From now until the end of the year, you have just over 12 weeks. Removing weekends and holidays, you actually only have 55 business days left! How long is your sales cycle? Aside from driving urgency and building skills around time management, you need to be narrowly focused coming into the end of the year.
If you direct the right organization, you can still make significant strides in using the remaining time to close. Three steps, shared between your team and management, can help get you there.
Step 1. Plan to renew all latent opportunities in your pipeline before December.
Before seeking new business, take the time to put all of your cold prospects into your October calendar, giving them your full attention. You simply have no time left to close a sale in December if you start reactivating an opportunity in late November. Remember that most winter holidays begin in the third week of December, and prospects will not return to the office until January – Q1. The end of the year in particular is vital to renewing these opportunities, because prospects are likely to have open budget and time to plan your costs into their 2015 options. Remember that you’re fighting the status quo in Q4 – urgency needs to drive your communications.
Step 2. Make prospect tiers your favorite tool.
Qualifying your prospects and leads is a vital part of any sales process, but when you have just 55 days left to make sales, you need to be even more discerning. Organize your prospect pool into four graded parts: A, B, C, and D – As require you to drive urgency, Bs still need to build the value proposition, Cs haven’t quite seen the business need, and Ds are complete re-engagement candidates. Create scripts for each. Try staging these tiers around the actual buying cycles of your customers: data by Revegy suggests that teams that align their sales process around customer buying cycles have an average 60% win rate.
Step 3. Have reps create their Q4 “Plan to Make the Plan.”
While a central plan helps to guide the Q4 close, each rep needs their own version. If reps fail to stay organized and methodical, each lost sale tears down the plan that you’ve formed at the top. Guide reps into creating a personal plan that builds to their goal. How many opportunities at what conversion rate and what average deal size do they need? Engineer to the goal but putting a value on every opportunity based on the “A, B, C, D” methodology or simply where it is in your sales process. Your top performers will do this naturally, but now’s the time to get everyone on the same page.