According to a recent study, 36% of executives make decisions based on their gut, despite interacting with data on a daily basis.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. These aren’t just wise words, it’s a recipe for success—and it’s a powerful one. Planning is a key component of almost everything I do. Just as you wouldn’t start a business without research and planning, you wouldn’t try to Go-To-Market without planning. If you leave it up to chance or go with your gut, you’re not making the most of the information that’s available to you.
In today’s market, you can’t leave your company’s fate to chance by making decisions based on your restricted view of the market. If you haven’t already adopted the transformational shift toward data-driven decision-making you’re at a competitive disadvantage. Efficient allocation of resources—time, energy, money—and well-thought-out sales planning is critical to any Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy.
From my 15 years experience leading sales teams, the acquisition of my previous company, and now as HG Insights’ VP Global Sales, I’ve seen sales planning go incredibly well, and terribly wrong. Here are some of the techniques I’ve learned along the way.
Why You Need A New Sales Process to Go-To-Market
A sales plan is a document that states your growth goals, who your target audience is, how you’re going to reach them, and potential hindrances to your success.
Every Go-To-Market motion requires a well-researched sales plan, but this information was difficult to find and collate until now. Thanks to insightful technology and market intelligence, finding your target audience and market climate is much easier today. And for this you need data, but not just any data, you need quality, precise intelligence to make the right decision for you.
Through each of these stages, the quality of the data you use will impact your planning and decision-making. You need data with extreme precision to maximize your ROI.
Essentially, effective sales is effective planning.
How To Glimpse Your Go-To-Market Blind Spots
Without a comprehensive plan, you’re just taking shots in the dark. But with a plan, you take out the trial and error, which helps you save loads of time.
A good sales plan states your goals and provides strategic direction by connecting your executive team’s strategy with the sales reps who execute it—all with the goal of increasing conversions and building pipeline. By setting a clear roadmap for your sales plan, teams can produce sales forecasting, demand management, and hit their sales targets.
There are many reasons why sales planning is so important. On my team, these are the most important benefits sales planning brings:
- Accelerated sales cycle
- Equitable sales territories for your teams
- Increased efficiency
- Alignment across sales and marketing teams
A good sales plan will also include measures and metrics for growth, so you can chart your team’s progress, report to your executive teams, and increase the ROI or your team’s time.
An effective sales plan will also list the obstacles or barriers between your sales teams and conversions. Also, sales plans are constantly evolving, reviewed, and refine, just like any successful ABM campaign.
This creates a commitment-based culture that makes your teams thrive.
Perfect Your Go-To-Market Planning
Planning requires meticulous research and thoughtful decision-making.
It is not enough to just collect every scrap of data you can. I’ve previously discussed just how important it is to have good data. Precise, quality data-driven insights to avoid the pitfalls of “false data.”
Effective sales planning involves both insight and foresight in short-, medium-, and long-term strategies. Just like building blocks, short-term planning informs your medium-term roadmap, just as medium-term tells you your long-term plan. It builds on each other, so you need to start with quality data right out the gate.
And that’s why we’ve worked so hard to make sure you have the right data.
Our insights help determine demand, so you can plan the proper scope for your solution. Our market and technology intelligence helps you plan to displace competitors in the industry and their products. They also show you how to plan, optimize, and execute your Go-To-Market strategy so you can hit the ground running.
Start Off On The Right Foot
Plans don’t necessarily bring success, but success is seldom achieved without a plan.
Your sales plan is how you grow your business. Effective sales planning is the first step to Go-To-Market and scale with velocity. HG Insights is a tool to help you effectively define, and execute, your sales plan. Our data empowers you to:
- Plan which markets have the highest concentration of companies that need to buy your solutions, then allocate your resources there
- Optimize your territories so that your sales and marketing resources can focus on the specific companies that have the highest propensity to buy
- Execute your data-driven Go-To-Market strategy by ensuring you create laser-focused messaging to each company to maximize your teams’ chances of closing
Your gut feeling is not enough.
You need to have quality data in order to act with confidence. Anything you think you know is based in the past. Insights look forward, and goals based on insights are how you write your own future.
This article is part of a series on sales planning. The next installment will show you how to create a successful sales plan for your business.