Get crystal clear about what you'll achieve
Success doesn't happen by accident; it results from deliberate effort—an intention. To make intentional progress, set a clear goal.
The starting point for any pursuit of success is understanding what "success" requires of you. Therefore, you must first define "success."
When you are clear about your intentions, you'll have a useful framework for assessing options and making wise decisions to improve sales.
If you're not precisely focused on what you want to achieve, you're likely wasting time and losing sales.
Your goal must be more than specific; it must be actionable. Actionable goals involve activities that you can track and execute successfully. Results from those activities must be measurable or verifiable.
Next, identify how the achievement of your goal is possible. Do you need to win more key clients, reengage lost accounts, or compete more effectively? Do you need a more effective sales strategy, clearer processes, or more useful insights from sales data?
1. Identify the specific result you want to achieve.
This step directs focus, defines purpose, and organizes mindset.
2. Understand how the achievement of your goal is possible—by what means.
This step emphasizes the importance of thinking thoroughly, having an actionable goal, and being able to plan and strategize the success of a goal.
3. Establish a timeline for progress toward and attainment of your goal.
Setting a timeline gives context for various assessments and sustains performance.
4. Understand your starting point. Know where you stand today—your strengths and weaknesses—to appropriately plan your success.
Assessing your current situation—advantages and disadvantages—helps you recognize what success requires and have a realistic perspective when planning.
If you misjudge your starting point or the requirements for your goal, you're likely to fail to succeed.
Decide on an approach to your goal
Without a clear understanding of the steps toward greater success, your efforts to improve sales lack direction, which can be costly. As William Edward Deming famously stated, "If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you are doing."
Success is the outcome of deliberate effort, and improving sales requires a systematic approach—a defined process. "Direct" is all about planning the course to your success. What are the steps that will advance you from where you are to your goal?
You have no course to sales improvement, if you're unclear about the steps to greater success.
Consider your goal and your expectations for how you’ll succeed. Identify any weaknesses or unknowns that could hinder your progress. Recognize the primary steps and their objectives involved in achieving your success. For example, prospecting is a primary step in many sales processes, with the objective of building a leads list.
Next, evaluate the support that each step requires for successful execution.
Once you have an actionable goal (from the "Intend" step), complete these action items:
1. Identify the primary steps and their objectives to achieve your aim.
This step clearly defines the key actions for your success.
2. Recognize the requirements of each step for your success.
Knowing the specific needs and challenges associated with each step will help ensure having a complete approach to your goal.
3. Evaluate potential weaknesses or unknowns that could hinder your progress.
This step introduces an essential element for success: the potential obstacles and uncertainties you could face. This knowledge allows you to plan more completely.
4. Support your efforts with structure—schedules, tools, resources, training, etc.
Support and structure ensures your plan is actionable and that you’re well-equipped for taking action.
Be actually productive
While productivity is essential for success, it is often misunderstood. True productivity is specific to the demands of your sales goal and process. The "Engage" step focuses on your ability to be productive—to achieve targeted results from activities necessary to advance toward improved sales. If you can't meet targeted objectives, recognize it as a serious productivity issue to be addressed.
Your efforts to improve sales will falter if you can't meet or accurately assess the requirements for improvement.
The challenge of growing sales often revolves around two key areas: your sales process (the steps you take to sell) and your performance of those steps. If your process is problematic, your performance is not your primary problem. If your process is effective and your performance is deficient, you'll face ongoing challenges. Aim for synergy between your process and performance.
By this step, you have a defined goal and a strategic path. Activity must drive your process while sustaining a necessary performance level (quality of work).
1. Set performance standards for the results your activities must achieve to prevent your goal from being in jeopardy of failure.
This step establishes clear expectations for the outcomes of your efforts.
2. Review the requirements from the "Direct" steps and create a checklist of everything needed to support your success.
This step ensures that you have all the necessary elements in place to execute your plan effectively.
3. Assess and adjust your sales process and performance for synergy.
Evaluating the alignment between your sales process and performance helps identify areas for improvement and ensures optimization.
4. Complete all activities on your Prep checklist.
This step emphasizes the importance of following through with the necessary preparations to enhance productivity.
Achieve your ambitious goals
Know where you stand
Productivity isn't merely about activity; it's about achieving the necessary results to advance toward your goal. Therefore, awareness of your productivity is crucial. What information is essential for assessing your effectiveness in improving sales?
Continuing to lose sales is inevitable if you lack awareness of what is and isn't working in your efforts to grow.
In the quest for greater sales success, data is essential. Don't rely on guesswork when you can have concrete insights into what is and isn't working in your sales efforts. Establishing standards and recording results from activities are essential.
1. Review your process to identify essential information for assessing progress and effectiveness.
This step ensures that you understand what aspects of your sales process are critical for evaluation.
2. Determine the information to be recorded and establish a method for managing that data.
This step focuses on the practical aspect of recording and organizing the information necessary for assessment.
3. Evaluate productivity to pinpoint areas that require improvement.
The evaluation step helps identify deficiencies that could impact overall productivity.
4. Implement improvements based on the assessment.
This step ensures that the insights gained from the assessment lead to enhanced productivity.
Are you ready to improve your sales?
You can’t expect sales improvement without doing something differently.
The place to start is to question what you know, and assume, about sales. If what you know about how to sell is outdated or inaccurate, your decisions about how to achieve reliable sales success may lead you to disappointment.
Be able to improve
Rarely is a plan for sales enhancement perfect; expect revisions as you assess your productivity. Evaluating progress reports and conducting research will reveal options for refining your approaches and supporting sales improvement. Through testing these options, you'll discover superior solutions for greater results.
Sales improvement is impossible if you cannot learn from your efforts and make necessary changes.
To make informed decisions about where to focus sales improvement efforts, continual learning is essential. Many sales operations stumble at this point. Avoid that pitfall. Identify the resources needed to stay up-to-date on everything relevant to your success.
Merely assessing progress reports isn't enough; you must be mindful of everything related to your productivity. Gain knowledge about sales, relevant skills, and technological developments.
1. Dedicate time to learning and building knowledge about sales, relevant skills, or technological developments.
This step supports the importance of continuous learning.
2. Actively seek feedback from colleagues, mentors, or experts. Engage with professionals in sales or related fields through events, forums, or industry groups to exchange insights, challenges, and best practices.
This step emphasizes there being several ways in which learning can occur.
3. Maintain a document of your learning, including your thought process, goals, lessons learned, and reflections.
This step reinforces concepts and promotes your ongoing growth.
4. Regularly review and adjust your sales approaches based on what you've learned.
This step ensures that the insights gained from continuous learning translate into actionable improvements in your plan, preparation, and efforts to be productive.