Resolve to sell more in 2015

The end of the year is quickly approaching and most sales managers are focused on closing sales. Once the frenzy dies down, it will be time to assess the successes of 2014 and make sales plans for 2015. With that in mind, here’s a list of New Years resolutions that will help sales managers increase sales and boost the bottom line in 2015.

Resolution #1: Don’t stop prospecting in December. This is good advice for 2014, too. It’s tempting to focus all efforts in December to finishing the year strong; however, it’s important to understand that prospecting in December positions a company for a top-performing first quarter. Companies that continue to prospect in December start out January in a strong sales position because sales reps come back to the office after closing out the year and walk straight into meetings. While sales reps may have fewer conversations with prospects in December, when they do connect, prospects tend to be in a better mood and are open to ideas for a strong new year. Waiting until January to fire up the prospecting engine results in the loss of valuable sales momentum.

Resolution #2: Invest in validated prospect data. Sales managers are anxious to see results quickly, so it’s not uncommon for them to jump into lead generation without first assessing the health of the data. Some may think that investing in clean data is too expensive or takes too long. However, we’ve found that’s not the case. One company we worked with more than doubled response rates after cleansing data. Even though the client spent almost $3,000 to cleanse the list, the overall cost per lead (CPL) dropped by 26 percent per contact. In addition, reps who don’t work with validated data waste about $20,000 in productive sales time annually.

Resolution #3: Jump start sales by investing in prospecting and sales support. In most organizations prospecting takes a back seat to sales. As sales reps focus on closing deals, prospecting is ignored, which produces an uneven sales funnel. Not all sales reps are adept at prospecting and sales prospecting may not be the best use of their time. If this is the case, consider investing in outside prospecting support that will jump start sales without adding to your headcount. The same is true for outsourced sales, which can provide organizations speed to market, a team of highly skilled sales reps, and the ability to scale a team quickly without hiring employees.

Resolution #4: Make ROI forecasts realistic. Sales managers are under pressure to deliver quick results, and often pull the plug on lead generation campaigns too soon. The best way to assess the success of a sales effort is to base expectations on your known sales cycle. For example, if you have a 12-month sales cycle, it isn’t realistic to expect a lead generation program to start generating significant revenue in under 12 months. In order for that to happen, an appointment would have to be set on the first day of the program and closed successfully. While not all appointments have the same urgency to buy, building a realistic forecast will show the trajectory of growth from future appointments.

Resolution #5: Invest in technology to measure effectiveness of prospecting. Sales managers can’t afford to continue efforts that aren’t producing a return on investment. The same is true for prospecting. Look for technology solutions, such as Salesvue, that can measure meaningful success metrics and go beyond things like call attempts and calls logged. Seek technology that gives you the ability to categorize calls in a way that helps you understand where you are successful and why, and allows you to try different scripting and calling strategies.[/fusion_text][separator style_type=”none” top_margin=”” bottom_margin=”30″ sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””][one_half last=”no” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][imageframe lightbox=”no” lightbox_image=”” style_type=”dropshadow” hover_type=”none” bordercolor=”” bordersize=”0px” borderradius=”0″ stylecolor=”” align=”center” link=”” linktarget=”_self” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ hide_on_mobile=”no” class=”” id=””] [/imageframe][/one_half][one_half last=”yes” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][fusion_text]Jenny Vance is president of LeadJen, a B2B sales lead generation company. She can be reached at jenny@leadjen.com or on Twitter @JennyVanceIndy.

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