When most salespeople think about goal setting, it’s often in the context of the beginning (or midway point) of the year — and that makes a lot of sense. After all, those times of the year often provide the perfect opportunity to evaluate what is or isn’t working, pinpoint a handful of actionable goals to focus on, and create a plan for achieving key targets.
The problem, however, is that by the time Q4 rolls around, many of those sales goals are too broad or outdated to apply to the short-term nature of a fourth quarter sprint. To put it another way, using annual goals set in January to influence your activities for Q4 is a little bit like deciding to drive to California with little more than instructions to “head west.” Sure, you might get there eventually — but probably not without a lot of frustration and wasted energy.
So, what should you be doing instead?
When you’re in the fourth quarter, one of the most effective ways to make your sales number is to perform a retrospective analysis and identify key short-term gaps and opportunities. From that, you can put an action plan in place to help you achieve them. Here are 10 simple questions to ask that will help you do that:
- What’s your gap? How many more sales do you need, how much more revenue for margin do you have to close?
- How many new prospects do you need to close your gap?
- Are there proposals that you presented but didn’t close this year? Which ones should you revisit to close now?
- Which customers haven’t you talked to recently? Are there any opportunities that could be uncovered there?
- What leads do you have that could be followed-up on right now?
- Who are five people you could ask for referrals?
- Who in your company could help you close some sales faster if you asked for their help?
- What solutions do you have that have a short sell cycle?
- Do you have technical consultants, system engineers, or help desk staff who could help you identify customers that could use your assistance in a new way?
- What’s one thing that’s getting in the way of you closing more sales? How can you fix it?
Ultimately, the key takeaway is that retrospective analysis and goal setting isn’t just an activity for the beginning, middle, or end of the year. In fact, with the end of Q4 now less than two months away, now is the perfect time to think about the actions that will guide you to achieving your year-end target.