It’s that time of year – a time to reflect. I’ve been in a lot of sales organizations during 2012 and worked with individual salespeople, sales leaders and sales teams that cover the entire spectrum of possible results. As you reflect on what you produced, or did not produce, in 2012, I would like to ask a few tough questions for consideration as you look back and also begin to look ahead into 2013.
How specific and clear were your various goals for 2012?
How often did you review those goals and what mechanism did you use to track progress?
Did these goals, whether assigned to you or self-determined, affect your behavior and how you spent your time?
Speaking of time, if you were completely honest, how much time (percentage-wise) did you dedicate to proactively pursuing new business? Be brutally honest. What percent of your work hours were spent locked-in on developing new business vs. how much was spent/wasted babysitting favorite accounts, or playing good corporate citizen, customer service rep or operations manager?
Did you, or did you not, dedicate significant blocks of time exclusively focused on working target prospects? Did those time-blocks end up in your calendar? If we posted your calendar on this blog, would you be proud of the effort your put forth?
While on the topic of target prospects, did you have and focus on a strategic, finite, workable list of target accounts in 2012? And did you work that list with passion and commitment or did you wander aimlessly, often changing direction?
How well can you articulate your “sales story?” What did you say when describing your company? Be honest: could you give a compelling, succinct, differentiating explanation of why clients turn to you and your company? Do you think maybe, just maybe, how well you answered that had an impact on your ability to score a meeting with a prospect or move an opportunity forward?
Did you ask for referrals in 2012? How well did you ask? How often?
What did you do to improve your game? How much better are you on the phone and face-to-face with potential customers as we end the year than you were in January? What have you done to sharpen your skills? Be honest: What have you read this year? Whose blogs do you regularly scan? What great books did you pick up? Which of your colleagues are you seeking out for peer-coaching?
Did you try a few new approaches or techniques in 2012 or just do the same ole thing you’ve always done?
Was your heart in it this past year? The whole year? How did you stay fresh and engaged? Did you take real vacations to refresh and recharge your batteries?
Did you spend more time hanging out with the winners on your team (or winners outside your company) or did you choose to pal around with under-performers whose greatest skill is bitching about everything and everyone else?
How committed were you to success in 2012? Would the evidence convince an honest outside observer to agree with your assessment?
Before looking ahead to 2013, it might be more beneficial to invest the time and energy pondering your 2012.