Download the SBI Sales SVP New Year’s Guide here. It’s a concise guide to our best articles about managing this time of year.
Let’s look at several ways sales leaders misallocate their year-end days. I’ll contrast each example with a suggestion for a smarter use of the time.
1. Writing Annual Performance Reviews
The entire concept of the annual performance review should be scrapped. This anachronistic practice is a holdover from the days of slow business. We’ve all done a million of these. They typically require the leader to “assess” employee against a vague series of statements. For example: “Ethics: Maintains high standards of character and a professional attitude.” Really? Isn’t this table stakes at your company? If someone scores a “1” in this area, haven’t you already coached them out?
Be honest – after HR approves these reviews, where do they go? Into a file, never to be seen again until next year. Instead, shift to an Agile approach. Buyers, markets, and competitors are constantly changing. Assess your team regularly, against Competencies that matter today. For example: does their digital brand convey expertise solving your customers’ market problems? Are they adept at Social Prospecting? These competencies correlate to sales success. They are relevant.
Throw competencies like “Intrapersonal Skills” and “Conflict Resolution” into the dust bin. You rate people on things like these every day – not once a year.
Do This Instead: Maximize the talent of your “B” players. This article reviews ways to foster better performance among your “B” players. They’re the broad middle of your organization – you need the most they can give.
2. “Getting Organized.”
Anyone know what this activity really consists of? I don’t either. I know one sales VP who took minimal vacation around the holidays. He said it was quiet, and he could “get organized” and prepare for January. Well, it was quiet. That’s because many of his customers and employees were out. Take vacation when your customers and prospects take vacation. It is hard enough to get business done in the middle of a quarter. It’s impossible if you have a vacation schedule that doesn’t match anyone else’s. Regardless, you need to recharge your batteries. Q1 is going to bring huge challenges, and it’s less than a month away.
Do This Instead: Evaluate your Sales Process. Is your Win Rate going up or down? Is your Sales Cycle getting longer or shorter? Is your average sales price (ASP) increasing or decreasing? This blog helps you assess your sales process and evaluate if it still works.
3. Jamming Revenue into the Current FY.
This is a touchy subject. You have comp plans (including your own) at risk. Your CEO may need you to hit a number. Sales SVPs frequently try to “time” the close of deals for maximum benefit. But pulling revenue forward into the current year has a number of unintended consequences. Specifically:
- You tend to offer additional incentives to customers or channel partners
- You rob yourself of the impact of the revenue in the new FY
- You teach customers and channel partners how to wait for quarter/year-end discounts
- You go too fast and order quality is impacted
- You get out alignment with the Buyer’s Journey of your customer. You push. They get frustrated or go dark on you
Do This Instead: Develop a plan to manage the holidays. The holiday season presents unique challenges. This article reviews best ideas on how to deal with them. Managing Consultant Scott Gruher provides 8 different ideas.
For a more thorough list of best practices, download the SBI Sales SVP New Year’s Guide. It will immediately link you to the best articles we’ve published on the New Year.
There are 5 more links to New Year’s articles in the SBI Sales SVP New Year’s Guide. Have a look and review the ones that apply to you. Use the next 15-22 days wisely and start the New Year strong.