We just finished Thanksgiving Weekend and all the Black Friday stuff is behind us. Oh, I forgot about Cyber Monday but that too soon will be over. Today is Cyber Monday but for my team, it is final preparation day. Final Preparation for what you ask? Well it is preparing for the end of the year. We have just over a month to go to finish this year. Our team is finishing the year strong . I hope your team is as well but our work is not over. Year end is a great time to work on completing some pipeline projects, updating ongoing projects, planning, tweaking 2019 budgets and closing some things that you consider low hanging fruit.
Here are 5 things that you should be doing with your team as you move to the end of this year.
- Low Hanging Fruit– If you are coaching a sales team, you will want your team to do a pipeline and project review to determine what might still be closed before the end of the year. It doesn’t hurt to contact the folks involved with the project with a phone call and/or email to see how the project is going. Anything in the funnel that would be closing within 1 month of the new year 2019 would be a candidate for this contact.
- Full Pipeline Update– The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas in our business (Food Ingredients) is slower. People have their thoughts on holidays. Others are taking vacation that they need to before they lose it. In general, it is kind of the doldrums. The doldrums lull people into being lethargic and not pursuing ongoing projects. Keep you head in the game and enjoy the season but like anything else, use balance. The Goldilocks scenario comes to mind…not too hot (don’t come in too strong) and not too cold (chilling and doing mindless paper pushing) . Try and go through your sales pipeline and projects. Update those that are active with a current time estimate. Cancel any projects in the pipeline that have been cancelled or postponed by your prospect. Sales Pipelines are only as good as the information is current.
- Budget Review– The end of the year is coming. In our company, we spend time evaluating our year’s performance based on our budget submitted a year ago. From this information, we calculate and determine potential bonuses to be paid to each individual team member . I also find it helpful to tweak any last minute items on our 2019 sales budget and the accompanying Proforma Profit/Loss Spreadsheet with any changes in anticipated expenses. I encourage each member of our team to look at their sales budgets which will help them to plan their Q 1 Territory Travel Plans .
- Set up and plan Q 1 Territory Plans– Does your sales team members have large territories to manage? This is a great time to plan for travel during the months of January, February and March of 2019. What is the most efficient and effective way to cover the territories? Which of the high target, high profile customers can be contacted in Q 1? How many will be seen face-to-face and how many will be contacted via email campaigns , phone calls and possibly text messaging for important updates? Review these plans during your 1:1 s that you have during December so you are ready to hit the ground running in 2019.
- Reach out to customers– The last month of the year is a great time to thank your customers for their business. Your Sales Team should reach out with a personal email or even better, a hand-written note to their key customers thanking them for their support and business this year.You really can not have too many touch points with your customers. This is a great initiative for your team during this last month of the year. While we are on the subject of touch points and gratitude, it is a good time to acknowledge accomplishments and high points in the year to each of the members of your team. As the team leader, your acknowledgement goes a long way and has special meeting . Make sure you recognize specific events and actions for each one of the people. Do this during your 1:1 meetings and if you do not have 1:1 meetings with each one on your team regularly because they have a team leader of their own, then schedule a call and acknowledge their efforts specifically and individually. This will build more trust and improve communication in your team. The folks will know that you are watching and what they do is important to you and the team.
Well, these are some things to do as you coach your team and finish this year. As always, I encourage your comments and encourage you to pass this one to others in your organization that would find it valuable. Sign up for our regular newsletters and ideas for Team Coaching Success. Check out our Podcasts, Video Blogs and several new products and white papers to help you coach successfully.
If I can help you with your team’s performance please reach out to me and I would love to have a conversation with you.
Please make these last weeks of the year the foundation for success in 2019.
I wish you Good Coaching and Good Selling . #oarsforward