Three tips to whip your sales territory into shape in the new year

Posted on January 06, 2017 by Medtech[y] Staff


Provide three proven tips to help you overachieve your sales goals in 2017.

The new year always comes with lofty goals, which typically start with unused gym memberships and unproductive quarterly planning meetings.

They should be useful, but many times we end up going through the motions and write out unachievable goals that never get accomplished. On the contrary, writing out achievable goals help you from becoming overwhelmed and not giving up. They need to be hard, but not unrealistic.

What worked last year may not work this year. New quotas equal new ways you get paid. Hence, a new strategy needs to formulated, no?

We say a new strategy is needed but don't confuse new with a total rehaul of what you did the year before. Let's call it strategic fine tuning to meet the current market conditions.

So, while all your friends are hitting the gym for less than a month, let's come up with a great sales workout for the new year. Follow these tips and you'll be in a great spot to make a ton of money in 2017.

1. Re-Segment Your Accounts

First things first, you need to re-segment your territory and customers. If you are unfamiliar with what we mean by segmenting your accounts, check out an article we did last year on the topic of territory management.  

Remember, your comp plan likely changed and you may have lost accounts or had new accounts added. Therefore, your territory and how you manage it will be different. 

For example, you may have grown an account from a non-user to one of your best accounts last year, so that account needs to move up from a C or D account to an A account. They needed to be managed differently than last year. 

Additionally, you need to start identifying who you can move to an A account for 2017. Segment all of your accounts and start hitting the street.

It's very important to tackle the beginning of each year like you are getting a new job and territory. We argue the year starts in the 4th quarter but that's for another post. 

2. Find A Mentor

Rep panels and role-plays are great and all, but they are crammed into a two to three day National Sales Meeting where you probably drank too much and are lacking quality sleep. Therefore, you need someone to bounce ideas off of and challenge you throughout the year. 

This strategy gets tossed out all the time but most people attack it the wrong way. Instead of finding a successful rep you already gel with, go out and find someone who thinks differently than you in order to challenge your typical thinking. If you buddy up with someone who already works their territory in a similar fashion, you won't grow as a rep and any negative behaviors you have won't be addressed. 

Take the time to call your mentor once per week and have a list of questions prepared for the call. Work to understand what makes them successful and call them before customer meetings to review your pre-call plan.  

Don't be shy. This is an exercise for them as well. These calls will help them get better at their craft and potentially help them understand what it takes to be a leader in the organization.

Remember, challenge yourself each day.

3. Write Each Customer A Letter

Wait, you said these tips would be simple?!!? 

Understood, but go with us here. This doesn't have to take a lot of time.

Since you've already segmented your accounts, you can technically get by with writing 3-4 separate letters (or notes) as you've already segmented your territory into 'A', 'B' and 'C' accounts. You could have 'D' for accounts with no revenue but you can also toss those into the 'C' accounts if you like.

As to the letter, we're not talking about a dicertatcion here. It could be as simple as a thank you note for your best customers. The point of this exercise is to 'touch' each customer in some way during the first month of the year. A letter (or note) is a simple way to achieve this goal. 

Here are some ideas:

For 'A' accounts, recap the year and give them a teaser of any exciting products your company is coming out with in 2017. Many marketing departments have company post cards with new products on them. Get a handful and write a simple note sharing your appreciation and briefly touch on exciting things at the company.

For 'B' accounts, focus on the positives but also create competitive pressure by sharing some of the great success stories from around your region. If hospital A had great success using some of your market development tactics then share those with your customer and let them know you would be excited to discuss the strategies with them. 

Finally, for 'C' accounts, these customer have either never generated revenue for your territory or the revenue has been negligible. Basically, nothing you have done up to this point has worked. 

So try something new. What product(s) haven't you shown them? What do you know about them and their business? Each one of these potential customers will be different and you could use any one of the strategies listed above depending on their hot buttons. 

Do they want to grow their business? Write about market development strategies like you did for your 'B' accounts. 

Have you showed them every product except a new one that came out last month? Great, send them a post card with a picture of the product on it and write a quick and simple note letting them know it is available.

Don't be pushy. This exercise is to let them know you are around and are aware of them. They may not buy from you yet but they're human. They want to be noticed and these are potential customers that could help you have a blow-out year so they need to be focused on. 

Pro Tip: Understand Your Comp Plan

This tip didn't make it on the list because many of you won't actually get your quotas and comp plans until later in January or even at your National Sales Meetings. 

While it may sound surprising, many (maybe most) reps do not fully understand how they are paid and it ends up costing them because they spend time selling products and focusing on customers that don't help them over-achieve their quota.

Please do yourself a favor and thoroughly read your comp plan and be certain you understand exactly how you are paid. If you have questions, reach out to your manager, or better yet, your new mentor.

Hopefully you enjoyed the tips and good selling to all in 2017!

SEE ALSO: Boost Sales with a Simple 7-Step Pre-Call Plan