The holiday season is already upon us and you might be wondering: “Where did 2022 go?” Maybe you and your company had a great year, blowing through your billing projections and setting revenue records. Or you might be asking yourself: “What went wrong and how do I prevent it from happening again?”
But, before you and your team break for the holidays, here are some tactics and strategies that you can implement in the next few weeks to help position your business for a profitable, and productive, 2023.
1. Execute a “final push” strategy. Revisit opportunities from earlier in the year that were lost to reallocated budgets or were otherwise dropped by the customer. Think about your business: your budgets change based on business conditions or funds that need to be invested before the end of the year. How about your customers?
2. Set actionable goals. If you’re a manager, refrain from telling your team, “We’ve got to close whatever business we can.” It’s too ambiguous. Instead, set actionable goals such as increasing company revenue by “X-percent” or by closing five new deals. Then, demonstrate how achieving the company’s financial goals will enable your team members to achieve their personal goals. They’ll work harder. (For example, offer bonuses, or incentives, that are meaningful to them—cash, days off, vacations, merchandise, etc.).
3. Make “close the file” calls. Don’t be afraid to get a “no” from those prospects who are simply stringing you along. Make a call, or send an email, and say, “Since I haven’t heard back from you, I get the feeling that you’ve gone in a different direction.” Prospects who have moved on will allow you to close the file. On the other hand, those who simply became distracted will often move forward with a deal after you’ve reconnected with them. Whether you close the file, or identify something new that will help you win the deal, you’ve gotten your answer!
4. Optimize your team. Take action to finally remove chronic underperformers while there’s still a chance to salvage opportunity, and revenue, from their territories. It’s also time to onboard new, quality sales representatives so they can “hit the ground running” in 2023. Even without quality replacement candidates “on the bench,” tolerating consistently poor performers sends a negative message throughout your organization. (You never hear sales managers lamenting, “I moved too quickly on releasing Tom.” It’s always the opposite.)
5. Fine-tune your account planning. An account plan isn’t something you create in January and forget about. It’s a living, nimble document that sales teams, and managers, should consistently update, and share, collaboratively. Revisit your account plan for your key clients, and customers, and determine what adjustments, if any, need to be made going forward. When are they buying? When are their budgets determined? What market factors will impact their purchasing decisions? Where might opportunities exist for expanding the relationship?
6. Schedule client review meetings. Schedule face-to-face meetings—either before or after the holidays—with customers who present an opportunity for additional business. How satisfied are they with your company? What new products, or services, could you be offering? Use your client knowledge from account planning to identify these situations with the most potential for current business.
7. Practice strong pre-call planning and have clear next steps. Every sales call or prospect meeting should have a clear purpose. As a manager and salesperson, you should always be able to answer this question: “Where am I in this deal and what will it take to progress to the next step?” If the scenario is ambiguous for you, it is for your buyer too. Clarity is key.
Not all these strategies and tactics will be actionable by you and your team at this time. But implementing some of them now will not only pay immediate dividends but will better enable you to jump-start your business in 2023.
Jim Marshall is owner, and president, of Sandler Training of Tampa Bay, which provides sales, corporate and management training to high-achieving companies and individuals. Contact him at 813.287.1500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.