successful in 2014Recently in a client meeting, I was asked by a salesperson what they needed to know to help them be more successful next year.

It’s a great question and one that we should be asking ourselves on a regular basis, not just about next year but about next quarter and next month.

Here’s what I told the salesperson and the rest of the team assembled in the room”

1.  If you can’t raise your level of sales effectiveness by at least 15%, you’ll wind up losing ground to the competition.

There is not one company out there that is not demanding more of every employee with each passing year.  This means every competitor you have is going to be looking to become more efficient in how they sell. Yes, some will stumble, but many will be successful.

To you, it means one thing. Doing the same thing next year is simply not going to be good enough.  You must find ways to streamline your sales process.

2.  The pool of prospects next year is going to grow.

There will be more prospects than ever, and the good news is more of them will actually buy.  The internet continues to open up new areas and this means prospects can come from more places.  Yes, it’s good news, but it also means competitors can come from more places.

In the end, it means you have to be able to adapt how you sell to be more flexible than ever.  If you’re reading between the lines, you are now able to see how #2 very much lines itself with #1.

3.  Prospects are going to engage you later than ever in the process.

The internet is an amazing tool in how it allows prospects or, as I like to say, “internet stalkers” to review how you might be able to assist them with what you sell.   Each year, thanks to the capabilities of search engines, prospects are able to do more, learn more and ultimately draw more conclusions without the aid of a salesperson.

4. Time will become even more important for you, your prospects and your customers.

Because prospects can engage with the salesperson later, they will be looking to make their decision faster in regard to the time you have with them.   If you sell in the B2B market, this same thing holds true for the customers your customers sell to.  The entire sales process is going to continue to shrink in regard to the level of time it takes to complete the sale.

5. Customer loyalty will continue to decrease.

Why should a customer stay loyal to you?  There is so much information on the internet and the number of competitors is so robust, it only makes sense for even the most loyal customer to look around.

If you’ve been reading between the lines with each one of the 5 points I’ve listed, you’ll notice something.  They are all interconnected! At the core is the ever growing level of information available to the prospects and customers.  Just as the level of information is growing, so is the number of competitors you have.

In the end, the big take away is this: If you think you can be successful doing the exact same thing you did this year, you’re kidding yourself.  You might be successful for a while, but ultimately your business will erode and chances are you won’t notice it until too much has eroded away.

So take to heart what you can learn from these 5 things so that you will be more successful next year than this year!

Copyright 2013, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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