands are going to allow you to pinpoint the when, who and how to focus on your grow and ability to flourish. If you recognize how you will move and keep pace with your customers at their speed, not your own, will signal a mature organization with a clear understanding on who is their customer and how great the relationship can be.
"Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says: 'Make me feel important.' Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life."
~Mary Kay Ash
I was recently asked what CRM system I would recommend for motivating and holding sales accountable. My answer is simple. Sometimes you have to revert to tried and true methodologies that have worked for years and there is nothing slick about it. It is called a Business Plan.
1. I recommend a business plan tailored to what you are asking for. There are zillions of BP templates out there...... however, give your team breadth to be innovative.