Rethink, Revamp, and Revitalize: Plan Now for Sales Success in 2024
Best-in-class sales pros (like you!) are already thinking about their 2024 strategy and looking at the accounts they are working on to determine the best way to move forward in the new year. As 2024 approaches, it’s good to take a look at everyone you are working on and place them in their appropriate “bucket” to strategically tailor your approach.
Your current contacts fall into three basic categories:
- Prospects (defined as people who you have already met with)
- Suspects (defined as people you believe could buy but who haven’t engaged)
Each category requires a different strategy and a different set of questions to maximize efforts.
Let’s start with the people who already love you and buy from you. For this group, focus on retention efforts and looking for opportunities to grow existing relationships. Put together a list of everyone who currently buys, and determine:
- Is this business at risk?
- Did they grow or shrink in the past year?
- Could your contact buy more?
- Are there other opportunities in the account if you pursue different contacts?
Growth is easier when you start from a solid base. Evaluate and determine what you need to do to firm up existing revenues.
Next, look at your prospects. Consider how your initial meetings went and how promising they seemed then. Ask yourself questions such as:
- Which leads did you talk to/meet with who displayed interest?
- What is the current relationship status?
- What must you do to move the prospect forward in the sales cycle to convert them into a customer?
Every year, you win business — and you lose business. To replace lost business and grow, you need new potential buyers interested in buying what you sell. It sounds simple, but when you are busy serving customers, ignoring prospects is easy. Ignoring prospects sends a message that communicates one of two things: either you are too busy to take on new clients, or you don’t really care much about doing business with the prospect. Neither of those messages is conducive to the growth you need!
Avoid sending the wrong message by adopting Thought Transformation’s 3-in-30 strategy. It works like this. During a month, touch the buyer three times using at least two different contact methods. (Different contact methods keep your sales efforts from coming across as stale and boring.)
You could email twice and call once. Or mail, email, and call. Or reach out through social, email, and mail. When a buyer consistently hears from you approximately every ten days, you maintain a visible presence and are positioned for consideration if they have a need you can fulfill.
Leads or “Suspects”
The last category is leads, or the “suspects” you think would be a good match but who haven’t engaged with your efforts yet. Consider:
- How long have you worked on them?
- How much attention you have really given them?
- How sure are you about whether you have identified the correct buyer at an account?
- What was your approach in 2023, and how can you improve it in 2024?
Time is a limiting factor for every salesperson. Look hard at your leads. Come up with a set of criteria for assessing whether or not an account is worth pursuing. Prune your list if needed.
This three-pronged approach helps you get a jump on your competition as the new year starts. You've got your customers (the ones who already think you're awesome), prospects (those you've charmed with your compelling sales personality at least once), and suspects (the mysterious maybes).
So, let’s talk #2024Salesgoals — Keep your customers loving you and turn prospects from “maybe” to “heck yes!” And for the suspects? Figure out what didn’t work last year and come up with a new approach.
Linda Bishop is the founder and president of Thought Transformation, a national sales and marketing consulting group helping printers and other companies achieve top-line growth through a combination of strategies, tools, training and tactics.
Her expertise includes all aspects of outbound selling and account acquisition, account retention and development, solution selling, marketing, and aligning sales processes with marketing strategies. Most recently, she published The ChatGPT Sales Playbook: Revolutionizing Sales with AI and believes AI will offer sales pros new tools for achieving revenue goals.
Before starting Thought Transformation in 2004, Linda sold commercial printing for seventeen years, working as a commission salesperson for the Atlanta division of RR Donnelley Company. She was one of the top performers in the Atlanta marketplace and had annual sales exceeding $9 million.
Linda has a BS degree in accounting from Purdue University and an MBA in marketing from Georgia State. She has written several books on sales topics, speaks nationally on sales and marketing, and has published many articles.