Setting attainable and realistic goals are key when it comes to growth and improvement of your business. Whether it’s company-wide, department targeted, or specific campaign goals, they all play an important role in overall business success. Clearly defining and communicating goals helps your team understand their expectations and allows visibility into the big picture of the direction your company is headed. Goals keep everyone motivated and aligned as a team, department, company and individuals.
Whether you’re a CEO, sales director or executive now is the time to create your plan of action for achieving your 2020 sales goals. You may have been crushing it in 2019 (Great!) or perhaps have fallen short (there’s always ebb and flow), either way, if your goal is revenue – you always want to strive to improve your numbers from last year. Goal setting isn’t just throwing our dreams onto a piece of paper and crossing our fingers hoping we achieve them, it requires assessment, planning and action. Make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound (SMART). This takes time, effort, collaboration and dedication. That’s why the time to set 2020 up for success needs to start now.
Now here is the tough question, is your team set up to succeed?
According to HubSpot, more than 40% of salespeople say prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process, followed by closing deals (36%) and qualifying prospects (22%). Let’s overcome these identified challenges your sales team might be experiencing. Solving for these trouble areas will improve the likelihood of achieving your sales goals and get 2020 off on the right foot.
When it comes to sales reps struggling to qualify or disqualify prospects, you can help minimize wasted efforts by creating a more viable database. By identifying and understanding your target qualifications sooner, you’re saving your reps time down the road. Establish your ideal customer or persona must-haves right off the bat and weed out bad data. It’s critical to offer your sales reps an abundant but viable list to work from to set the stage for effective prospecting. If they are given a database filled with unknowns or bad data, their job will be significantly more difficult.
Sit down with your sales reps and database specialist now to understand where your data gaps are and how they can be filled before 2020 kicks off. Pay special attention to titles and identifying decision makers as best you can. Tightening up your database works in everyone’s favor. If you don’t already have this identified, assign one person to manage your database to ensure your data stays clean and updated. Set monthly or quarterly check-ins to go through the database as a whole to remove inaccurate data and devise plans to continue to grow and improve lists.
During cold calls it’s important to ask key qualifying questions before trying to land the appointment. If your sales reps are focused solely on their appointment benchmark, it can be tempting to simply set an appointment without properly vetting the person out. It is highly beneficial to qualify a prospect right there on the phone before setting time to connect. It’s all about asking the right questions up-front. Does your team have the right questions in place for successful qualifying? Don’t let your reps miss their long term goals by focusing on short-term ones. If your team isn’t currently using qualifying questions, ask them to brainstorm a few common questions they would like to learn about a prospect before sending over a contract or continuing conversations. If you can align questions with what your team wants and gather the information your team finds valuable and critical, your leads will become more qualified right away
Even with a perfect database in place, prospecting posses many other challenges. No one wants to make cold calls, emails only do a fraction of the work and your reps have run out of referrals. It takes an average of 18 calls to actually connect with a buyer (HubSpot) so depending on your sales goals, that’s a lot of lead generation effort required by your reps. What if you could have someone else do the “dirty work” to allow sales reps to simply focus on selling and closing deals? It’s definitely an option to deeply consider, read more about that here. Even if you had a great sales year, what if you could double those results or close more deals, would you take the chance? A calendar filled with qualified appointment after qualified appointment is very promising for reaching your goals.
Outsourcing your lead generation and appointment setting efforts will free up your reps time to allow for better lead nurturing. According to Scripted, nearly half of all salespeople give up after the first follow-up call. Knowing the amount of effort it took to get to this point, it’s foolish to stop after one call. Follow up is a very important part of the sales process and is detrimental particularly for companies with longer sales cycles. By not following up, you’re actually making the process longer. Create a clearly defined follow up strategy for your sales team to implement and ensure they are doing it by having check-in meetings.
Implementing a diverse lead nurturing strategy will help keep prospects moving down the pipeline. Making continuous but strategic outreach keeps your brand top-of-mind, builds trust and helps establish you as an industry resource. Occasionally, objections may resolve over time and you just happen to be in the right place at the right time, which is why it’s important to respond to actions in a timely manner. By designing a multi-faceted lead nurturing plan and having the right tools and right people in place to execute successfully, you’re making prospecting a little less challenging for your sales team, ultimately making their goals far more achievable.
Furthermore, you can ease the struggle of prospecting by leveraging marketing and sales automation tools. After-all, it’s almost 2020! There are many tools available to assist with simple marketing outreach that make your sales reps job’s less manual and far more effective. It’s time to work smarter rather than harder especially with increased sales goals looming.
By offering a more suitable database, establishing and asking qualifying questions up front, outsourcing appointment setting, implementing lead nurturing tactics and leveraging automation tools, you can focus your efforts on solving the challenge of closing deals. Taking time now to set up your sales team increases the chance they will hit their 2020 goals. Without losing sight of the end of 2019, 2020 sales goals should be in motion now. If you haven’t started setting your team up for success and what it takes to get it done, you’re already behind on reaching your goals.