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Tailoring a business plan to a specific employer will take research — and a lot of it. For your plan to be effective, you will need to understand the company’s products, corporate values, major problems, and market. Your research should aim to discover the employer’s strategies and top initiatives. You can’t just find a template and fill in the blanks — creating a business plan takes brainpower, time, and detailed research. The plan should speak to the company’s needs, products, specific market, and values. A template shouldn’t dictate what you include in your plan. Don’t get so wrapped up in your research and crunching exact numbers that you forget the purpose of your business plan. It needs to answer a very basic but important question — will you make money for the employer? When it comes down to it, the hiring manager only wants to know what you will be able to do for them. How will you make their life easier and how can you solve problems the team faces?
There are three reasons to use a 30-60-90 day plan as part of the hiring process. First, it allows to you observe the candidate’s approach to creating a plan for themselves. Second, it gives the candidate very clear goals for their first three months in the role. Third, it gives the hiring manager a blueprint for onboarding the new employee over the first three months.
When do you ask the candidate to build a 30-60-90 day plan? The ideal time to ask for the candidate to create a plan for their first three months is immediately following your final interview step. When contacting them after the interview here’s what you’ll want to say: “[Candidate name], I really enjoyed our discussion. Based on what we covered, I’d like to move forward with the final step of our process; that final step is for you to build a plan for your first three months on the job. The reason that we want you to take a crack at this plan is 1) so you have an opportunity to think through how you’re going to accomplish the goals that we discussed throughout the interview process, and 2) so that we’ll have a roadmap to make sure we’re on track for your first quarter in the role.”
What do you ask the candidate to deliver when they build a 30-60-90 day plan? You’ll email your candidate a template of the plan to get them started (after all, you’re looking to gain insight into their planning and goal-setting process, not their ability to create forms from scratch!). You’ll instruct them as follows: “Based on the specific outcomes we discussed for your first year in this role, I’d like for you to think about the first ninety days on the job and what things you’ll need to accomplish during that time to make measurable progress and generate momentum towards the yearly goal. Please write down the specific, measurable and actionable outcomes that you’ll accomplish at thirty, sixty and ninety days on the job. When you’re done, save the file and email it back to me, and we’ll set up a time to walk through your plan.”
How do you review the 30-60-90 day plan with the candidate? The most important dynamic in this discussion is that the candidate is the one doing the talking. This is your opportunity to listen, observe, and coach with targeted questions. Let the candidate take you through the details of their plan, and withhold your desire to interrupt with feedback. At the conclusion of their presentation, ask questions to vet their assumptions. If they’ve made incorrect assumptions about the tools or resources that they’ll have at their disposal – and they inevitably will – let them know exactly where they missed the mark, and ask them what if anything they’ll want to do differently given this new information. Add any ideas or thoughts as you deem appropriate, but remember that this approach works only if the candidate comes away feeling like it’s their plan.
How do you utilize the 30-60-90 day plan to onboard a new employee? The payoff from this effort comes into plan on day one of the new employee’s tenure on the team. On the first day, sit down with your new team member and let them know that you’re going to review the plan they created. Reconfirm the thirty, sixty and ninety day outcomes to which they have committed. Ask them if there’s anything in the plan that they’d like to discuss or change before they commit to moving forward. Modify as appropriate.
What happens is the new hire misses the goals that they’ve established? Through this process, you’ve obtained your new hire’s commitment to achieving outcomes and a plan that they themselves created. If they don’t deliver, it’s on them. It’s their plan, and it’s their commitment. This approach takes the emotion out of giving performance-related feedback to a new hire who’s struggling to meet goals. If the candidate misses their thirty, sixty or ninety day goals, the coaching conversation is fairly simple and straightforward: “Help me understand what led to your being unable to achieve the goal and plan you set for yourself. Was it resources? Was my direction clear? Was there an unforeseen obstacle?” “What are you going to do differently to get back on track for the next thirty days?” “How are you feeling about the plan you’ve created?”
Parting thoughts The 30-60-90 day plan is a simple and powerful tool. It aids in employee selection, and it’s the roadmap for the new hire’s onboarding program. When using this approach, it’s nearly impossible for your new hire to be surprised by your expectations of them. More importantly, a failure to achieve the desired outcomes falls on their shoulders, not yours.
Your philosophy should be to run a territory as a self-contained business within a business. In doing so, expectations are set early and results tracked.
Strategic Plan: The core strategies will be the primary way to ‘close the gap’ between today and our desired future vision Includes steps to accomplish overall objective of the business, to bring territory to #1 revenue producer. Define target market profile. What sectors already have greatest credibility, testimonials. Understand measurements of Sales success and milestones. Identify ‘low-hanging’ fruit.
