While many people make New Year’s resolutions in order to set personal goals for the whole year, those who work in sales usually have no choice. Sales goals are literally measured in months, quarters, and years. This isn’t a bad thing, as it helps us track what we’re doing, and how it measures up against projections.
When it comes to sales leadership, it’s important to set goals that are outside of the standard performance ones. You don’t want another year to go by without growing as a person and a leader, even if you are able to hit your sales goals. For 2019, here are the best sales leadership to-dos that you can incorporate into your year:
1. Work with a mentor
Everyone should have a mentor, and sales leaders are definitely no exception. If you don’t already have one, reach out to someone you admire, or whose success you’d like to emulate, whether they’re in your organization or not. A mentor can be a valuable resource when you find yourself faced with challenging situations, and can help by showing you examples of how to conduct yourself in order to have the outcomes and impact you’re looking for.
2. Take the time to listen to your team
Listening is one of the most important skills to have in sales, and it’s also a skill that’s sometimes lacking among leadership. While it’s your job to lead your team, a great leader also understands his or her team and their main concerns, and takes the time to hear their feedback. Oftentimes the sales team is closer to the problem than leadership is, and they may have valuable insights and proposed solutions that can help everyone succeed. Take the time to hear people out, they’ll appreciate you more for it.
You are not an island and there are plenty of resources out there you can use to improve your leadership. Don’t limit yourself to sales books only, business books can go far in helping you see things from a different perspective. Reading allows you to not only pick up new ideas and skills to apply to your business, you can also have a paradigm shift in your thinking, which is sometimes all it takes to go from good to great.
4. Build a referral program
While referrals remain one of the best lead sources out there, they’re also an underutilized resource by many sales organizations. While you can’t force people to give you referrals, you can put together a program to make it easier for customers to provide them. Make an effort to put together a formal referral program, and the work that you put in up front could help you reap much more in referral business further down the line.
5. Develop one new habit
Sure, you could try to become more focused, punctual, empathetic, and get to the gym everyday over the course of the year, but you’re much more likely to succeed and stick with your goal if you pick one habit to focus on developing. This simplifies and focuses your energies so that you don’t overwhelm yourself and bite off more than you can chew. Pick the one of these habits that’s most important to you and stick with it.
6. Eliminate one bad habit
Similar to the above, if there’s one thing you absolutely want to quit doing in 2019, make it a huge focus for yourself. Bad habits can be difficult to break but not if you make a conscious decision and stick with it. After you’ve avoided your bad habit for long enough, it’ll become second nature and simply no longer be a part of your life. A suggested habit for sales leaders to break is to stop asking your sales team “What do you have cooking?” every single day.
7. Take time off
Sales is fast paced and demanding, and usually when you’re on vacation you’re still worrying about your deals. But it’s absolutely critical to take time to recharge your batteries on a regular basis. Not only will you come back less stressed and better able to do your job, but you’ll also be able to take a step back and see things from a different perspective, rather than from the thick of it.
8. Adopt new technology
The world is changing faster than any of us realize, or want to believe. Business, and sales, is no exception. Even if you’re not someone who considers themselves technologically savvy, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t take the time to research the various sales solutions out there. While none of them are a “magic bullet,” sales technology can help make your sales team more efficient, productive, and help them work smarter not harder. In 2019, think about 2020 and beyond. One of your to-dos should be adopting a great Proactive Relationship Management Platform, like Spiro!