I sat across the table from the head of sales for a multinational manufacturing company. The end of Q3 loomed near, and he said it had been a tough quarter for the sales team. Last year, most of the team members nailed their quotas, and the organization overall came in above goal. In fact, sales were strong enough to carry revenue into the first quarter of the new year. But by midyear, the team’s hot streak had cooled. The team was scrambling while its forecasts fell short of its goals. Everything had been great: “We’re hot. Who needs a plan?” he said, describing the sentiment of the team until that time. Now they needed to do something—quickly.

Nobody liked to plan. Nobody liked to come in from the field and work through the challenges ...

Get Essential Account Planning: 5 Keys for Helping Your Sales Team Drive Revenue now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.