Surviving Outside Sales

Elevating Your Outside Sales: Q3 Planning Insights and Rethinking Quota Attainment | SOS Ep. 342

August 25, 2023 Mike O'Kelly Season 1 Episode 342
Surviving Outside Sales
Elevating Your Outside Sales: Q3 Planning Insights and Rethinking Quota Attainment | SOS Ep. 342
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Show Notes Transcript

Ready to take your outside sales game to the next level? 

Brace yourself for an episode that transforms the way you approach your Q3 planning. Your host, Mike O'Kelly, is all set to take you on a tour of his own Q3 planning process, spiced with personal experiences. He reveals how he's accounting for time off, sales conferences, and more, all the while shedding light on the need for optimum time and productivity management. Mike nudges you to take stock of your performance in the first half of the year - it's all about goal attainment, quota, and the absolute willingness to own up to your business outcomes.

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Speaker 1:

The Surviving Outside Sales podcast hosted by Mike O'Kelly, presented by Sales Builder Academy. The goal is to survive and thrive all phases of outside sales, whether you're getting in, dominating or getting out. Surviving Outside Sales. Now on with the show. Welcome to the Surviving Outside Sales podcast from your host, mike O'Kelly. We are winding down with the month of June and with that comes another quarter. It's another opportunity to prepare for what lies ahead. In fact, I spent most of this afternoon doing my Q3 plan and one of the things that I realized is I'm actually going to be taking quite a bit of time off. So I will be out of pocket for 11 of the 65 selling days. Now selling days are Monday through Friday. There are 65 selling days and then you start taking out holidays. So the 11 days I'm taking off include two holidays Labor Day, 4th of July. Now, I'm not taking a lot of time around 4th of July, but I am going to go on a little micro vacation with the family around Labor Day weekend. But I have two sales conferences coming up in Q3. So I will be out of pocket for 11 business days and two weekend days I'll be involved with conferences. So I'm not going to be working a lot. 54 days over a three month period is not a lot of working, and so you have to understand that. If you're going to be taking time off, it's never too early to start thinking about the next quarter. But you got to put a plan. You got to really put pen to paper. Okay, what am I going to do? What time am I taking off? How many days am I going to be working? Because if you want to hit your numbers, if you want to hit quota, if you want to hit your goal, you got to figure out how to get there, and if you're going to take the time off, like I am, it's going to be 11 business days off, that's more than two weeks off out of 13. So I have to make sure that I work especially efficient this quarter and I work as hard as I can and I optimize the time and I'm as productive as possible. So it is kind of crazy that we're almost halfway through the year, but I want you to do a couple of things, go back and I want you to really analyze the first half of your year. Did everything go according to plan? Did you hit your goals? Did you hit your numbers? Did you hit quota. And if you didn't, just be honest with yourself, don't blame anything else except for you. Don't blame your company because your quota was a little bit too high. That's an easy cop out, okay, no matter what your company set your quota at, you had the ability to make it happen in the field, but you didn't. Why? Now, I didn't say you couldn't blame market forces. I'm going to mean blame a tribute, that's a better word. I don't want you to blame. You start getting into the blame game. You stop taking accountability for your action. You lose power over your business. Remember, you're in control. Your territory is a small business. Don't forget that. You're running a little franchise inside your larger organization. So if you didn't hit your goals, why did you not do that? What is the reason? Was there no preparation or lack of preparation? Did you not have a good plan where you focused on the wrong activities? There's always a reason. There's always a reason. Did you not work hard enough? I'm just throwing ideas out here, cause when I talk to sales professionals and they talk to me about quota and they talk to me about closing and they talk to me about their goals, I ask okay, what do you think impacts it, and the first thing they say is always something company related budget, marketing materials, product samples it's the first thing they say, and I don't know. I probably would have said the exact same thing earlier in my career. It's all about what the company can provide for me, but it's never been a better time to utilize what is out there in the world, especially in the sales world, digital marketing, social media. It's never been easier to get in touch