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In the beginning of any new year you should consider your goals and objectives.  This is an excellent time to analyze the past year, and plan for the new one.

By far, the most comprehensive plan is your annual territory marketing (business) plan. Each sales territory is like its own small business, and like any small business you should complete an annual business plan.  For most territories, a five-page, typed marketing plan is probably sufficient.

Find a quite place, pour a cup of coffee, bring a pencil and paper, and think.  What do you want to accomplish this year?  How can it become a better year than last year? What are your business and personal goals?  Where do you want to be in five years, and what is the best way to get there?

Your annual plan should contain these elements:

  • Annual objectives: Include both your sales and financial objectives for the year. What are your sales goals for the year, and how you plan to make your quota and goals.
  • Last year’s performance by account. This information helps you understand if this year’s objectives are realistic.
  • The business environment. How is your target industry structured?  Are your prospects and customers in a relatively stable, or growth phase, or is their business environment depressed?
  • Territory segmentation. How do you plan to segment your marketplace to address each prospect type?  In a large territory, geographically may be your best method.  In a small territory, another breakdown, such as business size, or industry type, may make more sense.
  • Identify key accounts.  Who are your territory’s key customers and prospects that you plan to focus on in the New Year?  List sales potential by key account.
  • Prospecting plan. How do you intend to prospect for new business in your territory?  If you use mass marketing techniques, how often do you plan to use those techniques?  For example, do you plan to use direct mail, email, seminar programs, social media, telemarketing, or newsletters?
  • Marketing Programs. What marketing programs do you plan to run during the year, and which prospecting methods do you plan to deploy?  What subsets of your prospective customer base do you plan to focus your marketing programs on?
  • Action plan. What are your main objectives or goals for each quarter, or month?  Identify your target objectives, so you may better evaluate whether or not you are on schedule in your annual plan.
  • Administrative requirements. What administrative support is required to meet your objectives?  How can you better organize the sales administrative staff to help you?

Don’t just think about it, put the plan in writing and refer to it during the year.  At the beginning of each month, pull out your annual plan, and update it, as well as pick items to add to your monthly, To Do list.  Good intentions are wonderful, but you need to execute and place your plan into action to become successful.  Action items turn a plan into a money making exercise.  First think, then plan, then do.