Business owners, with the year just about over, you and your leadership team presumably have a pretty good idea of where you want your company to go in 2024. The question is: Can you get there?

When it comes to success, the driving force behind most businesses is sales. If products or services aren’t moving off the shelves, literally or figuratively, you’ll likely fall short of your financial objectives. Here are some big-picture ways to reinvigorate your company’s sales efforts heading into the new year.

Review territories and customers

A good way to start is by reassessing your sales territories. The pandemic suddenly and severely curtailed business travel — so much so that some experts believe it will never return to pre-pandemic levels.

If your company has changed its approach to and budget for business travel in recent years, review the geographic routes that your sales staff used to physically traverse. You may see efficiency gains by creating a strategic sales territory plan that’s less focused on travel and more aimed at aligning salespeople with regions or markets that contain their most winnable prospects.

Also, as always, nurture your top-tier customers. If purchases from them have slowed recently, find out why and prioritize reversing this trend. For your sales staff, this may mean shifting focus from winning new business to tending to these important accounts. See whether you can craft a customized plan aimed at meeting a legacy customer’s long-term needs. It might include discounts, premiums and/or extended warranties.

Explore technological upgrades

Too much paperwork used to be a common gripe among salespeople. More often than not, “paperwork” is a figurative term these days, as most businesses have implemented technology to track leads, document sales efforts and record closings. Nevertheless, outdated or overly complicated software can slow sales momentum.

You might conduct a survey to gather feedback on whether your current customer relationship management or sales management software is helping or hindering the efforts of your sales team. Based on the results, you can then make a sensible decision about whether to upgrade or change your systems.

Incentivize staff

One thing about sales that will likely never change is the need to occasionally or regularly incentivize salespeople to go above and beyond. After all, what allows a business to grow is not only retaining top customers, but also creating organic sales growth from new products or services.

Consider creating a sales challenge that will motivate staff to achieve the specific financial results you’re looking for. One facet of such a challenge may be to replace across-the-board commission rates with higher commissions on new products or “tough sells.”

Investigate other ways to incentivize your team as well. Examples include boosted commissions or bonuses based on:

  • Actual customer payments rather than billable orders,
  • Increased sales to current customers,
  • Number of prospects converted, or
  • Number of customers who agree to prepay.

Ultimately, be sure to align commissions or other sales compensation methods with your company’s carefully projected and clearly communicated financial objectives.

Ring in the new year

Here’s hoping your business rings in the new year with sales on an upward trajectory and a sales staff fully equipped and motivated to be as productive as possible. We can help you generate or assess realistic sales projections and identify optimal, obtainable financial objectives.