5 Steps To Achieving Your Sales Goals

The other day I asked a prospective client what she thought about her sales team’s execution in 2010, surprisingly, she said that she was in favor of it!

Despite all of the magic potions and salves that promise to shorten sales cycles there is still a lag in daily selling activity and the fruit that it hopes to produce.   For some, 2010 has been a great year, but for more, 2010 has not been a banner year in sales performance.  If you are one of the sales professionals that has experienced a disappointing year, one way to finish out the year strong, and set yourself, and your organization, up for success in 2011 is to start planning now.

Albert Einstein once said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."  To approach next year the same way you approached this year is just plain nuts (unless you had a banner year).  To borrow another quote (this one from W.L. Bateman), "If you keep on doing what you've always done, you'll keep on getting what you've always got."  Ironically, if you did have a great year, the only thing you can count on for next year, is that your commission plan will be changed.  To the elite sales professional this is understood and strategically embraced.  

Here are several things you can do a little differently to make sure you finish strong in 2010 and exceed your sales expectations by knocking it out of the park in 2011.

1) Assess your current level of Sales Enablement

In order to compete, it is necessary to have the right people trained on the right equipment.  Does your organization have what they need to gain an edge on competition?  Is your product or service more difficult to use than your competitor's products?  Can your sales team quickly and easily create professional-looking, customer-facing materials that are customized and effective?   If sales people are not enabled to have the right conversations with the right people at the right time, no one wins (except maybe your competition).  In addition to asking what your sales people need, analyze every deal that failed and succeeded, then meticulously fix whatever is broken and work to replicate what has worked.  This is part of the job of the elite sales manager.

2) Place Proactive Bids

Typically, the new year brings price increases, contract amendments and a new set of priorities.  Business that has been historically safe and sound with your competitor may be there for the taking if you are willing to advocate on their behalf.  Do whatever it takes to extend a handshake to those companies, especially if they are struggling.  Can you remember a time that you were struggling and someone helped you?  How do you feel about them?  Conversely, have you ever been kicked when you were down, how did that make you feel?  Put on your white hat and put out some pricing and deliverables that will help your prospects get on their feet and stay there.  Just be careful to take care of your current customer base because turnabout is fair play.

3) Work with your Competition (theoretically)

Here’s a tip, from this moment on, when someone tells you they are working with your competition, never walk away.  Instead, say this, ‘oh yes they are a great company [if in fact they are] and I have some ideas how we can compliment what they are doing for you.’  The buyer will listen.  The b2b sales elite use facilitative questions to open locked doors.  If they do not listen, please email me and tell me about it.  Just make sure you are ready to listen as well, once the door opens.  

4) Identify the Top Challenges they are facing

Even if the solution has nothing to do with your company, and there is no direct reward to you, offer to set them up with people who can really help.  What are you using LinkedIn for?  To pontificate about how great you and your product are?  Ok, slight mea culpa here.  Why do you have all of those connections?  Is it kind of like watching the fire extinguisher museum burn down?  Time to dust off your contacts and put them to work. Take the time to communicate with your connections, learn what they do and how they do it, and if you see someone that needs their help, MAKE THE INTRODUCTION.  Ask for nothing in return.

5) Set your own Goals

Look at your current accomplishments from a sales budget achievement standpoint. Try setting your own goals significantly higher than what you anticipate your organization’s goals will be.  Try setting personal sales objectives to include strategic networking with professionals who can help your clients with whatever they need. This way you will become a hub of good will and positive change for your circle of influence.  Then watch the circle grow!

Please share some tips on how you plan to get a jump on 2011.

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