New Year’s Resolutions for Sales Teams

Thiago Sá Freire

To say last year was challenging is an understatement. We’re probably all feeling some type of exhaustion, but I truly believe in a brighter future. Perhaps this new year can be a turning point, and something we can look forward to.

Many people set personal New Year’s resolutions, and hopefully they’re still keeping to them. Professionally, sales reps should be doing the same. Here are a few resolutions that sales teams should consider.

Maintain a healthy work/life balance.

The mental health of sales reps is similar to an athlete’s physical health, more is better up to a certain point, but then after that point, you begin to see saturation and exhaustion settle in. This year, burnout mentions were up 26% on sales calls after Q1. This may be because it’s harder to distinguish what that certain point is since many of us are now working and living in the same environment. Our areas where we used to recharge have become places of work. Our kitchen tables are doubling as desks and our commutes to work are just a short walk to another room. We no longer have a clear separation between work and home so it’s important to make that distinction for ourselves and sign off from time to time. Otherwise, we risk getting burnt out.

Balance meeting times.

Revenue teams at companies that have seen a reduction in force have taken 43% more meetings. The number of early morning meetings in particular spiked during peak-shutdown, likely because commutes and morning catch-ups with the team no longer existed. But, at the start of Q4, we saw a heavy drop off of meetings before 9 a.m. This could be because teams got more accustomed to working remotely, and perhaps found a healthier balance between early- and mid-day meetings. Without this balance, fatigue may occur. To combat this, sales teams should try to take walks, go outside, take time off and make other conscious decisions to maintain our mental and physical wellness. 

Exceed activity thresholds with persistence and grace.

The timeline from opening to closing deals is taking longer. The average number of meetings for closed-won deals was up 10% in October. To avoid losing a deal, it’s important to follow up and keep a steady momentum between meetings. A week tends to be the norm for time between meetings in closed-won deals. In closed-lost deals, we see that jump closer to nine days as enthusiasm lags. 

This is a good time to remember that if you’re going to lose, lose quickly. The worst answer sales teams can get is “maybe.” You can move on from a no and better align with companies who appreciate your value proposition but a maybe may lead to more time and energy being spent on a deal that may not close. If the answer is no, lose with grace. And remember that a no is a no for now, not forever. Only 48% of forecasted deals end as closed-won.

Use social proof and collaborate with teammates.

Similar to how we tell stories when catching up with friends, the best sales teams also tell more stories. Top performers tell 20% more stories than the average performer and when an executive buyer is on the line, social proof is used 16% more. Learning when and how to effectively use social proof takes practice so teams should work together to master this skill. In these challenging times, it’s also crucial to encourage your teams. Managers are coaching 15% more per call. Around one-third of the comments managers leave their team are positive and encouraging, the rest tend to be suggestions. Without the shared office space, it can be difficult to feel connected with your team, so leaders should be sure to support their members as well as providing critical feedback. 

2020 served as a learning experience for many of us. Sales teams can look back at what they’ve learned and set professional goals for themselves, similar to how many set resolutions for the upcoming year. To set more specific goals, teams can look at real sales data to see what is trending across the industry.

The first month of the new year is nearly behind us. Close those deals quickly, close those laptops when you can, and make the most of 2021.

Thiago Sá Freire is the CRO at Chorus, the leading Conversation Intelligence platform, where he oversees the global customer success, implementation, rev ops, sales, solutions engineering and technical support team.

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