February 2, 2015

The Sales Year is 1/12 Complete. Are You and Your Team on Track to Win?

Where did January go? Wasn’t it just New Year’s Day? Don’t know about you, but for me, the weeks flew by. In fact, the month came and went so quickly that it scared me into sitting down to review progress against my goals for the year. And that review inspired me to write this post for salespeople and sales leaders.

Are You and Your Sales Team on Track to Win?

  1. Since we always start with the end in mind, and those of us in sales are measured by results, how was your January? Did you “book” enough business? If you’ve got a monthly goal, budget or quota, did you hit it? If not, why not, and what are you going to do about it?
  2. I have two favorite questions to ask salespeople when trying to get a handle on their progress. Answer these for yourself or your team:
    • What new opportunities did you create last month? In other words, what’s now in your pipeline of opportunities that wasn’t there a month ago?
    • Which existing opportunities did you move forward last month?
  3. How well are you (or your team) executing against your written business plan? And if you don’t have a business plan in place, what better time than now to put one together? We’ve got 11/12ths of the year remaining. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have your goals, strategies, commitments to action, obstacles and personal development plan in writing? If you’d like help with crafting your plan, see Chapter 14 in New Sales. Simplified.or for quick motivation to write a plan and a simple template, link over to this very popular post.
  4. Look back on your January calendar to evaluate how much time you spent working on your highest value activities (proactively pursuing new business) versus the amount of time you spent doing work other people put on your desk, or time wasted playing with email, Facebook, and other distractions keeping you from succeeding. If you didn’t spent the vast majority of your time working on things that move the sales needle, how will you fix that for the balance of the year?
  5. Now take a glance at your February calendar. Do you have time carved out to work on developing new business? Actual time blocks (appointments with yourself) where you are committed to spend a few hours at a time laser-focused on creating new opportunities?
  6. If you’re a sales manager, when will you have that critical 1:1 meeting with each of your salespeople to review January results, look at the health of their pipeline, and even dive into activity levels if you’re not satisfied with what you heard?
  7. If you’re a salesperson and don’t have a manager, or you have one that doesn’t hold you accountable, do this for yourself or with a peer: Review your own results against goal, then analyze the size, health and speed of opportunities in your pipeline. And if it’s not what it should be, then go to the next level and self-evaluate your activity level – asking if you are truly investing enough time to fill your pipeline appropriately.
  8. Are you darn sure that you are working the right target customers/clients and prospects for new business? Said differently, are you highly confident that your sales effort is being put against the right subset of strategic targets, and that if you do your job well, you’ll identify/uncover/create enough opportunities to hit or surpass your sales goal? And, you’ve got management support and buy-in that you are going the right direction aligned with company strategy so you’re not out on a limb going it alone?
  9. What did you do to sharpen your sales sword last month? How did you grow as a professional, and what will you read, who will you follow, what course might you take in the next month to raise your own game?
  10. Is your heart fully engaged or are you mailing it in? You know exactly what I am asking here. Sales isn’t accounting. We gotta wanna. It’s almost impossible to perform at a high level in sales without full heart engagement. Be completely honest with yourself. Did you give it everything you had in January? More importantly, how will you ensure that you’ll give it your all this month and next, this quarter and next?