With the end of the year in site, we sometimes face hard choices as to where to put our efforts. Put everything we have into closing and renewing what’s here and now; or ensure that we are well set for the next quarter, or year? Unfortunately, and often for all the wrong reasons, including guidance from a manager, the former wins out. For professional sales people, this is business as usual, but it is more pronounced, and has much more at stake, at the end of the year. Knowing this, we should always be looking at our time not in a linear way - now or then - but in a compartmental or sectioned way. Each section, focused on core activities, is based on the here and now. This allows the calendar to be used to drive daily activities, not as cause for crisis 12 or four times a year.
You can start by looking at, and spending your time, in an additional way:
Time As a Metric:
As a sales professional, you need to not just know your numbers, but own them. While many people know some of their metrics, they haven’t connected those metrics with their time. By tracking and owning these three basic metrics, you can rule your time and success:
Initial Contact to Discovery – the number of people who take an initial appointment with you, and at the end of that initial meeting (face to face or virtual), they are willing to continue to Discovery.
Discovery to Proposal – simple - for every 10 people that go into Discovery, how many take a proposal - a real proposal? By real I mean not spaghetti proposals. I know you may at times have to produce something for the cycle to continue. Don’t feel guilty, just don’t count them. Only count proposals that you felt were merited and warranted by your standards.
Proposal to Close – another simple one. How many proposals close and are signed, sealed, and delivered?
If you know and own the above, you will be ahead of the rest. By own, I mean actively manage, know which of these you want to improve at any given time, and what specific activities are involved. To get you started, you can download our Activity Calculator, and get a snapshot of how many opportunities you will need in each of the above three areas, and what impact changing each activity will have on a number of things you need to work on at any given time.
This allows you to use your calendar to get ahead of “Then” right now. For example, at the end of the year, your conversion ratios may vary based on what you need to get down. But by knowing that you also need to add a specific number of new opportunities to your pipeline, as the Calculator tells you, you can carve out time for that activity well in advance. This changes the relationship with the calendar to that of helping maximize efforts and time, not just deliver deadlines.
Even when the amount of time that you spend on this activity may need to come down at certain times of the year, your new look at time ensures that you will at a minimum, do enough today, to get ahead of “Then”.
If you want to learn more about the above and other things you can do to maximize your actives, both at the end of the year, and throughout the year, join me this Thursday at 10 am PT, when I present a timely webinar, Don't Give Your Pipeline an Unwanted New Year's Holiday.Click here to register for free!
Tibor Shanto has been a sales leader for over 25 years, helping companies improve their revenue goals. He is the co-author of the award winning book Shift!: Harness The Trigger Events That Turn Prospects Into Customers. Tibor was ranked 8th on the list of The Top 30 Social Salespeople In The World, as presented on Forbes.com. He received the Gold Medal Top Sales & Marketing Blog award, and was named OpenView’s Top 25 Sales Influencers and Top Sales’ Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2014.