The end of the quarter is stressful for everyone, and when that quarter is also the end of the year, the stress level increases. Everyone is trying to close those last opportunities and get contracts signed to meet their annual goals.
If you’re determined to close out your Q4 strong, you’ll need to be strategic. With the proper planning and effective execution, you’ll not only end the year on a high note, but set your sales team up for success in the new year.
We’ve put together the following tips to help you make the most of these last few months of the year.
1. Ask your team members to make a list of the deals they can go after this week.
Creating this list will force your team to take a close look at what they have in their pipeline and to take the time to understand what they can make happen. This will help direct their focus.
You should talk through the list with your reps, too. Collaborate with them on how they can take each contact from prospect to account.
When the end of the year is on the horizon, make sure to be proactive in communications with anyone else involved in the signing process on your side. For example, ask your legal team to be ready for quick turnarounds during that last week. Find out how you can reach them the quickest on those days.
2. Coach your reps to ask for the business you all need.
Sometimes the most efficient way to speed up a deal is to simply ask for what you want. Remind your team of this and help them brainstorm ideas on the approach they should take with their messaging.
The key here is relationships. You and your reps need to be building them with your prospects from the start, and then you’ll be in an appropriate position to ask them for help.
To foster such rapport, suggest your reps center most sales check-ins around sharing interesting resources, such as articles (whether from your company or external sources) that relate to a prospect’s interests and needs.
3. Collaborate with marketing to create valuable content.
Bring together your marketing and sales teams to collaborate on creating relevant pieces of content for additional sales support.
This can be especially helpful in battling common objections. Your sales reps can simply pass that content along to their key prospects and move on to other prospects and/or challenges.
In most cases, the content should be educational versus promotional. Show that you care about teaching the prospect about your category, as opposed to selling your product.
Your reps will earn even more points with prospects if they’re the ones writing the content. Consider having each rep write one blog post a month. This will help to establish them as thought leaders. It’ll sharpen their knowledge base around your category, too.
4. Always keep goals – and progress – visible.
If you are reading this at the end of the quarter, you probably have a CRM report or spreadsheet open in another window. You know exactly how far you have to go to reach those goals – your sales team should, too.
Make sure they all have a consistent understanding of exactly where they stand in terms of sales and company goals, plus how much further they have to go. It is important that your team understands each of these on team and individual levels, as well.
5. Make preparations to celebrate with confidence.
When that very last day of the quarter comes around, purchase a bottle of champagne for the office and bring it in. Then let your team know it’s waiting in the fridge. By doing this, you’re not saying: “We’ll celebrate if…”
The point is that you’ve committed to the incentive on some level and your team knows that.
6. Call a team meeting to brainstorm ideas on how to speed up deals.
Get together your entire team, (or if you have a large team, schedule smaller group meetings). Take the time to consider the following questions: with the deals we’re currently working, what delays are we running into most often? Is there anything we can do to sweeten the pot for prospects without touching prices?
7. Build a weeklong sales contest around advanced opportunities and deals closed.
Salespeople are motivated by compensation, of course. But after that, recognition and competition stand as top motivators. Leverage this to help your team crush your sales goals.
Even though it’s the end of the quarter, you want to motivate the types of behaviors that keep earlier sales moving. If your team only focuses on deals just about to close, you won’t be setting yourself up for success next quarter.
Plus, you never know – one of those earlier deals might move quickly enough to help in the current quarter.
8. Make sure you’re communicating more than calculating.
It’s easy to get buried in the numbers right now. But lend yourself and your resources to your team, and you’ll make it more likely that those calculations come out favorably.
Ask your reps how you can help them; is there anyone you can contact among the lists of prospects? Can you assist in determining what language should be used when communicating with prospects in delicate situations?
Success in Q4
As the end of the fiscal year approaches and everyone is striving to close those final deals and meet their goals, time is short and prioritization is critical. Developing a plan of attack for your efforts is the best way to ensure success.
Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone – there are plenty of solutions out there that can dramatically reduce the amount of time you spend planning. A performance management solution like LevelEleven helps you keep track of your goals and exactly what you and your team need to do to reach them.
If you have a thorough plan of attack for Q4, you’ll be unstoppable.