New Year’s Resolutions for Sales Leaders
Repeatedly this month, I’ve heard the common statement… “Where did that year go to?” As we prepare for 2024, it’s the season for crafting new resolutions.
Also, many of us get to experience that other great saying – “hero to zero” … as our numbers get reset. We can clear the slate and start afresh if we have a bad year. Or celebrate our success of 2023 for 5 minutes and then start over again for 2024!
Let’s explore five practical steps that can create new habits for sales leaders in 2024:
Commit to Regular Opportunity Coaching – We all tend to conduct weekly pipeline calls, but do we focus coaching on actual opportunities? I have recently expanded my weekly individual calls with my sellers to 90 minutes – one hour committed to coaching three opportunities and then 30 minutes on the pipeline forecast. Learn a basic coaching structure so that your coaching is consistent and predictable. One approach is to get your salespeople to pick the three opportunities each week – develop 2 to 3 actions for each opportunity – and write your notes on the actions so you can follow up the next week.
Drive Accountability for Sales Tool Usage – Many of us have Apps in our CRM to aid deal progression; the Revenue Storm Relationship Barometer™ App is a valuable example. Creating fantastic habits around tool usage will increase win rates, but it doesn’t just happen. Set a standard for the use of CRM Apps. For example, all opportunities over a particular threshold must complete the Relationship Barometer. Hold your sellers accountable, and you set the standard by using the tools in your coaching sessions.
Grow Your Salespeople – Leaving training to Learning and Development or HR is often very tempting. Still, it’s our responsibility as leaders to develop our people so they get better every day. Set in place different programs that open opportunities for coaching on the fly – I get my salespeople to blind copy me on emails – every email is an opportunity to give feedback and coaching and keep in touch with key opportunities. Set up a monthly team call and talk about a particular subject each month; creating demand, making effective sales calls, developing a Partner Ally or internal coach, and closing an opportunity with a closure plan are all excellent places to start.
Empower and Motivate the Team – One of the most powerful ways to create a positive sales environment is through the examples that we set as leaders. Salespeople have an inbuilt desire to respect their leader, and one of the key ways to build that respect is to model the behavior you want them to emulate. Always follow through on your commitments – if you promise to follow up on an internal issue, do it when you said you would. Be clear in your communications so everyone has clear expectations and can be held accountable. I suggest that we all take a moment to self-reflect and decide what habits we want to change for 2024 when it comes to the behavior that we model to our team.
Proactively Practice Self-Management – One of the biggest challenges for sales leadership is prioritization and time management – we are consistently overwhelmed with communication – often receiving over 120 emails per day just for starters! And that’s not considering internal virtual meetings, which can often be intrusive and provide little value to your organization. Somehow, we feel obligated to accept meeting invitations, especially those coming from above! On reassessing priorities for 2024, you may need to reset some expectations regarding time management to make sure that you have the time to focus on the most important things. Maybe you need to rethink how you are using email – perhaps you set the wrong expectations for others by answering emails too quickly – the quicker you answer emails, the more people expect that speed of response, setting yourself up for creating bad priorities.
Five things to consider. I encourage you to reflect and take the time to write down a simple plan. Once you have developed your plan, please share it with your immediate manager and your team. Keep it flexible and be prepared to change it if it needs tweaking after a month.
I wish you all a great 2024 and let’s attack the year with a fresh start and strong leadership!
Personal Challenge: Do some habit planning for 2024. Sit down in your own space and complete the 4-quadrant habit creator. What are the things you are Going to Start, Stop, do more of, and Do less of? Build your action plan and preplan events in your calendar such as regular coaching. Announce this to your team!