- Develop dream client target lists. You need a list of dream clients. You need a list of clients who, were you to win their business, your organization would reach its potential. These dream clients are the prospective clients for whom you can create breathtaking, earth-shattering, jaw-dropping value. Your dream clients will be willing to pay for the value that you create. No one should start the year without calling their shots. Name the dream client accounts you are going to win from day one.
- Develop a dream client pursuit plan. If you are going to win these dream client accounts, you are going to need a pursuit plan. You are going to need to identify all of the actions that you need to take to open an opportunity within these client accounts. Your pursuit plan may mean that you need to have multiple people within your organization calling on multiple people within their organization. It may mean that you ask existing clients to make introductions to their peers within that dream client company. Be creative, and develop a pursuit plan that allows you to open and win opportunities within your dream client accounts.
- Develop a “nurture toolkit.” Pursuing your dream client accounts will require that you nurture relationships. To do that you’re going to need a set of tools. You’re going to need value creating emails that prove you know how to help your dream clients, but that make no ask. You’re going to need white papers that explain some idea your dream clients will care about, again with no ask. You may also need case studies. And articles that create value should also be part of your toolkit. It doesn’t matter what it is that you include in your toolkit as long as it provides your dream client with real, actionable value. By nurturing your dream client accounts, you increase the odds of getting a “yes” to your request for a meeting. Nurturing your dream clients will help you open opportunities faster.
- Establish goals and key performance indicators. Dream client targets are important, but so are the everyday outcomes sales organizations are built on. How many dream clients do you need to win in Q1? How many dream clients do you need to win in the course of the year? What are your revenue goals for each month, quarter, and a year? What are the key activities that you need to measure that will ensure that you reach your goals? You need to do this work before the year even starts. By providing goals and key performance indicators, you can stay on course and massively increase the likelihood of reaching your goals.
- Plan a sales year kickoff meeting. It’s not uncommon for sales organization to wade into the year. The first week in January is no different than the last week of December. There’s no excitement, no hype, nothing new. This is a mistake. Even if you can’t afford a massive kickoff meeting with professional speakers, award ceremonies, dinners, and parties, you need to do something. You need to create excitement and hype for the coming year.
- Establish a lost deal pursuit plan. You should not have lost some of the deals that you lost last year. Giving up and going away is not a strategy for pursuing your dream client accounts. How do you know that they are happy with the decision they made? Why have you allowed them to believe that you’ve given up and gone away? If the deal you pursued last year was worth having, it’s worth pursuing again this year. Develop that plan, and stay in front of them so that when a shred of dissatisfaction develops, you are standing there waiting in the wings.
- Develop 12 training modules (or more!). Don’t start the year without a plan to deliver at least 12 training modules to your sales force. Your salesforce can always use training on prospecting. They can always use training on creating value for customers. The people that make up your sales team will never fail to benefit from training around the language they need to use to be effective with your prospective customers. Twelve training modules is good, but 52 training modules is better. Even if you deliver these as a team huddle each week, you set the tone that you are learning organization, and each salesperson is responsible for getting better from week to week.
- Ensure your pipeline is up to date. Your pipeline is full of trash. Much of what is in there is irrelevant, incorrect, useless, and needs to be deleted. Many of the opportunities in your pipeline are just leads. You need to delete the non-opportunities in your pipeline, even if you have to declare pipeline bankruptcy.
- Make sure you start with your full headcount. If your quota is $20 million spread across ten salespeople, starting with six salespeople insures that you fail to meet your number. You need to start the year with a full headcount. If your budget allows for ten salespeople, ensure that you start the year with all ten salespeople. Each month that goes by without a salesperson makes it increasingly likely that you miss their portion of your quota. Hiring is the most difficult task in any organization, but especially a sales organization. Put the time in now, to make sure you start the year fielding a full team, and the best team you are capable of fielding.
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