What does Ben Horowitz and I have in common? We both love hip-hop and have a blog. So in Ben’s Blog style, I’m adding a lyrical quote to my blog.
Here’s the rules: chop it, bag it, stash it, stack it.
Get in, get out – that’s an O.G.’s classic. Song: 1-900-Hustler Artist: Jay-Z
PAC(w)K It Up!
We sat at the edge of our chairs, legs locked and core engaged as if we were at the bottom movement of a squat. Our eyes were focused at center of the room, listening eagerly to one of the many messages that would change our professional and personal lives at the University of Notre Dame. Our professor addressed our EMBA class in South Bend, Indiana. On this day, his class would transcend beyond the needs of driving revenue performance, shareholder value, and blossom into a resource we could use in all aspects of our lives, both professional and personal. It was on that day, that all 60 of us learned how to create and maintain relationships with a purpose. PAC(w)K is an acronym for Providing Actionable Communication with Knowledge. Obviously with this being a sales blog, I will explain the concept with a sales slant, but you can take these same steps and use it beyond sales as it truly extends to all aspects of business and personal lives.
What is PAC(w)K?
Providing Actionable Communication with Knowledge (PAC(w)K) is a concept you can use to create, establish, maintain, strengthen, and nurture any relationship you have with another professional or person in your life. Think about that prospect you have in your current pipeline. You conducted a demo, or given a proposal to them and suddenly what you thought was a slam dunk deal forecasted for the month is now in jeopardy because the prospect/customer has gone radio silent on you. They are no longer returning your calls, and not answering your emails. You are thinking, “What’s up? I thought this was going to happen.” You start recalling your conversation with the prospect because you are questioning what could you have done better. Why are they not responding to your communication? Chances are you probably did execute the first appointment, demo, and proposal meeting well. But, did you connect with them on a professional or personal level to truly understand the needs and wants of their business as well as what motivates them? During these moments of silence, reps go crazy trying to figure out how to get the attention of prospects. They send emails with lowered pricing or extra add-ons in an attempt to sweeten the deal. They also continue to call, drop in, and leave messages with product specific information hoping the prospect looks up and responds. PAC(w)K assists in decreasing the radio silence. PAC(w)K helps you know what your prospects care about professionally and personally. PAC(w)K gives you an advantage because it gives you an overall better relationship with your customers. Having a better relationship with your customers will create more selling opportunities than you can ever imagine.
First rule of PAC(w)K is to have genuine interest in the relationship you desire to cultivate and nurture. This is important because you cannot PAC(w)K everyone. There is a limit to the people you can PAC(w)K.
Second rule of PAC(w)K is to think about the 10 – 20 relationships you want to create, establish, maintain and nurture. These are the people that you will communicate or PAC(w)K as frequently and naturally as the relationship grows. Think about those key decision makers in the key targets accounts you are trying to win.
Third rule of PAC(w)K is to recall the conversation you had with them and what needs, concerns, or interest revealed. Think beyond the sale. Go passed your product and your interest to get to what is the driving force behind their need. Apply the same thought to them as a professional. Use your tools, social media, and the internet to learn more about them. There is tons of information out there. Use it, learn from it, and apply it to your strategy when you communicate with them.
Fourth rule of PAC(w)K is to take what you learned from the third rule and support it with substantial information. This is where you want to use resources like Pulse from LinkedIn (personal favorite) , Flipboard app, news and magazine resources, and thought provoking messages like TedTalks, and Kahn’s Academy. Remember the first rule of PAC(w)K is to have genuine interest so be open to all forms of information. It can be a comic strip or a funny youtube video. Let the relationship you are developing establish the boundaries of the information you are using. As the relationship grows so will the boundaries because you are consistently learning more about your customer’s interests.
Fifth rule of PAC(w)K is to never forget the first rule. It is not about your interests. It’s about the interests and needs of the other person.
How often do you PAC(w)K? Is it once a week, monthly, or quarterly? The truly depends on the relationship and natural flow of information. I have some people I PAC(w)K weekly because our relationship has evolved to that level of communication and others I PAC(w)K quarterly. Sales professionals, I think you will need to read the situation first and then start applying the PAC(w)K rules to enhance your communication to the prospect.
Applying the PAC(w)K
PAC(w)K is the easiest thing to do. You can do it with a phone call, text, an email, a letter and more. You can use LinkedIn, facebook, and other social media as well. Variety is best used when dripping. I opt for using the phone or email so I can ensure that my message is specific to the person. Social media like linkedIn and facebook are powerful because you can share articles and TedTalks. Kim Nicol, who is building a meditation business, targeted to professionals in the legal industry around mindfulness uses social media to PAC(w)K her clients. She shares articles and her blog to reach and stay connected to her clients.
Can you have two PAC(w)K list?
I have a professional PAC(w)K list and a personal one. I have ten people on each list. These are the people and relationships that I deemed valuable and ones I’m working to maintain.
Now you know the rules and how to apply it…what are you waiting on. Create your list and PAC(w)K it up!
1. Check out the 6th Annual AA-ISP Leadership Summit happening in Chicago, April 6th – 8th. You will learn from the best experts in sales at this meeting.
2. Looking to take your financial intelligence to another level? My dear friend, Jackie Koski wrote a book, titled Money Letters 2 My Daughter. It is an excellent book that will educate you about money. It is also the perfect book for anyone graduating from high school or college.
