That quote is a tough pill to swallow for anyone in leadership. Even when a vision is solid, it still is under scrutiny and refinement. The absence of a strong vision will send reverberations through your organization.

After taking the first step of acquiring the necessary data (sales, market, customer feedback, assessments) you can build out your vision into a strategy.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

– Sun Tsu, ancient Chinese military strategist

To develop an executable strategy, take these five key areas into account.

1.  Territory management
2.  Account segmentation
3.  Qualification criteria
4.  Prospect targeting

5.  Organizational structure
6.  Training & hiring plans
7.  Compensation
8.  Systems & KPI

In the book Traction by Gino Wickman, there is a section on finding the right people for the right seats in your organization. The key to the concept is to develop the seats first before you determine the people who should go in them. There is often confusion in territory management and account segmentation. By looking at past sales and market data you can determine the best way to divide up accounts.

It may not be what you think. For example, you might have two salespeople. The simple strategy would be to divide the country east and west of the Mississippi river, a common practice, but the data might say that most of the revenue is located in Boston, Detroit, and Chicago. So, the balance isn’t there.

You also might find that while you have 3000 historic accounts, 80% of your revenue comes from only 40 of them. Using the data, you may find that it makes the most sense to divide the 40 accounts between the two salespeople and move the rest to customer service. The identification of account levels determines how often and when follow-up happens.

Now that you have a clearer path on your current accounts, you can take a look at new ones. Start with building a qualification target. What traits do the top 10 accounts share? Where are they? How big are they? What market segment are they in? Answering questions like these will help you build 5-10 criteria to use to identify your target market. Once you have that, you can use a tool like DemographicsNow or Dun and Bradstreet to apply your qualification to a target area and get a list of potential prospects.

You may find that you don’t need to travel all over the country because you have 100 new targets in your backyard. Less travel, more efficiency, and a focus on the right business.

Knowing how to break up seats and accounts, we can focus on the structure to support the work. Ask questions like: what type of seat do we need to call on current accounts? Will the same seat call on new accounts? What can be done to break up the work and pull non-selling tasks into a support team? Leveraging the Objective Management Group assessments, you have data on the current state of the team and can use it to make modifications as you move into the future. Build a specific profile of the seats that the team needs to be successful.

When you know the organizational structure and can assess the current and future team members against it, use your data to determine what needs to be done next. The Objective Management Group assessments will show you the areas to train in priority order. This allows you to start training the current team in their various roles.

The assessments also demonstrate what seats you need to hire for and the hiring criteria. This speeds up the process and guarantees that you are asking the right questions in the process. The notion that “time kills deals” also applies to the hiring process. The average time for someone in transition to be hired once they start the interview process is 10 days. Having a smooth and quick hiring process is critical to landing the best candidates.

Having well-defined seats also makes it easier to define compensation packages. In today’s market, candidates have more data at their fingertips and come in with an idea of their value. Having this information will allow you to be objective as you try to fill a seat.

So often we want to automate before we really understand the process. Don’t become bogged down by trying to maximize efficiency at this point. Most smaller sales teams simply start with a spreadsheet of open projects, customer lists, or prospecting targets. There are also simpler versions of CRM tools that are less costly and connect your contacts, pipeline management, and scheduling. Less is more when you are getting started.

Start with simple revenue targets. The goal over time is to get to leading key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help the team work on the right daily activities. It takes time to understand which activities drive the best results. Use a template as a place to get started. Reach out if you want to discuss.


As you take the data from phase one and transform it into a vision, bring the rest of your team along on your journey. Having a strategic plan with your team’s next steps will make it a weekly actionable program to grow your business.

What comes after you’ve created a strategic plan from your vision? See our page on continuous improvement to find out.

What comes after you’ve created a strategic plan from your vision? See our page on continuous improvement to find out.

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