October is a clear reminder that summer is over and that we're back to focusing on the business at hand. Last quarter is here and we are tying up loose ends and pushing toward our annual goals-both professionally and personally.
But are we on track? Is our team on track? An organization with clear financial processes is comparing revenue, profits and goals on a quarterly or monthly basis at minimum. Adjustments in spending are made accordingly. Top management is in the know.
What I have discovered in all my years of sales and sales management is that this information is not always communicated to the ranks - the sales team whose activity and success affect these monthly and quarterly numbers do not always understand the correlation between their daily activity, forecasting and the organizations' annual goals.
Comparing this to running a race, we know how much we need to sprint (or not), when we can see the finish line. How many of us know where we are in relation to the finish line (or goal)?
There are some ways to "tune up" now and have better handle on making revenue goals before the holidays absorb everyone's energy:
- Clearly define the annual goal.
- Assess activity. How many face to face appointments or phone meetings were made in the first nine months? How much revenue was generated during that time period? Divide revenue by calls to get an average per call. What is the delta in total revenue? Divide by average per call to determine what minimum specific activity needs to be maintained to reach the annual goal.
- Assess quality of activity. How many calls closed with revenue generated? What is the ratio and is it adequate? Is there a need to refresh skills for getting appointments or closing sales? It's never too late to be better at it!
- Assess time management. Is there good prioritization between important, urgent and "not so" import tasks? Is there a balance between administrative versus revenue generating activities? Do personal errands conflict with business activities during the workday? Does work overflow disrupt personal life?
- Assess ability to forecast. Is there an accurate read of client's potential to buy? When is it time to walk away, or do they walk away too soon. Statistics show that more sales are made after the fifth contact - is that happening?
- Assess attitude. Is it positive? Do they want it badly enough? Do they believe in themselves?
When working through an exercise like this now you are laying the groundwork for next year's planning. A refresher in some basic goal setting and analysis can spark renewed energy, fine tune skills and hopefully stimulate that sprint to year's end success.