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Autumn is the Start of Closing Season - Preparation is Key

Closing Season

In a week or so, summer will be over.  As you pack up the surfing gear and suntan lotion, your customers are doing the same.  Now is the time for top performing sales leaders to get ready for “closing season.”  

You’ve spent the year prospecting, building pipeline and nurturing opportunities.  Starting the day after Labor Day, it’s the race to close before the end of the year.  For many organizations, autumn represents the time to focus on deals that can close this calendar year, so you can get pen to paper before December 31.  The waning days of summer are the perfect time to prepare for closing season so that you’re coasting to a relaxing holiday season rather than sprinting to the finish line.

 

Inspect your pipeline and prioritize by pace

Now is the time to take inventory of all the deals that you have in pipeline.  Every organization has categories established to track deals through the funnel to the contract.  These stages are designed to get an idea about which deals are closest to closing. Yet, according to CSO Insights, 43 percent of enterprise sales reps miss their quota.  Why? They tend to treat all deals within a sales category like they have the same likelihood of closing.  More simply put, they don’t track the pace at which deals are moving through the pipeline.  So, how do you prioritize by pace?

  1. Figure out how long the average deal, that ultimately closes, resides in each sales stage.

  2. Using CRM or other data sources, identify deals that are moving through pipeline at the appropriate pace.  Also identify the deals which are stalled, or lingering in a stage longer than average.

  3. During closing season, define a sales plan that focuses on deals that are moving at an appropriate pace.  Focus on these deals rather than all deals that are in the latter sales stages.  Deals that are in the funnel and that have moved at an appropriate pace, are Tier 1 deals.

 

Build a strategy for slow deals

Once you’ve identified and focused on deals that are moving at the right pace, you will find that you have later stage deals that are not moving through the pipeline appropriately.  Segment these by the ones that are “stuck” because of a specific issue, like product availability or a key decision maker’s availability.  Deals that have moved at appropriate pace, and that are now stuck, and that have an identifiable way to be un-stuck should make the Tier 2 list.  Some of these might come in during closing season.  The key is to identify solutions that can be implemented, and to unstick deals, so they can resume the appropriate pace, and so that they can close on time.

What about slow deals that are slow for no apparent reason? These are Tier 3 deals.  These are the deals that take a lot more work to get moving, or to disqualify. While these deals might need an occasional email or call from you to make sure they still have a pulse, these are not the deals that will make your year.  It is very expensive to focus on slow deals…no matter what stage of the sales cycle they’re in. Anything you can do to automate the process of touching these deals will save time for you to work the deals that are on pace, or that have just become stuck.

 

Now you can Geo-prioritize

Since you now know which deals are considered Tier 1,2 and 3 for closing season, it’s time to get personal.  For those who primarily sell face-to-face, now is the time to pay a visit to all Tier 1 deals.  

MapAnything Routes

Create a sense of urgency face-to-face. Once your customers are back from summer vacation, they’ll be ready to pick up the pace and acquire the products and services they need to close out their own year successfully.  By visiting with customers face-to-face, you’ll be able to identify how your product or service can help them meet their goals. And, you can create urgency about closing quickly so that they get the most benefit from your product as they close out their year.  Geo-productivity software will help you optimally execute your sales calls, and help you automatically update CRM, so that you can focus on selling and making the number during closing season.

For Tier 2 deals, visiting face-to-face may help you remove the obstacle that is slowing deal progress. Often, a face-to-face visit and active problem solving helps move a deal past the sticking point.  Using geo-productivity software, you’ll be able to plan these visits around your Tier 1 deal visits.

Tier 3 deals don’t get a face-to-face visit, unless stopping by is a convenient time filler.  Deals in the Tier 3 category can continue to be moved along with phone calls and emails.  Many Tier 3 deals, even the ones in later stages of the sales cycle, never close. So, be careful not to waste time on these during closing season.  

Fall is the time to focus and prepare for success at years end.  By understanding the pace of deals in your pipeline, you can be sure that you’re focusing on the deals that are most likely to get you to the finish line and full quota attainment.


Learn More About Geo-Productivity Software >>


Michael Muhlfelder
By: Michael Muhlfelder

Chief Revenue Officer at MapAnything

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