Tactical Plan: Understand sales activity required to achieve sales targets. Includes KPI’s such as the number of cold calls made, the amount of Sales Pipeline activity, time-to-close, etc. Know Values of Opps in Pipeline, Key Account Management Activity, sales achieved, profits achieved, etc. Source Prospects; begin process of cold calling- qualifying; meeting; closing
Identify and profile best fit customers based on attributes, needs & sales data.
Interview 5 profitable customers Analyze historical sales data for patterns Build “perfect customer” profile Rank and map high value customer targets
As a new hire, I will put in the effort to study and learn the internal lay of the land as follows:
First Week: Attend and complete company training on sales strategy, processes, CRM, and products. Complete all necessary paperwork for HR. Set-up home office to maximize productivity.
Bring the mission statement and vision to life and discover the plans the company abides by to reach its core values.
Understand Company & Hiring Manager expectations of the position.
To include: What is absolutely needed to be accomplished in the first 90 days? What would he or she like you to do beyond that in the first 90 days? What is the most promising, yet unexploited, opportunity for growth? Measurements for sales success.
Begin forming professional relationships with coworkers. Understand or develop content that supports the Value Proposition the Company. Learn about Company clients, and their needs that led to past successes. Understand the collaboration between Company - Sales and Marketing. Learn about the competition.
Second Week: Initiate Tactical plan to include lead gen; emails; cold calling; appointment scheduling
Key strategies for effective pipeline execution:
Clearly define lead & opportunity stages: Define not only the stages your prospects go through (from the very beginning, nurture stages through to the sale), but also define your communication strategy at each stage – what do they get, how often, in what format, etc. Defining this up front will make decisions and actions both faster and more successful as you execute (especially if you have a team where common definitions are critical).
Focus on great content: Be remarkable. Be educational. Make yourself required-reading for your prospects. Teach them how to do their jobs better. Great content, especially in today’s information-overload world, can be a powerful differentiator and attractor of new business.
Make it easy for prospects to move forward.
Additional thoughts for first 60 days: Schedule Webinars and Product Demos Schedule first speaker/presentation program Plan and/or attend relevant tradeshow/industry events
Deliver a sales plan that deconstructs and models quota attainment for the year.
Breakdown quota attainment by: Product Channel Segment Model sales coverage and gaps Quantify key sales metrics
Building pipeline and/or developing accounts. This part of the plan is about showing actual sales momentum in the territory vs. spending the first 90 day planning. Show that you take ownership for your own pipeline vs. relying on partners or marketing to build it for. This shows maturity and that you’ll take accountability for your business. Demonstrate you understand the mechanics of a sales funnel in terms of leads, pipeline and sales. Identify some specific territory building activities that have worked for you e.g. direct calling, email, live events.
Determine sales cycle to determine the number of deals to close.
You or your manager should provide some form of task list to understand key milestones to the plan.
The key here is to keep it simple. I try to stick to no more than 3-4 tasks for each part of the plan i.e. 30, 60, 90 day. And then identify some important dates or deliverables a manager can focus on rather than micro manage all the tasks. If you find yourself needing more than 9 tasks then you are probably getting too detailed.
What do the most successful new hires do in their first 3 months? What metrics would you use to measure success in this role? What is the average deal size? Quota? Based on your experience so far, how many opportunities in the sales funnel lead to sales? What are some of the challenges or roadblocks one might come up against in this role?
What are the departmental goals and objectives? What are the position’s main priorities? Who are the people I would need to meet with to help me reach my goals? How will I measure my progress?
Courtesy of Brian Burns and MindNode Pro. I highly recommend his book, The Maverick Selling Method: Simplifyng The Complex Sale
Visit his Linkedin Group page and connect with him as well. See his Youtube videos. Brian cuts to the chase.
There are four unique behavioral patterns recognized in the SOCIAL STYLE Model: Analytical Style people control their emotions but tend to ask questions rather than give orders. They are focused on accuracy, and they act deliberately to achieve that end. Others see them as slow-paced and detail-oriented. Amiable Style people show their emotions openly and prefer to ask questions rather than give orders. Relationships, feelings and personal security are important to Amiable Style people. Others see them as friendly and warm. Expressive Style people show their emotions and speak assertively. They enjoy sharing their ideas and perspectives openly with others. Others see them as creative, but unfocused. Driving Style people control their emotions and speak assertively. They prefer to control a situation and are focused on big-picture results. They are often seen by others as highly efficient and not concerned about relationships or feelings.
The ultimate objective of competitor analysis is to know enough about a competitor to be able to think like that competitor, so the firm's competitive strategy can be formulated to take into account the competitors' likely actions and responses.
