As 2016 comes to a close, it is already time to start thinking about and preparing for a new year, new business goals, and new sales targets. Despite the hustle and bustle of the season, now is when you should reflect on the year past, refocus, and prepare for the busy year ahead. And while resolutions are typically made with regards to personal and lifestyle goals, they are just as applicable in the workplace to motivate and encourage performance throughout the upcoming quarters.
Consider these seven new year’s resolutions to set yourself up for sales success in 2017!
Using the right technology in your sales process can sometimes make or break a deal. A sales enablement tool, for example, helps reps to be more productive, efficient, and effective by using predictive analytics and data science to recommend proven, winning content that adds value to the sales conversation and advances prospects.
Even though you are probably not in the position to personally build the sales stack, individual sales reps are often chosen to beta test and offer their opinions about new sales tech. After all, the organization will not be able to see ROI unless reps incorporate the tooling into their workflow. Change can be hard, but your sales stack was chosen to streamline your sales process, to help you stay organized, and to drive productivity. Work with your sales coach to ensure that new sales technology fits seamlessly into your existing processes and be sure to provide any relevant feedback.
Collaboration gives sales reps the opportunity to learn from the successes and failures of their peers and leverage the best practices of others. Everybody in the company has something to say and undoubtedly has some value to contribute. By working with each other instead of against each other, the organization as a whole can benefit from smarter, more effective sales processes.
Marketing and sales alignment has plagued B2B organizations for years. To this day, it remains one of the top challenges companies face, but alignment is more important now than ever before as prospects increasingly demand content. Unfortunately, this failure to align costs B2B companies lost opportunities, deals, and revenue. Not to mention the fact that many of you are still wasting 30% of your day on average looking for or creating your own content, despite marketing’s resource investment in developing content that drives prospects through the sales funnel.
Make the effort to communicate more effectively with your marketing counterparts in order to satisfy the needs of buyers. With a ‘shareconomy’ of knowledge, sales and marketing share content, goals, and feedback. For example, you talk to prospects and customers on a daily basis; with awareness of their pain points, challenges, and needs, marketing can create relevant, effective content.
Customer experience has long been a priority for B2B companies, but it hasn’t been a focus for B2B organizations until more recently. A customer-centric mindset represents a shift from focusing on the sales reps’ needs to focusing on the customers’ needs, fundamentally changing the game for reps who rely on one-size-fits-all pitches to sell.
To execute a customer-centric strategy, reps must proactively build trusting customer relationships with the goal of solving the buyer’s problem. First, identify the prospect’s pain point or challenge and then be sure to add value to every engagement. Depending on their stage in the purchase process, this value could be in the form of content such as research reports, product information and data sheets, case studies, or even ROI calculators.
A recent Hubspot report identified social selling as a top sales priority for 2017. So if you aren’t already, expect to get much more social in the new year. Your buyers are already researching solutions and engaging with providers on social media, making it that much more critical that you are present and part of the conversation.
Social selling is key in staying top-of-mind with prospects, and social media can be used in every stage of the sales process, from networking and prospecting to customer service. With easy-to-access insights about prospects such as demographics, top challenges, topics they’re interested in, what’s happening at their company, and what’s going on in their industry, sales reps can engage more intelligently with buyers and effectively drive meaningful conversations.
The start of a new year is the perfect time to re-evaluate your sales processes and look for areas to improve. Are your prior productivity efforts still effective? Are there areas where you could make changes in the workflow? Is there tooling that could automate more mundane or repetitive tasks so that you can dedicate more time back to core selling?
All of your productivity measures should relate directly to your personal sales goals, as well as organizational goals. As such, every decision that you make should add value to your day and contribute to hitting those key objectives.
Data has become a powerful tool for the modern sales rep, and one that you can’t afford to ignore. Data-driven sales strategies have been proven to decrease costs, increase productivity, optimize effectiveness, and boost revenue. Make a point to identify appropriate and relevant KPIs, to collect and analyze this information regularly, and to use the resulting insights to effectively guide your sales strategies. Consider different ways to leverage that information that will support organizational goals and guide your sales process.
Regularly reflect on how this data can be used to your advantage. For example, which factors advance deals throughout the sales cycle? What works and what doesn’t, why or why not? What talking points are most effective? What content generates the highest ROI?
These resolutions are just the tip of the iceberg. What resolutions do you think will help you see greater sales success in 2017?
Shelley Cernel is the Senior Marketing Manager for KnowledgeTree.