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GTD and Sales Quotas

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  • GTD and Sales Quotas

    Anyone in sales use GTD? The book seems to be written for people who sit behind a desk all day, but I like the bottom-up approach. You can visualize what it would feel like to be the top sales person, but unless you get out and work, that visualization is a waste of time; I think GTD has to potential to help a salesperson "get to work."

    But say you have a quota for the month of X in sales. I'm thinking you would treat that like a project and have lots of subprojects supporting it. The @AGENDA would work for appointments with clients. But in order to meet with clients, you need to schedule appointments. To do that, you could call existing clients and "deepen" your relationship with them (get them to use more of your products). You also can meet new clients and "broaden" your business, but there may be fifty ways to do that alone.

    Getting new leads could be something like brainstorming for a project with the decision as to whether or not an idea is "good" being the person's response to your offer. Would you have a next action be "talk to five new leads" or "talk with a new lead" five times?

    Say you have client X - you could call them and ask for an appointment. Do they go on your Next Action list or your Someday/Maybe list? No single client or appointment will make or break you so you don't HAVE to call them, but at the same time, you need to call a certain number of people. Previously I had a "Warm List" of all the people I could possibly call if I needed to schedule appointments but that I wasn't necessarily going to call. Then when I needed more appointments, I looked over the list and called them. That seems to skip the "Next Action" step because it's an instantaneous decision - they're on the list of maybes and you decide now is the time so you dial the number.

    So maybe I'm figuring out the bits and pieces, but I'm worried that in all the details, I'll loose sight of the big goal which would be the quota. Would the quota just be at the 10,000 level - something that I just review once a week?

    Obviously I'm brainstorming about how GTD might work for people in sales. Are there any salespeople out there? Do you care to share how you apply GTD to your career? Thanks!

  • #2
    If you do a search, you'll find numerous discussions on this BB concerning applying GTD to sales. Below I've cut & pasted one response I made to a discussion concerning "Successful Outcome of a Sale". There were many insightful comments on this and other strings - well worth reading all of them.

    Successful outcome = "Customer (xxx) is an engaged, satisfied customer" This means there is an ongoing relationship of some type with the customer and they are currently satisfied with whatever is going on with that relationship.

    Now, when the customer asks for a demo, literature, quote, etc a new sub-project is launched which would include performing the demo, sending the lit, delivering the quote, following up on the order, asking for future business and/or references, etc. Each step in the process is working toward completing that sub-project but the ultimate goal is to keep the customer engaged for present or future business and inclined to deal with you. Having this definition as a successful outcome will drive many of the N/A's for the main project as well as any sub-projects.

    Also, if the customer isn't currently involved in getting a quote, demo, lit, etc, this definition makes you and your rep constantly ask youself these questions: 1) Do we need to check in on the customer?; 2) Do we know the customer will think of us first when a need arises? 3) Is there anything we need to be doing at the present to insure we are continually engaged and the customer is satisfied?

    BTW, I question whether a potential customer should ever be on a Someday/Maybe list, but that's just a bias I bring to the discusssion.


    • #3
      The way I see it, the sales quota is a project and requires a top-down planning approach. Project planning should be done in a top-down fashion while executing the project will be done in a bottom-up fashion. Planning a project is only a small part of the GTD system. Most of the system's structure is about capturing all the other stuff that is trying to get in the way of you working on that project. When thinking about your sales goal project, forget about trying to make it comform to the GTD system structure for a while and just plan out your project as a separate unit apart from GTD until you get to the level of next actions, which will then be fed into the GTD system.

      Thinking about the sales quota project only, using a top down approach, you might consider that to meet the quota you need to close 7 typical sales in a month. You know that to do that you probably will have to make presentations to 21 qualified customers (please substitute your own relevant numbers and steps). To get 21 qualified customers, you have to make 63 cold calls. To get 63 names to call you have to do such and so. OK, now you have a plan. Your next action is to do such and so to get some names for cold calls. This n/a goes into your GTD system. Once it is done your n/a is to cold call one of those people. That goes into your GTD system. If you get 3 or 4 of those cold call n/a's done today (and every day), you are on track to get all of your cold calls done for the month. This is the key part of the project plan. Complete 3 or 4 cold calls per day without fail. This part may require some discipline, and some people put some structure around this part. You could make this the only thing that you do each day from 9:30 to 10:30am and have a policy not to talk to anyone or step out of your office for any reason until it is done. This can go onto your calendar. Hopefully at least one of today's cold calls will result in an appointment for a sales presentation, which will also go onto your calendar. That event may also generate a n/a of planning the sales presentation for that customer. Repeat until your 63 cold calls for the month are completed. All month long you will be generating appointments, planning the presentations, executing them, closing sales, ect. as these things arise and are entered into your GTD system. All this activity is being powered by the daily cold call n/a's. At the end of the month, if you didn't reach your sales goal, your project planning needs to be reworked in some way, so go back and change the numbers or the actions, etc.

      Notice that nowhere here did I mention an item for the someday/maybe list. That list is for inactive projects and this is a very active project.

      This is obviously just a very generalized and simple example and your project plan will be more complex. The point is to start at the top level (meet sales quota) and break it down to the level of next actions and feed those into your GTD system. GTD will allow you to control all the other competing stuff and give you the freedom to focus on planning the project and to execute its n/a's. If you are still stuck on how to plan the project, read the relevant chapters in GTD about project planning for tips on brainstorming, etc.

      Good luck and let us know how it goes.