-91st sales day of the year
-April Fool's Day and all of the related dumb/fun jokes
-I'm not sure why or what it is, but today is also Edible Book Day.
-This marks the end of Q1, and with the flip of a page, its already Q2
The next two weeks constitute the perfect time of the year to gather the troops together, go offsite for a day, roll up your sleeves, bury yourself in the data and reflect on what went right...and not-so-right over the past 90 days. As one of the senior managers of the business, you should be making sure that this happens both for the sales organization and for the company as a whole.
In the Sales department, this is the time to sift through the marketing and sales data and make decisions on both individual and team performance and make the necessary adjustments and decisions. Tough responsibility, but that comes with the title of any sales manager, and if there are changes to be made or performance plans to be tightened, they need to be made now, when you can still have impact during 2015. With over 40 years of managing sales team, I've learned that individual sales performance never improves on its own, and "the strategy of hoping that performance will improve" only results in both unmotivated salespeople and ultimately in failed companies that never reached their expectations.
This is also the best time of year to figure out what went right and could be enhanced during the balance of the year. At the beginning of Q2, we have all of the salespeople present to one another a summary of their three best practices from Q1. First, it's a very positive opportunity for the best salespeople to be recognized among their peers. Second, we're looking for "trends of success" among these various best practices, and when we find them, we make decisions right there to invest either more time or more resources. Typically, these decisions result in advanced training time, but of equal impact, those resources could easily be added travel, increased expense allocations, point-specific ideas such as the addition of customer city tours, revised marketing campaigns and a wide variety of other activities. The success factors for this process are that...
- the ideas come directly from the salespeople to the salepeople
- priorities are assigned by the sales team in real time.
- decisions are made and communicated openly and quickly
- new objectives are discussed and agreed to right there
Moving outside of the sales organization, as importantly, this is the most critical time of year to assemble the senior management team and get everyone offsite to tune up the business plan that you and the team put together way back in November, and that the board approved in December or early January. Not only was it one of the toughest winters on record, which had its own impact on pretty much everyone's business, but simply put...things change. People leave, projects are advanced, it snows, you lose planned efficiencies, and both projects and campaigns get shuffled.
Things change, and a result, you and your team want to be able to express openly, in an environment where everyone is equal, what tactical and perhaps strategic adjustments need to be made to the business plan. And the only practical method to do this in is by takign everyone offsite...which might only be to the conference center up the street. It just needs to be outside the office.
And there's no better time to do this retuning than during the first half of April. Plenty of time (274 days to be exact) left in the year to make adjustments, reallocate resources, define new strategies and tactics that still can be implemented in Q2 and will have meaningful impact during Q3 and Q4. Or, just perhaps, make decisions to stay the course and make no change.
Happy April 1st!
Congratulations on bringing the quarter to a great close!
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Plan now on attending our 2015 Sales Management Boot Camp held at the MIT Endicott House on October 4th-6th. Over 7 years of continuing success involving 450 plus heads of sales, President and CEOs. Discounts available registering before June 30th.