Here we are at the halfway point of the year, which means you have six months to hit your revenue sales targets. This is the perfect time to ask a simple question:
Relative to the sales goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year, are you ahead of pace, on track, or behind the ball?
By assessing where you stand against your annual sales goals at mid-year, you will be far enough into the year to accurately diagnose your position, and still early enough in the year to create a tactical plan to improve it.
A few things to consider.
Assess what is currently working…and double down
Regardless of current sales performance, there will be some key areas that are working well. Determine what those success areas are; whether they are ongoing vertical wins, positioning that resonates consistently, changes to your customer segmentation model, or training you deployed that is improving the productivity of your teams. Whatever it may be, find it, isolate it to confirm its success, and then determine how you can invest further to reap the rewards.
Evaluate changes in the market and competition
Have any new competitors arrived that are now impacting your sales? Is there any FUD being socialized which is delaying your sales cycles? Are there market dynamics that are impacting the success of your sales team (e.g., is an economic downturn in a specific country resulting in lower sales)? Now is a great time to evaluate the forces that are either supporting or hurting your sales teams and make necessary adjustments to your strategy.
Be crystal clear about what is NOT working and move fast to make changes
Many companies fail to make changes to problems that are negatively impacting the sales team or wait too long to make changes (e.g., internal politics, poor decision making, distractions with other activities). If results from one team are down, it’s worth investing the time to dig deeply into the true “WHY" and to find options to address the problem. What do your OKRs and leading indicators tell you? How are your pipeline build rates and are they quality leads? Are your conversion rates on track to hit and exceed your targets in the second half of the year? Now is the time to come up with a short-term and long-term plan to address these changes.
Talk to your team
Sounds simple, right? You would be surprised by how many leaders don't address their teams regularly. There is a Spanish saying, "It’s not the same to talk of bulls as it is to be in the bull ring". Sales leadership and the C-Suite often think they have an idea of what’s happening in the trenches with their teams based upon data and reporting. Input from the front line is an important additional data point – one that invariably yields interesting findings. Get your teams’ input on what is working well, what is not working, but also ask them for what they need to be more successful. Here are a few questions that can add valuable insight:
What tools do you have that are useful for closing business?
What do you need to close more business?
What obstacles do you encounter from prospects?
Which competitors do you see most frequently? Why do they win?
Where are you wasting time with inefficient processes?
Carefully thought out mid-year changes can make the difference between missing plan, getting back on track, and significantly exceeding your targets.
The moral of the story here is that it pays to think ahead and be proactive.
The longer you wait to correct a problem, the harder it’s going to be to undo what’s already been done. So, why not take the same energy that you have in an end-of-year sales flurry and channel it throughout the year? Make any necessary changes now to ensure a successful year end.