New Year's Resolutions – Sales Edition
As most sales teams take time to exhale after an assumed furious finish to cross the goal line, now is a perfect time to reflect on our achievements in 2021. What went well? Where did we get better? What went not so well and needed improvement?
Here are ten resolutions to tweak our sales game to kickstart the new year. Pick one or pick them all. Stick to a plan to get better in 2022!
Be part of fewer internal meetings
Does this meeting help us become better at our jobs? If it's non-essential, ditch it. Some exceptions could include company all-hands or, for high performers, collaborating with other functional leaders on how to support sales more effectively. But stick to the meetings that matter – team huddles, 1:1s with our managers, and sales enablement and skill development sessions.
Commit to one more cold call
Historic close rates tell us we will find an extra deal or two if we "commit to one more cold call." Making one more dial at the end of each power hour of calling adds up to 500 additional calls in 2022 or another five to ten discovery calls scheduled. The best-prospecting account executives dedicate 25% or ten hours of their workweek to it.
Turn off Slack
Slack is an excellent real-time collaboration and communication tool for sales teams. However, it can also be a significant disruptor to our "flow state" and getting critical sales work done. Use the snooze feature or an "in the zone" emoji to let teammates know we don't want to be disturbed. Even better, shut down Slack entirely for two hours a day.
Proactively set 1:1 agendas with our manager
Make it easy on our managers, who have eight or so different 1:1s each week. Create a joint 1:1 doc to track our agendas, actions, goals, and updates. Aim for at least three topics like a skill we're developing, a stuck deal, or how we're performing in the quarter. Google Docs works well to quickly look back at previous agendas, action items, and notes to see how our progression is trending over time.
A/B test selling tactics
Salespeople are a prideful and confident bunch. But sometimes, that can hold us back. Don't be afraid to copycat what's working for top performers or what our sales leaders recommend trying. That could be using a specific SalesLoft or Outreach cadence or an uncomfortable closing tactic. View that as our "A" test. Our "B" test could be what's worked for us in the past or what is most comfortable. Try both and compare results.
Lose a deal three times before closing it as lost
- The prospect says no.
- The prospect says no again after we counter with a trial, an add-on service for free, or an offer to speak with one of our customers.
- The prospect says no a third time after a high-performing rep or manager weighs in to help turn the no into a yes.
Depending on the situation, urgency, and deal stage, space out the appropriate time between these steps. Only close a deal as lost after three rejections. Now and then, a prospect will reply with a yes.
Sometimes we are our own worst enemy and project a prospect's reaction before allowing them to do so. State our list or retail price concisely and confidently, saving some long-winded explanation of how we price our products or solutions. Invoke the prospect to ask questions. Does our pricing go beyond their budget, or is it much higher than competitors? If so, how far off are we? Could a discount be exchanged for a speedier signature? The best closers hit a discounting rate of 10% or less.
Listen to recorded peer calls or join their meetings
Data shows high-performing reps, on average, listen to peers' sales calls more than underperformers. Optimize tools like Gong or Chorus to build and access a library of best practice sales calls in each sales stage. Ask to join and support top performers in their next meeting if no call recording tool is available.
Seek a mentor, be a mentor
Look for a mentor who can offer fresh perspectives on our performance and dissect top challenges. Mentorships work best with someone outside of our current organization. Consider being a mentor to share how our experiences have shaped us into better sales professionals.
Ask for a promotion (after we hit our goal)
Don't be bashful about believing in the value we bring to our team and company. There's no harm in confidently stating our perceived worth with our leaders. Understand, though, any promotion is hard-earned and shouldn't come easy. If we were short of our goal in 2021, that's a sign we have plenty to work on to get better. Track improvements, hit our goal, and think about the correct next step in our careers.