It’s the start of a new year. Here we go again: new year, new quota. Maybe even a new target market, new product you’re launching, or regional expansion.
The thing about a new year is that not only have your revenue goals reset, but you get to start over. What you didn’t accomplish last year has no bearing on this year.
Now is the time most business owners and salespeople step back, assess what worked and didn’t work last year, then set new goals for this year. Whether you’ll achieve your goals or not is dependent on three things:
- Your passionate vision. You have to have a vision you are passionate about every day. It can’t be your business partner’s, spouse’s, or manager’s goal. It has to be your own goal. And, dare I say, it really can’t be an arbitrary monetary goal.
Sure, a six-figure income is fabulous. Selling three new accounts a month would be exhilarating and worthy of a happy dance. But on their own, without a reason for your vision, what’s your motivation to achieve that goal? It’s the passion and motivation behind your vision that will keep you going on July 12 when your co-workers are enjoying summer vacation or September 28 when you really don’t feel like buckling down for the fourth quarter.
As you think about sales this year, ask yourself, what do you want to accomplish? Why is it important to you?
- Your deliberate plan. A vision on its own won’t come to fruition. You need a plan that will get you there. In sales, that means preparing with a lead generation plan, prospecting plan, and account plans. All the things a spontaneous salesperson hates to do.
Ask yourself: What do I have to do to achieve my vision? Who will I sell to this year? What will I sell? How many do I have to sell and with what frequency? What actions can I take to achieve my sales goal faster?
Anticipate the roadblocks that could get in your way. Just as you handle objections in sales, how are you going to handle these roadblocks? If you need to factor in annual business cycles or seasonality, do so. Maybe you know the summer is slower. Or perhaps you know the beginning of the year is faster. Plan around it.
Your plan becomes your roadmap to success that you can refer to through the year.
- Your success metrics. You know I have an accounting background. I look at everything from a numbers and process perspective, and so can you. Reverse engineer your success for the year. Take your revenue goal, divide by 12 and look at your monthly number. Your plan should focus on how you’ll make that monthly number.
But a deliberate plan and passionate vision aren’t enough. You need a set of success metrics that help you monitor what parts of your plan are working and which parts are not.
If you’re in sales, ask yourself: what 3 key performance indicators will help me quickly identify issues I need to fix before I’m missing my quota? Think number of new appointments set, new prospects entering the sales pipeline, and proposals written, to name a few.
If you’re a business owner, ask yourself: what 5 key performance indicators will help me recognize if the sales team isn’t on target before it impacts cash flow? Use the same KPIs as a sales rep, as well as prospecting call statistics and new marketing qualified leads generated.
There’s no reason you shouldn’t achieve your sales goals, no matter how insurmountable they may feel at the moment. Set a vision you’re passionate about, put a plan and metrics in place, then start. As Nike said, just do it – then don’t stop.