originally published on – August 2, 2022
After a tough sales year, your funnel may be looking pretty thin. Now you’re staring at Q4 and year-end goals with no idea how to hit your targets.
Do not make excuses, give up, or start looking to Q1.
You may not like to hear that, but it’s the truth. Letting yourself off the hook gives you the excuse you need to fail, but it’s only an excuse – even in the fourth quarter. The most exciting thing about sales is the ability to shift, even in Q4.
This is the year you figure out if you have sales grit or cowardice.
Set New Sales Goals
Typically, when you think about sales goal setting, it’s in the context of the beginning (or mid-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The problem, however, is that by the time Q4 rolls around, many of those sales goals are too broad or outdated to apply to the short-term nature of a fourth-quarter sprint.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.
Then you consider the year we’ve had. Many of our clients have not adjusted their sales goals for the year. They’re still pushing hard personally or driving their salespeople toward the goal set in January. At best those owners have agreed to allow revenue to remain flat year over year. There are others, however, who still believe some growth goals should be achievable.
What does that mean for you? You’re in the Q4 stretch and you need a strategy to meet your fourth-quarter goals.
Ten Questions to Hit Your Q4 Sales Targets
When you’re in the fourth quarter, one of the most effective ways to make your sales number and fill your sales funnel is to perform a retrospective analysis and identify key short-term gaps and opportunities. Using it, you can create an action plan 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 or margin do you have to close?
- How many new prospects do you need to close your gap? How many marketing qualified leads do you need to convert to sales qualified leads and add to your pipeline?
- Are there proposals you presented but didn’t close this year? Which ones should you revisit to close now?
- Which clients haven’t you spoken with recently? Are there any opportunities that could be uncovered there?
- What leads do you have that could be followed-up on right now? What new B2B lead generation strategies are planned this quarter and how many leads do you expect? Are you prepared?
- 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? Which ones could you sell right now?
- Do you have technical consultants, system engineers, or help desk staff who could help you identify clients 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 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.