A Successful Sales Plan Requires these 4 Pillars with Remy Piazza


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A sales plan or sales strategy can be the difference between an organization merely surviving and a company exceeding all sales objectives.

With so many ups and downs this year, as well as company pivots and new long-term strategies, sales planning is more important than ever.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a born leader to devise a master marketing plan or hit your sales objectives. The best sales manager isn't measured by how many degrees they have or accolades received. They are molded through their years of experience. As the host of The Modern Selling Podcast, I relish the opportunity to speak to successful sales leaders from all sides of the spectrum. This week is no exception, as I speak to Remy Piazza, Chief Sales Officer of Bureau Veritas of North America. Bureau Veritas is a global testing inspection and certification company. They test everything from the food we eat and the water we drink to airplanes that we’ll eventually go back to when we travel.

The 4 Pillars for a Successful Sales Plan

In this episode, Remy and I discuss the four pillars for a strategic sales plan. These pillars have been Remy’s mantra through his years at the helm of various sales departments of world-renowned organizations. They cover everything from go-to-market strategies, sales prospecting, and even having the right team for the job.

There’s a notion that, as sales leaders transfer from one company to another, they tend to stay within the same industry. While most leaders vertically align themselves with the industries they know, Remy has found joy in being in a leadership position and hitting a sales goal in a variety of industries. For this reason, business leaders can apply Remy’s four pillars to any industry.

Note: Before we go through the pillars, you need to understand that Remy’s sales plan template needs to be carried out in order. You must go chronologically from Step one through four. Those who begin in the middle - and/or go out of order - are unlikely to achieve success. If you feel you’ve got all four pillars covered, I highly recommend a more granular sales methodology called the PVC Sales Methodology.

#1 - Define and Document your Segmentation

Let’s face it. A sales leader doesn’t get hired when things are prosperous in an organization. Leaders are hired to either put out fires or to devise a pivoting strategy.

Remy recommends, before starting the blueprint, to look at all addressable markets. For instance, which industries do you sell to or want to sell to? Once this is done, you zero-in on the accounts you want to serve. Then, it’s about buyer segmentation and analysis.

Learn about who your ideal customer is, what they look like, and why they are looking for what you offer. Once you understand your target audience, you can understand the buyer journey; what they’re looking to receive from your sellers at every stage.

Next, you need someone to extrapolate and analyze the data. If you don’t have this, in the words of Tony Robbins, “You’re running east looking for a sunset and no matter how fast you run, you’re never going to catch it.” Data without analysis is just simple Xs and O’s. A marketing strategy is crucial to speak directly to your potential customers.

According to Remy, you need to have a wartime plan to have a successful sales strategy. Prior to COVID, businesses could just continue to target those who had purchased from them in the past. Today, the buyer persona might have changed. For this reason, sales management must be more aligned than ever with their sellers and marketing. You come up with the tactics, but it is the individual sellers who will execute.

Which brings us to the second pillar.

#2 - Set a Go-to-Market Strategy

Once you have your segmentation, you can hit the ground running and implement a strategy.

We’re living in a time where buyer behavior is completely aligned with selling motion. Since we’re all digitally connected, socially engaged, mobile attached, and video hungry, sales leaders have no choice but to embrace digital sales and social media.

But now comes another decision: Within digital sales, in which direction will you strategize? Direct models? Partnerships. Major or small markets?

Now we have reached the third pillar: a key element.

#3 - Successful Sales Leadership Depends on Having the Right Players on your Team

Many NFL fans would agree that without Tom Brady, Bill Belichick likely would not have had the support of his cast. It takes a great leader to run a team of successful sellers. However, the sales rep not only has to execute the strategies. They also have to buy into the leader’s vision.

Underperforming sales managers will skip pillars one and two, and head straight to hiring the right people. Yet, unless you know the first two pillars, you will not know who you need to hire.

But how does a great sales leader know when they have the right people on their teams? According to Remy, you need to get in the field and ride with them in addition to digital sales coaching. Interact with your salespeople and experience what it's like to be with them in front of prospects or customers. Do your team members understand your company’s value proposition and sales pipeline? When sales leaders understand what their team members do well - and where they struggle - it’s easier to determine who can meet expectations moving forward.

Back when I was an SDR, my company used Predictive Index to evaluate my performance. This tool provides great insight and information on how - and where - your team needs coaching. It will not determine whether or not someone would be a good hire, but it can reinforce a hunch.

#4 - Importance of Sales Enablement in Every Sales Plan

This relatively new field is all about leveraging data and supporting your sales team. Sales enablement is the beautiful orchestration point between sales and marketing.

You can:

  • Create a Value Proposition
  • Research buyers and markets
  • Learn where they digitally hang out
  • Discover what kind of content will resonate with them
  • Learn how and where they’ll consume the content

Successful sales leadership is 50% talent and 50% sales-team support. Sales enablement is an instrumental component in helping your sellers.

Back in the day, the role of a salesperson was different than it is now. To engage with potential and existing customers, all you had to do was give them a brochure with all of your information. Now, prospects can get all that info and more just by visiting a website.

Modern-day sellers are consultants. And sales enablement teams feed your sellers the right data to fulfill that role.

Achieving Successful Sales Leadership

Successful sales leadership requires defining and documenting segmentation, having the right people, and eventually embracing sales enablement.

Once you’ve gone through every one of these pillars - in order - you will have a starting point for your current sales leadership role, as well as future leadership positions.

168 episodes