with people. I mean, shoot, ai is taking over everything. So what is the reason why you did not hit quota and I know that it's probably a large portion of the audience. I'm just gonna go on a hunch that a lot of people that listen to a sales podcast are searching and seeking for answers. The people that aren't listening to podcasts probably might think they know it all, so therefore they're not seeking out more information. That's just a hunch. That's my experience. I've very rarely met a lot of people that have reached out to me that are hitting quota routinely and just because you're hitting quota, you're doing the bare minimum. I mentioned on one of the previous podcasts and it's my belief. Quota is artificial. It's made up, it's an artificial number that your company puts out there and the reason why it's artificial. It has nothing to do with the business opportunity in your territory, because if you were to leave and somebody else were to take over your territory, their quota would not be what your quota was. Let's say you quit Friday, on the last day of Q2. And let's say your company already gave you your Q3 quota number and let's say it was $30,000. And if they had to rehire somebody to fill your spot, their quota would not be 30,000. It would be lower. That's the reason why it's arbitrary. It has nothing to do with what business opportunity there could be in the territory. It's all based on, when you start, how many quarters you've been in the field, what you did the previous quarter, and they just try to dangle the care in front of you. That is the old school methodology about quota attainment. I disagree with it. I think companies need to be doing a better job of deep dive analytics into what the potential of the territory could be. But that's a discussion for another day. We're talking about your planning and your preparing for Q3. Just remember, if you don't crush it in Q3, it's not like you can just roll into Q4 and hope to have a monster quarter to save your entire year. I know that's the sales process of a lot of sales professionals. I've talked to them. They're like well, you know, q4 is a big buying time so I'm just gonna wait till then. Good luck with that. Good luck with that. I'm gonna tell you right now it's not gonna work. Sandbagging in sales does not work. Period, point blank. It takes a lot of time to build relationships. It takes a lot of time to get people to know, like and trust you, and it just doesn't necessarily happen in just a couple weeks or a couple months, because people now are not necessarily searching for the best product. If that were the case, a lot of the larger brands, the biggest lasers, the people that had the most marketing dollars, the most budgetary dollars they would be winning all of the deals. But they're not. Why is that? Because it's not about the product per se. Yes, the product has to work, but a lot of buyers and a lot of consumers assume that a lot of products will work the same. It's about the experience. It is about the belief of what that person is saying and will they get them to the goal that they're promising them. That's pretty much it. So you can't just sit around and wait. I'm just gonna wait till Q4. Bad, bad move. So when you're thinking about Q3, are you preparing for holidays? Are you preparing for kiddos going back to school? Now, my kids are not in formal school yet, they're in daycare, so we don't have to deal with that. But I didn't take into account the month of August, where a lot of people are gonna be distracted and a lot of people are gonna be busy and there's gonna be a lot of vacations. There's gonna be a lot of vacation time. So I have 54 days, but are those gonna be 54 regular days? I don't know. There might be 30, some regular days, and then 20 distracted days where it's a lot of swings and misses. Trying to connect with people. It's a lot of people booking appointments and then they just cancel, which happens from time to time. It's amazing how, in Q4, meetings tend to be booked and less people cancel, but like Q2 and Q3, there's a lot of cancellations. Q1 not so much. I don't know why. I don't have a big sample size to go on, but it is very interesting. So when you are planning out your Q3, remember your goal is to work on your business, not in your business. It's not about the activity, it's about your productivity. Treat it like a small business. You have a budget. Just think of that as an investment from your company. So, your small business. You have a group that's invested in you, which is your company, or you can think of it like where you're running a franchise. But it's time to take ownership. It's time to take ownership of your business, and that means a different mindset, a growth mindset, not a limiting mindset. Limiting mindset is I'm gonna wake up in the morning and I'm just gonna work, I'm gonna do what my company says, I'm gonna do the bare minimum and I'm going to just get through my day. I can go home, sit on the