2021 will be the year of the sales reset. It will be based on the following: employee retention, hiring, current pipeline, desired pipeline, conversions, and 2021 goals.
Let’s dig deeper into each one:
Everyone understands that organizations had to go through resets on headcount. What will matter most is how the folks who made the cut were treated. If organizations tried to move forward with business as usual, high pressure, not reducing goals, or other “old school” methods, the people who made the cut will probably be the first to leave for better culture elsewhere. Yup, you kept them, then treated them like crap, and now you want them to stay? The only reason they will stay is if they are handcuffed by commissions earned and not yet paid, or if they do have some good deals in the pipeline.
Hiring is already happening. The smart thing to do for organizations that have an SDR / BDR model is to hire those folks first to build the pipeline. Keep your current AE’s hitting targets, and then slowly add more AEs. Always hire in pairs so that if one SDR does not make it you are not starting over from the ground up. When you hire in pairs, you are not committing to two full-year salaries. You should be able to know who to keep and who to let go within 3-6 months. If it works out, then your pipeline gets bigger and hopefully better.
People should plan to “ramp” the pipeline like you do a new SDR or AE. Q1 will have growth, and you will know more by April and Q2 if it is sustainable. There will be some organizations that will have a tremendous Q1 because their customers will be trying to spend in Q1 to set up for the rest of the year.
Conversions & Pipeline Growth
2021 is also known as the year of Sales Ops. If you have 5 or more total people dedicated to sales (SDRs+AEs+Customer Success), your next hire needs to be someone in Sales Ops who knows how to find and coach management on real conversion metrics, not just pipeline growth.
100% related to 2020. If you did not commit to training your sales team in 2020 during the “slow period”, you are starting behind your competitors who did. Focusing on better conversations and converting those conversations into real pipeline, or kicking the bad deals out of the funnel, has never been more important than it will be in 2021. The false belief system that “reps know how to close” is just that, a false belief system based on a myth that a sales rep has convinced you they are good enough. In short, they sold you, and you went all in and bought their ideas. Yet, you wonder why they aren’t hitting goals? The goals are too high, and they are not as good as you believe them to be.
If 70% of your sales team is not hitting goals, your goals are wrong. Full Stop. Period. You’ve been pushed to believe a false narrative about growth only to satisfy the insatiable desires of your VCs, Board Members, and your own greed. You have everyone on your sales team pushing to make you a millionaire. This can be ok, but not at the cost of making good, hardworking people stressed out. Set your goals and adjust your mindset, that unless the market can dictate 300% YOY growth, you need to be more than satisfied with 100% YOY growth. You will not go out of business with 100% YOY growth.
So, what does all this mean in reality? It means that Q1 2021 will be no different than most of 2020 unless there is a massive market shift in spending. Everyone should be preparing and prepared for growth, but do not let your desire and frustrations of 2020 drive your decision-making process for 2021 growth. Use data to help drive healthy decisions.
If your team needs to get better qualified deals entering your pipeline to increase revenue significantly, we have customized training programs that can help you achieve your goals in 2021. Contact us here to chat about your options.