$349.51. That’s the amount of my March electric bill in Vermont-the house that I live in at most eight days a month. BTW, I pay $84 in NH, where I live 20 days a month.
But I also discovered when I was biting my lip paying bills last weekend that I didn’t need to worry since I also received along with my $349.51 statement from Central Vermont Power a flyer that they had just won some award for their solution to the country’s high energy costs-“Cow Power “. You guessed it, a manure-to-energy program for which customers actually pay a premium of 4 cents per kilowatt-hour. Trust me, you do not want to know how this thing works, but from the labor outlined to accomplish the actual work, it’s costing someone a huge amount of money just to operate this program. This is from the same incompetents that nearly went bankrupt 10 years ago when the state bailed them out.
Sometimes in our hectic, crazy, jam-packed world, we forget the end game. It happens in trying to find solutions to the energy problem. Vermont has one of the highest energy costs in the country, but just north in eastern Canada there are very low cost energy solutions. The reality is that it’s easier for the governor to give out some silly award for Cow Power than to work with Washington to figure out how to import cheap energy from Quebec Hydro Power.
Similarly in Sales. The end game needs to be consistency to achieving monthly quota while at the same time increasing customer satisfaction. Too often, we go off chasing the wrong prospects or paying too much attention to those customers with either poor margins or deteriorating businesses.
As salespeople and sales managers, our most expensive currency is our own time, and it’s a finite asset locked into about 3,000 hours a year of total availability, or when one subtracts holidays, vacation, sick and non-utilizable time, around 2,300 hours. Sounds like a lot, but, in reality, when one subtracts all of the time wasted in non-sales activities and meetings, the number plummets quickly. All of the more reason to focus on the means to the end game-finding and closing major growth opportunities with new prospects and upselling key accounts from the current base.
Three Focus Ideas for Q2…
Why 3? At most, this is the maximum of new initiatives that you can deploy while still doing your day job of making quota. You probably should try just one or two.
Focus on Key Account Plans: (Click HERE)
Follow the 80/20 rule or better yet, the 90/10 rule for this quarter. Build a set of 30-60-90 day detailed tactical plans for those small number of 5-no more than 10-current customers that you can work with to build more business over the next 90 days.
Focus on your Value Proposition: (Click HERE)
It may be great, but, in reality, my guess is that your value proposition could use some fine tuning. I know ours can. This is the perfect time of year to provide clear language on what value you bring and not on what you do and what you sell.
Focus on your winners. (Click HERE)
With Q1 under your belt, do an objective assessment of all of the players on your team. To do a Jack Welch, cut-the-bottom-20%, is so yesterday. The questions you need to answer early this month are…
- Who do I invest my time in? Top or bottom-of-the-pack people? Don’t be so quick to answer this.
- What are the specific skills that people need, that the team needs?
- What do I need to do now to identify 2 or 3 future draft picks, just so that I have options?
Good basic blocking & tackling tools that get all of us focused and not chasing dreams during what I always regard is the most critical quarter of the year.
Congratulations on Q1! You earned it. Now it's time to step on the accelerator.