6 Ways to Prepare Your Sales Team for a Productive Q4 Jonathan Herrick We’ve reached that epic sales time, that mother lode of money, the most wonderful (and stressful) time of the year — Q4, the last push to beat our sales expectations and enter a new year with gusto and confidence. For salespeople, it’s an especially challenging time, because clients and leads are so often equally busy that hearing out cold calls and responding to emails is the last thing they want to do. But there are ways to push through the holiday-season slog and keep your Q4 energized, positive and winnable for your sales team. Here are just a few. Update your Q4 goal. Of course you entered Q4 with a sales goal, but how up-to-date is it? Your previous quarters may have yielded better or worse results than you anticipated, changing the tenor of your final annual push. Specificity is key here. If you want to exceed your sales goals by 20 percent, set that goal early so your sales team knows what their true goal is for the year. Having a clear final goal will help your team work backwards to calculate the initial efforts they need to make throughout October. Hone your accessible internal calendar. Having everyone on the same page is a critical step to maintaining order and confidence in Q4. Make sure you go over key dates, like Thanksgiving, so your team has every piece in place before their leads go on vacation for a long weekend. The same applies for vacations. If anyone on your sales team is planning on taking one, make sure you’ve got things wrapped up before Christmas. Depending on your industry, you may have people working through it or working around it. Plan accordingly and well in advance. Get personal with your top leads — and early. Ensure your sales team is in touch with their best prospects early on. Sending end-of-year emails (“Where did the year go?”) is typical and a little boring, but a riff on that idea may do the trick. One excellent way to break through the professional muck is by getting a little personal. Ask for updates on their year, inquire about their specific job burdens and see if there’s some way you can help. This is also a good time to update your client Rolodex, and update your clients on changes within your company. This tends to be a good time to finalize any outstanding transactions, so there’s incentive on both sides to clean things up before the new year. It also helps to get clients’ mobile numbers early on, so if they’re on vacation and you’re on a tight deadline, you can call them. Yes, it’s a little intrusive, but that’s business — and if you’re polite and apologetic about it, odds are the client won’t mind. Establish your holiday-discount policy early. Holiday sales are a key strength in any sales team’s Q4 toolbox, and it’s good to establish parameters for those early. Special deals, limited-time offers and personally negotiated discounts are all useful and necessary when figuring out how to meet your Q4 goals. Sometimes it can be as easy as splitting invoices into payments into a kind of payment plan to reduce the load on a client’s budget, if their Q4 budget is reaching its limit. Offering payment incentives, like a small discount for prompt payments made in Q4, can also help nudge your numbers up at the last moment. Rely on sales tech to keep things personal. We mentioned above how personalization is critical to nailing a lead in Q4. But it’s not just about being personal over the phone and in emails — it’s also about personalizing tech. Relying on a good CRM, which integrates sales and marketing into one self-contained platform, will help you track and manage your efforts across all teams, and ensure your follow-ups are timely and personalized. A properly integrated CRM reliably helps sales and marketing teams seal conversions and improve their Q4 results. Keep your team united and motivated. On that same note, be sure to keep all your teams updated, informed and — most of all — happy. Maintaining a positive work environment is critical to keeping the peace during frantic times. Another way to keep things pleasant and organized is by unifying your sales, marketing and customer-service teams. Keeping people on the same page helps build solidarity and empathy across the board.