This month's sales figures are in - so how do you connect the chasm between planned vs actuals?

It seems to be an inherent part of any plan that the 'actuals' never match up with the 'planned'.

This can be particularly frustrating with sales forecasts, especially if they are focused on growth, rather than an incremental increase on the previous month.

Large discrepancies between planned and actuals is often the result of reviewing targets retrospectively, not identifying drivers of success or not implementing consistently.

Restrictions of Retrospect:

One of the main problems I see in the difference between planned vs actuals, is that the actuals are measured retrospectively or in past tense.

For example, the focus is upon what went wrong in the previous month, rather than what should be done right for the month ahead.

This retrospective approach takes focus away from identifying and fine-tuning the drivers of success.

Drivers of Success

Drivers of success are specific activities that drive maximum results for an intended goal. They can often take time to find and can be counter-intuitive.

For example let's look at a B2B sales team. The main driver assigned may be sales calls (the amount of telephone calls made to clients & prospects)

Seems like a worthwhile driver, when in fact 'conversations' is actually a more effective driver (as a call does not necessarily result in a conversation)

Consistent Implementation

The other common cause of discrepancy between planned vs actuals is consistent implementation.

This is especially true in new projects, where there's a lot of initial excitement and momentum generated which then starts to tail off.

To keep implementation consistent and effective, defining and rewarding progress is essential.

Often, quite a significant amount of progress may be necessary before the ultimate goal is actually achieved.

For example winning a large new client project involves many steps of progress before the ultimate goal of winning the project is achieved.

Connecting the Chasm between Planned vs Actuals

Published: May 24th 2016