Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Are You Ready For A Record Sales Year In 2016?

Tis the season when sales people, sales managers, and sales planners sit around and plan for 2016.
Many are nervous, some are excited, and most are NOT fully prepared for what lies ahead. Why? Because sales management is a discipline and a system and NOT a dart board – which is in effect how far too many people in sales treat it. So how can you help avoid the dart board and help prepare you and your team for your best sales year ahead in 2016?

Here is where you can start today:

For sales managers:

Assess your sales team, set goals, and learn through reflection. The best sales managers know the power of leverage and also know that success is defined by the results of your team and not yourself. Because of this, each year I utilized a SALES TALENT SCORECARD to help grade a sales team’s talent growth year-over-year. This will allow you to better see the “big picture” of your incremental and longer-term gains in sales talent improvement that may not be captured in your shorter-term sales numbers.
Start your personnel planning NOW. The best part of this time of year is that more salespeople are looking for new opportunities and more companies are making personnel changes than any other time of year. Because of this, you will typically find more quality sales people looking for new opportunities now so take advantage of it and get your sales recruiters to source in force right now. 

Set clear goals and expectations now. So you are finishing 2015, your results are nearly in, new quotas and sales targets are being released, and uncertainty is in the air. January 1 is the time to close the door on 2015 and set a new course forward. It is also the time to set clear expectations of what success will look like in 2016 for each of your sales people and HOW they can achieve it. The more high performers you have on your team meeting and exceeding these goals, the greater the culture of “success” and “winning” will permeate all performers on your team and nothing will get a poor performer to want to move on quicker than being part of a team culture where they do not fit in. Sales leadership, goals, and standards start with YOU so set the course, lead the way, and you should almost never have to fire a salesperson on your team again for poor performance…they will want out before you get most of them to that point.

For sales people:

Create YOUR OWN sales plan for success now. The best salespeople know exactly what their time is worth and treat their time working as time they are selling to others. Most sales people will work between 1750-2150 hours a work year. If you divide what you WANT to earn by the hours you will work (1750 to 2150 hours) you will know exactly what your time should be worth and how best to maximize it in your work. Don’t expect your company to do this for you since most sales activity plans are based on “standard” performance levels which a great sales person will always strive to exceed. 

Remove distractions and stay focused. Now that you should know it is really “your time” you are selling to others, you should also realize that distractions are simply people, processes, and places that end up stealing your time away from you. In short, each time you get caught-up needlessly in time-robbers like office gossip circles, watching lip-syncing dog videos and Facebook and chasing customers around that constantly cancel on you; you are wasting your time and time is YOUR money. The most successful people know their goals and just as importantly, they know when to say “no” to distractions that move them away from their goals. 

Become an expert at what you do. People receive more solicitations and are bombarded by more marketing messages than ever before so naturally they are skeptical when they encounter new sales people. Remember that people love to buy but hate to be sold and in today’s digitally-driven sales economy, people want sales people to help them making informed buying decisions – not pitch and run. Moreover, they want a trusted adviser and NOT another vendor and one of the best ways you can move in this direction is to strive to become an expert at what you do. This means developing a habit of constantly learning, refining your skills, reading, and asking questions. The minute you think you know all the answers is the minute you stop growing and learning and should find another line of work. 

Remember that top sales people SHOULD out-earn company executives. When I speak to sales people, I always start by asking how many of them want to make a lot of money in business. Most hands will go up. I then ask them how many of them grew-up wanted to be a sales person. Now most hands go down. So why the disconnect? Don’t most people know that in most “good” companies, the top sales people will out-earn most/all of their managers and executives? Well, I am here to tell you that THEY DO and if you are this caliber of a sales person, this should be your expectation as well…otherwise you are working for the wrong organization. The bottom line is that the top 20% of sales people are far more important to most growth-oriented organizations than nearly any other role and that is why they earn what they do. If you are part of the top 20%, then I can assure you that there are MANY companies who are in need of your services and the only thing holding you back in yourself. Just like a top sports performer, you are a free agent and should always let the market decide your real value and if you don’t actively reach your potential market of employers, then your own HR managers will determine your value for you…and good luck with that!

To learn more about how you can help make 2016 your most successful sales year ever, visit our publications on Amazon.com: 


#2016 #sales #recordsales #goalsetting

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