Actually, the real number is 39, but I wanted to push, extend, and stretch it to 40, but in the real world of Sales, and more importantly in the world of our customers and prospects, it's impractical to think that we will actually have 40 selling days left in the year. Definitely 39 but probably only 35 given travel and prep days before Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then no experienced salesperson would ever plan on any of those days between Christmas and New Year's as real selling days. Even if all of the decision makers were working that week, experience has taught us that the forecasted probability of getting all the required signatures from the legal, finance and purchasing departments is lower than low!
Last week, in my Science of Sales course, we had an extraordinary lecture from my Tufts alum, Jon Sobo, Sales Manager at Hubspot, Similar to when James Stone, Sales Director at Hubspot and another of my alums, spoke to us at the beginning of this course, the takeaways were that cadence and math always win over "betting" and "gut experience"
In my own constant sales rhythm of "Process+Technology+Tools+People+Math=Success", the results are always positive with forecast accuracies typically in the 90s. The key ingredient in all of this however is solid discipline and not coloring outside the lines of the company's formal sales process. The outline of Jon's calibrated experience and success is outlined in his slide below, which I think is just excellent for all of us to consider at this time of year.
5 ideas For these 35 or 40 days...
1. Map it! This weekend, map out your entire November and December calendar. Be realistic with every day, especially blocking out prospecting and qualifying half days during the first 10 days of November. Also be realistic with yourself in the reality of life when you will need to be taking the kids shopping and working through what will be required for you and your partner in holiday travel time. Only at that time, will you have a clear picture of the time you have left for real sales activity.
2. Subtract from that number, the time that you will need to put aside for your 2022 planning that is already ramping up. If you're a senior manager, that time could easily be 25% of your available time during the next 40 days. If you're an account exec, certainly not that much, but for a regional manager, easily 15%.
3. "Absolute Focus" is the Absolute Rule! I realize that you already know this, but in the required discipline of the next 40ish days, forget about new product twists or any experiments with accounts that do not fit the PTS mix of Product-Territory-Size. Focus on playing the game that you're already trained in and you already have the playbooks in place to support your own success!
4. Get rid of the timewasters! Divorce yourself completely from those individuals who still want to worry about politics, the virus, the climate crisis or what really happened in some celebrity's life. All of us have enough going on in our own personal lives to fill volumes of concerns and distractions, so there's just zero time to listen...or worse...to participate-in anyone else's problems.
5. Ask for help! All of us are surrounded by very bright and experienced salespeople and managers. 10 or 15 minutes spent with a co-worker, a boss or a sales manager even from outside your own company can provide the perfect opening to a solution that you've either never considered or a new perspective on a direction that you had thought about but were unsure of the results. Erica Veino, VP & Director of Corporate Sales at meQuilibrium, and one my gifted alums, came to class yesterday to lecture on the details of her own sales planning, and toward the end she fielded tactical questions from the students who are now finalizing their own sales plans for their customers. Erica's an expert, and both the students and I learned specific practical tactics from her perspective that we can put to work immediately.
So, that's it on this last day of the first month of the Q!
Let me know how you ended up, and next Friday, we'll explore the specifics of what we're seeing from our customers in their thoughts about planning for 2022 both from the perspective of the entire company and specifically for Sales and Marketing. Right now, everything we're seeing in our 2022 planning defines an excellent year ahead...even given the shortages of talent which we believe we've figured out over the last month.
If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board for your 2022 planning process, just connect with me! Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call. I'm a very good listener, and we can get deep into tactics if you want. Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.