For Sales “Time” Has a Different Meaning. Do you have your emergency tool box ready?
And just like that, January is gone. For anyone in sales, January was the perfect opportunity to leave last year’s missed goals in the past and re-focus our energy on the new year’s goals. This was the month when most opportunistic sales people perceive “time” as their friend. Assuming they make last months goal, there is carried over momentum into February, and the cycle continues – until it doesn’t. For sales, the moment a monthly goal is missed, time can become a perceived enemy. Similar to when an airplane takes off with empty seats, the revenue lost in that flight cannot be retrieved – it’s gone the moment the flight left the tarmac. For sales, the concept of a missed monthly goal “feels” similar. Thirty days have passed and cannot be retrieved, and the missed sale’s goal isn’t forgiven, but rolls into the next month. The pressure begins to mount, as the current monthly sales goal has suddenly grown much larger. If two monthly goals are missed, the pressure simply snowballs. For many people in sales, this is the perfect recipe for paralysis steeped in fear – lost income, losing a job, not being able to pay bills or care for our families. It’s a psychological paradigm almost every sales person has known at one time or another – and we think “there must be a way to get out of this.” There is.
Mind over Matter – You’ve always had the answer
We’ve all learned the best way to be prepared for a disaster is to have a “readiness” plan sitting on a shelf or in a closet – available only when needed “in an emergency”. We also understand, the purpose is to avoid panic and save valuable time through the conscious understanding that, when needed, the emergency toolbox is close at hand and we know exactly what to do. Why wouldn’t sales take the same approach to their jobs - what should be done in the event of a sales goal emergency? The most effective way to reduce or eliminate the psychological paradigm – proactively create your emergency sales tool box - a tangible and actionable plan designed to eradicate or significantly reduce the sales gap between the original monthly sales goal and the incremental goal that has been added.
Your Emergency Tool Box – Sales Gap Planning
Like any emergency toolbox, it requires a pro-active approach to have the optimum value – tactics must be pre-vetted and ready when needed, which also becomes our first recommendation in our top 5 list of how to prepare and where to look:
1. Don’t wait until the goal has been missed to create a gap plan
Proactively creating a gap plan and having this as your “back of pocket” go to tactics will allow a quicker roll-out. Have 3-5 initiatives you know will help make up not only lost revenue, but to augment your current months goals.
2. Re-look at your sales plan metrics
This is important during planning and gap planning. What did you assume would be your average transaction/deal amount? Conversion rate? Number of leads in your sales funnel? Tracking this data weekly, can provide valuable forecasting to determine if you’re nearing a potential emergency.
Reviewing metrics will help you understand how the sales goal was missed. It will also help you understand where you need to make changes. One small change to any of the critical sales metrics can often be enough to course correct sales projections.
3. Upsell New Product Extensions or Add-ons
This might require the support of your product development team, but one of the fastest and easiest ways to bring in additional revenue is to either bundle a product with another complimentary product or adding more functionality/features to an existing product. Customers are quick to consider enhancements or better value to an existing purchase.
4. Look for new channels – cross market
One of the most effective, and under-used sales strategies, is to expand your sales prospect opportunities. Look for complimentary businesses that have an established customer base. Coordinate a plan to support each other’s sales efforts by cross marketing. This can be done at both an individual level or business to business.
5. Add objectivity - Hire a sales coach
This may seem like a strange method to close a sales gap, but there’s nothing more effective than adding someone objective to help identify tactical sales opportunities. When hired, they don’t enter the challenge with any preconceived assumptions – where you may see barriers, a sales coach will only see a clean white board.
The secret to this type of emergency backup plan is to work proactively, while developing the primary annual planning. The effectiveness of a gap plan is having real “go to” tactics that have not been incorporated into the primary plan – keep it as your “only in the case of emergency tool box”.
Successful business owners and sales people are the best candidates to augment their plans with a sales coach. They have the drive to achieve more, but know that with a sales coach, they can do so quicker than trying on their own. Want to learn more about the value of leadership coaching? Let’s schedule time to connect – Jack Belford, FocalPoint