Get Real in 2018

Like many sellers, you’re wrapping up your fiscal year soon, so it’s time to close-out your year strong.

Now, more than ever, it’s time to get real about your sales: knowing what you can realistically close now, as well as what to target in the coming year.

Why? Because too often, we engage in avoidance behavior: putting-off problems until later, when they need to be tackled now. That’s at the root of a lot of mistakes I see in the marketplace today, and is a key hindrance to sales acceleration.

Stop kicking that can down the road. You need to plan and execute each of these steps to get real in 2018:

Get real about your pipeline

The health of your sales pipeline determines your success—not just how full it is.

You can’t finish your year properly and position yourself for the next one unless you’re honest about what’s going on in your pipeline right now.

What can you really close? List those deals. Work closely with customers to get them to buy now.

Get real about what to cut and about what happens next

Now comes the hard part: cut from your pipeline what’s not going to close. As hard as that might be, by cutting away what’s not working, you’re left with your real opportunities. Yes, this can be one very scary exercise! You need to understand how much of a gap you have between where you are now and where you need to be, target-wise. Otherwise, you can’t make smart sales decisions. Granted, some sellers who do this also discover they have a really healthy pipeline. Either way, the exercise tells you something meaningful, so you can make better decisions. Understand what’s left to close and what your goal is. How big is your gap? If there isn’t one for this quarter, define what it is for the next sales accelerator target or your stretch goal.

Get real about how you communicate

Don’t just reach out to your customers and talk about yourself. You must communicate in ways that add value to them first. Our most recent research tells us that businesses who take this approach get up to five-times better engagement from their customers. So be purposeful and ubiquitous. Use steady channels, such as LinkedIn posts, podcasts, newsletters and how-to videos: plan it all so that it broadens your reach while meeting the needs of your existing customer base.

Get real about finding efficiencies

[bctt tweet=”Stop confusing busy with business.” username=”EngageColleen”]

Pay attention to how you work and look for ways that you can do more in less time. For me, technology is at the heart of how I make that happen. Let me share a few of my favorites:

  • Use video conferencing instead of expensive business travel. Here, Adobe Connect is my top choice (but Zoom works well, too). It takes all the hassle out of setting up a call whether on desktop or mobile. And I’m in good company using this approach. I have a client who sells financial products who now uses it for 90% of their client interactions. They keep growing faster than the competition.
  • Use your CRM. You can’t rely on email for managing the wrap-up of one year and the kick-off of a new one. Your CRM is your rock-solid tool for that task. As I’ve discussed previously, it keeps you on track and puts everything you need in one place so you can get things done.
  • Scan more. The less time you waste hunting for missing bits of information, the more time you have for selling. I’m fond of using Adobe Scan for this task because it’s free, and when the document is scanned, you can turn it into a PDF, making it easy to search and share from anywhere. It’s not just for organizing your paperwork, scanning is a great way to make to capture the whiteboard work that’s generated in face-to-face meetings between seller and buyer. You can try it out for yourself by downloading Adobe Scan on your mobile device.
  • Speed-up your signings. Getting a paper contract signed is so 1990! If you are looking to close more contracts before the end of the year, you need to make it easier for your clients to authorize the purchase. I recently read a story about how Amway is using e-signatures to generate astounding sales numbers. Using Adobe Sign, they’re securing up to 90,000 signed contracts a month.

To wrap-up: this is not the time of year to be messing around with leads that are not going to close. Get real about your pipeline, about what’s got to go, about how you communicate and about the way you work. Not only will tackling this now improve the way you finish your year. It also will establish new business habits that will propel you throughout the coming year to greater sales success.

This post was sponsored by Adobe Document Cloud.