It’s that time of the year again. The start of a new calendar year often coincides with the start of a new financial year, but even if not, it still offers an invaluable opportunity to review the lessons learned from 2013, pause for reflection, and resolve to do even better in 2014.
I’d like to share 7 popular initiatives that many of my clients have resolved to implement (or in many cases, refine and reinforce) in 2014. I hope you find some of the ideas useful in establishing your own resolutions.
1: Clean up your data
Unless you’ve been exceptionally disciplined about data quality during the year, you’ll probably need to clean up your data. It may well prove to be the single best investment you could make. Measure the quality and completeness of the data you hold both on your key target organisations and the key roles in the buying decision process. Document the results, set clear targets for improvement, and measure your progress on a monthly basis.
2: Review your wins and losses
Get your top sales people together and review all the significant wins, losses and “no decisions” during the year. What were the common factors? What can you learn from the experience? Could you have qualified out deals you were never likely to win earlier? Could you have adopted more intelligent strategies in the opportunities that ended in losses or “no decisions”? What can you learn from you top sales performers? Document the key lessons learned and resolve to act upon them this quarter.
3: Update your Perfect Customer profiles
Drawing on the insights gleaned from your win-loss analysis, review and update your perfect customer profiles. If you’ve never tried to document the common characteristics of your ideal prospects, resolve to complete the exercise ASAP. You can download our recently updated guide here. Armed with these updated profiles, make sure that you review your target account priorities, and update your marketing campaign briefs and sales opportunity qualification guidelines. Make sure everyone puts the new focus into action.
4: Identify and Obliterate Sales Obstacles
Here’s another way in which you can leverage your win-loss analysis: while you have your sales people together, encourage them to identify the key reasons why apparently promising opportunities either stalled or dropped out of the pipeline. Narrow the feedback down to the top three obstacles (measured by lost sales value), brainstorm the root causes and potential solutions, and resolve to implement specific programmes that are designed to help eliminate or obliterate the obstacles.
5: No Content without Context
If you’re like most B2B marketing organisations, you’ve probably already resolved to invest more in content marketing for 2014. But I’d urge you to add a supplementary resolution: “no content without context”. As Doug Kessler graphically pointed out in his powerful presentation, your prospects are about to drown a deluge of dodgy content. As well as following Doug’s advice about creating compelling content, also make sure that every piece of content is accompanied by talking points that allow your sales people to put the concepts in the context of their prospect’s situation.
6: Rebalance Inbound and Outbound Marketing
You’re probably also already determined to invest more in inbound marketing, but it’s important to take the opportunity to review the balance - and the inter-relationship - between inbound and outbound marketing tactics. Don't believe the social media charlatans who claim that traditional outbound marketing is dead, but integrating the two disciplines together could dramatically improve the outcomes generated by your marketing investments.
7: Embrace Social Selling
Last, but by no means least, resolve to get the whole organisation to embrace social selling. In too many organisations, LinkedIn is primarily restricted to researching sales opportunities, and Twitter the sole preserve of the marketing department. These isolated approaches serve to dramatically reduce the potential for social marketing and selling. Resolve to create a social selling playbook, and educate and engage every member of the sales, marketing and executive teams to truly practice social amplification.
So there you have it: 7 deceptively simple resolutions that could each have a measurable impact on your revenue growth in 2014. What are your New Year Resolutions?
Here are those links again: