‘Tis the Season…to Evaluate Your Sales Activities

The holidays are truly a time to appreciate the company of good friends, family and loved ones.  But between all the eggnog and cookie tins, it’s easy to forget that the New Year is also a wonderful time to reflect on the past year professionally. It is a time to review your progress on last year’s goals and to set new goals for the upcoming year.  The first terms in which most sales and business development professionals will evaluate their success is total sales, and this topic leads to a lot of questions you can ask yourself.

Did you hit your sales goal?  What was your percentage of quota?  How much of your business was new business compared to repeat business?  Did the new business come from pre-existing customers; or did it come from marketing efforts, prospecting, strategic alliances or just old-fashioned networking?  What was your average size deal?  How does the deal size compare to the previous years?  What were your metrics?  What worked and what didn’t work?  What efforts resulted in the best ROI?

But in addition to thinking about just sales numbers, you also have to ask questions of and about yourself.  Did you give it your best shot: 100% effort?  Did you have a positive attitude throughout the year, going above and beyond the call of duty?  Did you do anything to make yourself better than the previous year?  Did you set and accomplish goals?  And perhaps most importantly, did you put in the effort to track your progress against those goals on a consistent basis?

No matter what your answers are to these questions, there’s some good news and some bad news.  The bad news is that there is nothing that you can do about last year, last month, last week or even a moment ago.  There’s no point in forever dwelling on the things you can’t change in life. Yet, the good news is that there is something you can do on a “go forward” basis!

You are in control of your future and your results! If you really want to do better than you did this year, now is the time to make those changes.  If you continue to do things the way you have been doing them… you are most certainly going to achieve the same results.  So how do you know what to do differently?  What things do you need to start doing, what things do you need to stop doing and what things do you need to continue to do in order to get the top notch results you want?

At BDU, we talk to our clients about our “Triage Approach” to business development. This process helps individuals and companies determine what three areas that if approved upon, will have the biggest impact on performance.  It is important to note that the triage areas are not always the top weaknesses (or ‘areas of opportunity’ as I prefer to say) and are not necessarily the best places to focus.  For instance, someone’s top area of opportunity could be that they are disorganized; but getting organized, while certainly helpful, may not be the area that drives sales performance the most.  The New Year is a great time to identify these triage areas.  This can give you a clear focus on what issues need to be addressed and improved upon such as skill levels, knowledge of products and services, attitude or even motivation.  Once these triage areas are identified, then it is a matter of determining what needs to be done to close the gap. By doing this consistently throughout the year, you will absolutely take your results to the next level.

Now I’m not suggesting that you make a New Year’s resolution that lasts to the 3rd week in January, at which point you “fall off the wagon” and simply go back to the way that you were doing things prior.  This system represents a true commitment to achieving your annual goals…a commitment that must be upheld day in and day out, week in and week out, even month in and month out.  But it’s worth it. This process is about taking your game to the next level.  It’s only through this intense self-evaluation and really thinking hard about what you can do differently; that you can address the right concerns and fix the right problems within the context of your own work.

Most successful CEOs, executives, and top-level business development professionals engage coaches to help them identify their triage areas and assist in implementing programs and processes to help them maximize results. If you are interested in how BDU can help you exceed your goals in 2011 click here for a complimentary 30 minute consultation. Whether you decide to take advantage of outside assistance or take this on for yourself, the triage approach is critical and there is no doubt in my mind that this is the best time of year to reflect and make the appropriate modifications so that next year when you are going through this process you will be thrilled that you hit your goals!