By utilizing best practices and encouraging collaboration between your departments, you will most assuredly hit the ground running in attaining your sales goals.
The beginning of a new year is the most crucial time to put your process and “good habits” in motion to achieve the targets that you’ve set for the year. This could be you, as a leader, setting goals and budget for yourself and others, or it could be that you have a team of leaders who have set these for or with you. Regardless of which aligns with your role, there are five best practices you can implement to give yourself the greatest chance of hitting or exceeding your goals.
SET GOALS. Having a forecast target is important, but what are the required milestones to hit that target? Are new skills required? Are there certifications you should obtain? How will you increase your prospecting volume? The most successful individuals, teams and companies are those that set and align goals together to reach the revenue or budget targets they want to achieve. This works best when it starts with the overarching company goal that can then be adopted and applied by teams and individuals to base their own goals on.
- Company Goal: Increase the total income of the company by 10% over the next two years
- Team/Department Goal: Secure a minimum of 10 signed dealer agreements per quarter
- Individual Goal: Ask for two referrals per month from existing customers
EMBRACE COACHING. For managers, this means evaluating where you spend your time and finding opportunities to incorporate coaching into your regular management activities. For salespeople, this means being open to coaching and to seeking out opportunities with your managers that lend themselves to coaching, such as one-onone meetings, field rides, role playing or pulling them in to large presentations with you. You don’t need to re-create the wheel. Utilize established sales meetings to review quarterly numbers, dedicate a portion of these meetings to coaching a skill or role-playing objection handling. If you have a big pitch presentation, bring one of your newer team members along to “shadow” the experience. There are so many ways to insert a coaching activity into your existing schedule; it just takes a few minutes each week to sit back and proactively identify the moments where you can do so.
FILL THE FUNNEL. It’s tough to carry the ABC (Always Be Closing) mantra if you aren’t always actively filling your pipeline. I like to say “ABG – Always Be Gathering”. Never take your foot off the gas when it comes to adding opportunities into your pipeline. It is crucial to know what you want out of your sales funnel, and then to work backwards (being realistic!) about what needs to be put in so you can achieve that outcome. Once you’ve identified how many leads you need to be adding into your sales funnel on a weekly basis, your next priority should be to plan out all the ways you can go out and gather leads. This could include asking for referrals, making cold calls, attending networking events, scouring LinkedIn, or focusing efforts on marketing to drive inbound leads.
PRIORITIZE MAINTAINING YOUR PIPELINE. Your pipeline (or your sales team’s pipeline) will not start working for you if you don’t invest time into maintaining it. You should be reviewing your pipeline weekly, at minimum, to make the following determinations that can help you prioritize your time and operate at maximum efficiency: What are the hottest opportunities that I absolutely need to follow up with this week? Are there any stages of my sales funnel that my opportunities are getting stalled in? What can I do to adjust my strategy? Am I qualifying my opportunities so I not only progress them, but end up with high quality opportunities that I can win? Am I adding enough leads into my funnel?
Don’t be hesitant to close out stalled opportunities that are highly unlikely to progress. They just clutter your pipeline, which makes it very challenging to clearly see where your efforts should be focused.
BE CONSISTENT. Consistency is the true key to success, especially with the other four practices that we covered. Don’t set a goal and never look at it again; keep referring to it, tracking your progress, and adjust it as needed. Coach or seek out coaching often. Stay consistent with how many leads you are adding into your pipeline, and with your efforts to gather leads. And lastly, look at and work on your pipeline often. Adding an opportunity to an early sales stage and then never looking at it again or updating it as you work on it will do you no favors. Set time aside every week to comb through your opportunities and ensure all the information is up to date. You can and should try to apply consistency to everything you do.
By utilizing these five best practices and encouraging collaboration between your departments and staff, you will most assuredly hit the ground running in attaining your sales goals.
Danielle Cumbee is director of sales integration at Spectrum Automotive Holdings.