2018 is officially here! It’s time to start strong and crush your sales goals. The next month is an essential time in your sales process, as it builds the foundation for your year and sets the pace for 2018. Here are five simple ways to start your 2018 strong.
1. Start with a Specific Plan
Before you can attack this year, you have to plan it. The first step is to create a specific plan that carries you to your goals. Start with your overall goals for the year and work backwards. Split your target numbers into quarters, months, weeks, and even days. Depending on the type of businesses you sell to, it may also be important to consider slower times, like summer vacations, or faster ones like tradeshow season, and factor them into your planning.
Once you’ve created your plan, you must adhere to it, or even try to outperform it. Attack your daily numbers and attempt to outwork them. By succeeding on a daily level, you are constantly building towards your yearly benchmarks. Try to hit your entire first quarter quota in January alone. If you succeed, you’re set for an incredible year. If you don’t you still set a pace to hold for the rest of 2018.
2. Focus on What Works
Leverage your knowledge from the previous year to catapult you into 2018. Take a look back at your best wins of 2017. In agile methodology, dev teams run through retrospectives to do just this. It allows the team to take a step back and consistently assess their performance. In a sales setting you can adopt and adapt this reflective process and ask the following questions: What types of companies lead to the best deals? Who gets the most value out of a product? What contact provides the best chance for a close? Jason Jordan suggests that you build profiles of your ideal prospects and opportunities, and focus solely on them. Examine how you won those deals and build a framework for contacting companies that look like them. You can also look at your customer’s competitors for quick wins since you already understand the industry.
3. Start with Last Year’s Prospects
Next, pull your qualified prospects from last year who told you they weren’t ready yet, or it wasn’t the right time. Eliminate “wimpy” words like “check in,” “reach out,” or “touch base.” Invite them to a demo or have an explicit offer for them. When you speak with them, put an emphasis on customer success, and remind them you’re there to help them succeed in 2018. Discuss their needs and goals, and find a way to help them achieve them. With fresh budgets kicking in, many should have room for you.
4. Speak with Current Customers
After you engage your previous prospects, move to your current accounts. If it’s part of your responsibilities, discuss upsell opportunities. If not, get referrals from them. Recommendations are incredibly powerful, and they can be leveraged to easily build your pipeline and start selling to warm leads.
5. Get Creative
Most, if not all, of your prospects are likely coming back from vacation after being swarmed by other salespeople trying to reach their Q4 goals. They don’t want to return to the office just to be called again. If they aren’t open to being directly pitched to, come up with a creative way of cutting through the noise and getting their attention. Consider unconventional methods like using GIFs in your emails, opting to send emails later in the day to avoid inbox noise, or simply striving to make your phone calls more personal by reading your prospects’ blogs or even engaging with them on social media.