Back in the day, my crystal ball was always in the repair shop when it came to forecasting and estimating. Today, I’m still not much of a psychic but I’ve made some predictions that are both good business practices as well as interesting. Gone are the days when we sold “features and benefits.” Now, there are so many choices, buyers are looking for value. Creating value is more challenging than ever, and the best sales pros are the ones that understand how to add value.
Businesses will set SMART goals to reach their 2012 sales growth targets. Prospecting goals, Selling goals, Networking goals, and Revenue goals. Goals should be specific and emphasize what you want to happen. They should be measurable and attainable; too far out of reach and most folks give up. Goals must be realistic; the skill set is available to do the work. Finally, the goal must have a time frame: this quarter or this year are typical periods.
Leaders will develop sales plans: annual, quarterly, monthly. Sales planning is not just for big companies. Small businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals all need an annual sales plan to ensure they are moving in the right direction.
Decision makers will focus on high payoff selling activities and exceed goals. The question everyone in your firm should be asking, “Is this activity the best use of my time?”
Sales pros will spend more time selling. Everybody has lots of demands on their time but the pros will take control of their do-list. They will manage their distractions and maximize the selling hours of every day.
Social media will morph into the name business networking. More and more buyers and decision makers are joining Linkedin to network and exchange information. Sales pros need to understand how to utilize Google +, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and Linkedin to add value to their offerings.
Leaders will insist on accountability, requiring everybody to achieve results. Measurement and accountability are critical to reaching your goals because when you monitor what you’re doing then you can re-assess your activities to establish what’s working and what’s not working. More firms will embrace sales force automation tools to ensure the people paid to sell are getting the most out of every selling day.
When it comes down to it, there are just two ways to increase sales: 1) get more customers, and 2) get your current customers to buy more. Getting results is what it’s all about.
Set your objectives, hustle and give your professional best.
Final prediction: Sales Kitchen will have their best year ever.