Fundamentals for Successful Business Planning
(Effective Marketing Sales and Prospecting principles)
An article for… junior Prime ministers, Junior Ministers, Startup businessmen, junior Sales Managers down to…… junior Salesmen
The importance of effective marketing and sales tactics applied to promote products and services has always been a critical factor for the successful operation of financial organizations, especially under competitive environment.
Some principles are fundamental for the way a commercial company operates. These principles affect the way a wide range of professionals operate, from a sales person to sales and marketing managers, extending even further to persons responsible for planning activities in larger organizations, even up to government’s development planning.
Prospecting and forecasting is a significant part of any sales activity.
Assuming that marketing function has been prepared properly, the next steps to focus include prospecting and forecasting, as significant parts of the sale process.
Proper forecasting ensures the overall survival of an organization, small or larger, even up to the size of a Nation, which can easily be considered as a large financial corporation.
Correct forecasting demonstrates the successful planning and marketing.
Eventually, forecasting is the key for the survival of a company or an economy.
Let us consider the ‘pyramid’ of participants involved in a sales process. We assume that the marketing activity has identified the sector within an economy and the number of prospects for a particular product or service.
Any sales person is requested to produce a forecast for sales results he could achieve. He has to consider how many prospects he may approach in a specific period, what stages he has go through for each prospect till he can get an actual order. If he can plan his activity properly he will achieve a number of sales. A good sales person will be able to predict, with reasonable accuracy, the number of ‘hits’ he may achieve in a year. This will produce a reasonably accurate forecasting figure.
A sales manager may have more than one sales person hence he has to produce his own total forecast figure based on his own judgments.
A company may have a number of business sectors or a number of sales teams and dealers or even branches in different countries.
A general manager has to take a decision and produce his own forecast. This forecast will be the basis for the company’s business plan. The Business plan will be used to calculate the resources required in production and other investments. No business plan can be successful if it is not based on credible forecasts. No development can be achieved with lack of a proper business plan.
This process is fundamental to any size of activity and needs to be respected and controlled.
The forecasting process needs to be implemented at each stage from single individual sales person, his manager, up to even the person responsible for the preparation of a national budget.
It is easy to appreciate that forecasting depends on parameters related to many environmental aspects, including policies maintained by different political parties and governments.
Yet, business planning conforms to similar fundamental logical processes.
Common mistakes, in this process, that can destroy any effort, a company even a country include:
1. Total lack of marketing process. These are needed to identify target group of prospects.
2. No proper prospecting activity to generate critical number of prospects that can ensure safe forecasts. This may also happen by wrong balance in time spent on various stages in the sales process.
3. No proper forecasting. This may happen due to lack of training or lack of commitment to the process.
4. Finally and most importantly, lack of overall planning that should include main objectives, definition of specific parameters and prerequisites’ including assumptions and specific limitations.
It is of primary importance to stress the fact that we can easily identify such limitations and shortcomings, in most cases at both company and National level. The rest operational details are of minor importance and can usually be ratified in easy steps, but lack of initial planning and definition of target areas is almost of criminal negligance. Unfortunately this is the level that mostly effects the survival of major companies, industry sectors in the economy of Nations, even groups of Nations.
This is the reason why the blame for any failure should mainly burden the leader.
We should now reconsider which are the real objectives and plans of leaders running organizations such as IMF, EU, NATO, as well as the objectives and plans of THE GREEK PRIME MINISTER, the Ministers negotiating the MOU’s and the rest of the players in this game and if anyone has the attributes of a real professional manager, or they are just trying to play the game of a temporary survival. Does anyone know what product to which sectors of the market and with what strategy, what is their business forecasts, if any? I believe nobody is really revealing their objectives and as far as the Greek part, they don’t know what Business Plan is all about, it is, after all, against their principles to operate with profit or other principles motivating champions, you see we have to be all equal….