The saying goes that you should hope for the best, and be prepared for the worst. I believe this is especially true in sales and the main reason why YOU HAVE TO DO TERRITORY PLANNING. Most reps hate writing territory plans and I believe the reason they dislike it is because many don’t know or understand what goes into a good territory plan, and how often it should be measured. Secondly, the accountability, execution, and consistent review of the plan rest first with the sales professional and secondly the sales manager. Trust me, if done correctly and executed precisely, your territory plan will become the most invaluable asset you have each day of your career in sales.
WHAT IS A TERRITORY PLAN? A territory plan is a strategy that is written down detailing the actions, tasks, and objectives you must complete to exceed your sales quota. Most territory plans include awards and other personal motivational items. These items include pictures of desired vacations, family vacations, dream cars, houses, lifestyle pursuits, and much more. One of my reps included a picture of a Harley-Davidson with all the extras. It was truly an honor to see him achieve his goal and purchase the bike. So now that you know what a territory plan is, let’s start with the first step.
SEGMENT YOUR TERRITORY: To have a good territory plan you need to analyze your territory – this is where most territory plans fall short. You do this by segmenting your territory into prospects that do not have your products and to customers that do have your products. You should use all resources you have to do this. Your marketing department or CRM are both great sources of information that you can use to collect this data. If the role in your company is pure new business then you would focus on the prospects that do not have your products and vice-versa for sales professionals that support a retention or base business motion. For this post I will focus on new business.
SEGMENT YOUR PROSPECTS (GO DEEPER INTO THE SEGMENTATION): Your next step is to segment your prospects by size, specialty, or class. The point here is to align it with your business segmentation process. Some companies segment their customer base by size or potential revenue. You should follow the segmentation process that your company has. Once you have completed this step you are ready for the next step. This step will help you understand the market potential in your territory.
MARKET POTENTIAL (AOV X # OF PROSPECTS): Now that you have the number of prospects in your territory and you have segmented these prospects by your company’s segmentation you can now take the average order value (AOV) of a sale by the number of prospects in your market to calculate your market potential. If your average order value for companies with 10 employees is $15,000 annually, and you have 150 companies with 10 employees in your territory your market size for this segment is $2.25 million ($15,000 x 150 prospects = $2,250,000). You will continue this exercise with your other segments and add all your segment market dollar amounts to get your total territory market potential. Now to the next step and YES, you will need your sales ratios and metrics moving forward.
MATCH UP YOUR SALES RATIOS TO YOUR QUOTA AGAINST YOUR MARKET POTENTIAL: Now it’s time for you to pull out your ratios and bump it up against your sales quota and your market potential. THIS IS CRITICAL. If you don’t have this information then I suggest you call your manager and ask him or her for them. You will need to know your core ratios and metrics such as first appointments to opportunities, and opportunities to close. You will take these ratios and begin calculating how many first appoints, opportunities, and closes you need to exceed plan, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. This will tell you how many sales are needed in each segment within your territory to exceed your quota. Now you are ready for your next steps and this is creating your target list.
TARGET LIST: It is now time to go back to your list of prospects by segment so you can put together those prospects that you must have as your customer base. These are the prospects that you know are the most influential prospects in your territory and having them as customers will help you build a solid book of business. These are the prospects that you call on often. I have heard some sales professionals call this their elephant hunting list or whale hunting list. The point I am making is that you have to know your territory and know where the big hits are so you can start building rapport with these prospects immediately. Closing a few of these deals throughout the year can help you exceed your number that much faster.
MEASURE YOUR OUTCOMES (MONTHLY, and QUARTERLY): Break down your objectives and goals into months and quarters. Then you need to review your outcomes each month and quarter to ensure that you are on track and executing your territory plan. IF YOU DO NOT DO THIS, YOU MIGHT AS WELL THROW YOUR PLAN AWAY BECAUSE IT IS WORTHLESS. Not measuring your outcomes means that you have taken a W.A.G. approach as my finance MBA professor from the University of Notre Dame would say. W.A.G. means wild a_ _ guessing as opposed to S.W.A.G. which is scientific well-thought analytical guidance. Decide on using the later and measure your outcomes. Keep in mind that territory plans are not static or inflexible. Territory plans are dynamic, and always changing with the needs of the business. You must review your status continuously and adjust as needed.
REWARD YOURSELF: How will you reward yourself for all the work and effort you have put into executing your territory plan. Think of something big and really worth your effort. Have a photo of it and hang it in your office, car, bedroom, and everywhere else you can. This is your motivation. Now imagine how great it will feel when you achieve your goals. I can only imagine how great it felt for my rep to buy his first Harley and the ride he took when he drove it off the lot. It had to be a great feeling.
In conclusion, territory planning is critical to achieving success each year in sales. A territory plan defines how you will spend your time and who you will spend it with. This is why you must measure your outcomes monthly, and quarterly to ensure you are on track or you will need to adjust your plan. The bulk of the work that goes into a territory plan is done in the analytical stage. This is where you segment your territory and truly map out your territory market potential. Furthermore, you must consistently review your territory plan against your outcomes to ensure you are on track. Lastly, reward yourself for all the hard work and effort as your begin executing your territory plan and having success.
(Special thanks to all that helped make this post. You each are living examples that sales is a noble profession)Great selling!!!
Insidesalesmagic….believe in the power of the telephone!!!