simple sales planning

2023 Sales Planning Basics: Pencil and Paper

Do your real & raw planning

Let’s face it, we get caught up and stuck in sales technology and fanciness. When we strip it all down to the basics as salespeople, we are just analog machines. Give us an input, and we’ll give you an output that is revenue. I’m not saying we’re all the same, each of us is a different black box. On the front side, the input is leads, our internal machine processes those leads, converts them, works on them, and closes them and then kicks out the result.  Some machines are more efficient than others, give them the same number of leads and they’ll produce more and add leads to the fuel.

A man provided with paper, pencil, and rubber, and subject to strict discipline, is in effect a universal machine.

– Alan Turing

OK, now that I’ve made you feel like an instrument of the larger machine, and a puppet to the man, let’s talk reality. Sales isn’t hard, it’s just a pure numbers game. And we all can take a pencil and a piece of paper and get down and dirty to figure out how hard we need to work to meet a goal.  Why pencil and paper? Because this is a raw exercise, no technology required, just you and the rawness of the paper, and the lead of the pencil. Scotch whiskey optional, but highly recommended.  But before you sit down, you’ve got to look at the past year and come up with the raw reality of your sales machine.   Do you know your numbers?

To do some planning for 2023, and figure out the inner workings of our sales machine, we need some data. Look back at your year, and get a feel for a couple raw numbers, and ask the following questions:

  • How many leads did I take in, and how many of those were converted to opportunities?
  • How many of those opportunities were closed?
  • How many leads did marketing produce for me?
  • How many leads were sourced from partners?
  • How many were sourced from my grind?
  • How many emails did I have to send out to get one lead?
  • How many phone calls to get one lead?

Once you get all the raw data, put your pencil in the paper and start to figure out your sales efficiency. It’s all about the ratios. How many leads, total, did I source to bring in the revenue from the past year? What’s my ratio of leads to opportunities? Of opportunities to deals? And then the overall input of leads to won deals?  Do you have these ratios, you can reverse engineer the number of leads, opportunities, and deals you’ll need to meet your numbers and income goals for the year.

Then you can come up with a plan for the year and figure out how many leads you’ll need from marketing, partners and self-generation.  It’s not difficult, and it all breaks down to the rawness of pencil to paper. Note: where it starts to get fun, is where you can figure out how to bump deals by 10% Or 20%. If you make a concerted method to bundle, package and sell additional modules, components, or add-ons and make it mandatory for yourself, it’s amazing the difference this can have on your machine’s overall effectiveness and output.

In the end, you come up with a simple number, which essentially tells you how many activities you need to execute per day to get the leads you want and the income you want. You can break it down by month, by week, by day, and by year, but the raw numbers don’t lie to drive and It will give you a target for your machine to produce its goal.

So, this holiday season take your napkin, your pencil, and 2022 and write down the raw numbers and a simple plan to succeed in 2023. Happy penciling!

sales plan, simple sales planning, sales plan with a pencil

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