Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Analyze This - SWOT for Sales Organizations

Strategic Planning is EVERYONE's business, including salespeople.  In fact, I can't think of any department in an organization that should focus more on Strategic Planning than the salespeople who create the very life blood of the company.

If you examine any out-of-the-box business plan, after you deal with the vision, goals and plans there is always an analysis of the characteristics (both internally and externally) of that organization.  This section of insight is usually called the SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats).  If outlined honestly, this is where investors really key into what they're getting themselves into.  This is where the real work is evaluated.  Ever think about performing a SWOT analysis of just the sales department?  You should.  It will really expose the path to success.

Try this exercise:  Have you entire sales team create their own SWOT analysis.  This can be done individually at first, but eventually you must get the team in the room and talk about why some people feel the way they do about your sales organization.  You might find out how positioned you really are in the marketplace.  You might discover a serious weakness that can be addressed before it becomes a company killer.  Share your SWOT analysis with other departments in the company.  You'll be amazed how supportive people can be of the sales team when they understand the obstacles that must be overcome.

Strategic Planning is a critical part of your success.  The tactical day-to-day wrestling only gets you so far.  Try it.  Do yourself a favor!

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