January is the most critical time of the year for the entire management team to get their fingers deep into the crankcase oil of the entire engine of the business in order to achieve...
Tags: sales management effectiveness, sales enablement, business coaching, how to close sales, business planning meetings, how to write a sales plan, writing business plans, forgetsalesstrategyfocusontactics
This morning, with tonight's Nor'easter looming just a few hours from now, and the end of the entire sales year only eight days away, it's interesting to compare two timely forecasting scenarios:
-On one hand, we have local Boston weather forecasters guessing about snowfall.
-On the other, we have professional salespeople forecasting real revenue.
Tags: sales coach, sales enablement, closing sales, how to close sales, sales boot camps, improving sales productivity, sales success, how to write a sales plan, sales readiness, forgetsalesstrategyfocusontactics
a few Reasons to be thankful!
We just finished what I always consider to be "the best holiday of the year".
--no one really worked last Wednesday, and even if you did, your prospects may not have.
--definitely, no one worked Thursday, and we celebrated with whomever was safe.
--most people did not work Friday other than in retail or necessary services.
--two days of good weather on the weekend came next.
--and yesterday, we closed out November's quota...hopefully on plan!
now it's Tuesday & we have 20 selling days left
20 days are actually a ton of time to do what we do as sales pros!
With the correctly qualified accounts, all of us, as the seasoned pros we are, have enough time to push down the field, mount play-after-play, bring together the right team and move almost any deal to a close. That's this week, still early in the game with lots of time left on the scoreboard.
Next week, not so much time left since we'd already be in the second half of the selling month in pre-holiday time.
The following week, we have no time at all unless we're just a few relative yards/minutes away from pulling everyone over the goal line.
Here's a couple of tactics that always work...
1. Focus on the 80/20 Rule!
Today, as in today-Tuesday-separate out the 20%, (maybe it's only the 10%) of what's in your pipeline that will make the biggest impact on your quota. In fact, one or two of these opportunities may also be the most difficult and will take maximum time and effort, which is why you're focusing today on the 20% since you have a full 20 days to get to a close. Plenty of time in fact to make a difference in almost any deal.
2. Get rid of the detractors & interrupters!
The good side of being zoom-distanced is that there are fewer office-talk interruptions although your WFH time may be equally challenged by kids and pets. The very good news is that you have 20 days. Multiply that by 10 hours, and you have a ton of time. The reality of that news is that you have only 20 days.
- My buddy, Frank Y., who excels as a BDR, works time zones following the sun across the country.
- My neighbor, Ray, moves his office to the garage, during the kids' home-schooling hours.
- I'm up even earlier at 4:00 AM planning out three days ahead and getting rid of the mental clutter.
3. Clean up your calendar!
- Today, plan out all of your selling days for the rest of the year and just jam into those same time blocks everything you think that you will need to do between now and then.
- Then take an expanded view of what you have just done and make sure that it makes sense balancing what time blocks you now have in your 20-day calendar and what time you have available to actually sell. Try to view your calendar as if you were 20 feet above the view and not able to see the details other than the available time to sell.
In some sales markets such as recruiting and real estate, these are called "the money hours", which these highly trained salespeople know from experience are the two or four optimum times during a day to connect with a prospect. The point here is to take a hard look at what you have available to sell and simply get rid of everything else and forklift it over to January. Yes, January!
- I'm a fanatic about time, and I just did this exercise yesterday morning and realized I had overlapping times in two critical presentations and was not allowing enough travel time Wednesday night to prep for a critical early Thursday call.
- Make sure that you ask your December prospects what their vacation plans are for December and also extend that question to everyone else in the purchasing approval cycle. Nothing's worse than trying to track down someone in the legal department for a cursory review of the final approval docs when that person is on the ski slopes between Christmas and New Year's.
- For sales management, there's the added reality during these same 20 days of having to spend some time fine-tuning the 2021 sales plans you submitted to your boss and the finance people in November. Another reality for sure, and there's no way around that other than weekend work. Having dealt with this at all levels for 25 plus years, if you want a few ideas as to how to compress time and focus your planning on the sales and financial KPIs that really count, just connect for a no-cost call.
No, this is not another statement on what you need to do to prevent infection. You already know more than the basics by this time. This relates to doing whatever you need to do to stay healthy, efficient, alert and sales-effective through the balance of this month which comes down to the simple truths of exercising, getting enough sleep and eating correctly...just like Mom told us.
We all know the basics, and, yet most of us struggle with finding enough time or dealing with the realities of not being able go to our favorite gym which we left back in March.
I certainly would rather be back at my workout place in Boston which I last saw on March 9th than walking down into the basement at 4:00 and getting on the Peloton for 30 minutes. But I also know the mental impact of what 30 minutes can make in clearing out the clutter and focusing me for the day ahead.
