An old Chinese proverb states: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” How true this is when it comes to achieving your sales goals. When you have a complex product or service that requires a long sales cycle, it could take nine months to a year for leads to turn into active buyers.
If you’re behind on your sales goals, there are a few things you can do to catch up before the year is up. But even more importantly, you can implement a few practices today that will prepare you for success and ensure you don’t fall behind again.
When you recognize that you're not reaching your KPIs, it’s easy to point fingers – at individuals, at process, at yourself – but any chance of resolution starts with an honest analysis of what went wrong and what went right.
It’s as simple as looking back on your strategic goals, the plan you set to achieve them, and the tactical steps it takes to get there. Perhaps you don’t have the right marketing resources, or you haven’t completely defined your addressable market, or maybe you're wasting too much time on unqualified leads. Your plan may have included reengaging former prospects, introducing a new product, or targeting a new market. In order to carry out that plan, your sales team needs to make a certain amount of calls per week in order to book meetings that lead to proposals and closed deals. In support of those efforts, your marketing team must create new content every month to share and a regular cadence of email outreach.
When you break up your goals into granular expectations and set weekly and even daily goals that you regularly monitor, it becomes easy to identify the weak spots in your process and make adjustments to fix them.
Perhaps you’re not creating the right marketing resources to sell, or you haven’t defined your addressable market, or maybe you're wasting too much time on unqualified leads. From process to people to tools, a routine analysis of your performance provides full visibility into what needs to change before it’s too late.
As an example, at MarketLauncher we meet internally on a bi-weekly basis to check in on our KPIs and where we stand. That includes our renewal rate, new business opportunities, sales team performance, and even email metrics. Each element has its own goals that play a larger role in achieving our yearly objectives.
In addition, quarterly reviews allow us to take a retrospective look at our activity as a group, and regular one-on-one meetings with individual team members ensure that everyone is an active part of the sales engine.
The truth is, if you are behind on your sales goals as we approach Q3, then your focus should really be on preparing yourself for next year. But, there are a still a few things you can do to recover. It's time to tighten up the screws on your execution strategy and spend your time wisely. Focus in on those prospects who are actually progressing and really pay attention to what is working for them.
An Outbound Sales Strategy is a plan that helps Sales Executives meet their goals for outreach by establishing clear objectives, quantifying actions, and measuring KPIs. The documented plan keeps everyone aligned in their messaging, approach, and process.
This is also a great time to reengage old prospects for quicker opportunities. Keep them informed with regular thought leadership content, track their engagement and motivations both on your CRM and their social media, and proactively follow up when you notice something has changed. Your FANs are the people most likely to refer you to someone else, so nurturing them should always be high on your list of priorities.
Finally, in an attempt to “work smarter, not harder,” you should evaluate what you are doing now and work backwards. What is currently in your opportunity pipeline? What do you see potentially closing in 60 to 90 days or through the end of the year? What did it take to get there? Recognize your conversion rates. How many calls does it take to book a pre-qualified meeting? How many meetings go to proposal? How many proposals move to closure?
Again, when you break your goals down into daily activity and more specific metrics, you can efficiently execute tasks without panicking about the overall numbers. And, you can better coach your team to set their own daily expectations.
The best thing you can do for your business today is to prepare for the long-term future, and that means building a model for sales growth that you can keep using year-after-year. The following is a breakdown of where your prospects may likely be in the buying process and what you can do at each stage.
What you can do:
What you can do:
What you can do:
What you can do:
While you may not get exactly where you want to be this year, it’s never too early to start preparing for your future goals. Open the doors of communication between your sales and marketing teams and make sure that your goals are engrained across the organization.
Take a look at the resources you have available and determine if your internal team alone has what it takes to achieve your goals. You may find that outsourcing part of your sales strategy could accelerate your pipeline and give your team the space to focus on what matters most – closing deals.
MarketLauncher has over 20 years of experience helping companies across various industries achieve their sales goals and strengthen their sales process. As an extra support to your sales team, we can deliver qualified prospects into your hands, help you break into new markets, and rethink the way you connect with your audience. If you’re ready to start preparing for a successful year, get in touch.