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It’s The New Year For Our Customers, As Well!

by David Brock on January 2nd, 2012

As we put together our strategies for the New Year, most of our focus will be on ourselves–what are our quotas, how do we earn the most money, what are the expectations of us in the coming year?  We have kick-off meetings to go to, new initiatives, new priorities, a lot of stuff.  Much of January is spent focusing on our company and what we and the organization needs to achieve.

But as sales people, we have an opportunity, our customers are undertaking the same exercise, they are doing the same things with their sales people and with everyone in the organization.  They are establishing their goals, priorities, and expectations for the New Year.  They have a lot of new initiatives and things they want to accomplish.  They have new budgets, undoubtedly much less than they had hope for.

The most important thing we can do over the next 30 days is to sit down with each of our customers to understand their goals, priorities, and the expectations of their management.  What are the key initiatives?  Is there any new focus for the New Year?  What are the major changes? 

Often, new performance plans are established with the New Year.  Each person sits down with their manager, reviews past year performance and establishes new goals for the year.  Or current plans are updated for 2012’s goals.

Are you taking the opportunity to sit down with each of your customers to understand their goals for the New Year?

  • What are the goals their organizations have established for the New Year?
  • What does that mean to the people you deal with?  How are the corporate goals cascaded down to them?
  • Do they have a new performance plan in place?  What are the goals established in the performance plan?
  • Has there been any shift in priorities?
  • Are there new intitiatives?

Over the next 30 days, we have this tremendous opportunity with our customers.  They are resetting much of what they do for the New Year, we have the opportunity to sit down, listen, learn, and to make sure we align ourselves with their goals, priorities, and new initiatives.

We can push that further.  As is often the case, customers are figuring out what to do.  New goals, new programs, new initiatives, new budgets.  What do they do, how do they achieve their goals, how to they do it within the new budgets?  We have the opportunity to help our customers figure this out. 

Too often, our focus in the New Year is internal, we actually waste an opportunity.  It’s New Year for our customers, let’s understand what it means for them, let’s align our strategies to help them achieve their goals, let’s sit down and help them develop a road map to do this-making sure we are a part of that plan.

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  1. Great insight David, one that I’m sure would be overlooked by many sales people.
    It is so easy to become focused on our own little world but in sales it is wise to keep in mind why we do what we do. And it’s not just for the money.

    • Greg, thanks for the note. Even if it was for the money, it’s much easier if we start with the customer’s priorities and plans.

  2. Great perspective, Dave! How can we adequately set our own goals without being in tune with those of our customers? This month is the most pivotal month of the year to gain entry into a customer’s budget and plan. Why waste it thinking only of our own arbitrary goals? Why not add some validity to them by aligning them with our customers’ goals? Nice point!

    • Thanks Doug, it’s not rocket science, but if our customers are going through their “kickoff’s” it’s a great time for us to get engaged and aligned with their priorities.

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