Short analysis of 50 Analytical frameworks including SWOT, Porters, and McKinsey; with links to the frameworks. http://competia.com/50-competitive-intelligence-analysis-techniques
A Manager’s Perspective:
Having an accurate sales forecast – or more importantly, a history of accurate sales forecasts – can help determine the best pipeline-to-quota ratio for the company. Instead of simply subscribing to the 3x ratio of yesteryear, look at your historical conversion ratios. If a whole year’s worth of sales results suggest that you only need a 2.5 or 2x sales pipeline-to-quota ratio, then why are slave away to fill your sales pipeline to hit that magic 3x number? Listen to the data, for it is telling the real story.
Careful sales pipeline management also involves identifying potential red flags that could sink the accuracy of your sales forecast. One particularly critical sales forecast killer is the size and value of deals, especially when they are substantially larger than average. Big deals (2x or more above average) tend to have lower likelihoods of closing and longer sales cycles. These factors should be noted by sales managers when conducting sales forecasts and taken with a grain of salt. Just as sales organizations should not adopt a one-size-fits-all approach with their sales pipeline-to-quota ratio, sales managers should not treat every opportunity in the sales pipeline with a blanket method when forecasting.
Instead of stressing over how to increase the sales pipeline in order to meet quota, sales managers should be focused on coaching their reps to improve their conversion rates. After all, if every rep was able to double their output and improve their ratios by 2x, then sales organizations would only need a 1.5x sales pipeline-to-quota ratio.
While such substantial improvement – and subsequent decrease in necessary sales pipeline – is unrealistic, marked improvements in the conversion rates of sales reps is highly attainable. Sales managers simply need to study the data more closely and spend more time coaching, beginning by looking at the sales funnel for every rep. The sales funnel reveals conversion rates between stages for each rep. This is a great area to begin attempting to find weaknesses in a sales rep’s selling process.
30 60 90 Day Sales Action Plan
Day SALES Plan
Review Strategic Plan
Begin Tactical Plan
Meetings in Territory
Working top 20
Generate pipeline ?x
Refine Daily Tactics
Begin to establish
long term sales plan
Overview 30-60-90 Day Action Plan
30 Day Plan 60 Day Plan 90 Day Plan
“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”
Market strategy, company processes,
and products and services
Master relevant subject matter
Learn about primary competition
Learn procedures for paperwork,
Review Strategy & Tactics
Meet with Manager to
prioritize what is expected
Begin calling territory and meeting prospects
First 30 Days 30Day Plan
Company Training, Strategy, and Tactics
Goal: Find, Rank and Map target customers with highest probability of closing.
Continue to Schedule Meetings in Territory
Refine strategies for continued pipeline management
that began in first 30 days.
1-on-1s with manager for pipeline coaching, review goals, opps
Learn how to work with alliance partners if applicable
Learn more advanced activities of sales process such as POCs
Complete mastery of unique insights of products and services offered to
differentiate the company.
Mastered Sales Pitch and Presentations
Mastered Price List and Discounting Policies
First 60 Days 60Day Plan
Goal is to optimize the sales plan based territory coverage and sales/channel capacity.
1-on-1s for Deal Level and Skills focused coaching
Mastery of forecast management
Refine Tactical strategies
Always be closing for next step until it’s a Sale
Consider lower-priority products or
services to build revenue
Implement new procedures, techniques,
or plans to further creative ways to
grow company presence in the industry.
Close (How Many?) deals
Review past 90 days with Manager
First 90 Days - Close 90Day Plan
90 Days60 Days30 Days
Historical sales analysis
Perfect customer model
5 customer interviews/
Rank and map targets
Capacity model and plan
Coverage gap analysis
Quantify key sales metrics
Deliver quota attainment plan
Execute call campaign
Deliver 30 day update
Deliver attainment plan
Launch email campaign
Live sales event
Deliver pipeline plan
Key tasks to complete for 30,60,90 day plan.
Deliver attainment plan
Key Questions for Developing Sales
What is the biggest challenge facing the organization in the next 6 months or
How is this role expected to address this challenge facing the company? (Or is
What does he or she absolutely need you to accomplish in the first 90 days?
What would he or she like you to do beyond that in the first 90 days?
What is the most promising, yet unexploited, opportunity for growth? Why
isn’t the company pursuing that opportunity right now?
What is the biggest problem you need solved by (this job title) ?
Is this position focused on new projects, turnarounds/realignments, or
Mapping the Complex Sale
Courtesy of Brian Burns. From ‘The Maverick Selling Method: Simplifying the Complex Sale’
*Created using MindNode Pro
Personality Profiling - DISC
DISC Personality Types:
D = Dominant (Active, Task-Oriented)
I = Influential (Active, People-Oriented)
S = Steady (Passive, Peope-Oriented)
C = Conscientious (Passive, Task-Oriented)