For many people, welcoming a new year is significant because it offers the chance to start fresh. Some of us take time to set professional or personal resolutions for the year; like committing to take up a new hobby, eat healthier, or cut out a bad habit.
Perhaps you’re not really one for setting resolutions, but you’d still like to start 2021 with some fresh sales goals and insights. If that’s the case, you’re on the right page. In this post, we will share tips to help you set SMART goals in 2021, watch sales trends and transitions, and optimize your work from home strategy.
Let’s get started!
How to Set SMART Goals
It’s important to set sales goals for yourself because the right ones can help you stay motivated and productive. When setting goals, remember to follow this simple acronym: S – Specific; M – Measurable; A – Attainable; R – Relevant; and T – Timebound. Here’s how:
1. Use specific wording.
For a goal to be specific, there must be a solid destination that you are trying to reach. For example, “Get better at sales”, is not a SMART goal because it’s not specific. To help you specify your goal, ask yourself questions like: What am I getting better at? How much better do I want to be?
2. Create measurable parameters.A SMART goal is one that can be tracked and quantified. “Make more cold calls” is not a SMART goal because there’s no way to truly quantify it and measure your success. Ask yourself: How many cold calls do I want to make per day or per week? Assigning a specific per day, week, or month parameter gives you a solid number to strive for and measure your success against.
3. Make goals that are realistically attainable.
It’s tempting to make lofty goals like, “Increase sales by 50% this quarter”. However, a statement like this isn’t really a goal, because it’s not realistically attainable. Make sure that the measurable parameters you set for your goal are rooted in reality.
4. Choose goals that are relevant.
Any goal you set should be relevant to your overall sales objectives and the current trends of the industry. It’s important to keep a close watch on all these things because they will help you set goals that make sense for the current time.
5. Set deadlines to make your goals timebound.
Timebound goals will keep you on track and help you stay motivated. Make sure that any deadlines you set are realistic for the size of the goal you wish to achieve. And don’t forget that every goal, no matter how small, should have a deadline or timeframe. This will help you make consistent and significant long-term progress.
The SMART goal-setting method will keep you on track and provide solid milestones on your journey to success. Next, let’s explore some sales trends and transitions you can expect to see in 2021.
Sales Trends & Transitions to Watch for in 2021
2020 was a year full of heartbreak, hardship, and challenges unlike anything we’ve faced before. It’s a great feeling to have those twelve months finally behind us and fresh opportunities to move forward.
Speaking of moving forward, there are quite a few predictions out there for how the ways you sell will change in the coming year. Here are four of them, provided by HubSpot sales leaders:
1. Video Communication is Here to StayVideo conferencing became an incredibly popular way to communicate in 2020. Some say that it was merely used out of necessity while social distancing and travel restrictions were in place. However, HubSpot Sales Director, Dan Tyre, predicts that video will continue to be used as a key sales outreach tool in 2021. He states, "I'm confident that video will stick in 2021. The underlying statistics are undeniable — salespeople who use video will connect at three times the rate of those who don't, reducing the inefficiency of the outreach process as a whole." If you’re not already familiar with popular video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams, you’ll definitely want to get to know them.
2. Remote Work and Off-Site Presentations Will Continue
In 2020, many companies sent most of their workforce to work from home. In fact, a study from Gartner found that an estimated 88% of companies mandated or encouraged their employees to work from home this past year. That study also found that nearly all organizations (97%) canceled work-related travel in 2020. These restrictions caused sales teams to adapt in ways they haven’t before. You learned how to reach out to leads and prospects virtually, run video conference meetings, and make sales presentations online. It’s likely that these trends will continue into 2021, so be prepared to keep leveraging technology to complete your sales activities.
3. Building Rapport Will be Even More Important
Many merchants pulled the purse strings a little tighter in 2020, and this will likely continue in the new year. To close sales, it will be important to first take time to build rapport. Founding Partner of Eternal Works Tim Jones suggests that sales professionals will "need to push past one or two conversations to build real rapport and trust in 2021 and building authentic relationships over time will be a requirement for all sales reps going forward." Establishing rapport and forming meaningful relationships with prospects is always important, but it will become a true key to success in the coming year.
4. Empathy Will Be Essential
In these difficult times, a little empathy goes a long way. You can make a difference for merchants by offering your full attention, kindness, and knowledge. For example, when you call on a merchant and ask how they’re doing, the answer might be, “I’ve been better.” On the surface, it might not seem like this call has anywhere to go. The merchant is clearly having a rough day and is probably not in the mood to hear a sales pitch. But, don’t give up. Instead of ending the call or launching into your pitch, try showing sincere empathy and asking if they’d like to talk about it. An ear to listen might be exactly what they need and you never know where conversations like these may lead. In 2021, being prepared to show genuine empathy will help you build rapport and nurture healthy business relationships.
You faced challenges in 2020 that probably drastically changed your approach to sales. In 2021, this approach will continue to change with the world around you. To succeed in the new year, you must stay informed of new challenges your merchants are facing, empathetically listen to their needs, and offer meaningful solutions to serve their business.
Finally, we’ll talk about how to optimize your work from home strategy in this new year.
Optimize Your Work from Home Strategy
By now, you’re probably used to working from home. But, as the saying goes, “There’s always room for improvement.” Here are five things you can do to optimize and improve your work from home strategy this year.
1. Follow a Normal Routine
Even though you may only have to walk into the other room to start your workday, try to still establish and follow a normal routine. Give yourself time to wake up and shower, enjoy your morning coffee, walk your dog, or do some yoga before sitting down to work. We also suggest getting dressed for work. Working in pajamas can be tempting, but if you suddenly have to hop on a video call, you’ll feel embarrassed and unprepared. Plus, simply dressing for the workday can help you get in the right mindset.
2. Use a Dedicated Workspace
It’s important to separate your workspace from the relaxing spaces in your home. If you can, try not to work from the couch or your bed. Set up your work area at a desk or dining room table to help you stay focused and leave your work behind at the end of the day.
3. Take Breaks When You Need Them
Without a commute to the office or meetings to travel to, you’ll have much less of a reason to get up from your work area. Making a conscious effort to get up and stretch or move around every so often can help you stay focused. Be sure to build breaks into your workday routine. Take your dog for a quick walk, set a lunch date with your spouse, or just take a few minutes to walk up and down the stairs and loosen up your muscles.
4. Try Not to Multitask
It’s tempting to catch up on chores around the house when you’re working from home. Fight this urge while you’re on the clock! You can very easily become distracted and end up missing a phone call or forgetting to complete a task. Instead, consider using any extra time you have when you would normally be driving home to get that laundry started or wash the dishes.
5. Be Prepared for Disruptions
Remember, your day is inevitably going to be disrupted by something. Whether the mailman needs your signature, your cat starts scratching the furniture, or your kids need you to turn on a movie, a disruption is going to happen. Know that it’s okay. Everyone’s life has been affected and changed over the past year, and all you can continue to do is your best.
We wish you the very best in 2021. For more helpful tips and resources, check out these posts: