Grow with Grunder: Why the time is now to plan sales and training for 2023

Strategy gears (Photo: iStock.com/EtiAmmos)
Photo: iStock.com/EtiAmmos
Strategy gears (Photo: iStock.com/EtiAmmos)
Photo: EtiAmmos/iStock /Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

We’re already here, folks: It’s Q4 2022. If you’re like me and my team at Grunder Landscaping Co., you’re in the throes of planning for 2023.

As our team looks ahead to next year, sales and training are two focuses for us. We’re asking questions like these:

  • What work should we be planning to do more of because it’s the most profitable?
  • Are we making decisions based on the data?
  • What skills does our team need to further develop?
  • How can we learn from and invest in the people and equipment we need now to make the most of 2023?

You’ve likely heard me say this before: All planning is good. By taking time now to plan ahead for next year, we’re laying the foundation for a successful 2023.

Planning for sales

Planning begins with a performance review of the current year. Questions to consider during this process include: Who is selling? What are they selling? Are there segments of your business that deserve more attention? Which salespeople can take on more? Do we need more people than we currently have to reach our goals?

This analysis will help you set your focuses and goals for next year, and if you dig deep, you may find ways to replicate the success or avoid jobs that your team struggles with from a profitability standpoint. When you have an idea of where you want to be at this time next year sales-wise, the next question is tactical: How are you going to get there?

Plan it out week-by-week, salesperson-by-salesperson to simplify it. For example, put goals into terms like “Allie needs to sell $15,000 in design-build work each week to hit her goal in 2023.”

Planning for training

As you consider how you’ll train your team next year, get your key people together to make a list of both internal and external educational opportunities.

For internal training efforts, establish a sustainable training cadence and make a calendar of topics and potential presenters. You may want to cover technical information, safety, management and customer service.

Contact your vendors and see if they’d be willing to help. Think about areas where your team members struggled this year and put effort into preventing similar issues from occurring in the future by training them in advance. Training on safe driving practices, ID’ing poison ivy, the signs of heat stroke and more can prevent safety issues before they happen.

Remember, don’t just train on technical skills. We must be training on soft skills, such as communication, customer service and giving feedback.

Most important, identify who will be accountable for ensuring training happens as planned. If it’s everyone’s job, it’s no one’s job. Assign one person to own it.

Get the most from a conference

When it comes to external training, start with a list of industry conferences and trade shows and pencil in which ones you’ll attend yourself and which ones you’ll send or take team members to. Remember to get their input and buy-in before sending them on the road.

To get the most out of your external training investment, don’t forget to communicate your expectations to staff members who attend these events. Explain in advance what you expect them to accomplish while they’re there and how you’d like them to share their new knowledge with the group when they return. At The Grow Group, we like to ask our attendees to identify three things they’ll do based on what they learned while they’re with us. Use that prompt with your own team, too.

Training and sales are just two of the many topics we’ll cover at GROW! 2023 in San Antonio, Feb. 28 through March 3, where we’ll have three days of education that includes an in-depth tour of Summit Landscape & Design. Save $200 per registration by signing up before Nov. 1 at growgroupinc.com/grow-2023.

I hope to see you there!

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