How to Kick-Start Your Sales in 2015

The New Year is well and truly here. The world has awoken from the year-end slump and ever­yone is back to busi­ness, almost forget­ting that the holiday period was just a few weeks ago. Consu­mers are once again emer­ging from the finan­cial hiber­na­tion that followed December’s over-spen­ding and are ready to buy. Compa­nies are opera­ting in full force and ready to get down to busi­ness, inclu­ding purcha­sing products and services that will help them achieve their year’s goals. As a sales­person it is your job to seek out the buyers, and now is the time for you to spend some time stra­te­gi­zing your own goals and ambi­tions for 2015.

Today, we’ll discuss 5 stra­te­gies you need to imple­ment to kick-start your sales for the New Year.

#1 Goal Setting: Out with the old, in with the new

January and February are the two most important months for you as a sales­person when starting the New Year. It’s a time to set and fina­lize your goals, and stra­te­gize your plan of action to reach those goals.

“Goals allow you to control the direc­tion of change in your favour.”

BRIAN TRACY

When looking back at 2014, forget about the goals you didn’t achieve and rather focus on what you did achieve. Consider the stra­te­gies that helped you achieve those goals and see how you can make those a part of your 2015 plan of action. Let go of the outdated goals, as well as the stra­te­gies that didn’t work, and start with a clean slate.

A fanta­stic goal setting stra­tegy which we suggest is buil­ding revenue predic­tions. You can do it in two ways:

1) From the bottom up

Take a look at the size of your current market, the size and capa­city of your sales team and your average conver­sion rates, and add to that a reali­stic growth rate. Depen­ding on your marke­ting stra­te­gies, seasonal fluc­tua­tions, and industry-specific factors, your growth rate may vary.

2) Goal based

Create a list of expenses, setting aside an addi­tional figure for unex­pected and variable expenses (such as consul­ting fees, repla­ce­ment of tech­no­logy, etc.) and a profit margin. Use this figure to base your marke­ting acti­vity on.

Create goals for each quarter of the year, bearing in mind last year’s seasonal trends and the effects they had on your sales over 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. You can then create a detailed marke­ting stra­tegy with seasonal themes where appli­cable, to help you reach those goals.

Tip: Got a good idea for a sales or marke­ting campaign? See if you can tie it in with another reason for cele­bra­tion or press, such as a holiday, to ride that wave and maxi­mize exposure.

“Goals aren’t enough. You need goals plus dead­lines: goals big enough to get excited about and dead­line to make you run. One isn’t much good without the other, but toge­ther they can be tremendous.”

BEN FELDMAN

Financial analysis

#2 Finding Customers: Start with your warm market

New custo­mers are the life­b­lood of any busi­ness, but don’t over­look your exis­ting base. As an estab­lished busi­ness, you already have a warm market on your books. As Donna Fenn high­lights, ‘acqui­ring new custo­mers is expen­sive (five to ten times the cost of retai­ning an exis­ting one), and the average spend of a repeat customer is a whop­ping 67 percent more than a new one.’ Save on the cost and effort involved with gene­ra­ting new busi­ness by drum­ming up sales from your exis­ting clients.

Here’s how:

  • Create attrac­tive up-sell opportunities
  • Sell comple­men­tary services and products
  • Incen­ti­vise your clients for refer­rals or regular orders

Inc.com shared some stories about how compa­nies created new busi­ness through their old custo­mers – you may want to read this post.

#3 Be Ready and Go Mobile

Tele­me­trics and xAd did a study of the mobile beha­viours of 2,000 users in 2014, which found that 46% of these consu­mers use their mobile devices as their primary tool in making purchase decisions.

The study also showed that less than 20% of the respond­ents had a goal when turning to their mobile devices, which showed that 80% were open to influence – and that’s where your marke­ting stra­tegy comes in.

Since the bulk of the popu­la­tion uses mobile, your company needs to reach out to your target audi­ence via mobile.

  • Have a mobile respon­sive website
  • Send out mobile respon­sive emails
  • Create a mobile app for your company or product/service
  • Do screen sharing presen­ta­tions to mobile

In a diffe­rent study performed by comScore, it was found that in 2012, 82% of mobile media time was spent on apps, and ther­e­fore you should defi­ni­tely consider whether an app is suitable to your company.

Your poten­tial custo­mers are atta­ched to their phones and tablets, so if you wish to invite them to an online meeting or presen­ta­tion you may see a rise in the number of pros­pects who want to join from their mobile devices. Are your sales reps prepared for this? Mikogo provides native mobile apps for iOS and Android as well as the HTML Viewer for your pros­pects to join screen sharing sessions from.

Mikogo customer and Director of Easy Street Finan­cial Services, Ian Symmonds, is very fami­liar with this. In a recent FT Adviser inter­view, he spoke of how he would host screen sharing meetings with clients who would join from an iPhone or other smartphones.

Mobile customer

#4 Invest in Sales Tools

While it’s great that there are so many tools out there, on the other hand it can be time consuming to assess them all and decide which are worth inves­ting in and not.

Instead of casting them all by the wayside and sticking to old school sales methods, I want to encou­rage you to spare a thought for your audi­ence: Modern consu­mers are highly focused on user expe­ri­ence, espe­ci­ally when they decide where they want to spend their money, and it’s up to you to create a memo­rable (or at least seam­less) user expe­ri­ence. It’s a matter of brin­ging toge­ther systems that make it easier to commu­ni­cate with the users and to make it easy for them to spend their money with you.

Auto­ma­tion is the key when it comes to enhan­cing the capa­bi­li­ties of the sales process, from lead gene­ra­tion through to after-sales service, but without beco­ming too robotic and losing the ever-important human personal touch. Consider how you can make the process flow more smoothly, while saving your sales team time in the process, thus incre­asing their capa­city to handle more leads in a day.

#5 Surprise & Be Personal

You have probably heard about surprise and delight marke­ting, a trend started by Westjet Airlines, when they made their passen­gers’ Christmas wishes a reality.

Now you may not have their budget, but you could still do those little things that matter through your marke­ting and with your exis­ting customers.

“Make a customer, not a sale.”

KATHERINE BARCHETTI

Decent service is not enough. Consu­mers expect good service, and ther­e­fore it doesn’t surprise them. It’s about going the extra mile and impro­ving on it time and again. Think how you can exceed your custo­mers’ expectations.

Follo­wing on from #4 above, with so much tech­no­logy at our disposal, it is easy to fall into the trap of beco­ming too auto­mated. While auto­ma­tion saves time, it can cause your reps to lose the human element needed to connect with your custo­mers on a personal level.

Don’t be fooled, custo­mers are clued up on what’s auto­mated and what’s real and they miss that personal touch and one-to-one communication.

Clients appre­ciate that special effort that you make to give them an old-fashioned phone call, which many online compa­nies don’t do. Use that to your advan­tage and stand out from the compe­ti­tion by offe­ring your clients some­thing that will surprise and delight them.

It can be a bit of a balan­cing act between auto­ma­tion and personal touch and this is some­thing sales teams will need to take into account.

With these 5 points in mind, you can now consider how you will improve on 2014’s results by buil­ding a better stra­tegy for 2015. Please share your thoughts (and any addi­tional tips) in the comm­ents, below.

(For the source of the above sales quotes, click here.)

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