Sales action plan : the entrepreneur’s compass

Nicolas Caron

Published : 29 July 2016
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In orienteering, it is not necessarily the one who runs fastest who comes first… In the same way, a businessman who wants to turn his strategy into actual commercial success should invest some time to define the best route and spare himself from wasting time.


Man's hand with an ancient German officer compass

1. Assess the current situation



First of all, you should gather the factual elements that will guide the action plan. These elements are based on an analysis of both the past and the present situation. “SWOT” is the most commonly used framework to analyse the Environment, the Strengths, the Weaknesses, the Opportunities and the Threats.  This seemingly simple task deserves more time than it first appears and is very helpful to sharpen the senses.



2. Establish a diagnosis


This step consists in interpreting the facts gathered in the preliminary analysis. It means that you should identify without complacency or over-enthusiasm the strengths and the aspects to be adjusted quickly, and most importantly, take a look at the big picture to visualize the best path towards success.



3. Define the project

Before talking about goals, you must ask yourself: “What will my company look like in several years?”. The clearer the view, the more structure you will get from it and the easier it will be to reach. Often overlooked, this step is very useful to avoid dilemmas, hesitations and other common obstacles to the serene pursuit of the objective. Defining the project is also what will allow you to select appropriate targets.


4. Formalize the action plan

The challenge here is to identify key actions to perform in the short and medium term. Often presented in a table this plan will include at least Objectives, Actions and Deadlines while maintaining an appropriate power/weight ratio. Targeting based on your strengths and your project is of crucial importance. With regard to prospection, a wise businessman will break down the action plan according to the key steps of a successful deal – targeting, setting up appointments, conducting first interviews, closing – while taking care to respect realistic assumptions and give himself the means to be highly effective at each of these steps.


5. Implement fiercely and with discernment

This may seem obvious, but many objectives fail to resist the first set of difficulties they encounter. Overall, nothing is particularly complex in terms of business action. The main difficulty is to commit to the plan in the long run, day in day out, and against all odds… But this resolve must not turn into blindness.  This is why differences between expectations and actual achievements should be assessed on a regular basis to help steer the boat in the right direction.


Best of luck with your business!


Nicolas Caron

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