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Q4 Blues…and One Free Antidote

ValueCore Team

Published on October 11, 2022

OK, here we are, Q4.  Time to get dirty.  Pull out the stops.  *Do what it takes to make your number for the year.*  Get on airplanes!  The pressure’s on, team.  Q4 is the hardest quarter, full stop.  The best sales reps do a few things differently in Q4.

Let’s talk about why Q4 sucks, what the best reps do to prevail, and one *free, delightful antidote* you can use to close Q4.

Top 5 reasons Q4 sucks:

– You really have 6 weeks to sell, not 10.   Sure, some deals close on Dec 31.  We closed a deal on Dec 31 last year.  But you can’t plan to close anything past Dec 15.  Our team knows that our contracts must be with the customer legal team no later than Nov 10, planning to close by Thanksgiving.  Customer legal teams are focused on myriad other internal issues before EOY, and new contracts from vendors usually take last place.

– If you don’t hit your number by Thanksgiving, it’s hard to enjoy December holiday parties and family activities.  ‘Nuff said.

– To succeed, you must become a project management ninja.  Let’s say “success” for an individual rep is closing 4 deals.  If you want to have a great Q4, you must project manage the calendars of about 40 people.  For each deal, you have approximately 5 internal constituents (sales management, legal, SE/ technical, you, finance) and 5-7 external constituents (your sponsor, their boss, legal representative, the key influencer or POC contact, contract signer (e.g. CFO), and IT /  security).  That’s 10+ people per deal.  Who will be on vacation when?  Whose kid will get sick?  How do you sequence the meetings and buy-in to ensure everything happens on time, including the signature?  Good luck.

– Sales management is more anxious than ever.  Get ready for a barrage of texts, Slack messages, and Salesforce Chatter comments, asking you about deal status and next steps.  I haven’t met a rep who has enjoyed this degree of proctology.  But as they say, “it is what it is,” as sales leaders are justifiably concerned about their own success.  And their success depends on yours.

– Customers know you’re under pressure, and they use it to their advantage.  Savvy buyers will expect you’ll have a lot more wiggle room on price the closer it gets to the ball dropping in Times Square.  They’ll cancel or reschedule meetings, and pretend not to have received emails/ information.

What the best reps do to succeed:

– Have empathy that your customer has EOY projects they must wrap up to hit their bonus. Understand what your contacts are focused on to close the year, and make sure that spending time on your project doesn’t negatively impact how they get paid.

– Confirm a close plan, and micro-manage it every week.  Shared close plans don’t work 100% of the time.  But creating and sharing a close plan with the customer usually illuminates areas that you need to focus on, which you may be missing, such as IT, security, internal competitive review and build vs. buy analysis, procurement risk reviews, etc.  Most important, once you have a close plan, you can now reasonably request that your customer meet with you weekly to ensure that all the items are being addressed in a timely fashion.

– Confirm the ROI with the customer at the start of the quarter.  If you wait to share an ROI analysis with the customer, you are going to be exposed when the customer texts you a price concession request when you are about to sit down for your turkey dinner.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to text back, “Thanks Susan.  Totally understand.   How about this – we agreed that the ROI was $2M when we met on Oct 15.  I’ll take your discount request to my VP after we review the $2M in projected savings with your CFO.  Can we schedule that for Tuesday?”

– Confirm who is signing and approving, and when they are on vacation!  Sure, your advocate won’t know who is on vacation when, but guess what they will do! They’ll glance at their corporate calendar, if you ask them, and will tell you the dates the key constituents have blocked for Out of Office.

– If you feel you need to create an incentive to close on time, get out in front of it…and don’t give away $!  Get out in front of discount requests by including more service hours, features/ capabilities, user licenses, if they sign by <Dec 10>.    Don’t say, “I’ll knock off another 15% of the price.”  That’s what inexperienced reps do. 😊

Understanding you’re about to be under the gun to close the quarter and year, and we want you to have a *great* Q4, we’ll give you a (kick-ass) complimentary dynamic ROI application to help you close Q4.  All you need to do is send us your ROI spreadsheet, corporate presentation template, and 1-2 compelling corporate videos.  We’ll turn around a beautiful, dynamic ROI presentation you can share with your customers that will motivate them to action.  We ask that when after you win the deal, hit your number, and down a glass of spiked eggnog, you write a nice G2 review about how ValueCore enabled you to crush your Q4.

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