The End (of the Year) Is Nigh. Time to Reflect, and Plan

As we careen toward the close of another year, it’s time to start thinking about preparation for 2017 and beyond. Regardless of when your fiscal year ends, the new year offers an opportunity for reflection, evaluation, and strategizing.
How’d you do in 2016? Did you get out-hustled by any competitors, or cede a chunk of your AOR? Did you increase your market share? Did you try anything new, or was it same old, same old? Is there anything that can give you an advantage or get you back on track in the coming year?
This is a good time to consider such things.
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Establishing Efficiency

Looking back on sales figures is often reduced to a cut and dry proposition. Sales were up in these months. We were down in those. Obviously these revenue-based ‘show me the money’ stats are important and represent the bulk of how you’re judged.

But what other metrics do you track? How else do you document and conceptualize progress?

The more data, context, and nuance you can share with your team (and your boss) in the coming year, the better. There are plenty of relevant metrics that can offer a fuller picture of the good work you do. But one in particular should be on your radar for 2017.
Whatever it is you choose to monitor moving forward, one notion that shouldn’t be overlooked is efficiency. Efficiency is everything in sales. Efficiency saves you time — and you know what time i$.
The question is, how do you create a culture of efficiency?
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Geo Metro vs. Ferrari

You might not be ready to apply a player efficiency rating to each of your sales people in 2017, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get an idea of how efficient someone is. Or equip them to be more efficient. The secret sauce here, is data.
To use a car analogy, selling blindly without the guiding light of data is like tooling around an unfamiliar town in an ‘89 Geo Metro with an outdated map. You’ll sputter along all day, hoping to stumble upon a new customer.
Using data from a meticulous, powerful source like EDA, however, is like slamming on the gas pedal of a supercharged Ferrari with an in-dash GPS system. Or maybe more like the intelligent Knight Rider car that tells you exactly where to go. Either way, you’ll find your way to new customers … quickly.

Data points you in the right direction, so you know who to call and who may be more likely to buy.

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Projections for the Year to Come

So what are you projecting for 2017? What’s your budget? Do you have any (rational) reason to hope for a better year? Do you have a plan to create more efficiency?
Maybe your industry’s down. Perhaps you lost a few big accounts and had a tough 2016. I’m here to say that if you commit to using data — smart data that pinpoints potential prospects, highlights customers’ pain points, and filters out irrelevant noise — you will have more success in the coming year.
Armed with data, you’ll be more intentional in everything you do, the percentages will be more in your favor, and you will discover new potential customers. And, of course, be more efficient.
If selling more in the industries of agriculture/construction/lift trucks/logging/machine tools/office equipment/printing/trucking/woodworking is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions, give yourself a massive head start. Get started using data today!  
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