What you need to know to successfully run a digital company?
Robert Rutkowski – 5. Jan 2017
In this blog post I would like to share some tips and ideas to set up a successful start into the new sales year. I’m writing these learnings now that they are fresh from our preparation. You can apply them for any new period or project you are starting. Here are some main things to look out for.
The first part of your preparation is probably the hardest, as the budgeting process is tedious and takes time. This year we started the budgeting phase in October so I could discuss the sales part with my sales department heads in early November. After several negotiations and alterations we were able to present the final numbers to the whole sales team in December.
Make sure to leave some spare time for the presentation phase as well, since it is essential to have everybody on board and committed before the year ends. Avoid renegotiations in January, as they can be critical to the team chemistry. You do not want to reopen those issues when a new term starts. Start fresh and leave the old year behind you.
Let your team know where the journey is headed and explain the challenges.
A vital part of getting people on board with tough budget numbers is having them understand the situation of the company. I recommend that you take the time to thoroughly explain the budget and financial situation of the company before you show any targets for the next year. It can be a big helper if people understand why the targets of the next year need to be challenging. Make them understand the direction of the company, the financial goals, and make them think like entrepreneurs. This way people will think outside of the box and will not have their own well being (lowest possible targets) as their only motivation.
I believe an essential part of getting ready for a new and successful period is a long and relaxing vacation. Even though the change of years is just a man made line, Christmas time and an extended vacation can play a vital part for a good following first quarter. We actually strongly encouraged people to take a full two weeks vacation over the holidays and made the Christmas week mandatory for the whole company. It is the only time of the year in which the whole company can do this and the effects are often underrated. In many online businesses (apart from retail) these days are the least busy, which also makes it the least expensive vacation days from the company’s perspective. Use this factor as a win-win and make sure your sales team starts the new season with fully charged batteries. You will see the advantage in January.
Despite having your team energy up and a clear direction in mind, you obviously need clients to call as well. In order to find yourself in a good position, I suggest preparing your pipeline for the next year during November and December. Some parts of this process will come automatically, as clients want to schedule appointments for that time. Other parts of the process can be controlled by the sales team. If you have the liberty, try to sell contracts during that time which are starting in January. This way your sales people will have some guaranteed money and a more calming cushion of sales starting the next year. Another powerful tool is sending Christmas cards and scheduled meetings with your key customers. This way you might have some easy sales with your most trusted business relationships that can help starting the year with a boost of sales and confidence.
Last but not least, the new year is also a great opportunity to sell new products. We are starting with two new services for our customers. If there is any new product you have been working on, this is a great time to release it, as clients have new budget and a natural appetite for fresh purchases. (Hint: white labeling sales products can be an effective addition to your current portfolio. This way you can take a shortcut if your own products are not ready for the big stage yet.)
These are learnings we have been gathering from experience. I hope they were helpful and you can use some ideas to start into a great new business year.
All the best and happy selling!