How To Maximize Q4 To Get Insane Sales Results

The majority of SaaS companies end their fiscal year at the end of December or January. If that’s the case for your company, then Q4 is in your sights and it’s time to start preparing to get that hockey stick effect – the large upswing in booking at the end of the year.

There is some magic involved in the momentum that happens in Q4. When a sales team starts to run the tables, closing can be contagious. But, there are also a few key things you can do to set yourself and your team up for success at the end of the year.

Set or reaffirm a lofty goal.

Hopefully you already have a stretch goal in place that seems challenging, but within reach. If you don’t, set one. This should not be a goal that you will definitely reach; it should be a number that will make you sweat, but not so high that you laugh it off. Write it down everywhere. You should see that number all over the place.

Then, determine how you will reward yourself for reaching that goal. Beyond the commission, will you also get: a promotion, a trip, a personal or professional coach? Post a picture of that reward next to your goal.

Now that your goal and reward are in place, you’re ready to fine-tune your plan to get there. To do that, you need to focus and get specific in Steps 2-6. Take a hard look at your pipeline.

Create launch or close plans for your largest deals set to close in Q4.

For your most important deals, do you know all the steps the client needs to take to sign the contract and go live?

This plan is a resource for your customer, who is on the hook for delivering a solution and might not know the steps to close and implement themselves (plans don’t end when you close the deal). Share the plan in writing and get agreement from your buyer. If a date for one of the steps slips, use the plan to drive the deal, and ask, “How is the plan changing? What’s the impact of us missing this date?”

Ideally, this information was gathered during discovery. But, if you find you aren’t REALLY sure what their threshold is for spending, the timeline is for legal review or who is going to sign the contract, it’s time to step back. Stop what you are doing and set up a call with your key evaluator or champion. Align your resources to the customers or be prepared to take the deal out of your forecast.

Creating your plans will tell you what deals aren’t going to close that you shouldn’t put all of your focus on. It will also help you identify others that have a shot at closing that you might not have in your forecast. Dive into those in Step 3.

Identify stretch deals.

Once you have gathered the information necessary for your close plans, you’ll probably uncover that a few of your customers have a timeline that extends beyond your year-end. Time to give yourself some tough love. Is this a customer who has some flexibility in their timing? If you put a year-end deal on the table, is it something they can and will advocate internally to act on?

HINT: If the board has to approve the deal and they aren’t meeting until Q1, then no. If they think they might need a few extra weeks for a security audit, then maybe you can pull it in. If this is a deal you might be able to pull in, discuss it with the customer, get their buy-in to advocate for you.

For deals you can’t pull it in… proceed to Step 4….

Eliminate distractions.

This is the second time you’re going to have to be tough on yourself. Look at your deals objectively with your manager or trusted peer. If there isn’t a chance that a deal is going to close, GET IT OUT OF YOUR YEAR-END PIPELINE and focus on closing, growing and finding deals that can close.

One of the biggest mistakes we as managers and reps make is investing too much time in deals that don’t have a shot at closing. Once you (emotionally) let go of the deal coming in this year, you can allocate the right amount of time and energy to it to make sure it still closes in Q1 and free yourself up to find other promising deals.

All hope is not lost, continue on to Step 5.

Grab some low hanging dollars.

Find out who has budget to burn. Call in favors. You know it’s easier to sell to existing customers, but prospects can be distracting. Throughout the year, you have likely been building relationships with your customers and in your territory. Ideally, you have already identified which companies you work with have strategic initiatives coming up that you can help them execute.

You know what parts of your existing solution are working well for your customers. If you don’t, start scheduling meetings with your customers (and your customer success manager) to talk about how your solution has helped them; share your expertise on trends you see in the market and ask where they see their business growing. This will help you formulate a plan as to whether or not there are near(or long)-term future opportunities.

With your closest customers, it is totally acceptable to call in favors. Ask them about upcoming growth needs that they may be able to pre-buy for. Do some discovery around increased needs for add-on products, and probe for leftover budget they need to utilize. Planting the seed early will give your champion an opportunity to figure out what they might need as year-end planning kicks in.

And when in doubt, don’t forget about finding new deals in Step 6.

Incentivize building pipeline.

Establish a reward for taking off the year-end blinders and building pipeline for next year. Put yourself in a good position for the coming year. You never know, depending on your sales cycles, you could even find a deal that could close before year-end. Try out the following:

Identify your top prospective accounts. I know, your patch is going to change, but spend a few minutes revisiting your top targets and determine if they are still the best accounts.

Ask your top customers for internal & external referrals*.

Who at their company should you be working with? Can they introduce you?

Who in their network should you be working with? Can they introduce you?

See who they know in your top accounts. Ask them for a specific introduction.

Do they participate in trade groups you should attend?

Ask your network for referrals*.

Share what you’re doing and ask your top connections who they know that you should contact.

See who they know in your top accounts. Ask them for a specific introduction.

Engage in social selling. Even if you don’t build pipeline, you’ll build a valuable skill you can use in the future.

*Lots of reps talk about asking for referrals, but many rarely do it, because it seems like a lot to ask. But it’s something your customers can give you for free and if you’ve built rapport, they will introduce you or tell you why they can’t.

It’s Go Time

Apply the same level of energy to planning and execution at the end of the year as you did at the beginning. Don’t run out of steam as you hit the end of the year. And don’t wait till the last minute to put your year-end plan together. Your customers are waiting for your calls. They are likely wrapping up their year as well. Follow the six steps above and maximize results for Q4 and Q1. Sell sell sell!

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