It’s Only Common Sense: Making 2020 the Best Year of Your Sales Career


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Even if you didn’t do your homework last year, it’s not too late to set yourself up for success—all you need are two days of planning and a lot of hard work to make 2020 the best year ever. Here are 10 surefire steps to help you be successful in 2020.

1. Review 2019

What worked, what didn’t, and what should you improve to make next year successful? You don’t want to spend too much time on this, but it’s always good to look at what happened and learn from it, good or bad. Which customers grew, and which customers did not? What did you do right, and what did you do wrong?

2. Current Accounts

Make a list of your current accounts. Review the business they placed with you last year and when. If you don’t have this done already, it will take a little while to get it together. The lesson here, right out of the gate, is to make sure you keep track of this information in 2020. You need to know at all times where you are with your current accounts. How are you going to know how you’re doing if you don’t keep score?

3. How Are They Going to Do This Year?

Take a look at that list of current accounts, and using the Q2 you should have been collecting, figure out if they are going to go up or down this year. This will help you to develop your forecast for 2020. The fact that you have month-to-month bookings information will be valuable in calculating the way the business is going to come in this year.

4. Check Out the Business/Customers You Lost During the Year

Then, figure out how you are going to replace that business. Now is the time to do this, while you have the luxury of 12 months ahead of you to remedy the situation.

5. Produce Account Plans for All Your Current Accounts

This should include their total available business for your kind of technology. How much of that business can you win, and what it is going to take to win it?

6. Develop a List of Target Accounts

These are the accounts that meet your ideal customer profile, which is a profile of the customers that fit your company well. Then, develop target account plans for each of them. What are their hot buttons? What is it going to take to win their business? Once you have these account plans done, add them to your forecast.

7. Forecast

Develop a month-by-month forecast of what you are going to book in the next year. This is critical. No forecast means no success in the new year, and don’t tell me that forecasting doesn’t work because, to me, that is tantamount to telling me you are a lousy salesperson; I’m sorry, but that’s the ugly truth. The key to being a great salesperson, or being great at anything, is to be disciplined and accountable.

8. Measure Your Progress

Create a daily matrix to track your progress; this is another critical factor to being successful. You need to know where you are according to your plans for the year and how you’re doing against your forecast at all times. Otherwise, you are going to find yourself floating way off course, and it will be too late to do anything about it, causing you to lose the opportunity of having a great year.

9. Monthly Progress Reviews

Do a complete monthly progress review. Check on where you are to date, as well as what you have to do to stay on track in the next month.

10. Quarterly Review

Complete a quarterly review as well. You need to be aware at all times where you stand in terms of your annual goals. If this all sounds hard, it is, but I never said these were easy guidelines—just surefire guidelines.

And one more thing (always under promise and over deliver).

11. Create and Implement a Follow-up Plan Using These 10 Guidelines

You should do this regardless of whether or not your company requires them. A great salesperson should consider that he or she is in business for himself or herself, so it’s up to that salesperson to act as if he or she owns their own business. If your company does not require this level of discipline, then you will be the outstanding salesperson on the sales team. And if they do, then you know that you are on the right track and are working for a great sales manager and company.

So, take these few first days of the new year to prepare a plan using these guidelines and follow it diligently; then, I can guarantee that you will have a fabulous 2020. Here’s wishing that you do. Happy New Year!

It’s only common sense.

Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.

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