No, we’re not talking about promising that you’ll go to the gym at least once this year, or restrict your diet to just three treat days per week…
What we actually mean is that it’s the perfect time to look back over a whole year of sales, and to start planning your approach for the coming 12 months!
Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
Analyse your performance
There’s no better time than the end of the year to look back over the past 12 months and analyse your performance! How did you perform against your targets? In areas where you were significantly above or below target, what was the reason?
Of course, you also need to be thinking about the sorts of targets you want to set for the year ahead. Make your targets SMART so that they’re actually useful to you, and focus on the things that you really want to accomplish, and which will be a major win when you do!
Analyse your products
Take a good look at the full catalogue of products you sell. Which ones were the most popular last year, and which ones made you the most profit? Do they sell well because you spend more time on them, or are they of high enough quality and value to do some of the selling themselves?
Looking forward, which new products will be coming out this year? Will they be replacing or complementing your existing range? And can you start planning how you’re going to sell them in advance?
Analyse your customers
Now look at your customer base. Which ones have been the best, not just in terms of how much they spend, but in how high your profit margins are with them. Which products do these customers buy, and what sorts of things might they have in common?
Also, think about any clients you lost over the last year. What was the reason for it, and was there anything you could have done differently to avoid it? You need to make sure you learn from experiences like these!
Analyse your prospects
Now dive into your pipeline and you’re sure to find some prospects still working their way through! What are you expecting to buy? How likely is it that they’re going to convert? And when are you likely to find out?
You should also be thinking about potential prospects you haven’t approached yet. If your customer base has been changing over the past year, then the types of prospects you approach may also be starting to change, so you need to plan out what sorts of people you want to spend time reaching out to.
Update your market analyses
Make sure your analysis of your immediate market is up to date by using Porter’s 5 Forces. Has the bargaining power of suppliers or buyers changed? Are there new competitors? Is it easier for new threats to enter the market? Has a revolutionary alternative to your product been invented?
You also need to make sure that you’re aware of what’s going on in the wider world, by using a PESTLE analysis! Have there been any big Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal or Environmental changes over the past year? And how will the affect the year to come?
Update your territory plan
Wow, that’s a lot of analysis under your belt! Now you can use it to make sure that your territory plan is feeling fresh!
Write up all the opportunities and threats you’re expecting to face over the next 12 months. And think about how you’re going to divide your time between maintaining existing revenue, growing existing accounts, and winning new clients.
Update your playbook
A sales playbook collects the knowledge and expertise of everyone on the sales floor, mapping out the sales process and telling you how to approach any situation you find yourself facing. If you don’t have one, you should seriously think about building it. And if you do, now is the time to update it!
The whole sales team should get involved to make sure that their areas of expertise are still relevant. Chances are that certain sales techniques will have given way to others over the last year, so these changes need to be reflected in the resource.
With all of this preparation under your belt, you’ll be ready to face absolutely anything the next year might throw at you! Get a bit of rest over the festive period so that you can come back fully recharged and ready to dominate your market!
If your New Year’s to-do list isn’t long enough already then we have the perfect suggestion – Earn yourself a real, internationally recognised sales qualification!