Happy New Year! In the world of professional sales, and particularly in sales leadership, a brand-new sales year brings great optimism and celebration‚ or fear and anxiety. Most of us probably experience some combination of both. On one hand, the New Year is a fresh start, full of promise and potential. But it likely comes with aggressive growth objectives, and if we don't have change agents in place to drive dramatic sales growth, it's hard to feel confident about reaching those goals.

"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got(ten)."

                                                                       -Henry Ford, Tony Robbins

What implements of change do you have in place to ensure improved sales performance from your team? You can't put the same ingredients in the bowl and expect a different cake. If the only change to your sales plan for 2018 is an increase in individual and team sales objectives, you are setting yourself and your team up for failure. Intellectually, we all know that simply hiking the sales goals of our team is no guarantee of success. But do we consider the downside of doing so, and what it does to the team's confidence and morale, and to our credibility with the sales team?

"Change agents" that drive sales growth can take many forms: skill development (foundational selling skills, negotiation skills, specialized or advanced training), new products, product improvements, new markets or market expansion. Of course, there's always price increase as a means to drive revenue growth. What do you suppose goes through the minds of our sales reps when we depend on price to fuel our organizational growth? Probably the same thing that goes through our minds as sales leaders when sales professionals point to price as the reason for lost sales or consistently poor sales performance.

Wishing for success in the New Year will not make it so. As we kick off 2018, sales leaders would do well to consider the simple physics of sales success. If we expect an improved outcome, we must arm our sales professionals with knowledge/tools to fuel that growth.

Here's to making 2018 a great sales year!