We’re good at goal setting, especially around sales. Each year, we determine what our annual sales growth should be and break it down by month and quarter based on cyclicality and recent trends. It all looks pretty on paper. Then, as we go through the year, the stars don’t always align and we miss our sales numbers in a month or a quarter – sometimes by a small amount and sometimes significantly (and yes, we exceed them, too, many times). Why is this?
The predictability of sales has always been a challenge of mine – how can I know what sales will be in October? It’s seems like a shot in the dark to me. As I understand it, though, it doesn’t have to be!
My first insight into this occurred a few years back when my husband was looking at the plan and asked, “Where are those sales coming from?” Again, how am I supposed to know? It’s just “growth”. In that moment realized, “Oh wait, I am supposed to know!” Since that time, I’ve been more conscientious about where sales are coming from. We look more closely at where our team spends its time and ensure our meetings are productive. We track this with a desire to better understand the ROI of our time and efforts; although it’s tedious to track, it’s insightful. However, it’s also a bit backward looking – how did tour past efforts translate into business results?
Understanding who our target clients are is probably the most proactive step we’ve taken toward predicting future sales. We can leverage this picture of our target client to seek them out. Although we have some demographic and psychographic information about these companies and their leaders, one core element we keep forefront is a focus on people we know, like, and trust. Working with people we have a connection with makes the “sales” activities not only about results, but also fun and rewarding for each team member and for the company. One of the best results of “sales” for Equinox is connecting with a company where we can add value to the business by not only supporting their legal needs, but connecting with their management team as a partner for the business’ growth and change over time.