For most of us working in a sales role, the end-of-year is a crazy time. We’re busy closing the quarter, and often, the fiscal year. The pressure is huge as we make sure revenue is delivered by New Year's Eve. Now that we've hit December, it's important to not let that intensity wind down. Instead, power up to make 2018 a year where you break your own sales records.
The key to sustaining high energy to reach or surpass goals is to master two skills: staying relevant with current and potential customers and penetrating new client accounts. Mastering these skills involves stellar territory management prowess.
Here are the steps you can take:
Step 1: Analyze and set goals
Review your quota and revenue objectives in detail. What are your typical deal sizes and the average length to close? Who are your best customers and how much do they currently buy? Is their industry growing or shrinking? And is your current pipeline large enough to meet your sales goals, or should it be broadened to reach your desired number of deals? Once you understand where you want to go, the next step is to find and retain the ideal customers to get you there.
Step 2: Identify the ideal customer
Here’s where smart prospecting comes into play. What does your ideal customer look like? What are their specific issues and characteristics? What industries and business issues are likely to lead to the most interest in your offerings? The answers to these questions will help to build an in-depth profile, resulting in the top prospects to target.
Step 3: Do your research
Rely on trustworthy information to help identify specific companies that match your ideal customer profile. Start with online research and tap into your existing networks of past clients, peers, and colleagues who might give you a referral. Use the research tools your company offers to pull together lists of target prospects based on a set of criteria such as industry, revenue, and team size. Be sure to brush-up on company history, annual profits, and business associations. This will help to hone your prospecting, as well as boost your confidence when discussing your value proposition.
Step 4: Align sales activity to support goals
Once your goals are set, and you’ve identified your ideal customer, make sure your prospecting and sales call activity is sufficient to build a pipeline that supports your goals. Set a realistic prospecting plan and cadence today. Revisit it periodically to ensure you are on track to achieve your objectives. If there is a gap between where you are versus where you want to be, adjust your efforts early in the year. These adjustments help to minimize any potential of missing quota by the end of the year.
Step 5: Plan to keep in touch
Prospecting can be daunting, particularly in today's business climate where companies continue to invest in new products and services with great caution. That’s all the more reason your plans should include a campaign to stay in touch and remain visible to your customers, particularly larger ones in your territory. Too many people give up too easily. Instead, respectful persistence is critical to your long-term success.
Remember one of the basic principles of the ValueSelling Framework®: People need a reason to change. By helping a customer arrive at that reason (on their own), and maintaining contact, you not only build trust, you build a loyal customer base. With this in mind, power up now to fulfill, and even exceed, the sales goals you set for the new year.