Year End Sales Focus – Mad Dash or Building Relationships?
Is your sales manager frantic this week or relaxed? Is your sales team focused on a final year-end push to make their numbers or did they hit their sales goals in early November? Are they pushing prospects and current customers for appointments and then dropping prices, offering special billing arrangements, foreshadowing pricing increases, or other year-end closing tactics? Are you worried about impact these moves will have on the relationships they are trying to build and the revenue you are planning for 2011?
I spoke with VP of Sales last week who barely had time to talk because he is running from appointment to appointment with his sales team. Usually the sales person got the meeting by appealing to the prospect with some variation of “my boss is coming to town next week and I need to fill my calendar….” Sound familiar? This is a sales team making a mad dash trying to collect deals to strengthen their year-end revenue numbers.
I also spoke with a VP of sales last week who will be on vacation for the next two weeks and has his sales team focused on making holiday “relationship calls” with customers and prospects. No push for new business, no last-minute discounts, no frantic desperation. Instead of making a mad dash for sales, this sales team is projecting an image of success and confidence as they invest in the relationships that will help them exceed their sales goals in 2011.
What’s the difference between these two sales teams? Obviously there are several but a key advantage for the second team is an organized sales process. We have worked with the second sales team for about two years and have helped them:
- Define each step of their sales process and the questions to ask along the way
- Focus on the right target accounts and the right decision makers in those accounts
- Learn to set covenants at every stage of the sales process
- Increase their bravery when asking tough, timely questions at each stage of the sales process
- Identify prospects who will never buy quickly so they can move on to more productive conversations
- Hire stronger sales people who can follow their sales process with greater tenacity and consistency
- Improve sales management skills – specifically coaching and accountability
There is nothing wrong with hustle. And sometimes the calls made over the final weeks of the year can be very productive. But make sure your sales team is doing it for the right strategic reasons instead of making a desperate push at the end of the year. If you find yourself in the same situation as the first team, call me to discuss the decisions can you make right now to be sure you avoid the year-end dash in 2011.