As we head into the last 2 months of the calendar year, many sales leaders are trying to figure out where they will end up against their sales target. When researching for this article, there were many searches on Google. The one that yielded the best results were based around the keywords, sales stress at year end. For a lot of sales leaders, there is an incredible amount of stress on them and their sales team to finish strongly. Sales planning for the end of the year is often an important aspect of the job due to the visibility that it drives. There are many posts on sales tips to help close the year or quarter. This blog post will focus on how the sales manager can plan and coach the team to a great finish.
Understand Where You Are
This may sound like a very obvious statement, but do you really know. B2B forecast accuracy is really an important aspect of achieving your sales goals. This could mean looking at your renewing revenue under contract, opportunities in closing that have not been rolled out, and understanding revenue recognition factors. For the opportunities that are expected to close confirm they are on track and what is left to do. Ongoing bottom-up forecasting through your CRM should make sure this is very accurate. This should provide you with what is needed from the other opportunities to make your number.
The stretch in your forecast will need to be made up with opportunities further up the funnel. It is important to have a great understand of how qualified those opportunities are. Make sure that you have asked the right questions of your reps and that they have helped ask the right questions of their customers and prospects. It is easy to waste time or anger customers if a rep is pushing for a close and they are not ready to move ahead. Look at all of your open and closable opportunities. There should be a higher value for those opportunities then your delta, if there isn’t you will not likely make it. Great sales managers do this on a continuous way throughout the year. This is also a great opportunity for individual coaching for the sales rep.
For each of the opportunities, there should be specific next steps with time frames. The next steps could be with the sales rep, other team members, the customer, or other third parties that are involved with the opportunity. These should be the realistic steps that are needed to take the opportunity through to close. It is very important to have the right time frame on these next steps. As an example, the deal will not likely get done if you are hoping to get final sign-off between Christmas and New Year’s. You should also know when your customer and sales team members plan to take vacation and build that into your next steps.
Use the Team
The sales rep does not have to be alone in this. There are many team members that can help with the sale. This can include other sales reps, senior leaders at the company, business leaders, and the sales manager. There are several benefits to employing this team selling. Having another team member personally invested in the opportunity is great for moral. One of the other bi-products is that there is another set of eyes and ears when with the customer to help evaluate the opportunity and likelihood of an end of the year close.
Updates on Opportunities
There should be regular updates on the opportunities as you move through the days and weeks to year end. This can help re-evaluate the resources and focus that should be applied to each opportunity. The sales leader should be able to count down on the sales delta through to quarter-end.
Start Working on Next Quarter
Not all of the sales team members or even the sales reps time will be going into the push for the year-end. Reps and the sales leader should have an eye on the first quarter and next year. This goes for then funnel with opportunities and also on the ongoing sales training for the reps. Making the reps more efficient and successful means working on their development plan.
As a sales leader as you look to the New Year consider the tools and personal development plan for your reps. Lurniture is a great way to help with onboarding new reps and ongoing sales training through sales enablement. Request a demo and see if Lurniture is a fit for your sales organization.