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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Plan to Start the New Year Strong

How many emails did you come back to after the Christmas break? How many deals need attention straight away? How many follow-up tasks do you have? Do you feel like you’re already playing catchup? If so, it’s time to kick the year off with a bang.

The last thing you want to do is ease your way into the year. It’s an easy mistake to make – “My prospects are too busy to be sold to as they are busy catching up.” That mindset indicates you aren’t confident in creating value. You should feel confident to reach out to prospects at any time of the year, and those who start the year slow, often end the year slow.

So, instead of thinking that January is going to be a slow month and nobody has time to take a sales call, spend your time wisely. This will avoid necessary stress when it gets to the end of the quarter.

Do these tasks instead.

Review your account plan – You want to be able to prioritise your time early on, and reviewing your account plan, including your territories, is a key part of it. You want to know which existing customers have more opportunities, which are your key accounts in each territory, how are you going to engage with them, which territories present the best opportunities, and so on. This kind of strategic planning puts you ahead of the curve and enables you to be more productive.

Call your existing clients – It’s a no-brainer to get in touch asap with your existing customers, particularly if you want to be seen as more of a strategic partner than simply a salesperson. Even if it’s just to say happy New Year, call your customers to get an update on how they are getting on and what they might need from you during the year. Make them feel loved, and opportunities will arise from those conversations.

Assess how you use trends to create value – The obvious change in the business world is the remote working adoption following the pandemic. Think about how you can create value from trending news. Spend time getting up to speed about the ins and outs in the business world and your industry and think about how you can use news stories and trends to your advantage to provide additional value to your prospects.

Get in touch with every active opportunity – Create a list of every active deal you have, some of which will have been active for days or weeks, some perhaps a lot longer, and aim to move the process forward, even if it’s just to get an update. Start with the hottest opportunities first, call the main contacts associated with the deal, and aim to confirm the next step.

Kickstart your nurture sequence – If you aren’t getting much luck on the phones, focus your efforts on building value by providing prospects with insights and ideas. It takes more time, but it’ll set you apart from the rest and help to build your credibility. When the prospect is then ready to buy, you’ll be in their thoughts if you’ve consistently given them useful insights. Focus on engagement, rather than the pure sales cycle, and use all the channels at your disposal (LinkedIn and co). 

Starting slowly puts a lot of pressure on your performance at the end of the quarter, and it shouldn’t be that way. Just because some people have early year meetings and admin to go through, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t call them. Plan, prioritise and execute to get ahead of the competition and start building better relationships if you are struggling to build pipeline. That way, you’ll benefit in the months ahead when they are ready to take your call. Don’t play catch up, start the New Year at pace.


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