couch with my husband, my wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, what have you and just binge Netflix. If you do the bare minimum, expect the bare minimum life. But if you want an extraordinary life, if you want the life of your dreams, you're gonna have to do things that you've never done before, and you're gonna have to do things at a level that most are not willing to do. That is the only way you're gonna achieve your numbers and that's the only way you're going to fulfill your potential, not only yourself, but also in your business, and that is what you should be focusing on. The quota is the floor. Quota is the bare minimum. That's not the top floor, that's not the penthouse. The penthouse is what your territory could possibly do, because tomorrow is not promised. We don't know what's going to happen. So why would you just shoot for an arbitrary number that was created by your company? Why would you not try to squeeze every ounce of potential out of your business? Take every commission dollar. You can now build and strengthen those relationships, build those advocates and then rinse and repeat the next quarter. Just because you're gonna crush it in one quarter doesn't mean you're going to hurt your business in the following quarter. That is the biggest sales myth I've ever heard. Well, I don't want to blow out quota because then next month, next quarter, I'm gonna have to work even harder. If you are a transactional seller, yes, it will be harder, but if you run your business where it's relationship based, you're building advocates, you're having other people sell for you. Being relationship based isn't just oh, a bunch of people know me, it's obviously do they know, like and trust you, but do they share what you do with them? Do they share what you do for them? Do they tell other people, are they willing to recruit other people for you? If the answer is no to any of those, you're only working in your business. You have a lot of. You don't have relationships. You have a lot of oh crap, I'm losing the word associates. You have a lot of associates or friends of friends. You know how when you go out when you're younger, in your 20s, and you go out to a bar or restaurant and your friends have friends, you don't really know them but you kind of know of each other, but you've never hung out by yourself. It's an associate, but everybody's like oh yeah, my buddy, do you know them? Have you ever hung out with them? No, that's kind of how it is. You're an associate, you're a rep, you're not a professional. Professionals have a book of business. They have relationships that they can leverage when they need and they have people that are willing to sell for them. They're willing to vouch for them. They're recruiting others into the seller's world. That's being a professional. Being a professional is building a Q3 plan like there's no tomorrow. Set the bar super high. See what happens. I guarantee you right now, if you're listening, if you set the bar super high, even if you fall short, you'll be shocked at how well you perform. I guarantee you you'll crush your quota. Just remember quota is not the maximum your territory can do. Quota is an artificial number, as I mentioned before, created by your company based on a couple factors. Usually it's just hey, it's 10% or 15% higher than the previous quarter has nothing to do with the potential. In most times, the quota should be considered the floor of your territory, the bare minimum. Quota attainment is not a badge of honor because your company might have really messed up and set the bar really low. I see it all the time Quota attainment, quota attainment how did you perform based on your potential? That's what you should be focused on. If you hit your quota halfway through the month, are you done for the year? Are you done for the quarter? No, you're not going to kick your feet up and wait till the next quarter. Are you kidding me? If you run your territory like you run a small business, you're going to absolutely crush it. What is one of the things that I teach in the Sales Builder Academy right now? Sales Builder Blueprint is how to run a business of your own, how to stop being a sales rep and becoming a sales professional Working on your business and not working in your business. If you are interested, go to mikeokellycom slash sales builder blueprint and check that out. If not, thank you so much for listening. I'm going to ask you to download the episode, share it with like-minded individuals and talk with your friends. What are you all doing for Q3? Have you set your goals? What are your plans? I know Q2 hasn't ended yet. That's okay. What are you doing to prepare, share ideas and push each other? The goal is to elevate everyone. Somebody else's success doesn't mean a detriment to yours. Just remember that. Thank you so much. I really do appreciate it. I hope everybody has a fantastic rest of their day. We'll see you tomorrow Surviving outside sales. Bye.