With half the fiscal year gone, it is time for sales personnel to take a hard look at their prospects for the remaining months of the year and make a realistic evaluation of how they can hit that desired number known as the “annual sales target.” This article provides five tips as to how you can hit that magic number without going into any last minute frenzy.
There are several things you can do before deciding on how and where you are going to spend your time in the remaining months of the year. Here are five tips that will help you to gain a proper perspective and develop an effective action plan.
*1. Customer first, target later:*
The first thing that you must realize is that customers are looking to you to solve a problem, avoid a crisis, or accomplish a larger goal. Hence, staying focused on meeting the needs of customers rather than on somehow bagging the deal will give you the ability to critically scrutinize all your prospective deals and find out the areas you can potentially work with. This will give you the ability to focus on deals which have the best prospects and enable you to prioritize those customers who are more likely to close this fiscal rather than the next or perhaps not at all.
*2. Know your customer’s needs:*
Unless you have a very good knowledge of what your customers need and when they need it, it will be difficult for you to prioritize with any degree of accuracy. If you are not going to sell them a solution that they need urgently, however much you may try to convince and cajole them, they will not close. In such a situation, pressurizing them can only prove to be counterproductive. This type of knowledge is part of identifying opportunities that meet the criteria for your ideal customer. Knowing how closely your deals match your criteria gives you a better idea of the likelihood that they will welcome your solution and see you as a valuable partner in achieving their goals.
*3. Evaluate the potential for closing:*
Once you have prioritized and made a shortlist of your most prospective customers, the next thing you must do is to assess whether these customers are likely to close the deal within the year-end. Focus on where they are today and what it will take to advance them.
*4. Develop action plan:*
Once you have shortlisted your top prospects, understood their needs and urgency and have evaluated where they stand now and what it would take to make them move forward, you are ready to develop an action plan to meet your year-end targets.
*5. Review key elements:*
While developing the plan consider the following aspects of each opportunity:
* The customer’s needs and the specific business issues he/she wants to address.
* Your ability to provide business solutions and value rather than pushing an individual product.
* The customer’s timetable.
* Who is involved in the decision-making process, their roles, and who makes the final call.
Keeping these aspects in mind during your review will help you to evaluate a deal’s true potential for close. Focusing on your customers, understanding their issues, and knowing their sense of urgency will allow you to pinpoint the best opportunities in your funnel for year-end focus, and allow you to craft a plan to move those opportunities forward based on the customer’s expectations rather than your own. In the end you may find meeting those stiff targets was just a walk in the park!