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We’ve all had the pleasure of experiencing bad sales habits as a buyer, salesperson, or manager. Not understanding the customer’s challenges, presenting too soon, being too pushy, not enough qualification, selective hearing–  the list goes on. We’ve heard from our customers that bad departmental habits are far more complex, have a greater negative impact, and are much more difficult to improve upon at an organizational level.

But, before going into the resolutions, it’s important to know why these bad behaviors have formed in order to fix them. Also why, even though we desperately want to change them, bad habits are so hard to kick and promises are so hard to keep. If you ask a psychologist why people don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions, they typically focus on a few things:

  • Cultural procrastination. People like the motivation of a goal, and gain a similar satisfaction by saying they are going to do something, as if they actually did it.
  • False hope syndrome. We set unrealistic goals around the amount of change we want, number of goals to achieve, or the time it will take to accomplish it.
  • Love to hate relationship. People tend to like to have something to complain about, and may accept these issues as permanent, or think they will be too difficult to change.

When the teams that largely determine the success or fate of a company have these challenges, the best ideas and intentions can be derailed at execution. Here are some ideas for resolutions you can make in 2016 to avoid potholes, create a positive culture and retain top talent.

Quality Content, Less Equals More

There’s nothing worse than scouring through a junk pile for that diamond in the rough, or creating that gem of a piece that no one can find. Let’s agree to use a more metric-driven way of creating, promoting, and also retiring pieces of content based on their effectiveness.

Communicate More Effectively

A culprit of Marketing and Sales misalignment comes from a lack of communication, or the chaos that ensues with shotgun “Sales All” emails. Create a cadence for communication and contribution, and a notifications framework for important announcements. Focus on new visual graphical mediums and short videos that are more engaging.

Collaborate More Often

Many times departments feel divided, with Marketing creating messaging in a vacuum or Sales feeling disconnected from strategy. Invite sales into the content strategy sessions, get their feedback earlier, iterate frequently, and sit in on more sales calls.

Less Meetings without Meaning

Meetings are expensive and we’re all busy, so the first step is to evaluate if the meeting is needed. Then only invite critical people, send the agenda before, get there on time, bring snacks, stick to allotted time, and send notes, decision, or action items after.

Share Ownership of Leads

It’s time we stopped talking about them as your leads, or my leads. They are our leads, or more importantly, they are people that need a good buying experience. Share lead generation and conversion goals, so that lead sourcing doesn’t become an exercise that builds walls between groups.

Look Further Down the Funnel

We’ve mastered our ability to measure the top of the funnel; however, we haven’t institutionalized in the same way as to what impacts conversion of opportunities and accounts in the sales funnel. Lets all focus on putting in place the same rigor, tools, and measurements down the funnel.

No Finger Pointing Without Data

We love to have opinions, but sometimes confuse them with facts. We should be doing our homework before blaming the other group. And even when you have the data that shows someone is responsible, it’s far more productive to point people in the direction of a solution, rather than pointing a finger.

Incentivize the Right Behaviors

We all have different ways of motivating employees, but when it comes to sales and marketing, sometimes compensation plans actually go against the outcomes we want. Let’s make sure that employees feel involved in the creation of incentives, and they reflect the behaviors we want to see.

Begin with the End in Mind

New projects and initiatives often kickoff without defined goals, causing a lot of head-scratching later when it comes to making decisions or justifying new investments. Make sure the first conversations start with envisioning what our ideal end result looks like and start to quantify success metrics earlier on.

Measure Impact not Activity

It’s easy to confuse effort with results. Sales managers can become too focused on the quantity of activities versus how this correlates to the quality of results. Marketers look at how many pieces they’ve created and downloads, versus actual usage. Let’s start to measure email opens and engagement versus number of attempts. Measure meeting effectiveness and outcomes over quantity.

There are so many things we can all improve, but trying to do them all at once is a sure way to get nothing accomplished. It’s easier to prioritize and focus on one or two of these at a time, and set realistic, specific goals. Focus on the present, what you can do today, take small steps, and be accountable for each milestone.

Resolutions shouldn’t be one-time events for organizations, so keep the momentum going by defining an all year improvement plan. Be open to real feedback on how people feel the change is going, while also putting quantifiable metrics in place. That way it’s easier to make progress, and move on to the next goal with a sense of accomplishment. Oh, and make sure to have fun along the way, putting those bad habits to rest and celebrating all of your successes.

This article originally appeared on the Showpad blog.