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All Deals are Forecasted for Your Year-End

Nothing drivAll deals are forecasted for your year-endes me crazier than reviewing a pipeline where all deals are forecasted for your year-end. What’s so magical about your year-end? How does that close date correlate to when your buyer needs or wants to buy your products and services? Now, maybe the month of your year-end is the right close date, but typically, that’s a precarious month to close deals. Needless to say, it can have both you and your management sitting on pins and needles waiting until the last day of your fiscal year to close deals. Your buyer has to be very motivated to ensure that all the key people are available for contract review and signature especially if your fiscal year-end is during the holiday season (i.e. December). It takes a very committed buyer to help you navigate their organization to close a deal especially if your fiscal year-end is December. When I worked in the corporate world and managed a sales team, my team and I closed many deals on December 31 (our fiscal year-end) just before midnight. But we had a specific plan to make this happen:
  • Where appropriate in our sales process, we would put together a “sequence of events” document with our buyer to identify as early as possible how we could get the deal signed in December
  • We collaborated with the customer on this document  and included all the key tasks to get the deal signed, with accountabilities and time frames
  • On a regular basis, we met and reviewed this shared document to ensure any changes were noted and dealt with
But we accomplished this only because there was much planning on both sides. When I am doing pipeline reviews, I typically see the December close date (or other end-of-fiscal-year date) and no sequence of events document. And, if there a “close plan” shared, the plan is not reviewed often enough with the customer to catch any changes or glitches that may come about. In these cases, the close date is December purely from the sales rep’s point of view since they know that is what sales management wants to see. Sales management has to test this date and test it closely. I have written about this often – deals do not close on our time frame. We have to truly understand what the customer’s business outcomes/drivers are, what time frames they require to be successful, and align them with everything both parties need to do to ensure a successful implementation of our products and services. Then we need to work collaboratively to make that happen, knowing there will be hiccups along the way since there always are. So if all your deals are forecasted for your year-end, take a step back and make sure your pipeline forecast is coming from your customer’s point of view and NOT yours. Janice Mars, SalesLatitudeJanice Mars, principal and founder of SalesLatitude, is a senior business and sales executive with more than 30 years of experience helping companies build successful sales teams. She has parlayed that experience to help her clients to improve their sales processes, accurately forecast revenues, ensure focus on winnable opportunities, and attain consistent results. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter   Image courtesy of hywards at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Janice Mars, Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude, is a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent focused on growing top performers to impact bottom line growth. With more than 30 years of experience as a senior business and sales executive, she helps companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources, selling from the buyer’s point of view, and strengthening the effectiveness of leadership. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter

0 Comments

Take Off Your Rose Colored Glasses - WOMEN sales pros7 years ago

December 14 2015

[…] a sales person have forecasted any number of deals to close on their end of quarter/end of year hoping and praying that the customer will sign by that date. However, the only reason you would […]

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