I plead guilty to enjoying a cold beer or two, and I’ve watched with amazement as the decade-long bull market in the craft beer industry shows no signs of abating.
The new year is a great time to let bygones be bygones and embrace some new sales and marketing strategies that will set you up for a more profitable 2017. If you’re not sure where to focus your efforts in 2017, use this list of resolutions as a guide.
Encourage new, individual and team goals. Making goals is a vital part of running a successful business. For optimum efficiency in the new year, encourage the making of brand new goals at every level. It will start a chain reaction of goal setting that will improve your company’s sales and employee engagement as a whole.
Begin with sales goals for your organization. Share these goals with teams, who can make goals that fit under that umbrella. Then, individuals can define their sales goals. Encourage specific and measurable goals, and stress the importance of making action plans to ensure goal completion.
Use more data in your sales efforts. “Increasing the quality of sales leads, improving the quality of sales lead data, improving prospecting list accuracy, territory planning, win rates and decision maker engagement strategies are all areas where big data is making a contribution to sales today,” says an article from Forbes.
Data is a powerful tool, but it’s often way under-utilized by sales teams. With proper analytics, data can give you incredibly useful information about leads, effective sales tactics, successful marketing strategies, engagement behavior, customer interest, and more. All of this information can increase proficiency of sales efforts if put into practice.
Get sales and marketing on the same page. An ever-present issue for businesses of all sizes is the disconnect between sales and marketing. The marketing team creates a strategy without consulting the sales teams, who work directly with the target audience. Additionally, the sales team fails to communicate this information that could make marketing so much more effective.
This year, create a system of alignment that will bring sales and marketing teams together. Create webinars, demos, training meetings, and conversion funnels that will bring the two teams on the same page where they can effectively communicate and increase revenue as a result.
Use more digital tech and tools. New software and automation tools are developed year over year. If you’re still operating with tech that’s 10 years old or more, use the new year as a prime opportunity to update. Technology aids with customer relationship management, automated transactions, better website experiences, improved client tracking, and most importantly, cost efficiency. Sales teams have a much easier time doing their jobs when the right tools are there to back them up.
Brush up on communication skills. “The root of... [communication] is the ability to gather and provide information in a way that makes your prospect want to do business with you,” says an article from Hubspot. “Your value proposition, your pricing, even your product’s features -- none of that matters unless you’re able to get your prospects to talk to you and also listen to what you have to say.”
Most sales organizations can improve their communication skills in one area or another. Lessons in general communication can influence every aspect of business from aligning your sales and marketing teams to improving client and salesperson relationships. Teach timeless communication skills, like speaking up and responding in a timely manner, as well as updated skills thanks to technology. The use of visual graphical mediums and short videos, for example, is a new form of communication that all sales personnel should learn.
Measure impact rather than activity. Too often, B2B sales teams get distracted by the activity of their salespeople without direct regard for the results. It’s easy to confuse busyness with productivity, which can decrease effectiveness. This year, make impactful sales efforts a bigger part of your regime. Take a look at what you’re really measuring and make sure you can glean useful information from it. You might more closely measure hot leads rather than the number of cold calls made, for example. This will provide insights that can be acted upon for improvement.
There isn’t a sales team on the planet that won’t benefit from some progressive new year’s resolutions, but it shouldn’t be a one-time thing. As the year moves on, evaluate the resolutions you originally made. Make adjustments or new goals to better match your needs as time goes on. This will keep momentum going through your sales team and bring effective sales goals to pass.
Anna Johansson is a freelance writer who specializes in social media and business development.