It’s the end of the year, and you know what that means: it’s closing time. But if you haven’t already hit your quota, it’s not too late. Sure, there are challenges — possible burnout, economic uncertainty, and the need to do more with less — but you can still come out on top.

We asked our crew of influencers for advice on how sales organizations can rally and close the fiscal year on a high note. We share what they had to say below.

Learn how top sales teams use automation, intelligence, and time-saving tactics — all in our State of Sales report.

I’m a big supporter of automation. If it can be automated, it should be, in most cases — and one of the most impactful uses of automation is lead management. Why should the VP of sales/marketing or sales operations, to whom you pay a hefty six-figure salary, be manually qualifying and routing leads? Why waste days or weeks going back and forth with leads just trying to get a meeting booked? Nobody has time to chase down a lead who wants a meeting when they could have booked it automatically. 

This is a great time to revisit your CRM and pull reports on closed or lost opportunities — particularly those that were closed because it was “not the right time to buy.” Also, pay close attention to scoring tools to help identify which companies are in active buying mode, and then research similar businesses.

During times of economic uncertainty, employees often need to go above and beyond what’s typically asked of them. On top of that, many are facing a shrinking tech stack, shrinking teams, and longer hours. Be sure to appreciate the sacrifices they’re making and the effort they’re putting in — give them the support they need to make it to the finish line. And be sure to allow folks to take breaks over the holidays to rest and recharge.

The easiest way to motivate buyers is through unexpectedly delightful upgrades. Most sellers think in terms of savings: “The price is $XX, but we will discount you 10%.” Rather, try this: “The price is $XX, but if you decide to buy in Q4, I can include additional integrations/features/support at no additional cost, which would be an extra value of $XX.” Upgrades are always enticing for buyers.

Imagine arriving at the gate of your flight and learning you’ve been randomly selected for a seat upgrade from economy to business class. That’s a value of $400! You want to give your buyers that kind of excitement when they make their decision.

This is a great time to evaluate your tech stack and see which tools are actually being used across the board, and how. Some tools can potentially be consolidated, so it’s worth chatting with your sales reps to see which are most important in their day-to-day.

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Instead of offering one big incentive for the rep who closed the most deals (or whatever goal you set), try offering multiple, smaller incentives that give more opportunities for everyone to participate. For example, you could reward reps for:

With multiple incentives, new and experienced reps get recognition for their work.

If you want to close the fiscal year strong, know your goals and what you have to do to get there — and then do more.

Whatever your target is, have more than that in your pipeline. Understand how many demos you need to give to get to that pipeline number. Then, go further: figure out how many emails and phone calls you need to send or make to book that number of demos. If you need to make, on average, X number of calls per day and send Y number of emails per day to get to your quota, why not make X + 5 or Y +10?

And if you don’t yet know how many daily calls or emails you need to get to your quota? Start there and figure that out. Own your numbers!

Ask one question for every deal in the pipeline: What’s the one thing preventing this deal from closing tomorrow?

This technique works because it allows for extreme focus. There will always be more than one thing, but now you know what to focus on.

Here are the key skills to look for — and how to spot them.

You’ll learn more from one month with a coach than one year on Google. Your focus should be on how you serve the customer and help them get results, not on getting your commission. 

Leaders should focus on one thing every morning — even for 15 minutes. Today, focus on writing better emails. Tomorrow, ask better questions during the demo. The day after, write more engaging content on LinkedIn.

Account executives, business development representatives, and sales development representatives also need to take more responsibility for their success. If there’s no internal training, invest externally. You get paid better than most people, so there’s no excuse to not spend 5% of your earnings on your future growth.

Spend every day reflecting on your progress. By the end of the year, you’ll be amazed at what you’ve achieved.

Now is the time to start setting up for a big Q1 and 2023. Make calls and send messages for meetings in January. Know that some buyers will be gone or around less during the last month of the year, but not all of them. Have a daily or weekly contest with yourself to connect with both buyers and strategic referrers.

Don’t force deals in Q4 at the expense of Q1. The worst thing Sales can do is attempt to create artificial urgency for buyers, forcing them into your timeline and, in some cases, killing the deal entirely. Realize that buyer problems won’t always align with the quarter’s end, and it’s better to have a deal in Q1 by giving the buyer space than no deal at all because of high-pressure tactics.

As these sales experts reveal, you still have time to close the year with a bang. Plant the seeds of success today, so you can shore up that pipeline for tomorrow.

And just remember: you are not your number. “Control the controllables — celebrate the wins, learn from the losses, and forge ahead,” Mudawar says. “If you didn’t have the year you’d hoped for, don’t let that bleed into the next year.”

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