The Quota-Hitting Setup
It’s the 3rd month of the calendar year. We’re less than 90 days into 2014 and it’s already clear who’s going to have a great year. (If you’re on a non-calendar fiscal year, work with me here.) Sales reps have been heads down closing deals that rolled from December into January or any new or old business that rolled into February. Now it’s all about finishing up a strong quarter, right?
Of course get the March deals done. But the sales winners over the rest of the quota year are those that focus on April and May. What you do over the rest of the quarter and into the start of the next quarter will determine the success of your year. This is crunch time. The good ones are already doing it. The weak ones will start to think about it on April 1. Happy April Fool’s Day.
Q1 to Q2 Momentum
There’s something about the transition from Q1 to Q2. You can almost recover from a lull as you move from Q2 to Q3. Q3 to Q4 is another matter altogether. Then it’s an all out sprint to the finish. If you’re not in good position by September then the race is over. Might finish alright but not necessarily with a medal. It’s the Q1 to Q2 transition months that are key to how you stack rank moving toward the finish line at year end.
Here are 3 keys to a successful Q1 to Q2 transition:
- 1. Pipeline Purge – Get brutally honest with your pipeline. There’s gold in there so be careful, but this is time to conduct a very frank personal assessment of every line item. There are 3 categories of purging: 1) Deals in Play – these are the designated Opportunities that are in the works. Some are languishing, some need a boost. Some need to get booted. Clean up the CRM stage slots and see where these really stand. 2) Prospect Base – these are the pools of accounts, targets, hopes and dreams. In that amorphous group there are a handful of deals/opportunities that you need to proactively address now. Don’t let them get caught in the big prospecting bucket. 3) Dead/Nurture – these are the deals that fell into the Lost Column and now sit there getting nurtured or ignored. Don’t forget them. Now is the time to review this batch and find those situations that you know you can/should resurrect.
2. Prospect Program – Put your New Business Development Plan together and get it going. Now. Do it with Marketing or do it by yourself. (Note: delayed Marketing initiatives are never a Sales excuse – they should need to keep up with you, not the other way around.) Determine the right prospects to target in the campaign and pay relentless attention to detail. What targets, what titles, what message, what follow-up flow, what to ask, and what to do when they express interest. Track the campaign/initiative with simple metrics to read and adjust accordingly over the next 30 to 60 days. Don’t make it too hard – you’ve already got enough to do. But the effort will pay off.
3. Run Don’t Walk – Those that move the quickest here win the big race. The best reps always have a keen sense of urgency about them. This is not about being obnoxious, it’s about professional sales production that doesn’t meander or waste time unnecessarily. Use company resources carefully and ask for help as appropriate, but ultimately the burden is on you, the sales rep, to get it done and bring in the number. To do this well means moving swiftly and tweaking wisely as you go. Let your manager know what you’re up to. They’ll be impressed and may drive the rest of the team to model your actions. Be gracious and nice, but your focus is always on your own number. Keep that focus consistently and good things happen to careers.
So, time is getting short. Yes, even with 3 full quarters left in the sales year, time is getting short. It’s the nature of the beast. Sprint hard here during the Q1 to Q2 transition and you’ll have a very busy Q2 and Q3. Q4 will be a monster quarter as the Opportunities initiated today will have lots of time to sort out and close before year end.
If you follow this plan, I can already say it with confidence: Congrats on a great year!