Enterprise sellers often struggle to build momentum in January, and it’s easy to see why. Prospects are still shoveling out their inboxes. New initiatives are monopolizing their time, keeping them away from their phones and out of their email.
But at the end of the day, you’ve got a quota to hit, commission to earn, and a boss who isn’t fond of excuses. So here are four simple ways to kick-start the new year and position yourself for success in the year ahead.
Provide value at the right time
If the last weeks of the year were crazy for you, assume the same for your prospects. Like you, they were rushing to hit end-of-year deadlines, plan budgets for the upcoming year, and implement new initiatives—all while juggling holidays, travel, and family obligations. Their inboxes are full, and they have numerous obligations competing for their time. So instead of starting your relationship by demanding for their attention, offer them relevant and valuable content that can help them prepare for 2019.
This is an excellent opportunity to increase your brand’s recognition and position your product offering—and you as their primary contact and partner—as highly valuable. Now more than ever, sharing information and providing insightful fodder for your conversations will build the trust that you need to further your relationships.
If your company doesn’t produce content, then seek reputable, industry-leading resources that cover topics like industry predictions, resource and budget allocation, and project planning. Ultimately, finding more ways to provide value to your prospects will make them much more agreeable to giving you their time when you’re ready to call them and pitch.
Take time to reflect on 2018
In many companies, this can be a quiet time of year. If that’s the case for you, it provides an excellent opportunity to use the relative silence to think about how you did last year and derive what you can learn from it. Ask yourself questions like:
What opportunities did I lose in 2018?
Oftentimes, following up six to 18 months (depending on your product offering) after a lost opportunity is a perfect time to re-engage. Be curious—ask how your competitor has performed, and if they’ve met your prospect’s expectations. If it was a close call before, a sub-optimal experience may lead them to switch directions going forward.
Which content was most effective in moving opportunities from early stage to the next step?
Analyze the content you shared last year. In all likelihood, a handful of assets were the most effective in highlighting a value proposition that hits home for many of your prospects—who have since become clients! Identify this content and ensure that you are continuing to drive people to it as a consistent part of your prospecting.
What email templates or sales journeys led to the fastest deal velocity?
Similar to the previous question, did you have a specific order of actions that led to shorter sales cycles? It’s quite possible that this may only be true in certain parts of your territory (client type, region, size, etc.), but trends will almost always emerge.
Lastly, seek advice from your team. Ask them how they believe you can increase traction within your territory, and see if they know anyone who may have an inside perspective on your top accounts to accelerate your deals. This is also an excellent opportunity to meet team members who may be located in a different city. Their differing experiences and perspectives may provide the extra edge you need to gain a competitive advantage.
Take action in 2019
Finally, now that you’ve done your research and pinpointed areas for improvement, put a plan in place to seize 2019 with full force. Consider the following:
Leverage your network.
With a lot of employment changes occurring in January or February due to bonuses and budget timing, now is the time to sift through LinkedIn to see if any of your connections have switched companies. If you find that someone has now moved into your territory, reach out to re-kindle the connection. Starting in a more casual setting, like a coffee or informal phone call, may allow you to understand the corporate structure you’ll be dealing with before diving into product needs.
Set your marketing priorities.
Think beyond the flagship industry events that you have already planned to attend. Where can you find a new, more targeted group of prospects? What marketing materials can you request that can set you apart from the competition? It may not always be the most expensive events or materials that do the trick, but be sure to ask in advance to be able to execute on your plan.
Get help from an expert.
When creating an account plan, identify resources that can help you deepen your knowledge of your key prospects. Utilize an Emissary to gain insider insight on those accounts and their buying processes to shorten sales cycles and have more success in 2019.
Once you‘ve solidified your account plans, it’s time to rev the engines and get going.
Rely on your tools
Through reflection and planning, you should have a roadmap that tells you where to start. In order to cover as much ground as possible, continue to take advantage of the tools at your disposal. Track outreach, create reminders or tasks to follow up, and manage your opportunities by being diligent in your CRM. By doing so, you’re effectively creating a virtual assistant to help you stay on top of your work and execute on your account plans.
If you don’t already utilize email tools like Salesforce Inbox, ToutApp, Yesware, or many similar offerings to create campaigns and send personalized communications to a large list of prospects, consider this approach. You can nurture and develop your leads and opportunities in the earlier stages of the sales cycle with minimal effort. Even when you’re out of the office and only have access to a standard email provider like Outlook or Gmail, use them to draft emails for later. Better yet, use an app like Boomerang for Gmail to help you schedule those emails for later and manage your follow-ups effectively.
These are a few specific ideas to help you build momentum at the start of 2019, but you can continue many of these practices throughout the year. Continue to think like your prospects, strategize about how you can improve your results, and be strategic about how you use the resources available to you, and you’ll continue to find success year-round.