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A Manager’s New Year Checklist

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During the holiday season that is now officially over, we got a chance to look back at the previous year and reflect on our lives, decisions and strategies, and how those have shaped both our personal and business lives. The reflection and evaluation time is over, and now we’re about to take the first step in the new business year, so let’s kick it off right. Without further ado, let’s have a look at a sales manager’s New Year checklist that’ll help you and your department get on track right away.

The Market

  • The first thing to do is analyze. Only with a solid set of data will you be able to estimate this year’s market situation and plan a bulletproof strategy for it. You can start by analyzing the products your company sells: which sell better than the others and why? How much did marketing campaigns influence sales? Which periods were the most profitable for sales and which were at the lower end? Then take a look at your customer base: who buys the most, what and when? Are there any notable patterns?
  • Learn about the marketing plan, then adjust and prepare the sales schedule for it. No matter how “close” you are to the marketing department (IMHO, as a sales manager you should be pretty close to intimate), you still need to know what’s in store from January on. Try to make the sales and marketing activities align as possible.
  • Make a sales playbook and keep it updated. Do you have one? Excellent, now is the time to go over it and incorporate all the updates that have popped up during last year.
  • If you don’t have a salesbook, have excellently sum up what it is and why you need to have it:

“A sales playbook is the sacred text of any effective sales floor. It collects the knowledge and experience of every member of the team and maps out your organisation’s sales process.A good playbook is tailored to fit your organisation’s needs. There’s no use copying one that you find floating around on the internet, it has to be written by you, for you. It should be a collaborative work, written by the entire team, explaining what steps are most effective in any given situation.”

The People

  • Each and every one of your salespeople should know what the expectations are of their performance in the new year; the rules, the stakes and the outcomes need to be clearly defined. Should they be striving for further expansion of the client base? Or should they rather maintain and nurture the current one? Or maybe a well-ballanced cocktail of both?
  • Take the time to meet with your team members individually, and listen to their personal goals and plans for the upcoming year. You’ve already told them about the company’s goals, but have you listened to their ideas about their own goals? As a good manager you may want to get involved, find out about their plans and help them achieve them.
  • Every member of your team should know exactly what to do, what to concentrate on, and what they’ll get for achieving their individual and the company’s goals. In other words: go through the compensation plan with them, so that there are no blank spaces and future misunderstandings.
  • Meetings can be a huge waste of time, but they can also be a great way to bring people together and spark up some motivation! Make a resolution to make your meetings better this year, and make 2017 all about team spirit!