Let’s face it: 2016 has been a tough year all round, and not just for celebrities. Despite rumors that the global recession is over, B2B and enterprise sales are still not back to pre-recession levels. If you’re feeling disheartened, here are a few ways to re-set your brain and get the most out of 2017.
Getting organized will not only help you work more efficiently, you’ll feel more in control of your workload and even other parts of your life.
As a sales person, the number one reason you should have for staying organized is not dropping the ball, missing an email, a phone call or demo. Nothing makes you look less professional than the appearance of not having things under control.
Everyone has a different way of staying organized. For some it’s a clean desk that helps them focus on the tasks ahead, for others it’s getting up at the crack of dawn to hit the gym and get the endorphins pumping before the day really starts. So whether you need Post-it notes or work from home days, figure out what keeps your work life organized and plan your productivity around those habits.
By finding and using the right tools, you can recover wasted hours in your week, which you can use for activities that generate revenue.
If your usual style is more MacGyver than Mack Daddy, there are tools and software applications that will help you show your sales goals who’s boss (it’s you).
Sales Enablement or a Prospecting Contact Database
First you need something that’s going to make your prospecting easier. We’re biased because it’s our product, but Winmo has some whistles and bells you won’t find anywhere else. Filter potential contacts by industry, job title, media spend, location and a load of other really useful filters. Really, it’s like Guess Who? for finding the exact person you’re looking for. When you add DailyVista to that, a daily news bulletin that not only alerts you to potential deals you can go after, it contextualizes when you might want to start that process, what that business opportunity looks like and who you should reach out to. Seriously, the only thing that’s missing is a silver platter.
Customer Relationship Management
After you snag a sales enablement tool (that’s fancy talk for Winmo), you’re going to need a CRM system. This could be something as simple as a spreadsheet (but good luck managing that as you grow), or something more complex like Sage, SugarCRM, Salesforce or MaximizerCRM. Whichever you choose, it will keep your leads in good order as you move them through the sales cycle.
Marketing Automation / Email Service Provider
Some of those CRMs come with a marketing automation tool built in, others don’t. Marketing automation is essential for your nurture campaigns and for behavior-triggered emails that keep your leads engaged until they’re ready to sit down and make a deal.
Give up the hard sell and feel good about it. Make prospects come to you, while you focus on other growth opportunities.
Social selling has become quite buzzwordy lately, but that doesn’t mean you should brush it off as a fad. Actually, it’s something you’d do well to ask your dad about. Social selling is about developing relationships and building a network as part of your sales strategy.
While the internet’s efficiency at serving up a one-to-many connection between you and your LinkedIn connections is unbeatable, you’re going to have more success if you start engaging individually with people you want to connect with. Sometimes you have to just start a conversation. Many, many conversations. Sharing the right content at the right time with your social connections—essentially managing your social connections like they’re in your CRM—has massive benefits: the interactions you have with them are less formal, harder to ignore and feel more genuine. As a result, you could see a better success rate through this channel compared to email or phone outreach.
Yeah, it takes more time and attention, but being helpful and soft-selling has the advantage that it flips the script and turns you into the hunted, not the hunter, when it comes to making deals.
Generate more income without putting in more hours. Find out which activities generate the best ROI and optimize your activities in those areas.
Success is easier to predict when you understand all the ingredients that go into it, and why. Perhaps the easiest and most-used piece of reverse-engineering in sales is this:
- Decide how much income you want to make this year
- Calculate the number or total value of deals you need to close to accomplish that
- Distribute those deals through the year
- Using your close rate, work out how many new prospects you need to add each month
But that’s just the beginning. You should be familiar with other measures that are indicators of whether you’re going to hit those monthly goals. Those measures will vary from organization to organization, but this blog from Docurated outlines some of the most useful.
Respect yourself by choosing to not work with leads that waste your time and end up not converting.
There are two steps to being a better closer.
- Improve funnel velocity, which is how quickly your prospects move from cold to warm to customer. This Salesforce post breaks down a few measures you can pay attention to to put your foot on the gas.
- Work fewer leads in a more engaged way, which means you’ll have to become more ruthless at disqualifying leads quickly. It probably goes against everything you’ve learned about sales to catapult leads out of your funnel, but disqualifying leads—or dropping them into a nurture campaign if you’re not ready for such a drastic step—reduces the number of prospects you’re working on to those that are most likely to turn into revenue.
By eliminating or minimizing the amount of time you’re spending on leads that never get better you can turn your attention to the prospects that pay the bills. All of which should lead to higher conversion rates, more commissions and a better work/life balance in 2017.