Back to School...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Sat, Aug 23, 2014

As we think about the way-too-rapidly-approach to Labor Day...

That time of year…

Summer salesSummer’s racing to its Labor Day finish line.  Forget the technical end of summer sometime in September.  It’s always Labor Day that kicks in the emotions and pulls us back to those memories of pencil boxes, notebooks and the trepidations and curiosities of new schools and classmates.  An exciting time of year whether it’s your kids' full bore launch into school or your own rapid re-acceleration into the busiest business period of the year.  

For me, it's both a re-entry into work at 100 miles an hour plus a new semester of teaching at Tufts and MIT, so I always view the September to December period as the four month quarter.   Marketing and sales events along with increased business travel totally fill September and October for all of us just at the time that the requirements for our 2015 business planning start gearing up.  An exciting and rewarding time of year, assuming that we're all thinking ahead, we're all planning our time and calendars and we're fully (or at least better) prepared.

In these last weeks of August, we all should be …

  • Filling in our sales travel schedules for September and October.  Planning six to eight weeks out and getting meetings cemented into the calendar of your key accounts and larger prospects.  Meetings that happen in September and October, no matter where we are in the sales funnel, are closable business in November and December.  Remember, no one wants to see our smiling faces at the end of the year since during December, everyone’s busy closing their own sales and working on their own budgets for 2015.
  • Scoping out where we're going to recruit new hires once our 2015 budget is approved.  It's the perfect time of year to think through the process of recruiting future draft choices.  The best candidates will take time to land, plus no one who is any good is going to leave their current position before their end of the year bonus is paid.  Use the next few months to create a marketing campaign answering the question of why your company is an excellent opportunity for personal growth and a real career, not just a job. And then start the hunt with an objective in mind to close new players so that they are starting in mid-January.  By working in this way, you would then have plenty of time for pre-interviews, formal campaigns and negotiating the offer.
  • Creating a robust and detailed 90 day sales and marketing activity plan.  This is a month-by-month ACTIVITY plan.  Not a listing of your OBJECTIVES.  Nor a definition of the RESULTS that you need to hit by December.  This is a detailed listing of your primary account ACTIVITIES in September, October and November that provides you with measurable personal checkoffs that must be accomplished.  

    What are the trips you're going to make?  What are the primary breakfasts and dinners you're going to engineer?  What are the Lunch & Learns or City Tours you're going to host?  Are you going to push yourself to lead a webinar a month or attend three industry networking sessions in October?   You must get down to the primary activities for this tactic to work.  

    Very simply, what are the primary activities in 30 day chunks that will drive the RESULTS you committed to achieve by the end of December? 

    Want to learn more, read Cracking the Sales Management Code. It's an easy read, which you could still squeeze in on a beach day before Labor Day. 
  • Stop Trying to do so Much!
We only have about 75 actual selling days between now and the end of the year, so the keyword for all of us, as salespeople and as managers, that we need to emphasize every day, ten times a day is... focus. 

Click here  on the FOCUS word for a very interesting interview with Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, on the importance of being “absurdly selective” in how we use our time.

Hope that some of this works for you.  In the meantime...

Good Selling...and have a Great Weekend! 

Jack Derby 

Head Coach  

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Tags: sales productivity, Sales Optimization, sales plan process, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales tools, sales culture