When interviewing for a new sales position it is often suggested that the candidate present a “1st 100 Days” plan of action. I recently presented such a plan before being hired as a new Territory Sales Manager in 2012. By the end of my “1st 100 Days” I was the Sales-to-Forecast leader in my (5 states & 7 Territories) Region. This article looks back at the successful execution of my plan. Here, I review the importance of my preparation and sales data collection. I demonstrate the process for prioritizing initial sales calls and the designing of a sales territory coverage plan. And, I share my creative and successful strategies for finding high quality sales leads, while coming-to-speed quickly in a new sales position.
In late 2011 I had committed to developing a “New Expansion Territory” beginning “Day-1″of 2012. My new Employer specifically hired me to create a “remote” Sales Territory in Southern Oregon. It was considered “remote” because the Territory’s largest city was 200 miles from the Service Facility. The more conventional sales prospecting resources, like customer websites and social media participation would be of little help to me. My remote and mostly rural clientele could be best described as “Old School” in matters of networking, self promotion and, communication. As an additional challenge, I would have to drive over 2 hours from my home just to enter my new sales territory. My new client/employer was a well established Industrial Heavy Equipment Services Provider. Knowing nothing about the Industrial Heavy Equipment business environment in Southern Oregon and, even less about the equipment itself, I still accepted the opportunity.
By applying many of the “… 1st 100 Days… ” strategies I was credited (by the end of the self imposed 100 day challenge) with closing 90 signed B2B service contracts worth over $1,900,000 in gross revenue. These sales/contracts averaged over $21,000 each. As an added bonus for my employer, 80% of these 90 service contracts were with 1st-Time-Customers or businesses labeled by my employer as “Lost-Customers”.
Before Signing On
I needed to make sure there was a clear path to success for my selling efforts, should I join the company and accept the challenge. During the hiring interviews I made sure that I had an understanding of the following: Proposed territory boundaries, previous territory performance, my 2012 sales forecast or quota, company sales support network, company training, detailed job description, my new Boss’ style and expectations, all sales tools and CRM data, comp plan, expense budget and guidelines, to name several.
It was also very important to include my wife in the decision process. The anticipated 1st 100 day and 1st year “push” would be a hardship on the family. Accepting the job would mean constant travel for me. This would result in a significant increase in pressures at home for her. After discussing the pros and cons of the opportunity she was gung-ho and on board.
Sales success was not solely dependent on …