As the end-of-the-year finish line is in sight, we all strive to hit the number, make the stretch and finish strong. And, when we reach the finish line, we look back, celebrate our successes and take that deep, relaxing breath. Ah, relief…we made it through another year successfully.
Striving for success and being relieved at achieving it oftentimes makes us forget that there really is no “light at the end of the tunnel.” The reality for any account manager, sales manager or department head who carries a number at the beginning of a new year is that at each new year…we’re back at the starting line, expected to do it all over again with gusto!
2015 is a new year with new goals, objectives and initiatives. We all have a new number to hit, and thinking about that can be overwhelming. We just spent the entire year trying to reach the top, and now we have to start all over again. There is little time to rest and reflect.
For some this can be so daunting that they will start slow, fighting all year to get back their momentum. Others will embrace it head on and work to stay ahead of the challenges they face.
To be successful again in 2015, here are some key steps to take before you start:
- Understand the task ahead: You need to break down your numbers, group your objectives and departmentalize. You will never hit your targets if you don’t fully understand what they are.
- Gap analysis: Take a look at what you accomplished and what is now being asked of you. Now, gauge the difference. This is a real challenge that shouldn’t be overlooked. In terms of numbers, that means looking at last year’s actual performance and at the coming year’s target. The gap is where you need to grow; it’s not nearly as big as the overall number.
- Reflect and learn: What worked for you last year? What didn’t?
Look at the accounts that helped you achieve your goal, the people you depended upon and the activities that produced results. Just as importantly, you should also look at those elements that didn’t work so well. You have one key advantage this year: you’ve done it before. So, learn from your achievements as well as your mistakes and forge ahead.
- It’s a long road: Take your new goals and objectives and break them down into smaller, achievable goals whether quarterly, monthly or weekly. Smaller, attainable victories are essential to making progress.
- Dare to be different: Don’t be afraid to change your approach, try new ideas and adjust. If you repeat exactly what you did last year, the results will be the same. Don’t forget: you need to fill the gap.
- Build a “real” plan: Create a road map to the finish line. Identify what you need to do, where you need to grow, how many new accounts you will need and what additional resources you want at your disposal. A well-developed plan will keep you focused on what will help you achieve your goals. You also want to identify those things that will keep you from getting there and do your best to eliminate them.
For those of us who have been doing this for a long time, starting over each year is nothing new. It comes naturally and is an opportunity to grow and try new sales strategies.
We are accustomed to the ups and downs and see the challenges as just part of being successful contributors in both our personal and professional lives. Additionally, we are also proof that it can work; no goal is too big, no challenge is too difficult.
For those that are relatively new, embracing the challenge can be the most daunting task of the job. You can’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed. Use the strategies listed above: build a plan then execute to ensure your success.
Before you know it, starting each new year back at the starting line will be old hat, because you did it before, and you know you can do it again.
Just imagine that feeling of reaching the top! It’s intoxicating and can fuel your motivation all year long.
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