As 2020 comes to a close, it’s natural to start looking to the new year and setting plans in motion for the future. The past year has changed the way we buy, sell, and interact with other people. And it’s completely transformed the sales industry into a world without in-person meetings and little to no business travel.
Fortunately, a new year brings new opportunities. 2020 taught us that data accuracy and agility are essential to survival in this new sales era. And having the right tools, technology, and processes in place is no longer a luxury, but rather, a necessity. To help you kick off 2021 on the right foot, here are six New Year’s resolutions for sales leaders.
1. Embrace Digital Sales Transformation
According to research from BCG, 80 percent of CEOs believe “digital transformation has become even more urgent in light of the [pandemic] crisis.” It’s also why BCG reports that 64 percent of CFOs list digital transformation as a top priority for the next six months.
As in-person business has become less feasible, the need for adequate sales planning and management technology has increased. Manual operations are error-prone and hinder your ability to make strategic, agile decisions. And Harvard Business Review found that companies that embrace digital technology innovation experience nearly 20 percent higher gross margin.
2. Use Data to Drive Planning & Strategy
The most effective and innovative sales enterprises use data to their advantage. A study by CSO Insights found that 94 percent of world-class sales organizations know their top sales performers are successful because they’re actively using sales analytics to measure and predict sales performance.
Identifying actionable insights, establishing KPIs for your organization, and staying current with your data is key to gaining a competitive advantage in today's market. When you also use gather insights and adopt data-driven planning, you can strengthen both sales planning and performance.
3. Adopt a Continuous Approach
Creating a sales plan that you look at only once a year no longer cuts it in our dynamic business world. 2020 certainly showed us that the plans you start the year with must be flexible to adapt to changing world conditions. For sales, that means you need the right data available at any time so you can regularly check your performance against the plan in order to get a read on how well you're executing.
Continuous planning enables you to optimize plans throughout the year, catch potential problems early, and strategically course-correct your plan to stay on track to hit your goals no matter the situation.
4. View Disruption as an Opportunity
Another key lesson from 2020 is that change is inevitable. What we can control is our ability to swiftly react and make data-driven decisions. And really, disruption gives us a chance to examine how we operate, plan, and manage sales organizations. Why? Because it doesn’t allow us to be complacent and forces us to part ways with the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality.
It comes down to a shift in mindset. Disruption is challenging, but it’s not a time for panic. It’s an opportunity to reinvent the way we address challenges, and find new ways to motivate reps and drive performance. This goes hand-in-hand with adopting a continuous sales planning approach. You’re not just consistently looking for potential problems. In reality, you’re searching for the next way to continuously improve and optimize.
5. Practice Empathy & Prioritize Wellness
Most importantly, you have to remember that people (including yourself) are the most valuable resource in your company, and they aren’t machines. Sales by nature is a high-stress role and prone to burnout. This year only intensified that risk.
Embrace an open culture in your organization, and encourage everyone to practice understanding and self-care. Take time to de-stress and step away from the digital screens. Stroll around the block, take in the sunshine, and make sure you let your team know their hard work and dedication are appreciated. That’s the real key to success for any company.
New Year, Stronger Sales Organizations
With 2020 behind us, the future may look a little different, but there is an enormous opportunity for businesses to improve their sales planning and performance. In order to achieve all of these sales resolutions, you need the right solution on hand.
Sales Performance Management (SPM) helps organizations use their data strategically to gain accuracy, agility, and the insights they need to succeed in today’s rapidly-changing world. Learn more about the benefits of SPM and how you can get started today, download our “Enterprise Leader’s Guide to Success in the New Sales Era.”