A fourth-quar­ter rally could prove fruit­ful

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - BUSINESS - Cor­nell Wright Plan Well + Ex­e­cute Cor­nell Wright is lead con­sul­tant and an Ex­ec­u­tive Coach at The Parker Wright Group Inc. in Strat­ford. The firm as­sists clients to in­crease mar­ket share by im­proved cus­tomer ser­vice. He can be reached at 203377-4226 or c

If you watch col­lege foot­ball, some teams at the be­gin­ning of the fourth quar­ter, hold four fin­gers in the air. This sym­bolic ges­ture is in­tended to rally the team whether they are win­ning or trail­ing their op­po­nents. The four-fin­ger ges­ture is a recog­ni­tion of the team’s hard work, con­di­tion­ing, spirit and de­ter­mi­na­tion to win in the fi­nal min­utes of the game.

For many busi­nesses, we are en­ter­ing into the fourth quar­ter of our busi­ness year. For those in sales this is a very crit­i­cal time. The per­for­mance num­bers are known for the first three quar­ters of the year. You are aware whether you are ahead of your an­nual ob­jec­tives or behind. De­pend­ing on your or­ga­ni­za­tion, the per­for­mance in the fourth quar­ter could mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween suc­cess and fail­ure for the year. For those in ca­reer sales, jobs may be on the line.

The fourth quar­ter is the time for the en­tire or­ga­ni­za­tion to rally around the sales or­ga­ni­za­tion and fo­cus on the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s suc­cess. De­pend­ing on the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s in­dus­try and cul­ture a sales rally in the fourth quar­ter can take on dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter­is­tics and uti­lize dif­fer­ent tech­niques.

Typ­i­cally, one of the first ac­tiv­i­ties or­ga­ni­za­tions un­der­take is an an­nounce­ment by a mem­ber of the ex­ec­u­tive team stat­ing the cur­rent per­for­mance num­bers and the im­por­tance of a strong fin­ish in the fourth quar­ter.

The chal­lenge from the ex­ec­u­tive might be fol­lowed by a plan­ning ses­sion. The plan­ning ses­sion would usu­ally have rep­re­sen­ta­tives of each func­tional area that could pos­i­tively im­pact the sales func­tions. The or­ga­ni­za­tional plan­ning ses­sions might yield re­vised sales pro­mo­tions, so­cial me­dia out­reach, prod­uct in­cen­tives and per­haps a sales con­test. Again, de­pend­ing on the in­dus­try, the or­ga­ni­za­tional ap­proaches will vary but the ob­jec­tives are to meet the an­nual sales goals.

Af­ter the or­ga­ni­za­tional fourth-quar­ter plans are put in place, it is time for in­di­vid­ual sales units to es­tab­lish their plans for the last quar­ter. The plans are usu­ally re­viewed by sales man­age­ment and the sales unit’s fore­casts are rolled up to an or­ga­ni­za­tional level. If the fourth-quar­ter num­bers are within an ac­cept­able range, the var­i­ous plans are ap­proved and ini­ti­ated.

Here are few sales tech­niques that have his­tor­i­cally been proven to en­hance sales. Di­rect con­tact with ex­ist­ing cus­tomers who have pur­chased your prod­ucts or ser­vices re­cently can be fruit­ful. Cus­tomer ser­vice has a role to play in the fourth quar­ter with in­ten­si­fied ser­vice and per­haps new ini­tia­tives. Ad­di­tion­ally, a fo­cused fourth-quar­ter so­cial me­dia cam­paign could pro­vide a boost to sales. Also, a named, or­ga­ni­za­tional cam­paign can work won­ders for team co­he­sive­ness and mo­ti­va­tion.

What­ever your ap­proach, with the fourth quar­ter a few weeks away, it is time to eval­u­ate your sales po­si­tion. With clear ob­jec­tives for the fourth quar­ter, your team can create and ini­ti­ate a fourthquar­ter sales ef­fort that can re­sult in a win for the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

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