For the vast majority of companies that operate on the calendar year, Q3 is in the books and there’s only one more quarter to make goal for 2015. So what’s your plan? If you need Q4 to get “in the black” and make your sales numbers for the year, here are five smart tips that are a “must do” to get on track and reach your goals.
1. Execute on your sales plan. If you don’t have one, make one.
Not having a sales plan, even a simple one, is the perfect way to miss your quarterly sales goal and give yourself an excuse to fail. From your CRM data you can ascertain the average size of your deals and your conversion rate. Identify the gap to reach your yearly goal and at the very least, you will know how many deals you need to close and how many active opportunities you must have in your pipeline in order to make goal.
2. Focus on the opportunities that matter most.
Like all sales professionals, you have limited time and resources to chase the opportunities in your pipeline, so you have to quickly assess and prioritize them. Evaluate each opportunity by asking; will they increase my market share? Will they deliver the revenue we need? If the answer is not a solid “yes” for each, perhaps you should re-evaluate if you should work the deal at all. Be honest and unbiased. Clean and prioritize your pipeline by weeding out the poor opportunities and focus on the deals that will contribute to your and your company’s success. Work with your lead generation team to identify and chase more of the right opportunities.
3. Make every sales effort count, eliminate empty activities.
Once you have identified the number of opportunities you need to close, and you know which opportunities should be in your funnel, take decisive and clear action to move the opportunities forward to a close. You know, that thing we call “qualifying”. Ask your prospects the tough questions up front, clearly and in plain language:
- Do you have a budget for this project?
- What do we need to do to sign the contract this quarter?
- Who has the authority to sign?
Stop wasting valuable time on empty activities such as over documenting every detail of emails, calls, texts and general status. In the end, nobody cares if Bob is on vacation in the Bahamas, just select from the activity dropdown: “called, no answer”. Use your CRM wisely to document and complete the key activities that will move the opportunity through the funnel as you approach the “yes”. Prep all your deals in advance so they ready to close at a moment’s notice.
4. Be realistic and be honest.
Don’t fudge, fake, falsify or over commit on your sales numbers; rather commit to the success of you and your team. When it comes down to it, it is better for you and your sales leadership to know if you are in trouble. Only when you have the guts to say “I’m in trouble” can they help you and the team to be successful. This doesn’t mean capitulate early, acknowledge any problem and tackle it head on. You have just under three months to make it happen.
5. Lay the groundwork for the next Q1.
Lastly, keep your eye on the ball and prepare for Q1. In the profession of sales, this cycle never ends and your next Q1 is as important as this Q4. As matter of fact, if you knock it out of the park in Q1, Q2 and Q3, then Q4 is a lot easier and you have much less pressure.
By implementing these five tips, you are setting yourself up for continued sales success. You can hit your sales goal for Q4 and for every quarter, if you start taking smart actions today.