Plan for Sales Success in the New Year
Do you have a plan to meet with your team and review what you learned in 2012? If not, take this time to start mapping your sales-leadership plan for the year ahead. These four questions will help you get a good perspective on how you and your team stand going into January:
1) What major lessons did we learn this year from our customers, our challenges, the market, and our competition?
2) Where is it most important for us to grow long term?
3) Do we have a plan to avoid repeating last year's missteps?
4) What long-term opportunities are on the horizon, and how will we act on them?
The emphasis on long-term thinking (at least one year in advance) is an important part of this exercise. Often, sales teams are acutely aware of their short-term goals, or what they need to do to close business by the end of each month or quarter. But sales teams that focus on only short-term gains are slowly eroding their competitive edge.
If an idea is too big to be an action step (e.g., "To grow long term, we need to adopt a social-media plan"), break that concept down into small action items, attach deadlines to allow for a gradual rollout, and assign each action item to the appropriate team member. Make sure that roles and tasks are clear and action steps are communicated and reinforced routinely; don't make this just another meeting from which everyone walks away with good feelings but fails to follow up.
Finally, ask yourself this extra leadership question: at the end of 2013, who will be stronger, you or your competition? If you start planning now, you're much more likely to find yourself celebrating big wins at this same time next year.
– Selling Power Editors
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