Well, 2017 is almost over.   Here at Managed Sales Pros, anyone who has been with us for more than a year gets a paid week off this week, so for our team, our year is pretty much over.  Our team takes a much deserved break this week and we get ready for the new year.  I don’t believe that there is a good or bad time of day, day of the week or time of the year for cold calling.  I do believe in having a team that is happy and rested.  We also give our team a paid week off through the summer.  We choose these weeks around school breaks, not around “bad cold calling times”.

End of year cold calling doesn’t have to be a grind – and truly, cold calling doesn’t need to be painful at any time of the year.  If you struggled with your sales this year – at any point in the process, from lead to close, you should be evaluating what parts of your sales approach you should be changing for 2018.  Doing the same thing you did last year will get you the same results you got last year.  Is your goal to grow in 2018?  Time to think differently.

If you haven’t added cold calling to your sales process yet, and you’re planning to, there are a few things you can do to get ready that will be essential for your success.  Don’t let cold calling be the resolution you don’t keep this year.

Here are your Cold Calling Resolutions for 2018:

  1.  I will clean the garbage out of my CRM and PSA so that it’s not cluttered up with old data and I’m not wasting my precious calling time or marketing budget pursuing old leads that aren’t qualified.

One of the reasons our programs are so successful is our strong belief in data integrity.  We have full time team members that do nothing but check and clean data.  Our entire team is committed to updating records in real time to eliminate any wasted time in the future.  If you don’t have a full time data management team, and especially if you are a team of one, it is your responsibility to make your data useful.  This means making an effort to update and change records in real time, removing dead leads and collecting data points.  Make data integrity your top priority for 2018 and see what happens to sales for 2019.   Need a team to clean your database for you?  We’d be happy to help.

2.  I will not abandon cold calling when I’m frustrated with the results.

Cold calling isn’t magic and it doesn’t change your bottom line overnight.  The work you do now may not pay off for six months to a year, but it will pay off if you stick to the process and build your funnel.  This goes for any approach to sales and marketing.  Create your plan, and stick to it.  Give yourself time to master it, give the process time to work.  There may be some easy wins hidden in your database (and may 2018 see many of those for all of us!) but  you’re also going to have to build new relationships, and that takes time.   Don’t want to cold call yourself this year?  We’ve got cold calling plans for MSPs and VARs that range in price from $1500.00 to $6000.00 per month.

3. I will try new things and I will measure their success so that I can focus my time and resources on the things that are genuinely working for me.

There are many ways to measure success, but the one we like to use the most is closed revenue.  Start measuring different things so you see exactly where that revenue is coming from, and how it got in to your pipeline to begin with. While we can look at our year end numbers to see how well we did this year, It took us several years to identify the buying patterns of our target customers.  Our sales cycle is long, it involves multiple touch points, and it doesn’t rely exclusively on cold calling, although we do a whole lot of that here.   Are you accurately tracking the ROI of your marketing investments?  Are you testing new ways to reach your target market and then doing more of the things that work best?  It’s great to have new revenue, but it’s better to know exactly how you got that new deal.  That way you can repeat the process to get even more of them.   This also helps you prepare to evaluate the success of a sales rep, and do this you will need to know things like “it takes 17 calls on average to get in front of a law firm with over 50 employees, and 12 calls to get in front of a law firm with under 20”.  You should know whether your best approach is “call, email, email call” or “call, email, call, email”, and if that changes by vertical or company size.  Looking to set up a whole new approach to sales and marketing?  Our consulting services can help.  From hour long consults to complete program overhauls, Managed Sales Pros can offer as much or as little help as you need.

SMB Owner to SMB Owner, What I Wish I Had Done Differently:

I don’t mind sharing with you that I didn’t hit the number I wanted to this year.   We had to spend a lot of time this year doing some of the things I mentioned above, and a whole lot more.  2017 was a year of documentation, training, testing and process improvement.  We improved our bottom line this year and maintained our top line (sanity or vanity?) but it’s hard to improve your processes and grow at the same time.  My goal at the beginning of this year was the same as previous years – I wanted to grow faster.   It was the wrong goal for the year, and that became evident pretty quickly.

In 2017 we improved our processes, and we know based on the changes we made that 2018 is going to be an amazing year for us.   I can tell you that I wish we had focused on process before we focused on growth – growth is exciting and we grew fast.  (We were the 25th fastest growing startup in Canada as ranked by Profit Magazine this year!)  However, the things that worked for us when we were a team of five didn’t help us after we hit 30 employees.  If there is one thing I would change as a business owner, I would have done the work we did this year in our second year instead of pushing for growth.  It’s far more difficult to change the way 50 people work than it is to change how five people work.

Hindsight is 20/20, right?  Change management is hard.  Watching the needle stop moving was terrifying after three years of explosive growth.   All that work paid off, though.  In December we added 55K in MRR. That was all the proof I needed that the changes we made this year are now working.  You can also do this.  We didn’t do anything magical, and we didn’t hire a team of experts.  We just made incremental changes and documented like crazy.  Then we did more of what worked and stopped doing the things that didn’t.

I wish you prosperity and process improvement for 2018.  Thanks for following our blog. Here’s a picture of me photobombing people at the Inc5000 awards conference this year. My goal is accept one of my own in 2019 using 2017 as our base year. What’s your goal?