Thanksgiving is the time to celebrate and be thankful for our family and friends and all the wonderful blessings we have. I would like to wish all my American friends a Happy Thanksgiving.
Be careful not to overeat turkey, as it is high in L-tryptophan and can make you sleepy.
Most of your customers will shut down in less than four weeks. If you are chasing your 2015 sales numbers, you need to return from this holiday weekend highly energetic, focused and ready to sprint to the finish line.
The other reality is that the new year is less than 45 days away.
When I was running a sales force, I was equally focused on finishing the year off and starting the next year even stronger. I would get my sales team to begin building plans for a strong start in the upcoming year at this time of year.
The one thing I learned is that it is crucial to start the year off strong as this allows you (the heads of sales, sales manager or sales rep) the ability to drive your business without constantly answering the question, “why aren’t your sales on track?” Far too many companies will spend the first quarter answering questions to senior management as to why sales aren’t coming in rather than focusing on executing their business plans.
Time could be better spent on driving sales rather than explaining and coming up with reasons why sales are not on track.
So, what are sales eagles doing?
As we have seen in the past five years, business acumen and business planning are critical skills that sales reps and managers must possess to compete and win.
Top companies are focused on being ready to start the year off with a bang. That means that at a minimum, each sales rep should have a final business plan that they have reviewed with their sales manager. The sales rep should have a clear idea of any new marketing programs available to help kick off Q1 and know which customers they need to be seeing in the first week of the year.
Top companies are already building tactical plans to hit the road running in 2016. They have identified their key growth targets, have booked meetings and are in the process of building their customer-focused business plans.
Here is Steven Rosen’s 3-point indicator that you are “Focused” on having a great year.
Have you identified their Key Success Factors?
What I have observed with most salespeople is that they try to do too much. By taking the time to do a SWOT analysis, you can objectively look at your territory/region. The goal of the SWOT analysis is to identify the two or three things that you need to do to be successful. Salespeople who can clearly articulate their 2-3 key success factors and plan to address these factors are truly focused on success.
Have your reps identified their top 10-20 accounts?
Sales eagles not only understand the 80/20 rule, but they also live it. Targeting is one of the most critical steps to focus your efforts on the right accounts. By clearly identifying your top accounts, you know where to spend your time to get the most significant return.
Have your sales reps built a detailed plan of action?
Lastly, nothing happens unless you have a plan in place. I strongly believe that salespeople who build specific plans by account are always more successful than those who don’t. A well-thought-out plan of action is like measuring twice and cutting once. Pen to paper has two advantages: you crystallize your thoughts, and two, you make a specific commitment.
If you have said yes to all 3 points, Congratulations!
Pat yourself on the back and enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend. Have as much turkey, stuffing and apple pie as you desire. You are an eagle!
If you did not say yes to all 3 points, don’t worry, as you can use the next four weeks to get yourself and your team ready.
For those who are not ready and will not be prepared by New Year, all I can say is turkeys will be consumed!
The sooner you put the fundamentals for success in place, the better chances you have of succeeding in the new year.
Would you mind sharing with me where you are in the process? I am happy to help you soar like an eagle.