A fourth-quarter rally could prove fruitful
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.