Don't De-Motivate Your Employees

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Dec 8, 2023 by Sean Luce

You are about to have the most important meeting of the year - and it's not one of your sales meetings. It's called the "2024 Strategic Budget Planner." You should block out at least a full morning or afternoon for each of your reps.

There are two distinct components of the annual SBP. First, you have an account-by-account breakdown with projections of what each account will bill in the upcoming year. Second, you have what is called the "Individual Needs Analysis," with which you evaluate each rep on several critical areas. Let's remember, sales budgeting is not an exact science, but you can use experience and common sense to make reasonable judgments on what your accounts should do in 2024 vs. bringing out the dart board and making a throw in the dark. Note: Do not try to conduct these sessions like a standard one-on-one weekly meeting. You need the time to thoroughly delve into each account.

THE FIRST STEP: Using your historical figures, calculate what your active clients did in 2023. Next, break down your list by segmentation - A, B, C, D and S, according to where accounts fall monetarily. All markets depend on economies of scale, so your watershed cutoff could be something like this: "A" accounts bill an average of $35,000 + per year. "B" accounts bill $15,000 to $34,999. "Cs" have spending levels of $1,000 to $14,999."D" (or developmental) accounts have not billed yet, and "Ss" are seasonal accounts. From the histories, project what you will bill for each account, considering possible attrition in the upcoming year (averaging 30% in some markets). Compare last year's figures against this year's projection with an explanation of why each account will exceed the previous year's billing (or why it won't). On each segmented list, if you are paid on commission, figure what the As will pay you, based on your commission percentage. Do this for all segments. Now add up what you will make and what your accounts will bill, based on this account-by-account analysis. If your estimated earnings are below your goal level, how much new business will you add for 2024 in order to achieve your goal?

THE SECOND STEP: In the second part of the SBP, sales reps evaluate themselves (using a scale of 1 through 5) on criteria important for their skill development. Consider attitude, time management, organization and administration, product knowledge, sales tool usage, selling skills, and overall performance. This "Individual Needs Analysis" allows the sales rep and you to honestly evaluate his or her skill development.When you go through this process six months from now in the bi-annual review, the sales rep can visibly see development. This thorough self-evaluation provided by the INA is the foundation for building your own personal road map for self-improvement.

Remember, this is a confidential evaluation used strictly for budget analysis and constructive purposes. The INA contains objective evaluations, and there are no right or wrong answers - only honest answers. The quickest way to build a high-performing team is with two-way communication. The last part of the INA asks the sales reps to give their five primary areas where they feel they need skill improvement. With this information, you are now loaded to help your sales reps develop from their point of view and not yours. They are more apt to take coaching in a positive posture when it comes from their perspective.

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