fireworks-235813_640Here’s what you might have missed from No More Cold Calling this month.

Goodbye, 2014. Hello, New Year! But before we move on, let’s take the time to think about what we’ve learned this year. Which broken sales strategies should we leave in the past (ah-hem, cold calling)? And which tactics will help us keep our pipelines full in 2015 and beyond?

Here’s a hint: Any sales tactics, activities, or systems that help you build relationships with clients and prospects are worth the time and effort. For more ideas to make 2015 your best sales year ever, check out what you might have missed from No More Cold Calling this month:

4 Ways to Get Past the Gatekeeper (No Tricks Required)

Gatekeepers are valuable to the executives whose time and energy they protect, but not to you, at least not until you’ve developed a relationship with them. And certainly not when you cold call. Gatekeepers can smell phoniness a mile away. Think you’re getting away with cold calling and pretending you’re best buddies with your prospect? You’re not fooling anybody. So what’s the fastest way to gain entrance into the C-suite? When you receive referral introductions from people your prospects know and trust, their gatekeepers will happily patch you through. (Learn more.)

[Top Sales Lesson of 2014] You Control the Technology

You don’t want to miss out on the joyful sound of children singing, or opportunities to connect with family and friends, or the heartwarming feeling you get when your kids or grandkids smile at you. But you will…unless you put your devices down and pay attention. If you’re constantly looking at a screen, you’re missing out on your life. And that’s a real shame. Because while few people would say their devices are more important than the people around them, too many of us act like that’s the case. Phillip Twyford, director of sales and marketing for Tico Mail Works, elaborates in this guest post. (Learn more.)

[Message to Management]: 74 Percent of Salespeople Are Failing

Did you learn to sell in school? I didn’t. I graduated from college with a Liberal Arts degree. I never expected to have a long, successful sales career. My expectation was that all salespeople were pushy, arrogant, in-your-face, loud, obnoxious, and total extroverts. But I quickly learned that the best salespeople—the rainmakers whose sales pipelines never seem to dry up—are honest, straightforward, respectful, inquisitive, and genuinely interested in helping their customers. The problem is that salespeople must learn these success secrets on the job, because they’re generally not on any school curriculum. Sales has always been a “sink or swim” profession, so it’s not surprising how many reps end up drowning. (Learn more.)

Your Millennials Are Gems Just Waiting to Be Polished

Millennials grew up immersed in text messages and emails. So it’s completely logical that many of them prefer communicating digitally rather than talking in person. I get the appeal. Millennials know technology backwards and forwards. They don’t have to learn how to use it. It’s part of who they are—which makes them naturals at selling online. How can sales organizations engage and recruit these digital selling superstars? By remembering Millennials tend to march to the beat of a different drum than their seasoned colleagues. (Learn more.)

’Tis the Season for Networking

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…and the most hectic. But the holidays are supposed to be fun. This is the time to really connect with other people. And you’re good at that. Otherwise you probably wouldn’t be in sales. Plus, the connections you make during this festive time of year can help you grow your referral network. Here’s how to get the most out of the networking events you attend this holiday season…and in the New Year. (Learn more.)

3 Dangers for Salespeople Who “Assume”

Remember the old saying about what happens when you assume? You make an “ass” out of “u” and “me.” Yet salespeople tend to make a lot of assumptions, which can tank deals and ruin sales pipelines. Assuming is dangerous because it makes us lazy. And assuming is a trap that salespeople fall into all the time—usually to find out their assumptions were all wrong. Here are three dangers in assuming that could cost you opportunities and minimize your sales effectiveness. (Learn more.)

[Message to Management]: Top Earners Deserve More of Your Time

The sales manager announces the top performers of the year. The “winners” learn the exotic location of the President’s Club. Applause resounds throughout the building as these sales champions are paraded like Superbowl winning gods across the sales floor. The rest of the team looks longingly on as their new super sales heroes march off; obviously they don’t have anything left to learn. Now it’s up to the sales manager to coach, motivate, and incent everyone else—the average performers. This is how it’s always worked in most sales organizations. But new research shows we might have been doing it wrong all along. When it comes to coaching, are we focusing on the wrong group? (Learn more.)