What's Your Plan for Managing the Last Quarter of 2017?

BY Jessica Helinski
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The end of each fiscal quarter is often a mad rush to close deals. Sales reps may find themselves cutting corners, throwing out discounts and rushing contracts to meet end-​of-​quarter goals. This tactic is actually costing companies money, according to an article by Harvard Business Review. Ken Krogue discusses the findings from a study by InsideSales Lab, which analyzed over 19 million sales transactions from 151 U.S. companies.

The research found that while salespeople close three times as many deals at the end of the month as during the rest of the year, they also lose 11 times as many. “…while the end of the month shows an increase in a firm’s overall number of sales, the end-​of-​the-​month push coincides with a 51% decrease in overall sales win rate,” Krogue writes. “Reps are less effective at closing the right deals, with appropriate pricing, at the end of the month: Our study found that overall deal size declined 34.5%.”

Turns out, this end-​of-​quarter frenzy is actually costing companies. So, what can be done? Krogue shares some tips to help sales leaders and reps adjust their strategies. For example:

  • Focus on the prospect’s timeline. Every rep knows he should be focusing on the needs of the prospect. But reps often only focus on the need for a product or service, rather than the prospect’s timeline needs. Krogue recommends entering every conversation from the standpoint of providing a solution that meets the customer’s agenda and timeline (as opposed to your own).
  • Consider weekly forecasting instead of monthly updates. By breaking sales data down weekly, you may find a much more interesting and educational snapshot of what’s going on. “What days and times of the week present the best opportunities to sell? On which weeks and days do the largest deals tend to land? Sales teams can use this information to shape their behavior throughout the quarter, not just at its end,” he writes.

If you are using final weeks of each quarter to hastily make deals, you might want to reconsider. You could end up costing your company more than you're winning. Instead, work with your leader to come up with a restructured strategy that gives ample time to close sales through the entire quarter.