It may not be the start of your new financial year yet year on year, the first week back in January gets us all a little philosophical about how we are going to do things differently. How this year we are all going to smash our sales targets, enter new markets and increase market share as well as launching new products and services and achieving those pesky KPIs.
So where do you start? Is doing something differently classed as innovation? Innovation is a word used so regularly it almost begins to lose its meaning. Yet the actual meaning is greatly debated and if asked to a crowd, you are more than likely to attract a wide array of answers. A fair definition for innovation is the ability to turn an idea into a solution that adds value to the organisation and customer. It is not therefore simply doing things a little differently or just the initial idea that is the innovation, it is bringing that idea to life and making it happen which is key.
Doing things differently in your every day sales life is a good start but how can sales be truly innovative? Well let’s see… are you chasing the same old contacts in the same markets in the same way yet expecting different results? Is this not the definition of madness according to dear Mr Einstein. So lets look at doing things a little differently shall we…. Let’s turn it all on its head and start at the very beginning. What is your mission, your vision and what are your objectives? Start with The Why as Simon Sinek’s global bestseller promotes. You’ve got to start with the right questions to achieve the results you are looking for….., obvious right?!
As an example, our Vision as a sales company is to professionalise the Sales Industry. So whilst we offer a range of sales solutions; our impact is relatively small on the sales sector as a whole for now!. We wanted to professionalise the sector creating entry criteria for all those entering the sales industry and started right at the beginning with our Vision. After assessing entry criteria, existing provisions and conducting market research on what our clients wanted we launched The Just Williams Sales Academy. The last three months have been quite the journey and the next twelve months present a huge opportunity for the business in achieving its national ambition and reaching 10,000 learners in the coming years. It’s taking the original vision and bringing it to life through innovation and surrounding ourselves with those who know and understand the training market, taking a service based business online and becoming an accredited provider.
Back to your new year, ‘New You’ mindset and the definition of innovation in its purest forms – how are you going to be deliberately different this year? Start at the beginning, start at why you launched your business, strategy or why you joined the business you work for. Why do your clients buy from you? What do you do differently? Why do you conduct sales in the way you do? So if all your business comes from referrals (lucky you) look at the opportunity this provides to think bigger and how much more you would generate with a little more pro-activity. Or do you receive leads from social media and if so what’s your conversion rate? Are you attracting the right customers enabling you to make the margins you are keen to achieve?
So very many questions, yet all key to ensure you reevaluate your position allowing you to change and adapt your business or tact to support your sales strategy and overall business growth. So start small with thinking differently – challenging your existing processes. Start with a reflection summary on what worked well last year, think about your wins and focus on what you can do BNT (better next time). We do this daily – it’s a great exercise to really look at the detail in each day and quickly work out the most efficient and effective routes to market.
Make sure you check out our first book of the year in review next week which is Mark Shayler’s Do Disrupt – well worth a read if you are looking to do things differently and innovate your own mindset and actions. It breaks down the word innovation which can be quite daunting in its own right and is a great way to start.
So here‘s to the next decade of being deliberately different, disruptive and even innovative in the way we conduct sales.