The long overdue Summer Holiday is right around the corner.
“Whew! It’s about time!”
We couldn’t agree more because our own hard-working sales team is in the same boat.
But wait, can you truly relax during the holiday if the following questions are still weighing heavy on your mind?
- Am I close to achieving my quota?
- Do I have all of my meetings booked for when I return?
- Is my pipeline in a healthy place?
- What can I be doing during the holiday to keep things on track?
To fully enjoy a stress-free summer holiday, lets look at several things you can do to set yourself up for success in the weeks leading up to your holiday break.
- Poising for post-holiday sales success requires planning ahead and taking several ‘must-knows’ into consideration as you build your plan, including your current pipeline, forecasting accuracy, and quota attainment – know your gaps!
- Knowing how to get to where you need to be in the last quarter of the year requires knowing where you stand today and the wheels you need to keep in motion between now and then.
- Leverage your internal and external resources for sales execution during your summer absence and set everyone up for success by setting clear expectations.
- Taking a much deserved break doesn’t mean the sales process needs to come to a complete halt. There are some imperative actions you can and should take to keep momentum strong in the meantime.
Am I Close to Achieving My Quota?
We know that some companies structure their fiscal and sales quarters on a calendar year while others are structured on a different schedule to better accommodate their operational and financial needs. Regardless of your sales quarter/year structure, a quota is still a quota, so you have a number to meet when you return from holiday. That number may be bigger than what it was at the beginning of the sales year for a variety of reasons, namely if you didn’t hit your quota during the previous quarter(s).
So, you should be asking yourself before the summer holiday: Does my forecast accurately represent that I’m in a position to achieve my quota or do I have a gap I need to backfill for now?
If the answer to the first part of the question is yes, then kudos to you. But, if your answer indicates you have some sales opportunity backfilling to do, then right now is the time to do it. You don’t want to be in a stressful ‘catch-up quick’ gap-filling situation in a couple of months.
What you should be working on pre-holiday is accelerating your early and mid-stage opportunities into forecastable revenue shortly after you return. Follow up now with your key contacts to better gauge their interest and intent level. Then, assuming a determination of meat on the bone, add this to your forecast.
Schedule calls/meetings to occur within the next 1-3 weeks as well as right after the holiday return in order to keep momentum going. You can also stay top of mind and nurture your prospects during the holiday with a drip email cadence.
If you’re working with an in-house or outsourced inside sales, appointment-setting, or lead qualification team, make sure they’re aware of the forecast gap you need to close and collaborate with them to ensure they’re engaged in the right activities at the right volume and pace to help you achieve some milestones now and while you’re on holiday.
In other words, keep strengthening your forecast by keeping all the wheels in motion during your absence, and between now and then, too.
Do I Have All of My Meetings Booked for When I Return?
You and everyone else returning from summer holiday need to be prepared to hit the ground running. The last position you want to find yourself in is competing with everyone else’s busy schedules to find last-minute valuable meeting times.
Get ahead of the game now by scheduling your meetings and calls to occur shortly after your return to work and when your key prospects are returning as well. Be sure to establish clear objectives for these meetings – your objectives and your prospects’ objectives, too. Sales meetings must have deliberate mutual intent otherwise they’re at greater risk of your invites being declined or cancelled at the last minute.
It’s always a good idea to coordinate meeting reminders and confirmations to ensure the probability of meetings and calls that actually take place. This is where your inside sales team, sales admins, and outsourced sales support teams can help, so leverage them for this crucial step in your pipeline building, forecasting, and quota attainment planning process.
Is My Sales Pipeline in a Healthy Place?
Your sales forecast is based on a quantifiable financial value estimate of the opportunities you’re likely to close within a specific time range — let’s say within one to three months. It gives the leader of your sales team and other members of your company’s executive team a reliable view into at least the short-term revenue picture, so they know how to adjust and accommodate for the bigger financial picture that’s potentially being shaped by what’s happening short-term.
Bottom line: Your forecast is comprised of the ‘real stuff.’
On the other hand, your sales pipeline is comprised of all the opportunities you’re working on regardless of their stage. It’s your early indicator of what will eventually convert to your forecast, and therefore is a driver of activities you should be executing now to build and sustain momentum. Great salespeople aren’t just focused on this quarter; they allocate lots of attention to what else they should be doing now to prepare for revenue outcomes in subsequent quarters.
As the sales process moves forward, the number of prospects you’re talking to will inevitably drop off. If your pipeline isn’t looking healthy now, then your forecast and quota attainment are likely to suffer the consequences later. So, take steps now before the summer holiday break to assess and strengthen your pipeline in addition to your forecast.
Rely on your own recent pipeline conversion metrics, and those of your peers, to gauge the number of opportunities that should be in the various stages of your pipeline right now. Keep in mind that in order to gauge this correctly, you should consider the historical pace of pipeline progression in addition to quantity of opportunities.
If your review of funnel performance indicates that you’re low on solid leads and early- and mid-stage opportunities, then work with your inside sales reps – whether they’re part of your in-house team or outsourced to a third-party partner – as well your marketing team to start getting ahead of the curve by putting an acceleration plan in motion.
And, of course, make sure you and your team are capturing all the relevant notes in your CRM because if you’re successful at having an enjoyable holiday break, then you’re probably not going to remember where you last left pre-holiday conversations.
Am I Staffed to Meet My Customers’ and Prospects’ Needs?
One could argue that having sufficient resources available to meet your customers’ needs is more of an operational concern instead of a sales issue.
But a dissatisfied customer can quickly turn into a soured sales relationship or a customer experience nightmare. After all, retaining customers, earning their referral, and growing customer accounts ultimately falls back onto the salesperson who brought in their business, along with the CX team responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction and success.
To that end, ensuring the right resources are in place should be shared between sales, the CX team, and operations. Cross-functional communication and realistic expectation-setting are key initiatives to address this.
When planning ahead for your holiday break and what comes after, make it an imperative to address operational resource capacity and related issues to ensure your customers’ needs are accounted for now – and later.
This is where your team comes into play to help in your absence. Make sure they’re set up for success by setting clear expectations for them with how to handle their interactions with your customers and prospects. This is where outsourced inside sales and marketing support teams can provide significant benefit, as they can be handling activities in the absence of your in-house team. So set them up for success too by also setting expectations and understandings for them.
Improve Your Probability for Sales Success by Preparing Now for the Summer Holiday
Televerde is a strategic sales and marketing partner for many industry-leading brands. Our unique and innovative business model and always-on staffing model are what enables us to continually serve our customers’ sales and revenue growth needs throughout the year.
We work side-by-side with our customers to ensure their sales and revenue engines are always running and optimised even when they’re taking a well-deserved break! Contact us or call us (01412-806493) to learn more about what and why we do what we do, and how our business model is fully optimised to help our clients succeed. We can help you enjoy a more relaxing Summer Holiday!