A quick look at the calendar and we are aware that March Madness is upon us. Ah, March Madness, a time for college basketball and the thrill of watching, cheering, and betting on our favorite team. However, in the world of sales, March brings on a different kind of madness – the awareness that one-fourth of the year is close to closing and sales aren’t where we would like them to be.
Sure, we had our beginning-of-the-year sales kickoff meeting and passed out our previous year’s accolades. At the same time, we announced this year’s revenue expectations and assigned aggressive goals. We persevered through complaints, negations, and outright begging for lower goals as we painfully reviewed individual sales representative’s business plans. Yet, we are facing lowered expectations as we struggle through March.
March Sales Madness means those business plans are somewhere out of sight, growing moss on their north side and that sales goals are being met with excuses that range from ‘the economy is bad’ to ‘our pricing is too high’. It’s a lot like when you flush a toilet. You begin to push down on the handle and start to hear the trickle of water. It’s not a complete flush but you know the complete flush is on its way. March Sales Madness is that trickle, however there is something you can do to end the Madness and get things back on course. Clients have taken the following three steps to reverse March Sales Madness and get things on the right track:
- Bring someone in who is not part of your organization. Someone who can look at things through new eyes and has worked with other organizations. There are many companies that have paid dearly to make the mistakes you are about to make and have had successes that you are not aware exist.
- Together, go through the company strategy to market. Way to often, the sales strategy is, ‘more of the same’. In a changing market with buyers getting their information and motivation differently, ‘the same’ doesn’t cut it anymore.
- Re-examine those individual sales business plans and determine if they fit the mission. If they do, implement a short-term strategy, follow the plan and modify when needed. If they do not, re-create the plan and begin again with short term (30 day) monitoring.
Think of January as the ‘dreaming’ phase of a sales mission. It is a whole new year of hope and high expectations. Sales tendencies that lean more towards tactics than strategies and action plans are like seeds planted with the expectation of a fine crop to harvest. March comes along and we start to recognize that many of those seeds were never watered and in many cases were planted in the wrong place. March is the time to recommit to that garden and don’t allow March Sales Madness to carry over to another quarter.
Author: Rich Lucia
March 22, 2017