Due to circumstances beyond your control, you now have fewer weeks in which to reach your goals. A natural disaster and the government intervention and response reduced the time you would have devoted to the results you wanted. A good many will give up their goals, writing off the current year and deciding to start over next year, accepting whatever results they can eke out over the remaining weeks and months.
You, however, are going to decide to compress your goals into a thirty week year, essentially starting your year in July.
Don’t Give Up Your Goals
Some friends of mine who own a small business were setting their achievable goals at the beginning of a year. When they shared their specific goal with me, I suggested the goal was not ambitious enough. It wasn’t scary, in large part, because they could easily reach the goal without having to do anything different. I suggested they double their goals, and they rejected the idea, listing out all the things they would have to do differently to reach double their original goal.
The magic power of goal setting so big that it frightens you is that it requires you to do things differently than you would with smaller, modest, and more reasonable goals.
My friends didn’t reach the ambitious goal that was double the number they had when they started. Instead, they made eighty-percent of their goal; a full sixty-percent more than they would have done had they kept their original goal.
Your original goal is now a stretch goal. There is nothing to be gained by reducing your goals and much to be gained by keeping your goals and modifying your plan to reach them. Reducing the goal is a form of giving up. Changing your plan is a chance to exercise your initiative, your resourcefulness, and your tenacity.
Increase Your Activity
In B2B sales, we don’t like to focus on activity, preferring to measure outcomes. Under normal circumstances and provided you have a culture of accountability, one in which sales people are already doing the work necessary to produce those outcomes, the activity wouldn’t be your focus. Under circumstances that were unimaginable a few months earlier, a focus on B2B sales activity is essential.
Compressing a year into thirty weeks requires a factor of 1.4 (that is fifty-three weeks divided by thirty-eight weeks). If you needed one-hundred thousand dollars, you now need one-hundred and forty thousand dollars. Where you needed one opportunity, you now need something closer to one and a half opportunities.
Maintaining your normal levels of activity isn’t likely to move you closer to your goals. Reaching your goals will require making up the difference in the new opportunities you create and capture. With a shorter year, one that is missing weeks and months, you need to increase your activity to match your new reality. You likely need better prospecting sequences, ones that allow you to start a conversation around change.
But wait. There’s more.
Increase the Size of the Opportunities You Pursue
One of the ways you increase your chances to reach your goal is to increase the size of the accounts you target. Increasing the size of your deals improves your chances of reaching your goals, something I would recommend in good times and more trying times.
Larger prospective clients have more significant problems, challenges, and opportunities. They buy what they need from you because it’s crucial to their business and their success. In the best of cases, what you sell is important enough to be considered strategic, making you a partner and not a vendor. Smaller clients are still valuable, but when they have more minor problems and what you sell doesn’t rise to the level of being critical, they often lack the motivation to change and the need to invest more in the outcomes you enable.
Many of your larger prospective clients aren’t going to give up their year. They are going to work like the devil to recover as much of their lost opportunities as possible. Reaching your goals is going to require that you help enough of your dream clients to reach theirs. Improving your year will mean assisting others to recover theirs.
More prominent prospects tend to have more significant problems, in addition to spending more money in your category. Focus on solving more significant issues for larger clients.
The Red Zone
Often, we sell as if it is our job. We go through the motions, having made hundreds or thousands of sales calls, creating countless opportunities, and winning enough of them. We don’t always play the game as if there are consequences for losing. This mindset is a bad one to carry into a competitive endeavor like sales. These are not ordinary times, and you can not compress your year into the remaining weeks if you don’t treat every opportunity like it is critical to your success.
While activity and average deal size is important, what might be most important is your b2b sales effectiveness. More activity against larger prospective clients to produce more and more significant opportunities is all for naught if you don’t win. There has never been a time where it is more critical for you to improve your effectiveness in sales, something that is captured in your win rate. When you are on the twenty-yard line, you have to score.
Winning is always imperative. When you have weeks and months stripped from your year, every deal is worth more to you and your company. You need to treat every deal as if it is a “must-win” deal, making every interaction with your dream client count.
You need to improve your competency in executing a modern sales approach, one that takes into account the new realities of sales. You need to enhance your ability to compel change, helping your clients recognize the need to do something different to improve their results. You need modern methodologies around value creation, commitment-gaining, building consensus, differentiating you and your solution, asking powerful questions, overcoming objections and resolving concerns, and a half dozen other competencies that improve your effectiveness in sales.
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