2015 is rolling in quickly.  Closing out 2014, you should have a good idea of where you stand this year.  And where you want to go.  Banner year?  What are you going to do to raise the bar to stay at the top of the leaderboard?  Rough year?   What needs to be done to get a jump on ’15 and position yourself for success?  This is the time you should focus on what will keep you ahead of the market.  “Sales” isn’t just sales any more.  SBI’s Research shows that having the right strategy is the #1 indicator for success.  Is your strategy fresh?  Is it different from your competitors? Or can it use a little tune up to be ’15 ready?


The dynamic between buyer and seller has changed significantly in recent years.  Buyers are more educated about products and solutions.  Companies make the buying process more complex in order to save money.  Introductions and relationships are made in different ways than even a few years ago.  You may be at the top or the bottom of the pack; either way, it is necessary to revisit your approach on a regular basis.  Don’t go the way of the Dodo.  Some main areas to focus on:


Do I have a personal brand that is recognized by others?

The phone and email have become clogged channels.  With the multitude of calls and messages received, most prospects will not respond.  That is unless they know the person reaching out.  Today, it is not about who you know.  It’s all about who knows you.  Do you have a personal brand that is recognized?  In a previous post, Dan Bernoske covers the importance and components of a good personal brand.  Once your brand is established, ensure that you connecting through the correct channels.  And that the people you are communicating with recognize your unique difference. 


Phone, email and networking events are not dead, but do have diminishing returns.  Social Selling (the use of social media to engage customers and prospects) has proven effects.  These channels are relatively unclogged, and are a leading source of information for buyers. They also allow you to showcase your personal brand from the beginning of engagement.  Ensure your approach is the correct mix through the correct channels for your customer.  Ensure you have the correct strategy in place to stand out from the crowd.


Do I approach my prospects in the right way at the right time? 

Today’s buyer has changed.  They learn about products and solutions through the internet and user groups.  At SBI, we call this the “informed buyer.”  These buyers are engaging with sales professionals later in their buying cycle than ever.  What are you doing to engage the buyer early in the process?  The earlier you can engage with value, the closer you will be to winning.  This can’t be ad hoc to be successful.  You must have a plan before you attack.


Do I have an engagement plan within my prospect accounts? 

Today, it is very rare that a single person makes a buying decision; the purchase decision teams dominate.  These groups can include everyone from the end user up to the executive level.  The key is to identify all members who will influence the decision.  From there, you must identify both personal and professional drivers.  How will your solution benefit each level of the business?  How will it affect each member personally?  Once determined, strategize how you can position your solution in the right way to each member.


Take a little time to reflect on these areas.  Download the SBI’s Strategy Research to review the foundation for success.  Even with an airtight strategy, it is a good idea to review your approach regularly.  Ensure that you are setting yourself up for success in 2015 and the years going forward.