Five New Year’s resolutions for optimum sales performance in 2018

To ensure your sales team have the best possible chance of hitting the ground running in 2018, it is critical that, from a sales management perspective, you set yourself five key New Year's sales management resolutions:

Your five New Year's resolutions:

  1. Get organised
  2. Set clear objectives
  3. Incentivize and reward
  4. Train and develop
  5. Measure, evaluate and support

Get organized

Are your sales territories aligned with your New Year business goals and objectives? Will the sales targets you set, for each area, achieve your overall sales objective for 2018? Make sure that they are challenging but ultimately fair and achievable.

Have you got the right people with the right skills and behaviors, in the sales team, to achieve the targets and goals that you have set? If not, a training and development plan and possibly a recruitment plan will be required.

Set clear objectives

Goals and objectives are critical in focusing your sales team on what they need to do and where to focus the activity.  Getting the team aligned with your overall business objectives and setting common goals creates the focus required to develop a winning mentality within the sales team. Setting those relevant goals with meaningful rewards will also provide the stimulus drive your team towards adopting ‘best practice’ sales behaviors.

Incentivize and reward

Getting incentives, commission and bonuses right is very important. Are you rewarding the right behaviors - the ones that you know your sales people need to exhibit in order to succeed in achieving your overall 2018 sales objectives.

Help your salespeople to model their potential achievements and earnings for 2018, based on meeting the key sales objectives you have set them. Help them identify the customers and opportunities which offer them the best chance of attaining their objectives, by the fastest possible route.

Best practice behaviors should be recognized in relevant context in your sales process, so that your salespeople can see the impact, and potential impact, of their behavior in generating desired results and rewards.

Train and develop - train, coach, mentor

First of all evaluate skills gaps in your sales team, against the competencies that you believe are needed for them to meet your New Year targets, goals and objectives. This can be done during field visits, via Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or, for a more objective analysis, via an assessment centre.

Best practices should be identified through KPIs, and from agreeing with your team exactly what 'best practice' looks like.

You can then ensure that any group sales training or individual field coaching that you deliver focuses precisely on those skills gaps. You can then benchmark, evaluate and measure improvement in those key skill areas.

Alongside any coaching or training, you can also set individual activity plans to improve performance, which can then be worked on specifically during coaching sessions, making them even more impacting.

Measure, evaluate and support

Through the use of good Key Performance Indicators, which measure the key sales team interventions within your sales process, you can measure, evaluate and support your sales team. Ensuring best practice is replicated throughout the team.

You will also have better visibility of individual sales pipelines which will lead to more accurate forecasting.

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