Sales Managers: I know you have Q4 quotas to finish crushing, so I'll make this introduction brief. Whether you are running a small Startup team or managing a huge Sales Department at a Fortune 500 company, you need to take note of several emergent trends in the Sales profession.

Entering 2015, you're in a position to audit your own management performance, find areas of improvement, and make a few resolutions for becoming a better Manager in the new year. The good news: I've done your homework for you. Below is a list of powerful commitments that, if implemented, will have tangible positive impacts on your team's performance.

So let's get to them: Here are the 5 most important, actionable New Year's Resolutions that you need to make for 2015. 

SalesFolkResolution 1. Commit to Your SDRs

Max Altschuler thinks that 2015 will be the Year of the SDR. The Harvard Business Review has indicated that SDRs are about to become a Sales Manager's best friend

Ladies and gentlemen: 2015 will be the time for you to commit to your SDRs.

With that said, it's also time to think about how you are going to combat the pictured chart's implications (Ex. incentives, talent maximization). Look at the following numbers from the HBR article: "Over the past 2 years, 46% percent of (HBR) study participants reported a shift from a field sales model to an inside sales model, while 21% reported a shift from inside sales to a field sales model." 

It's not hard to see the future this trend shows -- more companies are switching to the Inside Sales model, which means lower pay and a more streamlined, process-driven sales methodology.

The good news is this shift saves your company money in terms of salary. The bad news is that more experienced, skilled Sales Reps are not going to be incentivized nearly as much as they have been in the past. How are you going to combat this in 2015? That needs to be top of mind as you enter the new year.

Resolution 2. Leverage Social Selling

If you still think social selling is for poseurs, read this excellent Lee Salz article about the value of LinkedIn selling and get back to me. I use LinkedIn every day to generate leads for Ambition, and there is an elegance to communicating with someone in a place where they expect to do business.

You want to build credibility for your organization? Have someone on your team write a blog post on LinkedIn. Use (free!) tools like to incorporate Social Selling into all aspects of your selling process so you can have as much information as possible about who you're selling to.

The days of "adding value are here." Know how to add value before you even have a conversation with the person you're selling to. Achieve that through Social Selling.

x-rayResolution 3. X-Ray Your Sales Process

We need to talk about your sales process. Honestly, it could be better. I don't know you. I've never met you. But I can guaran-damn-tee that you're not being thorough enough in investigating what's working and what's not working

How do I know? Something called human nature. I'm not here to chastise you, by the way, this is something I'm occasionally guilty of myself here at Ambition. Why? I'm too busy selling.

The fact is, people don't x-ray their sales process because it takes time and the benefits are delayed, rather than instant. Sales people operate under a constant time crunch. Quotas come with deadlines. It's easy to defer something as painstaking as a thorough review of one's process when instant gratification is the demand.

Which is why I'm calling for a thorough X-Ray of your Sales Process sometime within Q1. Do it early, that way you can see results throughout Quarters 2 through 4.

Resolution 4. Automate Your Tasks

Are you still inputting data manually into Salesforce? Automate that. Are you still writing out each cold email you send individually? Automate that. Are you still spending hours generating reports, combing through spreadsheets, and scrolling through a mega-ton of Salesforce data in a quest for actionable data? Automate that.

To quote a beloved relic of 70's popular culture, "Gentlemen, we have the technology." Sales automation tools are cheap and effective enough now to warrant their implementation into your sales processes. If the concept sounds dubious, it really was -- up until this past year.

The proliferation of tools designed specifically to automate B.S. tasks has been mind-blowing.I can speak firsthand about the value of these tools. We use automation daily here at Ambition, with excellent results. Start with some of the simple tools described in the articles above. Monitor your results. Then go from there.

raiders coachResolution 5. No Excuses, Coach Like a Champion

The number one thing keeping you from coaching your people more effectively at work is time. We get it. But guess what, I just found a way for you to save a ton of extra time via Resolution number four.

Use the time you save from not having to dive into Reports, Salesforce, and your email account by actually meeting with your people. Studies report that it does not require that much additional coaching -- only 15 more minutes each week with each individual rep -- to see results. 

The most important change you can make? It's not how you coach, but who you coach.  Per the Harvard Business Review: "The real payoff from good coaching lies among the middle 60% — your core performers. For this group, the best-quality coaching can improve performance up to 19%.* In fact, even moderate improvement in coaching quality — simply from below to above average — can mean a six to eight percent increase in performance across 50% of your sales force. Often as not, that makes the difference between hitting or missing goals."

Focus on coaching the middle 60 percent of your sales team. Use extra time saved through automation and other techniques to inject an extra 15 minutes of one-on-one coaching with your reps a few times per month. The result: Better performance habits amongst your talent, better company culture, and more loyalty from your Sales team. 

Ambition: The 360° Inside Sales Management Platform

Ambition is a sales management platform that syncs business teams, data sources, and performance metrics on one system.

Sales leaders use Ambition to enhance sales performance insights and build sales reports, scorecards, contests, and TVs that supercharge focus, effort and accountability.  

Ambition is endorsed by Harvard Business Review and AA-ISP (the Global Inside Sales Organization). Hear more from business leaders who use Ambition in their organization.

Watch Testimonials:

  1. FiveStars: Adam Wall. Sr. Manager of Sales Operations . 
  2. Filemaker: Brad Freitag. Vice-President of Worldwide Sales.
  3. Outreach: Mark Kosoglow. Vice-President of Sales.
  4. Cell Marque: Lauren Hopson. Director of Sales & Marketing.
  5. Access America Transport: Ted Alling. Chief Executive Officer.

Watch Product Walkthroughs:

  1. ChowNow. Led by Vice-President of Sales, Drew Woodcock.
  2. Outreach. Led by Sales Development Manager, Alex Lynn.
  3. AMX Logistics. Led by Executive Vice-President ,Jared Moore.

Read Case Studies:

  1. Clayton HomesHBR finds triple-digit growth in 3 sales efficiency metrics. 
  2. Coyote Logistics: Monthly revenue per broker grew $525 in 6 months.
  3. Peek: Monthly sales activity volume grew 142% in 6 months.
  4. Vorsight: Monthly sales conversations grew 300% in 6 months.

Contact us to learn how Ambition can impact your sales organization today.

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