End-of-Year Sales Questions You Must Ask
(what the spreadsheets are not be revealing)
December is a split-personality time of year; on one hand, a sense of relief and accomplishment, on the other, a sense of apprehension and fear of the unknown. For sales professionals, this month is especially difficult. It's like working in a mine, coming up at the end of the day but knowing that pretty soon, we're taking the elevator down for another grueling day at the mine.
Sales are measured by results, black or white; did you win the business or not? For those who deal with a long sales-cycle product or service, losing the deal is brutal. From the outside looking in, there is no "A" for effort in sales if the other guy got the order.
But, you chose sales and you're still in it because you are resilient and refuse to quit.
You already know from a previous blog that what is wrong with sales are not salespeople but those who manage them. Every salesperson reports to a manager. Every manager reports to a V.P or the Owner. Somewhere between the manager, executive and owner lies the reason(s) for failure. Examples: treating sales as a necessary evil, unrealistic sales goals, detached from reality views of the industry, lack of respect to the competition, stingy or no marketing support, personal animosity towards a salesperson, jealousy, and many many more.
December is a bitter-sweet journey into the New Year. It is time for rewarding sales or punishing sales. If the company is doing great, everyone takes credit for it. If the company is doing poorly, only sales is to blame. And so the story goes....
No one can, or should, debate the "numbers". IF (capitalized with intention) you've measured all that should be tracked, then "it is what it is". Now, everyone can slice and dice the numbers and lend their creative interpretation to what the results indicate. The only number that matter is PROFIT: Did we make money? If we did, where did we do well and let's do it again. If we didn't, time to dig deep and find out. Let's not do that again. Yes, there are metrics for every division in the company and they are vital to managing the business. But, when it comes to sales, it is time to ask the questions that no one wants to address because without knowing the answers it's a Russian Roulette sales plan. Here's a link to those questions.