iYou read that correctly: what your sales team does right now may dictate how successful 2015 will be for you.
So, sales leaders, now is not only the time to get your folks pushing to close all the business they can in the 4th quarter, but it is also the time to lay the foundation for 2015. If you can get your salespeople focused on all the right behaviors this quarter, it will bode well for first quarter next year.
Frequently one of two things happens to sales performance in the 4th quarter:
1) The salesperson is well ahead of their goal, so they are coasting through the end of the year and letting their foot off the gas. This will be devastating for them and you next quarter if you allow this. Use your knowledge of what motivates them (remember we have talked about that here) and connect them to those goals and their activities that will lead them to produce enough business to reach their goals. Note that I am talking about their personal goals. Not the sales goals assigned to them by you.
2) A salesperson is suffering and not on track, but they are in a rut and continue to do the same thing they have always done. Get intimate with them about their goals, their future, their motivation, their activity, their ability to close business – everything. Maybe they have been lost in the shuffle because others are showing success. Do not let these people hide. Maybe you need to better understand what motivates them and help motivate them. I know you wish they would just get up and go, go, go every day, but it may not work that way. Maybe you are thinking it is too hard to have to motivate them. Well, it is harder to continually replace non-performers because you aren’t willing to guide, coach, and motivate them.
The fix for both of these fourth quarter sales motivation traps is to first get intimate with your salespeople about their goals and dreams, and then second, create some kind of campaign or contest that will help stimulate activity. Get your folks’ input on what they would be fired up about. Create a fourth quarter sales contest that includes new opportunities if you want to make sure you enter 2015 with a full pipeline. Make sure the prizes for the contest are what the people want. The best way to do that is to let them pick. It could be a variety of things with the same monetary value, but make sure each person tells you what their prize will be at the beginning so you know what they are working for. Then require them to produce an activity plan of what they will commit to doing each week or each day to produce the results that make them a winner. And, by the way, to have the most effective contest, make sure everyone can be a winner.
If your contest includes a component of reaching new prospects, you may want to download our free white paper on Cold Calling in the 21st Century where we share some relevant cold calling data along with a quick overview of alternatives to straight phone cold calling.
Do you have any special tips for pushing through to the end of year successfully and re-engaging salespeople who may have "signed out"? Do you find year end to be any more difficult than the rest of the year, in terms of motivating your team? Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments!