What do I still have time to win?
Sometimes there are even internal obstacles to a deal that can be easily overcome. For example, there might be a modification to an agreement that is sitting on your legal department’s desk. Or maybe a change has been made to a solution or service plan that, if agreed to, would allow you to win the opportunity. These are the types of things you can and should deal with before the end of the quarter.
What you shouldn’t do is start making pricing concessions that aren’t aligned with your overall business strategy, or accepting business that is outside of your real core target. Both will cost you more than you gain in the long run.
What did I win? What did I lose? Why?
What new clients did you win? How did you win those clients? Who did you compete against? Why did your new clients choose you over the competition? What value proposition or offering positioned you to win? What are the differences in pricing, margins, services, and solutions, and what do those differences tell you about your business and sales efforts?
Questions like these will help you better understand what is working so you can do more of it.
What opportunities did you lose? Why did you lose them? Which of your competitors were chosen? What was it that allowed them to win the opportunity? How closely was your sales process followed on the opportunities you lost? What would you change if you had a chance to compete for this opportunity again?
These questions will help guide your future behavior as a sales force, as long as you take the time to be honest and thoughtful in completing the review.
What does next quarter look like?
As Jim Rohn used to say, “You plant in the spring, you harvest in the fall. No planting, no harvest.” Acquiring new clients and customers isn’t an endeavor that lends itself to cramming or last-minute heroic efforts.
In most cases, if your forecast isn’t what you need it to be, the answer is to increase your prospecting activities to ensure that you acquire the opportunities required to hit your number.
What do I need to change?
Most reporting is trailing. It is an autopsy; the body is already dead and there is nothing you can do to bring it back to life. The best way to make use of all of the data you have collected over the quarter is to add context. You need to discover what happened, why it happened, and what beliefs underlie your results.
The biggest mistake you can make at quarter’s end is to decide that next quarter will be improved by simply doing more. More activity is only the right answer when your activity is already low. In most cases, the greatest improvement is made through the changes you make after taking time to discover what activities might have led to better outcomes.
If you want to put up better numbers at the end of the next quarter, you need to start working on that result long before the current quarter closes. So start working to that end now.