Start by bending it

One way to perhaps ‘break the hockey stick’, is to put a kink in it. By this I mean to shift the start point of the curve – to make it happen earlier in the quarter.
By incentivising the sales team to get results earlier – and tapering those incentives as the true end-of-quarter approaches, it is possible to access the creativity of sales people to make win-win deals with their customers – deals that happen out-of-cycle. Of course, it is necessary that the new incentive-driven timing of sales closure is moved around over time so as to prevent the establishment of a new ‘1/4 cycle’ – by varying this inflection point one can effectively destroy the hockey stick by repetitive stress fracture.
An important point to make here is that effective incentives are not restricted to money – in fact many sales people respond better to other forms (recognition is a STRONG desire of most sales-folk).

Published by Malcolm Duffield

Malcolm Duffield provides advanced high-level sales coaching, ‘basic sales training’ and sales training for pre-sales and post-sales engineering staff. In ways markedly different to the typical classroom lecture approach. Like the game of ‘Go’ – selling is strategically complex, nuanced and more dependent on intuition than process. Sales – process alone is no guarantee of success because customers are humans, are fiendishly complex, intuitive and need to be met on their terms. Humans need to interact rather than merely transact. They have many needs, wants and aspirations – not all clearly stated. Having a proposal that is a good fit to the stated need is a start. Having a price that’s in the ball park will also help – but what will invariably make the difference between success and failure will be our ability to understand, connect with and provide value to the customer as a person. Focused primarily on IT sales, where solution and value, but above all human connection through respect, integrity and empathy, have to be brought together to win high-value deals - it would appear that other 'capital acquisitions' benefit from a similar approach. I have 30 years experience in such sales, and know what works and what doesn't work.