The new year is right around the corner, and we think you’ll agree that 2017 is the year for your business to dominate in its field! Here are ten strategies that you can use to take your business to the next level in the new year:
1. Review last year
Every year you have successes and failures. Now is the time to review last year and discover what worked and what didn’t. As an executive, you can take a look at all of your points of measurements and see what created a boom in one department or a bust in another.
You may have run a wildly successful marketing campaign, but failed to provide enough customer service to everyone who bought your product. It could be that you introduced a new product that sold out – but you still have an old clunky product you’d like to phase out.
Additionally, ask your team leads and department heads to review their year and submit their successes and failures. Make sure it’s clear that you are looking to make a determination on what to implement again – not to play the blame game.
2. Set up or improve your employee training program
Employees at any level do their job better and are statistically more satisfied with their job when they are provided with on-the-job training opportunities. There are many reasons for this. The first and foremost being that most employees want to do the best job possible. But, once one has been in a position for a while, it becomes apparent that they may be able to do an even better job or have a simpler time with some task if they only knew how.
Employee training may be as basic as sending team members to conferences or allowing them to attend webinars. Many employers provide basic information about the business and its organizational philosophy during employee training. Some training can provide employees with new skills, helping them do their jobs more efficiently and giving them a shot at moving up the corporate ladder.
2017 is a great year to boost your employee’s efficiency and self-confidence with additional corporate or job-specific training.
3. Fill in the cracks through which sales leads are slipping
There are more ways than ever to contact leads – and there are more ways than ever to lose them. Here are three steps you can take to increase the efficiency of your sales force:
- Compare the actions of your top salesperson with your average or less productive sales people. Find out what that salesperson does differently to get more closes. It may be that he is more persistent in following up or just asks for a meeting right off the bat. It also might be that your top salesperson is attending networking meetings or is the only one in the department willing to do cold calls.
- Have the department head teach these tools to the rest of your sales team. Your sales department can also practice various techniques with each other like cold calling, making follow-up calls, setting up meetings, and more.
- Create a game for closed sales with new, nurtured leads. This can be played weekly, monthly, or quarterly. As the game moves forward, have your department head talk to those who are lagging behind, providing them with more practice and helping them clear up what they don’t understand about sales.
In the end, the whole company wins when your sales team is doing a great job. So, make 2017 a priority for doubling or tripling the number of closed leads!
4. Automate what you can
Many employees shy away from automation, worried that a computer will take their job away from them. If anything, automating basic tasks can make your employee’s job better and more fulfilling. Here are just a few tasks that can often be automated:
- Sales follow-ups can be automated over email drip campaigns.
- Billpay for monthly expenses can be automated.
- Syncing the books with the company bank accounts can be automated.
- Parts of product creation may be able to be automated.
- Many initial reception services can be automated.
- Timecards can be automated.
Many of these tasks are time-consuming and simply need a human overseer – rather than a data entry team.
5. Review your target market
Customer demographics and your target market may become more narrow or broaden over time, depending on your industry. Look over the past year and discover if a new set or subset of people are now buying your product. They could be any group from “single women who use iPhones aged 22-26” to “rodeo enthusiasts.”
No matter who your target market is, be sure you fully understand their updated needs and desires for 2017. A lot changes in an election year, so the needs of your customers and what appeals to them may have changed as well.
6. Take a look at past marketing plans and reimplement the successes
When looking back at 2016, be sure to consider successful marketing campaigns. In fact, you may want to go back a couple of years for this one. Take a look at who your products appealed to in the past and find out how you best reached those customers. You may be surprised that a simple email campaign to your first customers was wildly successful, or that a funny ad resonated with a new type of client. Pick apart what was successful and get your marketing team to recreate or modernize the campaign.
7. Focus on customer service
Studies have shown that great customer service will often beat out price when it comes to a client’s decision to stay with a company. Additionally, customer service may be the only time your company talks to your clients, so giving them an excellent experience can not only help them stay with your business, but it can encourage them to recommend your business to others. So, make 2017 the year of customer service!
8. Go high tech
You don’t really have to go “high tech,” but the new year is a great time to revisit updating old, clunky technology. For example, slow computers can waste up to 5 days a year of your employee’s time. If your employee is working at $20 an hour, that means one slow computer is costing you $800 every year. You can buy a new PC for less than that – and that doesn’t even count the amount of time IT has to spend fixing old or slow computers!
This point also ties in with automation. Utilizing automation software in marketing, sales, and accounting may save your employees time, allowing them to get more sales leads and contact more customers during the year. This will only increase your employee’s efficiency and enable them to concentrate on doing their job better. It may also give your departments some extra time for training!
9. Get feedback and act upon it
Asking for customer feedback can help point out flaws in your system that you, as an executive, don’t get to see. For example, your clients may let you know via Facebook that your website’s messaging service is hard to navigate. It may also become clear from customer feedback that your automated phone answering system takes too long or has annoying music that makes the client infuriated when they are ready to talk to a person.
Additionally, getting employee feedback can help you keep your finger on the pulse of your organization. Employees may have discovered a “hack” for getting your product built faster. It’s also possible that the company “idea box” gets filled up with one particular idea said in different ways by different employees. Consider their needs and their concepts. You may not want to implement them, but understanding the feedback of employees allows you to clarify your company’s vision and communicate it more clearly over time.
10. Develop 2017 business goals
Last but not least, be sure to take a look at the future in this new year. What do you want to accomplish in 2017? Are you hoping to launch a new product, double your client base, or change to a subscription service? Is your goal to keep on steadily increasing your business production or to revamp your company entirely?
Leadership and organizational consulting can help you fully flesh out and accomplish your business goals in 2017. Contact us today – we are here to help!