What’s your New Year’s Resolution for Sales?

This is a really busy time for sales people. We are heading towards end of the year and obviously are working hard to achieve targets that we have set or quotas that have been given to us. This is great and we should be focused on closing the year strongly. But at the same time we should secretly start setting goals for next year as well. You don’t have to draw up detailed plans but you should be thinking about how you want to approach next year. Evaluate some of the key achievements such as taking a close look at your big wins for this year. But take an even closer look at some of the opportunities that were lost. Think about other developments in the year which have had an impact on your individual and team performance.

As you start thinking about your resolutions for next year, I want to share some facts with you that will hopefully help you start thinking about how you want to approach your sales activity next year.

How has your lead follow up been this year?
Did you know that if you follow up with your web leads within 5 minutes then you are 9 times more likely to convert them?

What times of the day were you doing your follow ups this year?
The best times to email prospects are at 8.00am and 3.00pm.

If you are doing cold calling, what time were you doing that?
The best time to cold call is 4.00pm-5.00pm and if you can’t make that then try 8.00am-10.00am. The times you really want to avoid are 11.00am and 2.00pm. These are the worst.

Do you plan the days you are going to prospect?
If not, give that a thought because generally Thursday is the best day to do it and Wednesday is still all right. But don’t plan any prospecting activity on Tuesday since that is the worst day.

Are you spending some time gathering information about your prospects? How have you been doing that?
Have you considered Linkedin? Or if you are using it how much time are you spending on it? It turns out that top sellers spend at least 6 hours a week on Linkedin.

Are you still doing a lot of cold calling? How have the results been so far?
In the last few years the success of cold calling has really deteriorated. In 2007 it took on average 3.68 calls to reach a prospect, today it takes 8. Only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment. So be critical and maybe the answer lies in cold emailing. It is definitely more scalable. Or think of other ways.

As a Salesperson you have to be very determined and not get bogged down by obstacles, so how many attempts do you make to contact a prospect?
Well it usually takes at least 6 attempts to reach a prospect but an average sales person only tries twice. Think about that!

Did you loose a deal because you found out that you were not talking to right person?
It turns out that a company with an average of 100-500 employees will have at least 7 people involved in the decision making process. So the next time you are involved in an opportunity, try to identify all the people who are involved with the deal. Establish relationships with every actor in the deal and make use of tools that give you these insights.

How have you been segmenting your lists this year? Defining your targets for the prospecting list is key. Do you know why?
50% of sales go to the first person that contacts the prospect. You want to avoid prospecting where you know that the competition is already fishing or is engaged. Try to focus on prospects that may not be on the radar of the competition.

What has your sales activity focus been this year? A lot of trade shows, cold calling or networking?
It turns out that email marketing has 2X ROI compared to all the above mentioned.

(source:insidesales.com, Gtreposne, Kellog School of Business, Jill Konrath, Sirius Decisions, Telenet and Ovation Sales Group, Leap Job, Gartner Group, MarketingSherpa)