5 New Year’s Resolutions for Sales Leaders—and How to Achieve them
Whether you call them New Year’s resolutions or goals, many of us are setting action items to help us improve in 2022. Scrolling through LinkedIn recently, I saw several sales leaders sharing their goals. One common theme: They want to empower their sales teams to succeed.
As Curt Sanders, senior manager, inside sales at WillScott, posted: “My work #resolution this year is to keep that focus on the folks that trust me with their careers and success to keep them growing and evolving to better their careers and lives.”
Other sales leader resolutions I saw on social media:
“Start giving reps objective coaching and feedback.”
“Add value to my sales team not just to help them sell more, but be better people, live better lives.”
“Align KPIs across teams, especially sales, marketing, and customer success.”
Here’s a look at some more sales leader resolutions, plus advice on how to achieve them:
Improve Virtual Selling
As we head into the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s no doubt virtual selling is here to stay. At first organizations thought they could patch together tools and processes to tide them over until in-person sales resume. But as the pandemic continues, the need for virtual remains. Plus, we discovered customers like virtual sales.
So, even when in-person meetings become safer, a hybrid approach will remain. That means you must get serious about virtual selling and help your team develop and sharpen their virtual selling skills.
Here are four things you can do to improve your reps’ virtual selling:
- Make sure sellers have up-to-date selling skills. Mastering virtual selling involves learning a new set of skills to successfully nurture prospects, share information, conduct demos, and host meetings without the benefit of being in person. Don’t assume sellers have the skills they need to be successful.
- Implement the best tools and technology: You need a solution that enables sellers to apply their virtual selling skills. Look for a platform that allows them to access key information, personalize outreach to buyers, and share collateral – and do it while they are on the go. The solution should also allow coaching and feedback. Key components: live video conferencing with participant engagement, video recording, content management, and collaboration. And remember to train your reps on how to use the tools.
- Give your reps quality content: Build a library of content that reps can draw from in their moment of need to share with buyers. Encourage reps to share best practices, success stories, and other updates via video.
- Coach your sellers: Not only are sales happening virtually, but so is coaching. So, you need a tool that allows reps to record pitches and role plays and lets you post comments and suggestions. When everyone is strapped for time, this method provides flexibility and enables better communication.
Build Sales Heroes
Cultivating sales heroes starts with effective onboarding and training. Ensure they know not only your products and services, but also their customers’ challenges. Then provide them with tools to practice their pitches and presentations. As your reps become more confident with this knowledge, their sales success will grow.
Additionally, empower your reps to share their skills and knowledge. Give them tools that allow them to record and share their success stories and best practices. Doing so allows them to be a hero to others on the sales team.
Eighty percent of learning is lost within 30 days of a live training session if it isn’t properly reinforced. Further, on average, reps don’t know the answer to 40% of product questions asked by customers.
A reinforcement training program can help ensure reps retain knowledge following their training, a product launch, or sales kickoff. Here are some tips for creating this kind of program:
- Record your events and break them into shorter segments to be included in playbooks.
- Deliver spaced reinforcement information and data to improve proficiency.
- Conduct interactive exercises, such as quizzes and flash drills after an event.
Communication is a constant challenge, whether it’s between your team members, between sales reps and buyers, or between sales and marketing. (Quick note: Research shows one-third of sales and marketing teams don’t communicate regularly.)
How do you fix that, especially when everyone is in a different location? You need the right tool—and email isn’t enough. Emailing documents and sensitive information isn’t always secure, plus spam filters could block them.
One alternative: a platform that allows people to upload documents (with their explanations and notes), share them securely, and post comments. You may also want to supplement that with a collaboration tool such as Slack or Microsoft Teams for more instant communication (quick questions, announcements, and feedback).
Develop a Team Mindset
Top sellers know they must work as a team. Solo efforts will get you only so far.
As Dieter Menyhart wrote in a Forbes column, “The new sales heroes are aware that if they constantly go it alone, they don’t stand a chance in the long run. They work together with all relevant departments internally in a professional manner. They are true to the motto: Only together are we really strong.”
That means sales reps must work together, as well as collaborate with other teams in the company. It’s especially important for sales and marketing to work as a team – and that has been a struggle, with 70% of the sales enablement content that marketing produces never getting used.
Here are a few management tips to help create connections within your teams regardless of where they are located:
- Each person is unique; treat them that way.
- Communicate and collaborate: Encourage team members to share ideas, ask for feedback, and brainstorm together.
- Create connections across teams. To bridge the gap between sales and marketing, the teams must start by listening to each other and deciding on key definitions. Then have regular, meaningful communication between the two.
Start the Year Strong
Whether you’ve set your resolutions or want to adopt these, you should set specific goals to achieve them.
As psychologist Phiona Martin said recently in a LinkedIn post: “People with specific goals perform better than those with vague ones. Vague goals make it hard to assess progress and measure if you actually met your target. This can impact your sense of accomplishment.”
If you’re like me, that sense of accomplishment keeps you going, motivates you, and makes you feel like you are adding value. So, set those specific goals and get ‘em done.
Download The New Virtual Selling Tech Stack: Essential Capabilities for Mastering Virtual Selling to learn the critical technology your team needs to build trust, nurture relationships, and close deals virtually.