Yesterday was the end of a quarter. Whether you hit it out of the park or struggled to meet your goals, everyone is in the same spot today... $0.00. And we're back on the roller coaster of sales. This way of life can start to weigh on you if you don't have an effective and repeatable process and plan.
Below are the 5 things I used to do at the beginning of each new quarter to get me in the mindset to do it all over again and to help me secure a fast start.
Calendar Review - I looked at my calendar from the last three months and broke my time spent into two buckets - Revenue Generating Activities and Non-Revenue Generating Activities. I calculated time spent in both areas and pulled out common themes and trends around how I was spending my time. If I hit my quota the quarter before it generally meant I was spending the majority of my time (50% or more) on revenue generating activities. If I did not hit my quota, it was often because I had not. Regardless, my next step would be to understand why my time was being spent doing what I did. In some cases, there were new product roll-outs, I was training a new hire or I had a special project I was working on. In those cases, as long as it was contributing to my overall success or career growth, I was okay with it, but made a mental and actual sticky note to remind myself that this quarter I needed to make a conscious effort to shift how I was spending my time. I would then share this information with my manager so we could build an accountability plan together.
Sharing the plan with my manager helped in a few ways. First, they were able to see how I was spending my time. Sometimes this was an ah-ha moment for them and sometimes it was an opportunity for them to provide feedback. If I had struggled the quarter before there was one easy fix. Second, giving them insight into time spent helped to empower them to protect my calendar, respect my boundaries and gave me permission to skip certain non-revenue generating activities because they understood how I needed to allocate my time.
2. Deal/Opportunity Audit - I looked at all of the deals/opportunities that I was carrying over into the new quarter and asked myself if there was a next step in place. If there wasn't, that was my first order of business. I also scheduled a one hour deal review meeting with my manager the first week of each quarter to go through my closed/lost opportunities to inspect the process. This allowed us to identify where there were gaps and course correct. This enabled me to approach similar opportunties in a way that secured the win or loss much faster moving forward.
3. Inspect the Data - I spent at least two hours of the first day of a new quarter looking at data.
- Where did I stand from an annual attainment perspective. What did I need to achieve this quarter to hit my annual goal (p-club, my own personal stretch goal or 100%)
- What was the make-up of my deals - Product, deal type, industry sold to, company size, etc.
- What stage in the sales process was I losing deals
- Activity - How many calls, emails, videos, LinkedIn messages did I send
- How did I rank against my peers and who could I learn from
4. Accomplishment Reflection - To get me motivated and in the right mindset to approach another quarter I created a written list of my accomplishments the previous three months. That list included items like: Networking opportunities, creative prospecting plays, activity metrics, leading team meetings and working with other departments to name a few. In this exercise I was very careful not to include specific deals or dollar value accomplishments. Those are easy to track, while these took time and forced me to really reflect. This list consisted of the steps and actions I took to help me grow and the moments I challenged myself. If this list was short, I made it a point to create more growth opportunities for myself over the next three months.
5. Re-charge Time - Many of my colleagues took vacation time the first day of the new quarter, but I preferred to work that day so that I could get organized. I would then give myself a four day weekend. For example, if the end of the quarter fell on a Friday, I would work that Monday - Thursday of the first week, but give myself Friday - Monday of the second week to re-charge. Or if the End of quarter fell on a Wednesday, I would work Thursday but give myself Friday - Monday of the first week to re-charge.
*Don't forget to share the process and plan you create with your manager. This will show them you're focused and ready for the next quarter and will also set them up to be able to help you.
Sales is challenging, however, with many years of experience under my belt I can say it becomes more enjoyable when you create a repeatable and predictable process that works for you. This was mine for the beginning of each quarter and it served me well. Feel free to use it or tweak it so that it matches your needs. Happy Q3 readers, you're going to crush it.