8 Ways to Position Your Sales Team for Success in 2020

2020 is here—and so is your new sales target. You’ve probably already devoted some time towards 2020 planning during the last few months of 2019. But it’s not too late to refine your strategy. By taking the time to plan your sales strategy for 2020, you can set your team up for success this year.

Here are eight steps you can take to implement a smart strategy to help you reach your sales goals this year:

1) Set ambitious hiring goals with a plan to meet them

Your ability to recruit new sales talent is perhaps the single most important factor in your success for 2020. To ensure that you’re able to recruit top talent, you need a clearly defined timetable for recruitment.

Based on your organization’s revenue goals and plans for scaling, determine how many new hires for each role you’d like to bring in each quarter. Account for possible fluctuations in the hiring cycle, such as the influx of new college graduates into the job market around May.

Once you’ve set your goals, you can calculate how many job candidates you will need to recruit and interview each quarter. Make sure that you have a system in place for attracting quality applicants and screening for them efficiently. Remind your team of your hiring goals and invite them to refer talented people.

2) Dive deep into your prospecting data to refine your outreach strategy

Before diving headfirst into 2019, evaluate your prospecting data from 2019 in-depth. This deep dive will allow you to identify your best prospects so that your team can devote more time to proven strategies. Don’t assume that you already know the best prospecting methods—the data may surprise you.

Use your Business Intelligence tools to find out where your sales reps find the best prospects and what common characteristics they share. What channels have been proven to be most effective in reaching these prospects? Which members of your team excelled at prospecting in 2019 and what methods did they use? Conversely, you should also check if your sales reps are spending more time on prospecting methods that aren’t working. 

3) Optimize your tech stack for a more efficient sales process

With so many tech tools available to help salespeople, it’s critical to ensure that you’re using the right combination of tools. Don’t assume that your tech stack works just because it’s been in use for a long time.

In consultation with team members, evaluate all the tools that you are currently using. Identify if there are any missing pieces, or tools that are not meeting your needs as well as you’d like. Then, plan to improve your tech stack this year by piloting new tools for your team. Create a schedule for the process, making sure that the pilots are sufficiently spread out.

4) Ensure sales and marketing are aligned with the same organization goals

To ensure that your team is well-aligned with marketing, you need a plan for regular communication and collaboration. If you don’t already have regularly scheduled meetings with the marketing team, implement them this year. Take time at the beginning of the year to talk with marketing leaders and find out if their goals are completely aligned with your sales strategy for 2020.

Yet strong alignment goes beyond regularly scheduled meetings. Evaluate the strength of communication channels between your team and the marketing team and take steps to strengthen them in the coming year. For example, you might benefit from a new system that allows sales representatives to provide constructive feedback on MQLs to the marketing team.

5) Look for new opportunities to up-sell existing customers

The new year can be a great time to cross-sell and up-sell existing customers who may have a new budget to work with. Encourage your team members to strategize so that they can take advantage of these opportunities. Ask them to go through all of their accounts with an eye towards expanding the business. 

Every account sales representatives target needs a comprehensive target. And they should always engage customers with an evidence-based argument for why they need a new product or service. Even if it takes time to ease into that conversation, the prep work will make success more likely.

6) Design an improved customer referral program

Referrals are an excellent source for new prospects. To maximize the number of referrals you receive, implement a formal referral program. This will help you strengthen your existing relationships and substantially increase the pool of referrals.

If you don’t already have a referral program in place, research successful programs as a model. Plan to launch your program in 2020 and train your representatives in how to discuss the program with existing customers.

7) Plan ahead for potential networking opportunities

Most trade and professional organizations have put out their schedule for 2020 events. Now is a good time to decide who will represent your team at various trade shows, conferences, and other opportunities for networking with prospects.

It’s helpful for your representatives to know this information as soon as possible so that they can inform prospects where they’ll be and schedule meetings. Your representatives may have their own suggestions for opportunities to pursue.

8) Determine continuing education and training opportunities as part of your sales strategy for 2020

It’s also a good time to fine-tune your plans for training sessions that you’d like to offer this year. Is there a theme you’d like to focus on this year?

If your organization offers reimbursement for continuing education, remind your team members that the opportunity is there and encourage them to start planning.

The path towards a successful 2020 begins with clear-eyed analysis of 2019 and an informed strategy for the year to come.

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James Meincke

Director of Marketing @ CloserIQ. Previously Recruiter @ ManpowerGroup & Freelance Social Media Strategist. University of Wisconsin Journalism & Strategic Communication Grad.