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It’s a new year! One filled with hope and promise – a clean slate – and, yes, new sales goals. Hopefully, you experienced a good year last year and got to celebrate a little or even a lot. Now, it’s time to move on to attacking the goals for this year.

Here is a quick checklist for sales managers to make sure you have everyone focused correctly.

  • Each individual salesperson must know what’s expected of them regarding sales. This includes where the sales need to come from – will it be from new clients, an expansion of existing clients, or some combination of the two?
  • The compensation plan must be clearly articulated to each salesperson on the team and they must understand which outcomes are being rewarded.
  • An individual and group meeting schedule has be set and all team members have committed to robust participation in both.
  • You have met (or are scheduled to meet this week) with each salesperson individually to hear their personal goals for the year.

It is one thing that the company has set sales goals, but it is more impactful if you understand each individual salesperson’s goals. Really learn what they are working to achieve. Could it be they are working to remodel their kitchen? Or buy a new car or boat? Whatever their desires are, insure they write them down; know how much they will cost; and then help them calculate the sales they need to close to be able to earn the income necessary to make those desires become reality.

  • In conjunction with understanding salespeople’s big goals, it is imperative to construct an activity plan to help them reach those goals.

I recommend a quarterly plan for you to complete (Get a sample Quarterly Strategic Action Plan here), and have every salesperson complete this Math of Success form. These two documents can guide everyone’s focus and behavior each day during a quarter. At the end of the quarter, it may be necessary or desirable to tweak those activities based on performance. Or it may be appropriate to stay the course – But plan on a quarterly review at minimum. Also plan to discuss each week whether they executed on their individual activity plan and set consequences for not executing. The key is that there is buy-in from the salesperson, that they own the plan and the consequences. Make sure their activities flow into your Quarterly Strategic Action Plan.

  • Have an understanding of the marketing calendar and any campaigns that might be running, whether you directly manage this aspect or not. You may not have insight into the whole year so start with the first quarter. Analyze whether to run sales contests in conjunction with any marketing campaigns. Make this year a year where your marketing and sales activities work in tandem and in a well thought out fashion.
  • Finally, make sure you go into the new year with a clean and realistic pipeline. If you didn’t do it at the end of 2017, go through a thorough analysis of all the deals in the pipeline with each individual deal owner and clean it up. Here are six steps to make sure the right stuff is in your pipeline.

Remember, all deals need an AGREED TO next step. This means both the prospect/client and the salesperson have agreed to what happens next – and appointments and commitments have been scheduled. Follow this motto: “Move it or blow it up”.

That’s it. Follow this check list and hold your salespeople accountable to their agreed upon behaviors and activities. Then be prepared to be a disciplined coach. Inspire each salesperson and motivate them individually to reach their goals. You will make this year the team’s best year yet!