2023 will be here before you know it. It’s time for you as a sales leader to map out your 2023 sales strategy, execution plan, and performance goals. Having a goal of improving forecast accuracy is a great place to start. Forecast accuracy has a ripple effect across the entire organization. It affects strategic initiatives, headcount, R&D, and product launches to name just a few examples. Therefore time, attention, and effort invested in improving forecast accuracy is time well-spent. Here are three tactics that might help you prepare for 2023.
Review your sales process
Is it up-to-date? No doubt your customers’ buying processes have evolved over time. Have you adjusted your sales process in kind? Research shows that customers engage sales people when they are about 70% through their buying process. As a result customers are well along their decision process by the time sales people enter the picture.
With that in mind, sellers must ‘hit the ground running’ when they are engaged. Today’s sellers must be knowledgeable, well-prepared, and demonstrate competency with a confident point of view going into the introductory meeting.
Define funnel stages
Don’t neglect the sales funnel! While you are updating the sales process review and update funnel stages as well. Ensure your sales process and funnel stages are aligned. And finally, clearly define each funnel stage and provide reinforcement training for sales team members.
We can only manage the things we can control. For sales leaders that includes improving processes, prioritizing tasks, and developing their sales people. For sales people, it means making the most of each contact, call, and meeting. Encourage, or rather insist, that your sales people get a clear future at the end of each customer encounter.
You can accomplish this by requiring that your sales people are able to answer the following questions upon completion of each meeting:
- Did your prospect/customer agree that there a reason to move forward?
- When is your next meeting? How much time did you set aside for it?
- What is your agenda? What is your prospect’s/customer’s agenda?
- What result are you expecting from the next meeting? What result is your prospect/customer expecting?
Focusing your sales people on managing buyer/seller expectations such as these has many rewards, such as:
- Collecting more evidence about the buyer’s decision process and sense of urgency
- Allowing for more precise funnel stage assignment
- Ensuring that sales people have sequential meetings, i.e. meeting 1, 2, and 3 rather than meeting 1 three times.
- And maintaining forward momentum toward a ‘closed won’ deal!
Sales leaders, initiate these actions now in preparation for a successful 2023. As always, reach out via my contact page if you’d like additional information or another perspective. I look forward to talking with you!