Nothing earth-shattering or even new in the four-point outline above...other than the reality of 20 days of superb opportunities in front of us today!
Have a great day selling today...and for the next 19!
CONFIDENTIAL SOUNDING BOARD
If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board in business planning or for Sales or Marketing, just connect with me at any time. Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call. I'm a pretty good listener.
Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.
With the end of the month, and my last day of selling activity for October, I'm reminded this morning of the business of every business...no matter what it is....even if it's coffee.
As I started this morning with inches of snow on the ground and what will be many cups of Keurig Sumatra Dark Roast during the day today, I'm drawn to think about the value and therefore the marketing, the selling and the pricing of coffee. I had the unique opportunity years ago to work with the Keurig team of entrepreneurs and the initial investors when they were just starting the company figuring out the market, the various sales channels and hiring their first experienced head of sales. Lots of hard work, very exciting on-the-ground and in-the-weeds entrepreneurship which led to an exceptional growth opportunity.
Think about it!
- Monday morning, the 20th of July. One day among 365. 202 down with 164 to go.
- Just one day in a decade or in 100 years or in millennia since Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.
- Time is always non-stop and always represented by change.
- The concept of time is self-evident, but we rarely think about the fundamental nature of time...
What this pandemic is teaching us is the fragility of time. We see it, we sense it, and now we always live it in both our personal and work lives. We live in an ever-expanding bubble of time listening to the daily chants of infections, hospitalizations and deaths, and, as a result, we're much more aware of time now than we were six months ago. We anticipate it and we watch it carefully in our Zoom calls. More than ever, we constantly try to balance our own time with a myriad of new demands that we never ever considered before like "should we send our kids back to school?" and "what are the safest hours to go to Market Basket?"
Tags: Sales Management Best Practices, sales coach, sales management coach, sales enablement, marketing effectiveness, how to close sales, Sales Hiring & Onboarding, how to write a sales plan, writing sales plans, sales readiness
Rarely, as in never, do I get into a discussion in this blog about politics, and to a large degree this post is not about politics, it's just about the science, the data and the sources of the truth behind the pandemic and its impact.
What each of us should be doing at this time is to identify our own "single sources of truth" regarding the disease, the impact that it's making on our physical and mental health, and the devastating effect on our businesses and our jobs.
The only way we can fight back is with discipline in what we do, how we act, and how we sell and market our products
Six months into this, we clearly know the facts...
I happened to be talking to a friend of mine, Paul Kelly, President of Berkshire Bank, yesterday about...what else...Sales, of course, and he provided a very interesting perspective to approaching his sales process during these times of unknowns. Notice I just used the phrase "times of unknowns" since "chaotic" is too depressing and "new normal/abnormal" has become too much of a trite label, All we do know right now is that we will be in this "time of unknowns" for at least the next six and probably twelve months. Nothing we can do in our day-day-day is going to change the overall environment, but determined and innovative managers like Paul, who focus on positivity, motivation and specific marketing and sales tactics, impact sales at their companies every week.
The rhythm of the seasons...Taint spring yet
I was reminded yesterday of the inevitable rhythm of the seasons both in VT and in the world of Sales. It seems that for some yet unknown reason, a decision has been made to redo the kitchen in Vermont. Not that I was consulted or even asked in this decision process, but I was told that a decision had been made all the same. Given this, I reached out to my friend Steve at Homestead, the company up at the end of the road a piece that does the plowing in the winta', the lawn in the summa' and basically everything else from landscaping to construction at the VT house.
Super Bowl Sunday & Sales
For months, everything in the NFL has been on the line, and it all comes down to this Sunday when the two best teams in the country define the 2020 Champion!
Not all that different than viewing our own Sales scoreboards at the end of the sales year on January 1, and of course. starting today for January and then in any of the following months and quarters. Metrics count everywhere in business and in our own personal lives, and achieving metrics always result from executing activities from planning strategies and tactics.
I've had the privilege of knowing Marijo McCarthy for 30+ years, so I was very pleased when I received an email from her following last week's blog.
A gifted lawyer at the firm of Widett and McCarthy, she and I and another 20 plus small business entrepreneurs breathed new life into SBANE, "The Smaller Business Association of New England", (now, rebranded to The New England Business Association" ) back-in-the-day. Led by Julie Scofield, the powerful Executive Director of the association, SBANE was placed squarely on the map in New England as "THE" place to be for small business.
Not tech or specific market focused, but just "meat-and-potatoes" small businesses run by rock solid women and men who came together to share best practices and consistent networking...on steroids.
Back-in-the-day, SBANE was all about the basics of business networking, education in what it takes to run a small business successfully, and superb connections from trusted referrals.