alarm clock with 2021 and 2022

Wow! 2021 is quickly winding down. Can you believe that another year is nearly in the books? I guess the adage is true, "The days are long and the years are short."

Fall is a perfect time to take stock of your 2021 results. The economy has been growing rapidly, so lately you’ve had the wind at your back. Additionally, price increases are jet fuel for increasing revenue. You should be in the midst of a record year – but if you aren’t, then your growth should at least exceed GDP plus inflation, which means double-digit increases. If you have had a record year, congratulations! Now you have a chance to beat your numbers – but you have to start now. If 2021 is anything less than fantastic, it's time to think about charting a new course.

You may be saying to yourself, "I have plenty of time to plan for 2022." No, you don't. Sales do not magically happen. They take time to develop for two reasons:

1. Let's assume you have a 3-month sale cycle. The activities you start today aren't likely to produce results for 3 months, which takes you to the first quarter of 2022. If your sales cycle is 6 months, you won't begin to see results until the second quarter of 2022.

2. Sales development efforts take time to produce results. Lots of managers are inclined to put training off until the new year. In doing so, they ignore the reality that sales development does not produce immediate results. There is a learning curve.

How long does it take to see results from sales development? To calculate the amount of time before you begin seeing sales training results, add the sales cycle to the learning curve.

For example, if you have a 3-month sales cycle and your team needs 6 months of development, you should start to see results at the 9-month mark. That means that if you wait to start training until January, you won't see results until well into the third quarter of 2022. That sounds more like a plan for 2023. Since there’s no better time than now to prepare for 2022, you should really consider how you’ll approach these four questions. It should be easy since I have also included the answers:

1. Can we be more effective? The answer is usually yes.

2. How much more effective can we be? This answer depends on your sales leadership, sellers, systems and processes. The good news is that they are all measurable, and you can quickly determine your team's upside potential. Start with a sales force analysis.

3. What will it take to accomplish our objective? It will take the commitment of the CEO/Owner.

4. How long will it take to achieve that? This is your sales cycle plus the learning curve. The learning curve is a function of your seller's "figure it out factor," the size of the gaps that need to be closed, and the quality of your sales leaders.

Remember, "A year from now, you may wish you had started today."

Jim Peduto is the Managing Partner and the co-founder of Knowledgeworx, LLC. Owners and CEOs rely on Jim's strategic thinking and transformational growth expertise to win market share and achieve performance gains.