Preparing for the 2008-09 sales year

Here’s a few tips to help you plan your sales and marketing strategy for the next 12 months.
If you haven’t done so already, it may be worth your while to hold a formal review and business/sales strategy planning session with your team before the new financial year kicks in.


Many markets have, and are going through, major changes and this requires us to be on our toes and ready for action.


The challenge for any business – especially those of us who run a small business with limited resources – is to take time out to work on our business and plan for the future, rather than stay stuck in the day-to-day of our businesses.


This is a vital part of our job and can set us up very well for the future. If we stop and review and reassess our strategies, plans and actions and take into account what the market is doing, we will be in a better position to note the vital signs and opportunities that can help us secure our business future. Ideally, this type of process should be done on a regular basis – at least twice or three times a year.


So with that in mind, my team and I are putting aside Friday 2 May to come together and work on our business strategy for the next three years and our sales strategy for 2008/09 and beyond.


My business has gone though many iterations over the years and my long term goals are now coming to life. I now want to ensure that we are on the right track and I thought I would share with you the process we are going through to help us put in place the best strategy for us to fulfil our market potential and expectations.


Now, I confess that I am not the most detailed person and planning is one of my challenges. So to keep me focused and on track, here are some of the questions we will be preparing to address as part of our planning and strategising.


Ultimately, our aim in going through this process is to make sure we have a profitable and viable business.


Our vision and mission for being in business

  • WHAT do we stand for?
  • WHY are we in this market space?
  • WHAT do we want to be best known for?
  • WHAT are the values that guide us in our work?
  • WHAT are our goals for the next financial year, the next two-to-three years, and the next five-plus years?


Our customers

  • WHO are we specifically targeting?
  • WHY are we targeting them?
  • WHAT does a viable “ideal” customer look like?
  • HOW do we find them?
  • WHAT do they specifically want or need now?
  • WHAT problems do we currently solve for our customers?
  • WHAT products/services do we use to solve their problems?
  • ARE our products/services solving their problems effectively?
  • WHAT might they want or need in the future?
  • WHAT can we offer them in the future?
  • HOW do they want to buy?
  • HOW do we need to sell to them?
  • HOW do they want our products/services delivered?
  • WHAT is our customer acquisition and retention strategy?
  • WHAT expectations do our customers have?



Our competitors

  • WHO is our competition?
    Current competition
    Peripheral competition
    Emerging competition
  • WHAT markets are they operating in?
  • WHY are they in this market space?
  • WHAT is their primary objective/goal?
  • WHAT do they do well?
  • WHAT don’t they do well?
  • WHERE are we positioned against them?
  • WHAT is our competitive advantage?


Our value proposition and service standards

  • WHAT is our unique selling proposition?
  • WHAT is our promise?
  • WHAT is our sales expectation?
  • WHAT is our service level standard?
  • HOW effective are we?
  • WHAT do we do well?
  • WHAT do we need to be better at?


Marketing and product

  • HOW effective have our current marketing activities and tools been? (PR, SEO, brochures, events, etc.)
  • WHAT marketing activities and tools do we need to keep on using?
  • WHAT marketing activities and tools do we need to stop using?
  • HOW effective is our current product mix? What are the most profitable areas? What are the least profitable areas?
  • WHAT is the $ value of our average sale?
  • WHAT product mix do we take to market?


Steps to “yes” (sales process)

  • WHAT is our current sales cycle? (That is, how long does it take to make a sale?)
  • WHAT is our current “prospecting/sales” ratio?
  • WHAT are our current sales activities and HOW often did we do them to achieve our current revenue? (Prospecting, sales meetings, account management and networking.)
  • HOW effective have they been?
  • HOW often do we need to prospect to make enough sales appointments with viable prospects to make enough sales to meet our targets?
  • HOW effective is our current sales process?
  • WHAT do we need to change to be more effective as sales people? (Structured sales communication process and skills; human relations; motivations; values, behaviours and attitudes; problem solving and decision making; self management; planning, etc.)


Sales inputs and outputs

  • WHAT are our current performance expectations and rewards?
  • HOW do we need to allocate customers? (by territory, industry, size, etc.)
  • HOW do we set targets? (revenue allocation, profits, phasing, etc.)
  • WHAT levels of responsibility and authority do each of us need to have?
  • HOW do we currently manage revenue & profit?
  • HOW do we forecast?
  • HOW effective is our current CRM system in terms of capturing the right customer, marketing and other sales data?
  • HOW effectively are our people at putting in the right data into our CRM?
  • HOW effectively do we use the data we capture?


I hope this helps.


Putting together a business strategy and associated sales/marketing/operation plans is all well and good, but they will remain intellectual abstractions until we put them into action.


Good luck with your business and sales planning process.




Sue Barrett is Managing Director of BARRETT Pty Ltd. Sue is an experienced consultant and trained coach and facilitator. Sue and her team are best known for their work in creating High Performing Sales Teams. Key to their success is working with the whole person and integrating emotional intelligence, skill, knowledge, behaviour, process and strategy via effective training and coaching programs. For more information please go to

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