Right now, sales executives are laser focused on getting off to a quick start to hit an aggressive revenue goal. When you look at the calendar do you wish you had a 5th quarter in the year to hit your goal? Consider a visit to The Studio, a multi-million dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. It was developed by SBI specifically for executive teams inside of companies with aggressive revenue growth goals, who don’t have a lot of time to waste, and have a lot on the line.
After all the budgeting and planning you did – top down, bottoms up – the number you ended up with is bigger than you expected. It’s larger, more challenging, and quite frankly a bit more daunting than what you first proposed. If you look at the calendar today and feel anxiety, then panic early and act. So, where do you begin?
First let’s understand that hope is not a strategy. Your number is now the number. You’re committed. Start by looking at these 5 areas:
- Current clients
- Partners – marketing, product
Conducting a win-loss analysis is an emerging best practice used by leading sales executives. Review a sample of lost deals over the past 12 months and look at the following:
- Primary reason for losing the opportunity
- Sales cycle time from creation of opportunity to final disposition
- Specific sales stages that show increases or decreases in cycle time (are deals getting hung up in one phase more than another?)
- Any trends that can be identified regarding average sales price (i.e., higher ASP, longer cycle time)
Knowing why you lost is equally, if not more important than understanding why you won a deal. Best in class B2B companies can have win rates between 25 – 40%. That means that more than half of all the opportunities your team creates will be lost. Once you’ve established why you’re losing, you can begin to develop a strategy that addresses these loss drivers.
Your company’s current clients may in fact be your best path to success in making your number in 2017. Top Sales leaders get to know their clients personally. This level of engagement will give you critical insights into why you’re winning and losing. These client interactions will also draw you closer to becoming a trusted advisor rather than a simple vendor. To get started you’ll need to:
- Create a list of your top 25 clients.
- Make a personal call to set up a time to meet in person.
- Ask each client what their top 3 objectives are for 2017.
- What big problems are they trying to solve?
- What do they see as their biggest risks, as well as, opportunities?
Sales leaders at the top performing companies pay close attention to their talent. These leaders know that to hit their number consistently at least 70% of their sales reps must be at their number every quarter. Building a team of consistent performers requires a thoughtful and deliberate approach. When assessing your talent, look at the following:
- Number of reps who made their number in 2016
- Stack ranking of reps for this year and past 3 years
- List of reps that deliver the highest revenue growth year-over-year
- Revisit the core competencies of the job to determine what changes are needed to make the new number
Your colleagues across other functional areas of the business have likely seen an increase in expectations for 2017 as well. More sales means more work for Marketing, Operations, Finance, IT, Service, and Legal. Connect with your colleagues to understand what their 2017 objectives look like and find out:
- The three things they are focusing on to achieve their objective
- What three risks are they most concerned about happening that could prevent them from achieving their objectives
- How you (Sales) can help?
It’s important to acknowledge that not every customer is created equal. Sell the right customer and everything moves smoothly. Sell the wrong customer and the internal workings of the company become stressed and break down. Work together with your colleagues to create your ideal customer profile. Think of it as putting the right fuel in the car. If the car requires premium unleaded but you fill up with regular the car will shake, knock, and stutter as it moves forward. Over time using the wrong fuel will cause your engine will break down, leaving you stranded at the worst possible moment. Business is quite similar. Bring in the right customers (fuel) and the business runs like a well-oiled machine. Bring in the wrong customers and the business will stumble, struggle, and fall, trying to serve a customer it hasn’t been designed to serve properly.
The market is changing and your message may possibly need to change with it. Do some research on your product and your customers. Sure, you can say this is Marketing’s responsibility and it very well may be, but your number is YOUR number. You own it. Invest some time to educate yourself and your team on what’s happening in your world – your market.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and getting the same result. Even if you hit your number in 2016 you can’t approach 2017 the same way. The same words, same message, some value proposition may not be enough to get the job done next year. How can you determine what will resonate with your clients in 2017? Ask the following questions:
- Is your industry growing or constricting?
- What changes have taken place with your competitors? Who’s risen, who’s fallen?
- What message is your top competitor communicating?
- Who are the competitors everyone is watching and why?
To capture your buyer’s attention in 2017 you will need a strong story. Stories that lead with emotion and include supporting facts will engage your buyers by creating a differentiating buyer experience.
Making your number in 2017 will present challenges, but also will provide great opportunities for growth. Blending the right strategies with effective tactics will increase the probability of making your number. Let us know if you need a hand. We can set up a workshop at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center located in Dallas, Texas. A visit to The Studio increases the probability of making your number because the sessions are built on the proven strength and stability of SBI, the industry leader in B2B sales and marketing.