Why So Many Sales Reps Fail Before January

Blue Bird in January

You’re in that time of year when you can’t lose sight of your year-end goal. But at the same time, January 1st is just weeks away. And with it comes a fresh sales goal and a big fat zero in the quota attainment column.

You might be thinking to yourself, “I’ll deal with next year in January. I’m too busy to think about it today. Some bluebird opportunity will fly in for me.”

That’s precisely the mentality that causes so many sales reps to fail in January, miss their sales objective, and then continue to fail through the first quarter. In our experience across the many sales reps we’ve coached and trained, if you get behind your sales quota in January, it can take a quarter or longer to catch up.

Some reps never catch up.

So how do you avoid failure while still focusing on closing the year with strong sales attainment? You know I always have a thousand ideas to prospect and uncover new sales opportunities in creative ways. Here are 8 to help you avoid failure before January.

  1. Email clients to wish them a happy holiday and set a meeting to plan for next year. Whether the meeting takes place now or in January, you’re looking ahead for new sales opportunities. And, of course, while you have their attention, maybe there’s one last thing they need help with this year.
  2. Identify 25 companies you want as new customers next year. Plan a targeted sales prospecting campaign to launch in January. Send LinkedIn invitations now to the key contacts in those accounts so you’re already connected when you begin prospecting.
  3. Set appointments now for the last week of December and first two weeks of January to uncover first quarter opportunities. You’ll be on your contacts’ calendars when they arrive back from the holidays raring to go – and already fully booked out.
  4. Make a list of 10 people in your personal network who can provide you exposure with your niche target market. Strategize together on how you can help each other next year. Make specific plans that you can each act on and set a joint revenue goal.
  5. Identify the top one or two solutions your new prospects find most interesting. Plan your first quarter prospecting and lead generation activities around them. Refresh your value proposition, snazzing it up to distinguish yourself from other sales reps. Then use #6 to gather related testimonials.
  6. Call three of your best clients and get testimonials to use in lead generation, email campaigns, on your website, and in sales proposals. Drop by to get their approval and snap their picture. (Better yet, get a video testimonial!) Now you’re set with fresh, relevant testimonials and engaging, relatable photos.
  7. Plan a Happy New Year email campaign for the people you didn’t reach with your happy holiday email campaign. Set aside time on your calendar to follow up with calls.
  8. Review your most significant losses for the year. What happened? How can you turn that around for next year and avoid similar outcomes? Is there a possibility to re-engage? While losses are painful, often there’s valuable sales data to be had, and occasionally, a new opportunity emerges.

December is make or break for your new year. What you do this month, sets you up for the pinnacle of success, or the drudgery of squeaking by. I’ve been on both sides of sales success. I much prefer to be ahead of my revenue goal than to wonder how I can possibly achieve my sales quota target. Don’t you?

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