the past few years, since I began using this weekly blog to share stories about
sales and sales management, I have been receiving numerous questions from
readers including my own clients. Over the next several months I am going to
use my weekly ramblings to post one reader question with my answer. Please note
– my answers are based on my personal and professional experiences and in no
way reflect my company or specific clients.
Q: I have a new sales manager. She was
hired into the company about three months ago and I like her very much. She
does not micromanage the sales team. Instead she manages more as a mentor and
less as a bean counter. She’s great at giving guidance and advice based on her
experience which is a lot better than our previous manager. Now, as the year is
coming to a close, she wants us to write our own business plan for the upcoming
sales year including goals and quotas. Our previous manager never had us work
on a business plan. He always told us what our monthly, quarterly and annual
sales quota would be without any input from us. I’m at a bit of a loss on where
to begin or even how to put this plan together. Please help.
A: First of all, congratulations on
getting a new sales manager, someone that seems to be a very welcome change.
She sounds great and someone I could get along with easily. If she is a true
mentor as you’ve described, I would immediately share your concerns with her.
She will understand and welcome the opportunity to guide you through the
planning process. She may want you to have certain ideas or goals in your plan.
Ask her what she would like to see, what her expectations are, and even what
format the plan should be in. Have a few ideas in mind as well when you
approach her. You should know where you will likely finish the year based on
the quotas that were already set for you. Will you increase sales in 2019? By
how much? Will you add new accounts? How many? These are basic ideas to start
your planning. Share this information with your new manager. Gauge her reaction
on your current numbers and how you feel you can increase in the coming year.
Also, how do you want to grow personally and professionally? Do you want to
learn a new skill or become a sales manager in the future? Share this with her
and ask for guidance on how you can incorporate your own goals into the
business plan. Engaging your new sales manager now will help you deliver a plan
that is more in line with what she wants and needs. Keep one thing in mind,
your sales manager must also prepare and present a plan to her superiors, so
working collaboratively with her on your own plan will help her with her plan.
You may well win additional favor with her by taking these proactive steps.