For just about every company, private or public, the "end of quarter Friday" is either a reason to celebrate or a grave cause for concern. The CEO, CFO and VP of Sales have been exerting consistent pressure on darn near every functional area save for engineering in order to meet or exceed the number. At the end of the day...and literally, at the end of THIS day your sales organization will have either hit the number or missed the number. There are no Shades Of Grey (50 or otherwise) when it comes down to sales performance. You and your team made it...or you didn't. It is a cruel reality that the sales executive lives in. By the way, when you run your business on Salesforce.com you most likely knew this past Monday or even before that the number was in hand or not. If you run your sales organization with a Sales Enablement solution from The Savo Group, you would have dramatically increased your probability of success. Check them out....www.savogroup.com.
Today, I have advice for sales executives and managers that MADE their number. First of all, congratulations! No matter how great your CEO thinks the product is and that it could sell itself, making the number in this market is tough. Pat yourself and your team on the back for a job well done. Now, exhale. Now, inhale. Good. It is time to focus on the next quarter which starts on Monday. Here are 4 tactics you can deploy in order to set the tone for next quarter's success:
1) Scour The Pipeline: Make sure you have an acutely accurate understanding of what transactions are real and can close within the first 20 days of next quarter. There are bound to be deals that pushed. Get on top of why each deal didn't close and assess the integrity of each. Start the quarter knowing exactly where you stand.
2) Build On Success: You have momentum going for you. Don't let that momentum fade even though it is 4th of July week and a number of sales people are taking all or part of the week off. You can't afford to have the team mentally checkout one week of the quarter. I know, you will hear lot's of reasons that this next week will be slow. Don't buy into it. Those who do will regret it in about 10 weeks. Set the tone and make sure that everyone knows the number the organization MUST hit this quarter and what their individual quota numbers are. Schedule a conference call first thing Monday or at the latest Tuesday to get everyone on the same page.
3) Reward The Performers: There are a number of reasons why you hit your number. There are many people who contributed to making that happen. First, recognize each account executive or sales representative who met or exceeded plan. Do this in the next all hands meeting or on the upcoming conference call. A little positive reinforcement can go a long way. Sure, they will earn a nice commission check but kudos extended is very powerful. Be sure to give thanks to the often unsung contributors in Sales Operations, Finance and Operations. These people work very hard in support of the sales team and deserve to be praised.
4) Fine Tune Your Plan: Be ready for the predictably classic line from your CFO as you walk by his office at the end of the day..."well, you got lucky and hit your number, what are you going to do for me next quarter?" Now....exhale. Now....inhale. Keep walking and remember that he (usually) just can't help himself. Ignore him for sure but do have your plan set when you walk in the door Monday. This plan should include deal review, organizational assessment and changes required, key customer focus and risk analysis. If there is any bad news that needs to be dealt with, get out ahead of it. Don't wait to act. Expect everyone on your team to get their plans in place within two days of the new quarter.
Again, congratulations on hitting the number. If for some reason you didn't my next post will be for you. Enjoy your 15 minutes of fame. Rest and recover over the weekend. On Monday, the climb up the mountain starts all over again.
TVG Executive Search.