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5 Emails = $500K

That's as clickbait-y a headline as you've seen, yeah? With activity benchmarking, however, a little effort on the daily means real results.

Building a Sales Forecast

More often than not, when I meet with someone for the first time about their business, they are quite clear in identifying their top line revenue growth target, and why they're trying to hit that number. What is often less clear is the answer to: but, specifically, how? (I guess that's why they're talking to me.)

Of course, there is no perfect answer and there are a million ways to skin a cat. (Sorry, animal-activist friends, I know that phrase is inapprops.) But to me, it's just like how you eat a corn cob: one row at a time. The simplest way to hit a target is to plan the daily activity required to bring it to life. This stuff is beautifully basic, but I'm going to get to the details here to be sure we're on the same page.

The simplest way to hit a target is to plan the daily activity required to bring it to life.

Today, my practical friend, you're in consumer products. You're doing $2M a year and you want to achieve a 25% top line increase this year, to hit that elusive $2.5M. (You know that when you hit $2.5M, you'll be financially able to justify an essential strategic hire you've had your eye on for the last year.)

Now let's say your average customer order is about $1000 (at $2M, that means you're doing about 2000 orders per year). Now we're not talking about some unknown $500,000 in incremental sales, we're talking a more specific incremental 500 customer orders ($1000 x 500 orders = $500,000). If you wanna break that down further, on a monthly basis, that's about 42 additional average orders every mont, or 10-11 additional orders a week.
Alternatively, let's say you think the strategy is not to just generate more orders, but to increase your average customer order value. You've looked at your order history carefully and know that some of your clients will drop off, but you are confident that you can get 1335-ish $1500 orders to generate the previous year's $2M with your existing customer base. So now you're not trying to get an incremental 500 orders, you're trying to get an incremental 333 orders - 28 per month, 7 per week.

Based on your experience with your higher value clients, you know they typically order 4 times per year. So fine, now you're not just trying to get $500K, 333 orders/year and so on... you're trying to get 83 new customers that order 4x/year at $1500/order. On a monthly basis, you are now trying to win 7 new customers; on a weekly basis, let's go for 2.

Suddenly, that $500K feels pretty achievable, yeah?

Whew! Now it's up to you to build out what those activity benchmarks look like. I personally find it easiest to start with a weekly goal broken into daily activities (i.e. 5 new prospects reached out to on the daily can generally be done in a reasonable time frame - but it turns into 25 per week and 100 per month and 1200 per year pretty quickly). As you observe the success of your activities and your conversion rates, you can refine, improve and adjust your numbers.

So what numbers are you trying to make happen this year and how are you building it into your everyday?

Image props: RawPixel.com

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