As we approach Q4, it’s important to identify the strategies that will help us to make sure we are on track to hit or exceed our sales goals by the end of the year. With that goal in mind, consider the following four steps, which can help you set yourself up for a great fourth quarter.
- Do a sales-cycle reality check. Evaluate your funnel. Identify which prospects within in it are furthest along in your sales cycle. It’s likely that your manager would like to see anywhere from three to six times as much business in process within your entire pipeline than you are responsible for delivering in a given period. However, funnel size can be misleading. That common “3x-plus pipeline” analysis leaves out an important question: Which prospects have progressed the most in your buying process? If you have a six-month selling cycle, and ten of your prospects are in month five, while the remaining thirty are just getting started with you, it’s going to make the most sense for you to prioritize your efforts this quarter by focusing more closely on the ten opportunities that are furthest along. For everyone else, it’s already 2019! At the very least, you should know who’s statistically most likely to close in October, November, and December, and review that priority list with your manager. This discussion will allow you to determine quickly where the gap is in the fourth quarter, and where you should be spending most of your time.
- Sit down with the delivery or service team. The people who roll out your products, implement your programs, and service your client base can often point you toward opportunities for repeat business that you may not have heard about. Set aside a little time now to review what’s going on with all the relevant accounts … and you may just spot some low-hanging fruit.
- Schedule quarterly reviews with your best clients. Do this as early in the quarter as possible, so that new opportunities for business that come up during these critical analysis and planning discussions can be fast-tracked. During your talks with these important customers (and indeed with all buyers with whom you interact this quarter), it’s also going to be important to qualify opportunities not just for pain, budget, and decision-making process, but for urgency, as in: “Is this something you’re eager to make happen this year, or is it something that’s more likely to move into Q1 or Q2 of next year?” If the buyer isn’t urgent about moving forward on the business this quarter, you are better off finding out about that sooner rather than later.
- If necessary, adjust your cookbook. Take a fresh look at the daily business development metrics you are holding yourself accountable for generating. Don’t just look at the targets; analyze the actual activity numbers you have been posting in terms of calls, networking meetings, referral generation, and so forth. Then do the math. Does the current track you are on get you where you want to go this quarter? If not, what should change? What new activity targets should you set for yourself – and deliver on – to make this quarter a win?