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Plan your work, and work your plan

2 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Sales — tracks feedback from sales managers and executives. We run the poll question each Wednesday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Do you have plans in place to handle the problems that could present themselves without warning?

  • No: 80%
  • Yes: 20%

When I saw these results, my first thought was, “at least you’re honest.” It’s often hard to carve out the time to put contingency plans in place when you are so busy with the strategic and tactical issues you must manage when everything is going as planned. I live by the old saying “plan your work and work your plan” and it has served me well through mergers and acquisitions, staff changes and market shifts.

That said, maybe more important than having contingency plans is having a common DNA within your sales organization — sales strategy, sales approach and sales skills. If you have a common DNA, you have well-trained people who can fill a departing salesperson’s shoes without missing a beat.  When you aren’t on track to meet your quarterly sales goals, these same people have the skills to push toward the goals in a methodical, deliberate way. When everyone is working from the same playbook, you minimize the impact of changes or problems because you have a team of professionals who can collectively handle the issues.

Stephen Pia is the founder of COACH MEdia and a sales trainer and coach.