While the brand new year is still fresh, and before last year evaporates in our memories like a poorly recalled dream, take stock of 2015. Looking back on the year will help you find your stride for Q1, as well as for the rest of 2016. Below are four tips, or belated New Year’s resolutions, designed to positively impact your bottom line.
Revisit Old Wounds
Start by reconnecting with companies that awarded business to your competitors last year. Ask your point people at those organizations how they’re doing. If the answer is “Great, we have exactly what we need to go forward,” congratulate them, wish them continued success, and then move on. If, as often happens, they’re second-guessing the choice they’ve made—maybe it’s only brought them frustration—be ready to jump into that void and restart the needs/solutions conversation where you left off.
Take the Leads
Remember those leads you pursued in November and December that didn’t manifest as sales opportunities, or the ones that were just plain unresponsive? There are many reasons why you didn’t get traction with them: Perhaps they were preoccupied with or stretched thin by the holidays; they may have been busy putting Q4 projects and reporting to bed; they were out of the office on a beach somewhere. Now’s the time to get in touch with them and restart the dialogue.
New Year, New Look and Feel
A fresh year is a great time to revamp your sales collateral, especially if it’s been two or more years since it’s gotten a facelift. We’re not just talking about changing the copyright disclaimer on the footer that no one ever reads. Brainstorm with your marketing team about refreshing the look, feel, and messaging of the materials that live on your websites and in emails, and which you hand out at sales meetings and tradeshows.
Look Back and Within
If you didn’t have the opportunity to take stock of your lost and won deals before the close of Q4 2015, it’s not too late to review and analyze. In fact, it will behoove you to do so. While you’re at it, be honest with yourself about what caused both your successes and your failures. Know where your strengths are and own up to your shortcomings. The more you dig in and do that, the better equipped you’ll be to keep from falling into the same old traps, and the better positioned you’ll be to recreate the successes you have achieved. When doing this important exercise, ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s the common denominator of companies that I converted to customers? What did the companies I failed to convert have in common?
- Do some soul searching and ask yourself what in your own behavior caused a deal to either fail or succeed: Did I bring technical experts to the table at sales meetings? What worked well? What bombed?
- In the past year, what was the most important deal I closed? What loss was the most disappointing?
Hopefully your 2016 is already off to a winning start. But don’t forget the recent past. To paraphrase the philosopher and poet George Santayana, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. In other words, looking back will help you going forward.