The commercial action: a compass for entrepreneurs
In orienteering, the person who runs the fastest isn’t necessarily the one who comes in first. Entrepreneurs know that there will be pitfalls along the way that they haven’t necessarily identified. They have to plot the best possible route by planning milestones and waypoints, to measure how far they are from their main goal on a regular basis.
The reverse planning effect.
Build a commercial action plan based on a long-term strategic vision, identifying and planning the various milestones, actions and resources allocated in reverse, from your end goal back to today. There are four steps.
Analyze your market
The first question to ask is what category of needs or problems your solutions address. If you’re representing a company that sells consumer navigation software, you need to draw up a list of target clients that includes specialized resellers, large retailers, automakers, e-commerce sites, etc.
When creating this list, you will soon see that it is very long and contains a large number of players, including competitors, who interact with potential customers.
The next step is to take stock of your strengths and weaknesses in relation to the competition, and to identify a shortlist of prospects for whom your products offer the most benefits. For example, you may decide to make automakers and e-commerce sites your priority target and take other opportunities as they come.
Envision the future
This key step is what will enable you to achieve your goals and surpass your sales targets. It’s what high-level athletes in speed competitions call “visualizing the finish line.” You’re a skier who imagines rounding the last gate that leads to victory. This process allows you to get on track, analyze, and envision the most tricky bends to navigate so that you pick the best possible strategy. With your commercial action plan, you’re betting on your future.
Plot out your course
Returning to the example of our champion skier, we’re going to set an intermediary goal for each previously identified milestone. In a commercial action plan, this translates to defining waypoints and assessing the conditions and timeframe needed to reach them. This also allows you to pinpoint the resources needed to achieve your goal by confirming the feasibility of your action plan and improving certain aspects if needed.
Get the ball rolling
Driven and hungry for victory, the champion skier can now embark on an intense, custom training program that will allow them to make steady progress on their intermediate times.
Meanwhile, the sales manager will begin a detailed action plan implemented over the course of the year and check up on progress regularly to see if they stray off course. If the sales to automakers are not as solid as planned, they could decide to shift their efforts to their preferred target or hunt down new opportunities to pick up the slack and stay on track to achieve the planned outcome.
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