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Eating a chocolate elephant (Sales)

By July 10, 2018 No Comments

By, Andrea Pirrotti

My husband often has wonderful pearls of wisdom  – some of which are really too good not to share. Every time I take on a daunting initiative he reminds me to “eat the chocolate elephant one bite at a time”.  I think about these words every time I have to take on a daunting initiative.  I thought about the elephant today in fact, as I was guiding some team members on how to tackle a rather significant sales target.  Here’s how we ate our chocolate elephant.

I shared with the group my very simple and practical approach to tackling the challenge. I always start with the end in mind (the prize) and then break down the prize into bite sized pieces.  Let’s say completely for illustrative purposes that the target we $1,000,000.

The first bite was to break  out the target into revenue that we would get from: (1) current clients, (2) clients who have done business with us in the past but have gone dormant, and (3) new prospective clients.

The second bit was to allocate a percentage of revenue by target group and an action plan for each:

  • Current Clients:  We created a list of clients that we are currently doing business with.  We assigned a target revenue to each client, and then built a plan against each client to achieve the target.  We agreed that current client would represent 40% of the $1,000,000.  Note to reader: We will cover more detailed account development strategies in future post and tools.
  • Dormant Client: After I cover activities to nurture current accounts I then always look to revive the living and raise the dead.  So, we listed each client that had gone dormant, who was most viable and associated a revenue number and action plan against each.  We allocated 30% to come from this audience.
  • New Prospective Clients:  Finally, I filled the revenue gap with activities to target new, prospective clients. The balance,  30% of revenue would come from this target group.

The next bite was to layer in marketing activities. We built this budget from the ground up.  We started with activities required to achieve our revenue target from new, prospective clients.  Here’s the process. We looked to historical results to gather the information required to build the budget.  Pure lead generation activities are really the most predictable in terms of results and and often the most costly.  So I always start here.  Let’s cover how we arrived at this budget.  We know that (1) we need to generate 30% from new clients.  (2)  our average deal value is $x.xx.  (3) the sales team converts at xx% and, (4) our allowable per lead is $xxx.  We used this information to determine the number of leads, number of deals and budget required to achieve the $300,000 target.  From there, sales and marketing were able to build the plan (awareness, lead generation, conversion retention) to attract new customers. We then used the same process to plan out out the activities and budget to support sales in achieving revenue targets from current and dormant clients.

When the meeting started, the entire group was almost paralyzed by the elephant (the target).  But, when we broke out the number into bite sized pieces and put a plan against each bite size piece, everyone in the room because more relaxed and more empowered (hungry even).   Do you have a daunting initiative / goal  ahead of you? Start with the end in mind.  Break the target into bite sized pieces and then put a plan against each piece.

Do you eat your chocolate elephant one bite at a time?  Buon appetito!

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By, Andrea Pirrotti

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