Wednesday I posted a piece about the importance of working your sales cycle, not the calendar. I had a call from Bob, a director of sales with software company. While he liked some of the ideas, he felt it would be difficult to follow some of the discipline proposed, because they “we’re a different type of company, and being public, puts additional demands on us, especially at month end and quarter end.” I have heard this type of argument before, I just don’t buy it.
I had a friend who was a VP of sales, who cancelled a lunch during the last week of their quarter, telling me “you know how it is, last day of the quarter, we’re closing”. When we did meet I had to ask what they do, the rest of the quarter if they spend the last week closing, he told me they are busy selling. Apparently not, as closing is part of selling; as is OPENING, without that, you have nothing to close.
I know people don’t like the math side of sales, it takes all the emotion and excuses out of things, leaving you with just the facts. As highlighted in the piece Wednesday, if you need to deliver four deals a month, and your closing ratio, from initial engagement to close, is 4:1, you are going to have to engage with four people a week, or 16 people in the month. The reason you have the end of quarter derby, is that most sales people don’t prospect or close enough along the way, and as the finish line nears they go into closing mode.
But what if you know you cycle was 10 weeks, and you diligently added four new viable opportunities to your pipeline every week, and continued to close one a week, would it really matter if it was the first day of the year, last day of the month, last day of the quarter, or February 29. No, not at all, put sufficient amounts of raw materials in predictable amounts, apply your process, and you have a predictable amount of output at the other end.
It comes down to two things, first knowing the length of you cycle, and your specific key conversion rates at critical junctions of your cycle. This easy to achieve with or without the latest tools or apps, all you need to know is a crayon and some paper, as long as you poses the second element, accountability. If you are willing to take accountability for your actions you can achieve a much more predictable sale, disciplined, and I would argue more fun.
More fun, because you actually have a sense of what has to happen, in what proportions, and how you will do it. This frees up a lot of bandwidth in the old cranium, allowing you to focus much more on the client, their objectives, and how you can help them, and your company achieve their objectives. If you choose to play the end of quarter derby, you will not only be knackered at the end of each quarter, but set yourself up to repeat it again and again. If you spend the last week or 10 day of a quarter “closing”, limiting or skipping all other aspects of the cycle, what will you close 10 weeks after the quarter:
- ___ Discounted deals
- ___ No deals
- ___ Haven’t a clue
What’s in Your Pipeline?