Hard work creates opportunity and there is still lots of time to find and close net new deals. Since December marks a great time to work hard towards a strong finish for you and your team, we have compiled the ten best ways to make sure your team hits target by year end:
- Communicate the Importance of the Target to the Team – all the reasons for hitting the targets may be patently obvious to every senior manager in the company, but may not be obvious at the rep level – they are more focused on their own day to day work and deals, regardless of whether they are on target. Even if the team has heard the message fifty times, it never hurts to say it again. And like a coach cheering their team on in the fourth quarter when fatigue may be setting in, you need a rallying cry (or several) to keep the energy levels high right to the finish.
- Put extra focus on key deals and territories – for smaller deal sizes, review overall pipelines and daily plans to capture a high percentage of the opportunities. For enterprise sales, review the best deals that each rep has in their funnel – determine which are the most important deals, and make yourself available 24/7 to help close whatever needs to close – often reps can’t get the attention of senior management – now is the time to make sure they can. In either case, don’t be limited to what’s in the CRM as many of the good deals somehow don’t make their way in. Don’t neglect the rest of the pipeline.
- Don’t let anyone quit – often there are reps who feel like they won’t make their number with only a few weeks left in the quarter. Unfortunately they stop working hard to hit their targets, especially with Christmas falling at the end of the quarter and clients taking time off. Sales leaders can’t afford for anyone to give up and try to sandbag next quarter…..watch for defeatism on your team and work with them to stay motivated to keep pushing to close deals. Encourage them to keep prospecting and act as if there is still 6 months left in the year.
- Make sure everyone is practicing good discipline and work habits – with holiday season parties going on at the end of the year, reps might be staying out late at night and then coming in later missing key selling hours. You can’t afford to let them do this. You need your reps to be well rested and ready when they come into the office and you need them to start early finish late.
- Reach out to all existing customers – customers are often not aware of your targets, so now is a good time to let them know you are prepared to offer the best deals for repeat business and timely purchases. You can also remind them that prices may be going up next year and buying now may in fact save them money.
- Watch out for Excuses – top performers don’t make excuses, they keep fighting to succeed all the time. If someone on your team is making early excuses about why they can’t hit their numbers, you need to have a chat about expectations and their career. Of course you don’t want them to conceal issues either, so you need to make sure you are constructive so you can help them advance deals and be successful.
- Monitor Activity Volumes – are calls, meetings, proposals, etc. in line with typical ratios required to hit targets? This can be your clue to deteriorating effort. Jump on any sign that people are not doing the work that leads to results.
- Track Deal Slide – What percentage of forecasted deals are sliding into the next quarter? Often reps dismiss deals early in the quarter assuming they have plenty of other deals to work. Time kills deals, so any that slip may in fact be dying. Jump on these to understand why they are slipping and what you can do to close them before quarter end.
- Keep the focus on the revenue target, not the news – the news easily puts negative thoughts in the heads of your reps or distracts them from what is important, which in turn it doesn’t put them in the right frame of mind to be positive in front of customers, and instill their confidence and trust. Focus on the customer and the sale. There is no certainty in the outlook and won’t be for the foreseeable future. Get over it.
- Have fun – nurture the friendly competition, the bonding that occurs across the team, and smile as much as possible knowing that you are doing everything you can to win. Your customers will appreciate it and reward you.
Last point – don’t forget the importance of prospecting. It is vital that you are set up to succeed in Q1 next year by starting with a strong funnel.
To your success!
Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.
He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.
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