There’s something to be said for momentum. It can be measured in physical terms through acceleration, but there’s also a psychological component tied to increasing degrees of success. The more success you enjoy, the greater the validation, fueling the belief that you are making strides.
When it comes to industry sales, it requires more than psychological momentum and confidence to produce. It certainly helps, but training, incentives, execution of programs and other viable strategies are necessary to ensure momentum can envelop the entire account team. As we close out November’s State of the Industry report on sales, we asked our dealer panel to provide insights into the strategies that will enable their teams to gain more momentum at the onset of 2023, laying the foundation for a stellar campaign.
Sticking with its long-established game plan, even under difficult selling circumstances, has enabled Stratix Systems of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, to maintain a strong pace heading into 2023. There’s also a bit of a “keep your head while everyone else is losing theirs” mentality at play; Stratix, like other dealers, has been able to capitalize on accounts previously held by dealers that have lost a step or two during the pandemic in not just sales but service excellence delivery. High turnover has impacted dealer-office relationships, which no longer have the tack (stickiness) they once enjoyed.
Brent Simone, Stratix president, has stuck to the basics, driving out cold call sales blitzes every six weeks to set the stage for net-new engagements. The revelations his reps have unearthed have led to opportunities.
“There are certain organizations that we found are not taking care of their clients as much,” he noted. “They’re not staffed properly, they furloughed people. That’s not an issue for us. We’re getting in front of clients and finding some who are unhappy or dissatisfied due to a lack of communication or service levels.”
Don Foley, vice president of sales for Usherwood Office Technology of Syracuse, New York, believes one key is the company’s stellar record on retention, earned through its solid compensation and recognition programs. He credits the sales staff behind the company’s record-setting performance in 2022.
“We continue to drive activity and different ways of going to market to ensure we get out of the gate quickly in fiscal year 2023,” he added.
Optimism and enthusiasm abound at CPI Technologies of Springfield, Missouri. President and CEO Erik Crane believes expectations setting is paramount, particularly when it comes to sharing data with clients regarding product availability and realistic delivery schedules. Addressing delivery impacts to the bottom line of sales reps is no less vital.
“We have implemented new bonus plans that are helping to offset the delays in commissions due to extended delivery times,” Crane noted. “Our team is a group of smart and tenacious people who know that these conditions won’t last forever, so if you work now, you will enjoy the benefits very soon.”
Making adjustments earlier in the fiscal year enabled UBEO Business Services to prepare for growth in the later months. President Jim Morrissey saw the indicators back in the second quarter and instructed his managers to hire more account representatives in order to accommodate the growth.
The goal at mid-2022 was to add 50 new reps by the end of the calendar year. This should, in turn, provide greater momentum for the new year.
“That’s going to give us the impetus to grow next year because all the new reps will have three to six months under their belts, time that will help them build pipeline and get moving,” Morrissey said. “We’ll build a lot of positive momentum off what we were able to accomplish in 2022.
“We’ve been able to get some low-hanging fruit, but I also think our value proposition has legs and it’s playing very well. There’s a lot of confidence in our sales force to win a lot of net-new business. That momentum spurs more and more excitement.”
For many dealers, 2023 growth will hinge on their ability to generate more net-new business, and that’s the case for Offix of Gainesville, Virginia. Tim King, vice president of sales, is bullish on increased activity and setting net-new appointments, and the dealer has focused much of its training efforts toward that end.
“We’ve also developed a program to make sure we’re staying in touch with our current customers every 90 days,” he said. “That keeps us attuned to the pulse of their account and ensures that we’re meeting their needs. It’s also a good way to provide them with information about other services we provide that they may not be aware of, such as VoIP.
“I’ve been in this industry for 38 years and it has seen many changes, but one constant that will never change is this is an activity-driven business. We’re all about driving activity.”
Planning for success is critical for dealers such as Pulse Technology of Schaumburg, Illinois. The dealer has a wealth of training and development tools at their reps’ disposal, and it has competitive incentive programs geared toward closing out 2022 strong while gaining traction for 2023. CEO Chip Miceli believes fostering a competitive environment among the sales team, one that highly rewards the top performers, goes a long way toward attaining the organization’s target goals.
“Overall, we’re very optimistic for what the next year will bring,” he said. “In order to achieve, communication and necessary change is imminent.”