Another year is approaching its conclusion.  For SBI, this is the time of year when the phone rings off the hook. With Sales SVPs and leadership, it is one of three conversations.  Here they are:

 

Sales Leaders in Q4 Scramble

  1. Already Made the Number – The SVP is relaxed and wants to plan projects to put his team in the right spot for next year. The conversation addresses strategic planning to hit the ground running.  He wants to make sure his resources will be in the right place.

     

  2. Too Close to Call – The SVP is panicked and on edge. He is struggling to squeeze a couple more deals across the finish line. He wants to know how we can help generate immediate revenue.  Planning and sales kickoff seem like distant events.

     

  3. Missed the Number, Nowhere Close to Goal – The SVP is resigned and hopeless. He knows that his time at the current company is limited. He wants to know if we can help him if he is let go.

 

Here’s a common thread we see:  Leaders who fell into bucket #2 last year, are in #3 this year.  They focused only on execution at the end of the previous year.  Big projects and initiatives gave way to deal chasing.  In the absence of a sales strategy, theirs became “Same As Last Year.” 

 

Top SVPs recognize that even in a gut-wrenching Q4, planning must happen.  Download our Research Report, “How to Make Your Number in 2015” to see the projects they are undertaking.

 

If you find yourself in bucket #2, take your eyes off the dashboard for a minute.  Understand why you are in this situation.  Put together a plan to ensure it doesn’t derail next year.

 

Here are two examples of plans we have helped Sales Leaders create (names have been changed):

 

The Talent Dilemma:  Sales SVP Bob saw two of his top producers exit the company mid-year.  These departures greatly impacted his ability to hit the number.  Our analysis revealed that pay and administrative burden were the two biggest reasons for the exodus. To combat this, he’s formulated three key projects to attract and retain top talent:

 

  • A Revised Compensation Plan: Heavier incentive component, with high rewards for top performers.  This is being constructed and will be communicated prior to sales kickoff.
  • Sales Support: The company will expand the Sales support role to give reps more selling time. Areas of training will concern contracts, pricing, and legal review.  Getting deals across the finish line has been a clerical nightmare.
  • Sales Onboarding and Training: The exodus of top talent made the SVP realize he was reliant on several top performers. He’s putting together a more robust training and onboarding program.  The goal is to create an “A” Player Sales Team with high skills and knowledge.

     

The Big Launch: CSO Mark is dealing with a mature product that is rapidly losing market share.  He has a new product slated to launch in late January.  It is key to the new year. But the target audience is different. And it has complex features that the sales team will need to learn. To ensure fast traction, Mark has outlined the following projects for 2015.

 

  • Persona and Buyer Process Map Development: Sales and Marketing needs to understand how this new audience makes purchasing decisions. Also, a deep dive on the new customer is needed to understand goals, KPIs, fears, and evaluation criteria.
  • Sales Training and Certification: Sales needs to acquire a large amount of knowledge to sell the new product.  Mark wants to ensure that every rep learns the product.  Testing and certification are required to ensure learning.  Three years ago, a similar launch failed because Sales continued to sell products they were comfortable with.
  • Sales Compensation: To better align with corporate strategy, Sales compensation will be weighted towards the new product.  The legacy product will not carry the same weight as previous years.

     

Q4 can be a stressful time if you’re close to hitting the number.  But creating your game plan can help you avoid the same mistake.  Download our report, “How to Make Your Number in 2015” and create your roadmap.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Drew Zarges

Helps small business owners overcome their biggest sales and marketing challenges to accelerate revenue growth.
Learn more about Drew Zarges >

Prior to joining SBI in 2011, Drew worked in the intermediary investment sales world. During that time, he worked his way up the ladder from client service representative to leading and coaching his former company’s sales team on the west coast. At SBI, Drew has served some of the company’s most prestigious accounts as a consultant. For these clients, he successfully executed everything from sales process and lead generation projects to highly technical account segmentation work. He now serves as the General Manager of SBI OnDemand, a unit dedicated to applying the firm’s battle tested concepts and projects to the small business community.

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