So, it’s the new year already, time to put the successes and failures of the bygone year behind and chart out new goals for the year ahead for a sales team.
Depending on the business you are in, a year-end in a calendar year can either be a lean sales period or a bumper sales period. In any case, the beginning of a new year is an important milestone for any business.
In this blog, we intend to open up to you, various strategies and best practices used in the sales industry to get your sales machine up and running.
Get your sales team geared up and ready for the goals and challenges ahead in the new year.
Learn from the year gone by
The first and foremost activity, while not entirely exciting, is the task of reviewing the sales figures, reviewing what worked and what did not work as much for your teams. One quick and simple task to undertake is the Start-Stop and Continue feedback activity. Assuming you get honest feedback from your sales team, a Start Stop and Continue questionnaire is a great way to understand what works for your sales folks and what does not.
While many sales managers tend to do this at a one-to-one level, it can be an effective tool to get the sales champions in your team to share some of their successful sales strategies, tips and tricks. Another useful related activity just before your sales year begins is to review your sales deals.
The objective is to fish out any common root cause that could be hampering your sales teams. Some of the questions that you may ask your teams to find answers to can be, what attitude won or lost you a deal? Is this attitude something that you see across deals? If it is winning you deals, can this be replicated by other sales folks? And if this is losing you deals, what needs to be changed to get back to winning ways?
Reach out to lost prospects of last year
This is a great way to recapture the market. Customers usually will firm upon an opinion after a year or so of experience. Get back to all lost deals with a sizeable revenue every quarter, starting from the first quarter of last year. If the customer is not happy with his investment, you know he is in the market again. Besides you calling back will pleasantly surprise your prospect, particularly so, if they see they had invested in a bad product or service.
Identify and target the largest accounts
Larger prospects would have a team that influence the decision-makers. Starting early will give you ample time to prepare and get all onboard. This is not to say that you push out your smaller accounts for a later part of the year, no! Just the fact that a larger scale requires a number of touchpoints than an account that involves one or two. Plan your work around these large accounts, so you get enough time to prepare well for all those touchpoints.
Use referrals to get more customers
There is no better marketer than a happy customer. Happy customers will more often than not help you out with referring your products and services to their contacts. This also helps you improve your network and gets you continuing business in the future. You could also throw in some deal sweeteners to get your happy customer to refer you, new customers.
Streamline your pipeline
Your pipeline will need to be looked at, to weed out some unhealthy prospects. Prospects who are impossible to satisfy, prospects that don’t seem happy with any discount you offer. You have got to also rethink prospects that have taken too long to decide, depending on how huge the account is. With a freshly streamlined pipeline, you avoid unrealistic forecasts and thereby that false sense of security.
Plan to re-engage with prospects that went cold during the holiday season
Unless urgent many prospects put off the purchasing until after the holiday season. It’s to do with lesser people available for taking a deal forward during holidays and others engaged in year-end activities. Reaching out to such prospects in a brand-new year will probably give you an upper hand over your competition.
Invest in training for your sales folks
Let your sales folks take out some time off all the prospect chasing and focus on improving their sales skills. Skills like oral and written communication, sales tactics, handling rejections are some important skills that might need refresher training. Motivation is a key factor in sales and it is not an easy task maintaining it at high levels. Engage your sales folks with some popular motivational talks like the ones available on TED talks. In fact, arranging a live session with a popular motivational speaker will do wonders. Encourage your Sales Champions to hold workshops. Facilitate sales workshops that engage your sales champions to help others in the team to up their game. Incentivize this activity in such a way that your champion sales reps see it as one of the ways to grow in the organization.
The period during the beginning of the year is your chance to revitalize and re-energize your sales team. The planning done in this period for the year ahead will help you build a world-class sales team over the coming months. Aside from the strategies that we discussed above, you will need a practical tech solution to your performance management and incentive management needs.
If you have been looking for a world-class solution to your incentive and sales performance management requirements, Kennect is for you. Sales Performance Management (SPM) and Incentive Compensation Management(ICM) by Kennect are two independent software solutions that can work well in tandem to keep your sales folks motivated and focused on what they do best Sales.