We’re almost halfway through July, which means you now have less than six months left to hit your annual revenue targets. Naturally, that should prompt salespeople and business owners to ask a fairly simple question:
Relative to the sales goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year, are you ahead of pace, on pace, or behind the ball?
With a few easy calculations and a quick analysis of your sales numbers through the first six months of 2013, you’ll have your answer. And with that information in mind, you can better gauge where you stand and, if necessary, formulate a plan to proactively improve upon your current position.
Unfortunately, far too few salespeople and business owners actually do that.
Instead, they wait until October or November to assess their financial situations. And, when they do discover that their numbers are lagging, it typically induces a frantic rush to execute haphazardly created sales initiatives that are more prayerful than practical. As a result, they end up stressed out, anxiety-ridden and, very often, short of the revenue target they were gunning for.
Now, here’s the good news: It doesn’t have to be that way.
By assessing where you stand against your annual sales goals at the midway point of the year, it will still be late enough into the year to accurately and fairly diagnose your position, and still early enough in the year to create a tactical plan to improve it.
So, how should you go about conducting that assessment? Start by answering these five questions:
1. Where are you against your revenue or margin target? Ahead? Behind? On track? Wherever you stand, are you happy with that?
2. Are you on pace to bring in the number of new accounts you projected? If not, what more could you be doing? If you are on pace, what are you doing right?
3. Are you making inroads into new departments and meeting new customers in your top customer accounts? If not, what kinds of challenges are preventing you from doing so?
4. What kinds of adjustments could you make to improve your revenue position? Should you be prospecting more? Cross-selling? Increasing your average sale? Improving your sales skills?
5. What can (or can’t) you change? Have things changed in your market that you can’t control? Are there other forces that you could be more proactive about altering?
The moral of the story here is that it pays to think ahead and be proactive.
The longer you wait to correct a problem, the harder it’s going to be to undo what’s already been done. So, why not take the same energy that you have in an end-of-year sales flurry and channel it throughout the year?
The reality, after all, is that end-of-year sales strategies (such as the 12 tactics I discussed in this post from last November) work any time of year. If you start using them now, I think you’ll find that you can push your sales numbers ahead of where they need to be when December rolls around, which will prevent you from having to drop everything to focus solely on closing sales.
Essentially, this midyear assessment is akin to looking at your sales numbers from a glass half-full perspective. Yes, you might not like the fact that you aren’t where you were hoping to be. But discovering that today—as opposed to 12 weeks from now—at least gives you an opportunity to do something about it. Any maybe you’ll even end the year with a glass overflowing!
Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the newly released book, “The Sales Magnet,” and the award winning book, “Selling Against the Goal,” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.