For many organizations, and industries, the last quarter of the year is often considered the most important. It’s when budgets are met (or not), initiatives are decided upon and planning begins in earnest for the new year. Smart sellers know Q4 is when they can blow past their revenue goals, no matter how daunting they may seem. Why?
Many buyers are trained to buy at the end of the quarter, or year. They know the later it gets, the more likely salespeople are to discount. So, they wait for the “deals” to come.
In some companies, business leaders may lose their budget entirely if they don’t spend it by the end of the year. As the calendar winds down, prospects often will use discretionary dollars on initiatives they may have been putting off.
Conditions in a company change throughout the year: new decision-makers get hired, others get fired, priorities change. The landscape may have changed drastically since the last time you reached out to them.
As Q4 arrives, you can either sit back and coast or you can formulate a strategy to not only meet, but dramatically exceed, your annual quota. Here are four quick recommendations to do so:
1. Establish a plan. Determine the goal you are committed to attaining in Q4—100% of quota? 120%? 150%?—then formulate a plan, or a “cookbook,” to achieve it. What is your average deal size year-to-date and how many sales do you need to close in Q4 to hit your target? Then do the math: How many demos or proposals do you need to deliver to close one sale? How many meetings or discovery calls do you need to conduct before you deliver a proposal? How many prospects do you need to connect with to schedule one discovery call? Then diligently track your monthly, weekly and daily activities against these metrics throughout the quarter.
2. Get an answer. You probably have prospects that have gone “dark” on you, haven’t responded to your emails or are still “thinking it over.” Don’t wait for them to get back to you. Get a “yes” to move the deal along or a “no” so that you can move on to prospects that are more likely to close. Set up email, texting or marketing sequences to continuously touch your prospects and potential customers. Better yet, send a calendar invite to schedule a phone call or video conference to discuss their current situation, determine if an opportunity exists and ask for the close.
3. Reach out to lost opportunities. Think about the deals you lost or the opportunities you spent time on over the last year. Call or send an email to each prospect:
• Remind them that you’re still around and available.
• Inquire about the goal or initiative they were attempting to solve.
• Ask if you can still be a resource and set up a conversation (see No. 2 above).
You can also use that opportunity to update them on changes in your product or company, share a case study and point out that Q4 is a great time to address any problems or issues they might still be experiencing.
4. Watch the calendar. In addition to being cognizant of those dates when your prospects may not be available (holiday travel, Thanksgiving, etc.), you must make certain to be available when your prospects are. If you’re traveling, or out of town, check your email regularly and give prospects your cellphone number. Additionally, make sure to get their cellphone number. If a prospect is sitting on a bid or a proposal, and isn’t responding to you, a personal call or text is often the best way move the deal along.
Your sales, and business development efforts, in Q4 can be hugely successful if you purposely focus on your behavior, attitude and technique. Determine the plan, commit to grinding it out in the months ahead and crush your quota by the end of the year. ♦
Jim Marshall is owner, and president, of Sandler Training of Tampa Bay, which provides sales, corporate and management training to high-achieving companies and individuals. Contact him at 813.287.1500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.