Stephen Covey used to ask audiences how many grew up on a farm; typically the answer was few or none. Then he’d ask, how many had ever pulled an all-nighter cramming for an exam. Of course, nearly every attendee would raise a hand. (And many of those who did may have actually succeeded in getting a passing score on the exam.)

But farmers can’t cram and would scoff at the idea of doing so. Sure, take off in the spring, avoid working the fields in the heat of summer, then till, plant and water like crazy in a two-week period so you can begin harvesting right away! Except that won’t work; things take time to grow. This is also true of things like relationships.

Late every year, requests roll in and blogs fill up on topics like “Things You Can Do to Make Your Year-end Number!” This is like saying, “3 Things You Can Do to Assure a Great Harvest Even Though You’ve Planted Very Little!” The year ends however it will, your results were whatever they were. It’s now a new year, which means a clean slate and endless opportunities on the horizon. Optimism is in the air in sales departments throughout the world as leaders think they have the answers to meet their numbers.

But as the January hopefulness wears off, Chief Sales Officers must have a plan in place to keep their optimism high and the momentum rolling. Here are five things every CSO can BEGIN NOW AND DO ALL YEAR (you can think of them as New Year’s resolutions, if you like) to give their teams the best chance to meet quota and revenue targets in 2017:

  1. Become process oriented (or obsessed). Believe in what you do; reinforce and enforce. Stay the course.
  2. Be a coach – get a coach. The number one way to improve performance is to provide quality coaching for your team. This takes work; invest in your team and it will pay off all year long.
  3. Measure like it matters because it does. Inspect what you expect and make sure whatever you measure you manage.
  4. Make planning and practice a high priority. Even in the mobile age, pre-call planning is still important. Don’t play with live “ammo;” practice, practice, practice before you do anything.
  5. Get on the same page with your marketing team. You need agreement on what constitutes a qualified and quality lead, and make sure you have a plan for everything marketing delivers.

There you have it. Follow these five simple resolutions and you can make 2017 your best year yet.

To learn more about 2017 Resolutions for sales leaders, read the Resolutions to Start Your Sales Year Off Right Slideshare.

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