As Q3 Approaches, What Is Your Plan?

June 18, 2019

Important considerations for Sales and Business Development leaders before the third quarter begins.

The end of Q2 is upon us!  But we’ve still got half of the year ahead and plenty of time to meet annual goals.  Depending on your market Q3 may be the perfect time to ratchet up KPIs and win all of your opportunities before the lull of Q4 sets in.  Conversely, if Q3 is your quiet season, you may capitalize on these months to catch up on neglected projects or professional development.  As the start of Q3 approaches, I wanted to share some of the things I look at and the things I consider going into the next quarter.

Sales – Start by looking at your Q2 sales numbers, how do they align with your year-end goal?  Are you halfway there or are you counting on a strong Q3 and Q4? How does Q2 compare to Q1? How does this quarter compare to Q2 of last year?  Can you identify any sales trends that are notable?

Marketing – Now is the time to reflect on your Q2 marketing efforts and measure ROI.  If you have completed campaigns how do those align with your sales numbers? What does your Q3 marketing strategy look like?  If you don’t have one, or your sales reports dictate a change to that strategy, it’s not too late – get to work now! If you need some comprehensive and easy to read inspiration, check out this ThriveHive resource.

CSAT – Are you measuring customer satisfaction quarterly?  If so, how does your CSAT number look and how does that number compare to your goal?  If this is all sounding like Greek to you, is it time to think about a customer satisfaction strategy?  If Q3 is your quiet season, this is a perfect time to allocate resources to reaching out to customers and gathering feedback.  Better still, this is the perfect time to develop a long-term CSAT strategy. If your role is focused on Sales and Account Management is outside of your lane, it’s important to recognize how CSAT and NPS influence your pipeline.  For a robust whitepaper on the ROI of NPS, check out this great download from Satmetrix.

Retention/Rescission – What does rescission look like mid-year?  How does this number relate to your annual target? Are there any new rescission trends that are notable?  If you’re seeing numbers you didn’t expect is there a market disruption or event happening that you can attribute this to?  If there’s a new trend presenting, it’s time to consider the short and long-term impact this may have on your business and adjust your strategy accordingly.

KPIs – If this is the busy season in your office, are you dialing up your KPIs to promote wins and close deals faster?  What else can you do to tighten up your sales cycle? Here’s a shorter post from Hubspot about the Sales Cycle to chew on.  If this isn’t your season for burning through leads and closing deals it may be the time to dial back your KPIs and shuffle your staff to other areas.  If your KPIs don’t take into account seasonal trends in your market, you may be creating unnecessary pressure for your team…we’ll dig into that in a different post.

Professional Development/Training – In addition to modulating KPIs, this is another area to consider during a lull.  Are there additional training or professional development activities your team can tackle now in lieu of sales or operations?  Is there required training that you’ve been putting off because it’s NRG (non revenue generating)? We tend to focus on the activities that create or at least promote revenue – as a start, take a look at this Forbes article that will serve you well as a to-do list or at the very least, food for thought during the less-busy season.  In the vein of professional development, if you haven’t administered your annual reviews yet this year, this is a time to get cracking!  

Streamlining Operations – To add to the NRG to-do list, consider your operational activities over the past six months, and identify any areas that could use a little TLC.  Do you have process documentation that needs to be updated? Are there any customer onboarding or support issues that keep cropping up? Any negative trends you can begin to address?  If there are cross-departmental projects that need to be completed, the quiet season is the time to tackle them.

Budgets – Last, but certainly not least, now is the time to balance your budget.  Waiting until the end of the year to true up your budget and expenses, may be tempting, but is always a terrible idea.  Also, if you’re over or under budget or you have operating costs cropping up it’s important to know now and adjust your plan accordingly.  If you haven’t begun tracking your costs, and setting budgets, again – it’s not too late, you can still start now!

I should really emphasize that this is not an exercise designed for the end of Q2.  This is a great punch list for the end of each quarter, every year, year over year, and on and on, you see where I’m going here?  This isn’t a one-time process, this is a practice – you’re never finished, but always evolving, and if you’re doing it right, you are always improving, and always growing your business.  I invite you to comment below – I’d love to hear about your end-of-quarter process and your approach to quarterly planning.