Best Ways to Increase Sales Performance in 2016
On this episode, the question is: What are some of the best ways to increase sales performance in 2016?
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Well, that's a pretty broad question, but let me take a shot at that. I think that when you think about a new year, a new year in many ways is artificial, it's just a period of time, but we focus on the calendar years.
The first thing to do is to really set a realistic goal. What did you accomplish last year? What percent growth is reasonable given market conditions? And set a reasonable a goal that's not a slam dunk, not something you've got 100% chance of achieving, but something that if you stretch yourself you believe you have an 80% or better chance of achieving.
The second thing you want to do is really calculate based on your customer relationships, what is a reasonable forecast from your existing accounts? What strategies will you need? What kind of variation you might need to achieve? So, your easiest sale is going to be to your existing customers.
So, let's say you did $1.2 million last year. Your goal for this year is $1.5 million. And you believe that you could do $950,000 from your existing accounts. Well, now you've got a $550,000 gap that you need to go out and generate new business. That's going to be the most difficult business to generate. As it relates to that new business, there are two ways to look at it.
One is within your existing accounts. Are there other opportunities, other departments, other divisions that you haven't sold into? How do you get referrals into those divisions and what strategies and actions will you take?And then probably the most difficult is pure new business acquisition with clients you've never done business with before. And there you have to start thinking about how am I going to generate interest? What are the strategies that I'm going to use that could be built around new product offerings that your company has? How are you going to create interest?" What level of prospecting is going to be required to set up appointments? How many appointments will you really need to in terms to generate proposals? What's been your historical win rate on proposals in terms of new account acquisition? And what are your lead times?
I think what a lot of sales people do is they have this goal in mind, but they really don't back into the math that's required to achieve that goal. Then once you start to back into that math, you might start to adjust your goal for the year.
But again, I think it starts by setting the goal for the year. What can you reasonable expect from the customers that you know who know you and value the services you provide? What is the gap? And then in terms of addressing that gap, what are the strategies you're going to use? And, maybe most importantly, what level of activity?
So, at Sales Readiness Group, we put a lot of emphasis on selling skills, sales management skills, but one of the key drivers that goes even beyond skills is activity levels. And sales times are longer. Customers do have more choices. Customers do their research on the web. So, sales professionals are going to have to work harder and smarter than ever before to achieve their goals in 2016 and increase sales performance. With that, we're very optimistic, and good luck in good selling in 2016.
About Norman Behar
Norman Behar is Chairman and Managing Director of the Sales Readiness Group (SRG). He has over 25 years of senior sales management experience, and is recognized as a thought leader in the sales training industry. His blog posts and whitepapers are frequently featured in leading sales enablement publications including ATD, TrainingIndustry.com, and Selling Power.