Sure--I know we're still several months away from 2016. However, the average sales pipeline for most organizations takes about 3 to 4 months. Not only that, but the final fiscal quarter of the year runs about two weeks shorter than the rest due to the holidays.
Long story short, if you want to get 2016 off on the right foot, It's vital for any sales organization to ramp up efforts now. But where do they start?
According to Sean Gordon, CEO of Intelliverse, a maker of sales accelerated enterprise software, there are seven things you can do right now to get your sales team primed for success in 2016.
1. Begin with an honest conversation with your team
Your people ultimately have the biggest impact on whether or not sales goals are met. Turnover can have a tremendous impact on goals, and training new hires can be a lengthy process, so ensure that you have happy employees who have the resources they need to get the job done.
2. Reevaluate past processes
Assess the steps in your sales process and better understand what worked this past year, and what didn't. Why weren't prospects interested? Did sales teams understand the competition well enough? Were sales teams connecting with the right decision makers? You should also analyze your sales cycle to see where any breakdowns were to identify challenges or recurring issues.
3. Foster a winning culture
Is there something in your culture holding your organization back? Attitude can have a direct impact on whether or not goals are met. Determine if your human resources department is playing a big enough role in understanding what's going on within the company.
4. Identify outdated systems
The right systems can make the sales process better, faster and quicker. For example, if getting more inbound leads is important, explore and research which platforms have the potential to improve and increase the number of inbound leads your salespeople receive.
5. Assess your product
Have meaningful conversations about product feedback with existing clients, customers, and even leads the sales teams pitched in 2015. This will allow your team to drive the roadmap of product and services in a direction that will be appealing--not only to your current customer base, but to potential prospects, as well.
6. Define the marketplace
If your sales teams were unsuccessful within a specific industry, it may be a good opportunity to pivot and define a new marketplace. Were the industries targeted in 2015 the right ones? Once sales teams research and define the market, they can determine the customers and a strategy.
7. Create your goal for 2016
At this point in the sales cycle, whatever is going to impact Q4 has probably already happened. Use that information now to set 2016 goals. What worked well in 2015? What didn't? Use that data to not only tweak strategy, but set a realistic goal for 2016. Figuring out the end goal now will give sales teams time to create a strong sales pipeline so they aren't starting from scratch in January.