You just closed out Q4 and blew it out of the water. But before you have a minute to relax, a new year starts. You get brand new goals to meet, and they’re significantly higher than last year's.
It’s no wonder that a new year can make sales reps feel exhausted. It’s like finishing a marathon only to be asked to run a second, longer race immediately afterward.
You do have it in you, though, to complete that marathon as well; it comes down to preparation. These are the six steps to tackle at the beginning of the new year to set yourself up for success.
What Sales Reps Should Do In The First Quarter of a New Year
1. Reflect on your last year.
Before anything else, take time to reflect. What worked for you last year? What didn’t work? According to Phil Harrell, you should analyze your activity to see where sticking points were, what caused them, and what was most beneficial. Drop the practices that didn’t serve you and double down on the ones that brought you success.
Kian Mitchum, Area Vice President of Enterprise Sales & Solution Architecture at Impact.com, says, “For most businesses, end-of-year is the most eye-opening time, where the previous year’s successes are most prevalent, and failures are most glaring. This is our chance to provide relevant value at an opportune time.”
Mitchum adds, “In the first quarter of the new year, a rep should be setting fresh eyes on their patch, taking into account business trends and macro climate changes.” This is an important initial step because understanding the current climate helps you best plan a strategy to attract leads, communicate with them, and make value propositions that draw them into your business.
2. Set your goals and make a plan.
Dan Tyre, a Marketing Fellow at HubSpot, says that the key to success is to set SMART goals at the beginning of the year to help you visualize what you’ll need to accomplish and to hold yourself accountable for being intentional in your efforts.
Jill Fratianne, a Partner Channel Manager at HubSpot, says, “In any new year, there are new quotas, tremendous amounts of change, some you may like, some you may not…the most important thing to focus on is to quickly pivot, remain positive, and make a plan.”
Once you know what you’re aiming for, determine what you’ll need to do to meet your goals. If you know you close one of every five customers you present to, how many presentations will you need to make? And how many calls will you have to make to set those presentations? Work until you have goals and targets set up for the year.
3. Meet with your manager to create accountability.
Set up a meeting with a manager or mentor in the early days of the new year to present your plan for achieving your goals and the skills you will focus on developing throughout the year.
Tyre says, “Get a personal development plan of the skills, products, and processes you would like to master so you can work with your manager to improve upon your sales skills throughout the year.”
Sharing your plans and goals with someone else can also help you remain accountable and motivated, as they’ll be aware of what you’re hoping to get done and may periodically check in with you on your progress.
4. Clean out your pipeline.
A new year calls for spring cleaning. Take a hard look at your pipeline, separate deals that have a chance of closing from those that are dead, and unclutter your CRM accordingly.
Meredith Moore, Sales Development Manager at Dialpad, says, “SDRs should first identify target accounts based on successful industries, geographies, and sizes.” Pinpointing these accounts makes it easier to remove leads from your pipeline that don’t serve you well, so you can start the new year by having conversations with high-impact prospects.
Moore adds, “Before reaching out to these prospects, be sure to identify customer stories that match these accounts. Develop a game plan that allows SDRs to touch multiple accounts across the week and continuously prospect.”
5. Investigate social selling.
Social selling is the process of researching, connecting, and interacting with prospects and customers on social media networks. Top-performing sales reps say that social networking platforms are important to their success.
If you’re new to social selling, assess how your industry and target customers are online and see if it’s a valuable strategy to help you meet your new sales goals. If you’re a seasoned expert, update your social selling strategy to meet your business goals for the upcoming year and begin reaching out.
6. Pat yourself on the back.
Most importantly, take some time to celebrate your achievements. Harrel pointed out that salespeople are always running to the next goal and sometimes don’t properly congratulate themselves on the ones they’ve achieved. It’s hard to jump into a near year when you haven’t celebrated the last — commemorate your victories before diving into your next challenge.
Over to You
Preparing for the upcoming year is never a bad idea, especially as a sales rep. It sets you up for success, helps you visualize how you’ll reach that success, and ensures you stay on track to help your business grow and meet its bottom line.