Here we are, in the madness of the summer season, the sun is shining, people are taking vacations, and we are still trying to get work done. We are 2 weeks into Q3 and we know that we have 2 months of summer fun and sunshine ahead of us before buckling down and really get back our teams back to focusing on the number and make plans for the final push in Q4. (Can you believe that we are actually talking about Q4 and EOY?!)
During this period, we have to rely on our activity driven sales skills in order to stay on track and hit our number. It is difficult to keep you team focused and a lot of the times, you cut them some summer time slack. That is fine to do but you should still hold your team accountable. Here’s why – most other teams are taking their foot off the gas and cruising through the summer months. This is a great time to take advantage of other teams lack of focus and capture some business. But you can’t just crack the whip to have the horses pull harder, you have to show them how to do it. Here are a few training techniques that will inspire your team to push through this time of year and execute.
- Create Urgency: Your team is going to take vacation – and they should…we all should. They should feel good about taking some time to charge their battery and blow off some steam. You, as their manager, should stay ahead of their time off and create a sense of urgency for them as they lead up to their vacation. Make sure they are building a ton of pipeline for you and the team to try and close while they are away. They will have no regrets for working so hard leading up to vacation and then return with some closed deals on their desk.
- Map Out the Year: For most of us, we are half way through our Fiscal Year…how are you performing against your annual goals? Sit down with your team and look at what you have accomplished thus far and how much further there is to go. Maybe you have a different monthly goals now to make up any short comings in the first half FY15. Maybe you are ahead of your goal – great, how much do more do you have to book in sales to get to kickers or accelerators. Sometimes the biggest motivator and a simple reality check.
- Pipeline Management: Our teams are not the only ones taking time off to enjoy the summer, our clients do the same thing. It is important to train your team to manage their pipeline accordingly. They should all be asking their clients, “Are you taking any time for vacation this summer?” Use this intel to help your sales person push or pull a deal. Maybe they can create some urgency to get the deal closed before the client goes away. Or, they become real and push the deal out and need to back fill those pipeline dollars.
- Do Not Let History Repeat Itself: If you have people on your team for over a year, I recommend that you look back to see how they performed last summer. Did they meet or exceed their quota? Did they miss it? What were they doing a year ago that helped them be successful? What hurt them? Drive into details and remind your team that “Those who refuse to learn from mistakes in history, are doomed to repeat them.”
- Relax: That’s right, I said relax. Tell your team that it is ok to relax and enjoy some well deserved time off. My point is that your team is going on vacation, make sure they know that their business is in good hands while they are away from the office. At that point in time, it is what it is…they will have to deal with it when they get back. All my training recommendations are based on things to do leading up to vacation…once vacation is here, it is too late. Might as well go enjoy vacation and deal with work when you get back.
This is a tricky time of year but there is no reason not to book business and take advantage to others’ lack of focus. Buckle down, drive activity, work hard, and then go enjoy vacation…you will never regret working too hard while you are on the beach enjoying your well deserved time off.