EoFY Sales (Reflection) Time
Aaahhh it’s that time again. Little bits of paper flying everywhere, buttons on the calculator are getting smashed and scrunched up faces at every desk that show they’re blatantly thinking, ‘That can’t be right??”. Yes it’s End of Financial Year time, a time when most of us are consumed with the question “What else can I claim?” However this time of the year also brings around a questions that isn’t as popular as the first, but just as important, which is “Did we hit our sales target for the year?”
The answer to this question is a simple yes or no response. It’s the following question that brings out all the juice and that is the “why?’ question. “Why, DID we or DIDN’T we hit our annual sales target?”
If your answer to the first question was YES, then congratulations! Well done on achieving your target. But just because you have succeeded doesn’t mean you don’t ask that question of ‘Why?’ after it. This is a common mistake I see too often, especially in small businesses that are growing fast. Because when they are doing so well, they don’t often ask themselves ‘why’ they are doing so well. Instead they party and say ‘Gee we’re doing great! Lets just keep doing what we’re doing!” This may work for a while but eventually someone else will come along and do it better and usually by then it’s too late for the ‘party’ business to change and fight back.
For those ‘party’ businesses that do take the time to ask the question ‘why are we doing so well?’, are in a position to continually make their business better. It gives them the ability to study and document their answer and find out ways how to improve even more so and continue their success.
Here are some of the general top responses from those businesses who answered ‘Yes’ to hitting their annual sales target and then asked themselves ‘Why?”
- Because our Sales people were focused, knew exactly what they were aiming for and had all the tools to help them exceed targets.
- Because our Marketing efforts were highly targeted and we constantly measured the results of each campaign, knowing whether it was a success or needed improvement.
- Because our operations and admin teams were efficient and productive. Making sure that all of our clients needs were met and delivered in a professional and timely manner.
- Because our management & directors showed leadership, inspiring the staff to perform at their best levels and ensuring communication channels were clear and relationships with staff were strong.
For those of you who answered ‘No’, I thank you for your honesty. But before you go off and head-butt a brick wall, ask yourself the ‘why?’ question. “Why didn’t we hit our sales target for the year?” If you do take the time to ask this question then all is not lost and you can start to plan how to make sure that next year you do hit it. If you don’t ask this question, well… you can go and head-butt that brick wall now.
Here are some of the general top responses those businesses who answered ‘No’ to hitting their annual sales target and then asked themselves ‘Why?” (No surprises that they are pretty the opposite to the responses of those who answered ‘Yes’).
- Because our Sales people weren’t focused. They weren’t sure of what they were aiming for and didn’t have the tools to help them exceed targets.
- Because our Marketing efforts were vague and we didn’t measure the results of each campaign, therefore not knowing whether it was a success or needed improvement.
- Because our operations and admin teams were unorganised and burnt-out, which affected the turn-around time and service levels we gave to our clients.
- Because our management & directors were too occupied with impressing each other, forgetting about the staff and how to get the best out of them. They were talking at the staff and not thinking about how to develop strong trusting relationships with them.
The responses given here are when an honest company really looks at ‘why’ they didn’t achieve their targets. Yes there may be external factors that play their part. However, once we stop relying on excuses (no matter how real they may be) and start focusing on controllable solutions, the better off your business will be and the sooner it will start exceeded targets.
So when you do get the chance to raise your head from the mountain of paperwork we all often get consumed by every EoFY, take the time to look back at the year that has just happened and whether it has gone the way you wanted it to go. Then ask yourself that crucial question of ‘Why?’ If you do this, regardless of whether you hit your targets or not, I guarantee the next year is going to be a whole lot better.