A Wonderfully Exciting Time of Year!
1. Focus on the # of Days
First and foremost is the annual sales ritual of "Counting the Days of December". Including today, we have 10 more workdays in the year! Note that I did not write "just 10 days" since 10 days is certainly enough time left in the game to pull off a solid number of touchdowns.
Having said that, every day will require an extraordinary personal culture of positive motivation and an unrelenting commitment to running faster, driving harder and a constant focus on winning. No news here for anyone who is a professional sales athlete, but it still requires an individual culture of creating personal urgency and running rather than just being satisfied with walking.
Walk into the halls of Hubspot, and you see what I'm talking about. People walk really, really fast, and if they need a meeting to discuss something, they just stop, find a place on the floor and just sit down, discuss the issue or opportunity, and take off texting their agreements as they run back to their workstations.
Tufts is another great example. Class this afternoon officially begins at 1:15 with the first of the final exam presentations, but at 1:05 I will take 32 scrubbed down, dressed up and perfectly prepared juniors and seniors through a series of deep breathing exercises and loud chants with words such as "We will deliver the best presentation of the day!". In this course, I expect not just superb demonstratioin of learned skills and lots of exceptional hard work, but also total commitment and devoted energy to our customers who have given us these complex marketing projects to be solved...and because, after all this is Tufts, these students always come through.
This is the day at Tufts, ...and... these are the 10 days in our companies that every sales tactic and every positive reinforcement exercise needs to taken out of the toolbox, oiled up and perfectly delivered if we're going to win the game.
Simple worn-out statement such as, "we must deliver" or "do whatever needs to be done" are not enough to inspire extraordinary performance over the next 10 days...and that's what we need to have in order to be able to deliver the wins... extraordinary performance !!!
Think through what you can be doing with your own sales teams over the next 10 days to bolster their confidence and drive yourself and everyone else to extraordinary performance. For example, we know from recent research at the University of Warwick that happiness clearly makes people more productive. In a series of experiments, randomly selected sales individuals who were made happier exhibited approximately 12% greater productivity over the period of a quarter. With all of the normal end-of-the-year pressures being applied right now, think about what you could do over the next three days to inject an element of fun onto the sales floor to make your salespeople just a bit happier?
2. Don't forget about the Holidays
For me, while the #1 objective over these 10 days is to focus, focus, focus on closing sales, obviously we can't forget about the fact that Christmas is right around the corner and right in the middle of those 10 days. I'm probably more blunt about attempting to create this balance than most, and the result of my trying to mix family, work, friends and snowboarding in Vermont in a giant blender ends up looking more like sausage than a wonderfully prepared Christmas turkey. But it works for me...
The key here is to plan out somewhat exactly the December days ahead so that you're realistically balancing your personal and work time, which, of course, means always compromising on one side or the other. My point here is to open your calendar soometime before the end of Saturday and map out where you're going to spend your time between now and Thursday, the 31st....recognizing, of course, no one is going to be really working that entire day.
3. Figure out Your 2016 Planning rhythm Now
I always take a couple of time-out days during the time between Christmas and New Year's. In reality, all of our customers are hunkered down and blocking and tackling through 12 hour days, and the last thing that anyone wants to do is to spend time with a consulting company at this time of year.
Having said that, so that you and your team hit the ground running on January 4th, you should take just 60 minutes between the holidays and map out your 2016 planning calendar. If you think of your planning process as a consistent sine wave with small spikes of time spent planning and 95% of your time spent executing, you need to set in concrete, during January, your planning calendar for the year...
- Company business strategy dates: one two-day event and three or four half day follow-on dates during the year
- Sales strategy planning dates: one day each quarter to review progress and formalize best practices. These are strategy, critical tactical planning and key account review meetings and should not be mixed in with your standard monthly performance review meetings
- Business planning dates from September through December in order to deliver your 2017 business plans and budgets to your board, to your departmental managers and, most importantly, to your salespeople.
- Want some help in this planning process, click on to the "Download Now" to the right of this and receive our free ebook on "Writing the Winning Business Plan". Over 10 years of content in 100 pages and now well over 100,000 downloads. Take a journey through it, and when you have questions, just email me, and I can set up an-end-of-day call, or direct you to one of our other eight coaches.
If you get these dates and processes locked down and formalized at the beginning of January and make sure that they are pulled off with formality, consistent follow up, applied learning process...and, a bit of fun, I can almost guarantee positive results for 2016 and definitely guarantee a highly integrated team of happy managers working to common objectives.
Good Selling over the next 10 days!
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