How to Get Q4 Off to a Rip-Roaring Start

The fourth quarter.

Where heroes are born and legends are made. Where “clutch” players step up when their teams need them most and deliver big-game performances. Some might wilt under the pressure of the late-game bright lights, but those that succeed know that pressure either bursts pipes…or makes diamonds.

So how can you ensure your sales team is full of diamond-cutters, ready to deliver a huge performance and help your team end the year on a strong note? It starts with the Q4 sales kickoff.

Here’s how to have a great sales kickoff and get your Q4 off to a rip-roaring start.

1. Remember that Q3 is over and in the past

The best athletes have short memories, and sales teams have to operate with the same mentality. Last quarter is over, whether you smashed your goal by 20% or fell short at the finish line. You can’t rest on the laurels of a great quarter, and you certainly can’t dwell on crushing defeats. It’s a new month, a new quarter and you have new goals and challenges to overcome. It’s time to let go of Q3.

2. But don’t forget about what you did last quarter

That doesn’t mean you should forget about all that happened in Q3. Far from it, in fact. You want to remember Q3 in two distinct ways:

  • Recognize those who deserve recognition – Some of your sales reps had sterling quarters, going above-and-beyond in not only hitting their quota, but taking on active leadership and mentorship roles and being a great team player. Don’t be afraid to give a shout-out to these guys, putting them up as a model example to the rest of the team.
  • Learn from your mistakes…and your successes – The Sales Kickoff is a great time to look at the deals you won and the deals you lost last quarter. Many sales post-mortems focus on the deals you won, and that’s great! You want to know what winning deals look like so you can recreate them over and over again.But you also want to know why you’re losing the opportunities that you are. This means diving into lost reasons on every single opportunity, and bucketing them to see where the most common losses are occurring. If most of your losses are coming from Poor Qualification, you can coach your reps to qualify better. If Competition is cited as the most common reason, figure out what your competitors are doing better.

3. Get everyone looking at and analyzing the sales metrics that matter

Even beyond a win-loss analysis, there are a host of sales metrics that the entire team should be diving into together at the Sales Kickoff. Some are individual metrics – like win rate, number of opportunities created, sales funnel conversion rates – while others are team metrics, like your overall sales pipeline flow. The entire team should familiarize themselves with all these metrics, and know how they stack up against the rest of the team’s averages. This is a great opportunity to identify weaknesses and where individual reps – or the whole team – can improve.

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4. Talk goals and explain your thinking behind them

Of course, the Sales Kickoff isn’t just a look back, but a look forward to the next three months. That means setting goals for each individual rep. Many reps are given their goals and then left to fend for themselves for the next three months in hitting their goals; this is not effective. Instead, get buy-in and commitment from your reps by explaining how you set those goals, how each of their individual goals factors into the overall team’s achievements and how you can help them achieve their quota.

5. Boost morale and have fun!

Finally, the Sales Kickoff should at least be somewhat fun for your reps, and for yourself. You have three months of really hard work and tough challenges ahead of you. Keep your reps engaged and enthusiastic about the work they have to do by celebrating their achievements and continuing to maintain a positive work culture.

A great way to do this – while challenging people to hit goals – is to create sales contests. Sales contests are a great way of bringing out the best in your sales reps, but in a fun and team-building manner.

A great quarter starts with a great sales kickoff. Get your Q4 off on the right foot by following these 5 tips, and you’ll soon be celebrating a successful end of the year, and be ready to kick off 2015.
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