In a time where pipeline generation is becoming increasingly difficult to ascertain, planning, for many companies, becomes paramount. At Operatix, we see a variety of companies that struggle with a host of different issues, that could have simply been prevented if they had used effective planning mechanisms at the beginning and doubled up on their plan. As I am sure you are aware, business is a constantly fluctuating and unpredictable entity, and for this reason, ensuring you are prepared for any possible obstacles is essential. In the following article, we hope to highlight some key mistakes that businesses are currently making and how best to avoid them, to ensure a stable and prosperous future.
Initially, a mistake that is regularly made within many businesses, is that too many companies wait months for their targets and forecasts to be issued by their managerial teams, before planning for the following year. Therefore, companies are losing vital time in the first quarter of the year while their competitors are moving swiftly onwards with kick-off meetings and marketing and sales meetings. This immediately puts those companies at a disadvantage as they are missing the most active time of year, and by the time that they have got the ball rolling, the month of January is out the window and it then will take another month to catch up with initial organisation. You are then ultimately leaving yourself with only ten months, and you are missing the first 20% of the year by waiting for those targets to be issued. You are then starting the race with a broken foot, while your competitors pick up speed.
Although of course we cannot predict exactly what the following year will forecast, we do know that targets will either be the same or more than the company’s current level of productivity. So therefore, you must plan for exponential growth and develop the means to continue generating your current level of profit and how to increase it. We suggest that you start planning and you aim high! This way, if you plan to deliver 150%, you won’t fall short! For example, if you are aiming to make 5 million by the end of the fiscal year, aim to make 7.5 million, so you can remain in full confidence that you will deliver the results and possibly break your own records. Gartner suggests that “high-impact, strategic goals” within day-to-day operations can be a hugely positive investment. Therefore, the first factor that we suggest for you to consider is to plan with ambitious goals in mind, to then find yourself moving quickly forward, while meeting your targets with relative ease.
Unfortunately, business is characterised by a constant flow of unpredictable change, both internally and externally. This can cause stress for many organisations and their employees, yet by being aware of the changes that may arise, companies stand a greater change of successfully navigating their unstable climate. For example, according to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), estimates of annual turnover among internal sales teams runs as high as 27%, with an average tenure of less than two years. With this figure in mind, it becomes clear how important it is for companies to remain adaptive to the high churn rate within the sales team. On average, clients tell us that it takes two months to replace their sales staff, and then another month to get them up to speed. In essence, you are then losing three valuable months on just one employee acquisition. If we take the HBR figure as a reference, we would then double this time for the predicted absence of two more employees. Therefore, when you are down on staff and you are behind from recruiting their replacement, you must ensure you have a Plan B in place to keep the team constantly afloat.
While business may be unpredictable, the best thing you could possibly do to safeguard yourself is to double up on your plan. Even if you are lucky enough to be generating 100% of the pipeline generation that you require, what happens if something fails with your plan A? What do you do for the rest of the year? For that reason exactly, we recommend that you should have two plans, to ensure substantial pipeline generation, in case if your initial plan becomes flawed. As we mentioned in a previous article, pipeline generation is essential and it is becoming increasingly difficult to generate. Therefore, by having different options available to fall back on, you are minimising your risk and maximising your gain. Most of the time, the skill isn’t in having a successful plan A, the skill is in managing the complications as they arise and successfully implementing your plan B, before the gaps become dangerously engulfing to the point of no return. Being proactive is essential, and investing early in anticipating changes will put you in good stead for the foreseeable future. The money sitting in the bank will sadly not help you to reach your targets, nor will it enable you to act upon issues as they arise, yet investing your money into planning to prevent issues before they materialise will prove undeniably beneficial for the future of your company.
Another common mistake made by most companies is that they’re waiting too late to get moving. If you don’t have the run rate now to achieve your goals, then you will struggle to make ends meet. Planning, once again is key! You must be able to take your objectives and constantly assess the gap of pipeline between your objectives and what you have been delivering from a run rate perspective. For example, if you are running below target for a month, you will most likely be able to salvage the loss. However, if you leave it two months, you start to put yourself under pressure, and as the time increases, in which you are missing your targets, you make it harder to bring yourself back on track. Once you get to this point, you are far more likely to make unnecessary mistakes as you enter panic-mode. A key way to avoid getting to this point is to sit down early on in the year and decide a realistic run rate and attainable objectives to aspire to.
Overall, is it abundantly clear to see the importance of early planning for the common complications that can often arise in business. In order to plan efficiently, you can meet with us to discuss the ways in which your company can develop a plan B in order to be adaptive and to remain competitive. By meeting with us to discuss your plan, you will find that you either don’t need us at all, or you may need us in the future, or we could expose a large gap in your organisation that you can quickly resolve before it proves detrimental. We can analyse and discuss the current plan that you have in place or we can suggest further additions to ensure stability. Have a conversation with us, and get your plan to be as robust as possible, to help you to generate your pipeline and avoid the common pitfalls that many companies are finding themselves falling into.
Aurelien Mottier – CEO – Operatix