Taking the 11-month approach to sales goals.

“Aim small, miss small.”
—Mel Gibson in The Patriot

Does your business have a tough time with sales between December 15th and the first few weeks of January? We sure do. Tons of cash going out and maybe some coming in. Two pay periods with very little in deposit revenue coming in the door. Ouch. Our installation and service departments are very busy, but it’s really hard to get customers to make any decisions once the holiday season gets underway. It’s almost like we should orient our annual revenue goals around 11 months vs. 12. In 2019, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Beginning this year, we’re aiming to generate all our sales for the year by the end of November. If we happen to sell a ton in December, good for us. If not, who cares? I’ve seen the same thing happen each and every December for the last 17 years. Expecting a different result is the very definition of insanity. Complaining about something we can’t change is useless, so why not change up our game to become more proactive around the end of the year?

Also by Henry Clifford: Planning for 2019 — Start Here

We’ve already started by refining our first quarter sales goals to address the 11-month approach. If we tackle our goals day-by-day, week-by-week, and month-by-month, we’ll be in great shape come December 1. It turns out to only be a few thousand dollars difference each week.

How are we going to cram 12 months worth of sales into 11 months? To begin with, each one of our salespeople submitted their sales plans at the end of last year. Our sales manager breaks those commitments down into weekly goals and then coaches them toward pipeline growth. We have a one-hour call block time each week after our sales meeting where all we do is focus on calling the folks in our pipeline and prospect for new customers using a variety of sources like direct mail campaigns, local news, and LinkedIn. In addition, each one of our sales team is tasked with being active in at least one networking group.

Here’s an example of how we’re showing progress to our sales team and the rest of the company:

Clifford_11-month_sales

Our customer relationship management software (CRM) enables us to easily assign revenue goals to individual sales team members, as well as track company performance as a whole. As you can see here, we’ve got a lot of work to do for Q1! I’d much rather look at a dashboard like this and feel nauseous than stick my head in the sand.

I’m looking forward to a more relaxing holiday season in 2019 with all our crops harvested and in the barn by December 1.

What do you think of making your 2019 goal in 11 months?

Stay frosty and see you in the field.

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