First quarter sales

Every month I write two blog posts for Salesforce.com. Beth, who books my speaking and consulting engagements, always suggests the topic and a title for those posts. This month she suggested that I write something about your goals being off track at the end of the first quarter. It’s a sexy subject, and she had a compelling title too. But I didn’t write that post for Salesforce.com. I decided to save it for you.

About Q1

If your 1st quarter isn’t where you need it to be, there is very little you can do to change that now.

You can push to close everything that’s near a final commitment, but “pushing” your dream client can actually make an opportunity less likely to close (I am not suggesting that you don’t ask for the commitments you need, nor am suggesting that you don’t compress the sales cycle as much as possible).

You could offer discounts to move some close dates forward. But offering discounts to drag deals over the line trains your dream clients to expect discounts and damages your profit margins.

The truth of the matter is that this quarter’s number was determined by actions that happened–or didn’t happen–long before this quarter. That’s what you really need to work on.

How to Make Your Number Every Quarter

If you don’t want to miss quarters, the time to take action is two quarters earlier. Here’s what you should be doing.

  1. Ensure that you have more than enough opportunities. There is nothing that protects your numbers like a full pipeline. Too few organizations focus on “hunting” and “hunters,” but your goal is simply a collection of the opportunities you need to create and win. Without enough opportunities, you can’t make your number. You need to acquire more than enough opportunities.
  2. Follow your process. Your sales process is a collection of the activities and outcomes that move you from target to close, creating value for your dream client at every stage. Following that process improves the likelihood that you win. Failing to follow your process most often leads to a loss. (read more here: http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/03/12/do-this-and-win-dont-do-this-and-lose/)
  3. Take action on your highest value outcomes each week. If you are reading this, you probably have more work than you can do in a single week, every week. You have to make some decisions about what is going to get done now and what will have to wait. Your pipeline is a collection of “to do’s” requiring some action. Look at each and every opportunity, determine the highest value outcome you need to achieve, and take those actions first each week.

This is how you make your number quarter after quarter. There is no shortcut, and there is nothing healthy you can do in the last two weeks. That’s “get rich quick” and “lose weight fast” thinking.

About You. About This Week.

Do you have enough opportunities to easily reach your goals? Are you spending enough time acquiring those opportunities? Should that be first on your list of “must achieve outcomes?”

Are you following your process and doing what works? Or are you skipping steps, hoping to go faster?

What are the three highest value outcomes you have to achieve this week in order to move closer to your goals? What are you going to set aside to ensure that you have the time you need to achieve those outcomes?

Hit reply to send me your thoughts, ideas, and stories. Or just to say hello. If you know someone who needs this email (and of course you do!), please forward it to them so that they can sign up here: www.thesalesblog.com/newsletter.

Make this week the week you setup your future of made goals and made quarters.

 

Contributor Anthony Iannarino is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and consultant. He writes daily at www.thesalesblog.com and you can subscribe to his newsletter at www.thesalesblog.com/newsletter.