Sales Coach: Closing Out the Sales Month

This post felt fantastically appropriate to write on the day after Luke Maye’s Miracle in Memphis…which is also the Monday of the last week of the sales month.

We’re wrapping up a strong March at RevBoss, so I thought I’d share how we manage the last few minutes of the sales month.

EOM Game Management

Just like a basketball coach manages a game in the closing minutes, we carefully manage the end of the sales month and we do so in a way that reflects core aspects of our coaching / sales philosophy:

  • Be brutally honest with yourself about your pipeline.  Hope doesn’t work and it only sets you up for disappointment at the end of the month.
  • Don’t push deals to close unless you’re confident you can close it.  Use pressure / incentives carefully, otherwise you’ll shoot yourself in the foot.
  • Don’t cut corners to make the number.  No deal and a missed goal is better than a bad deal or a bad customer.
  • Don’t get surprised.  Do your qualification homework so that you sniff out and squash any last minute deal killers.

With these concepts in mind, here is a summary of how we manage the end of the sales month at RevBoss.

10 Days Before EOM

At this point in the month, you should have a pretty good idea of what you can effectively push to close and what you think will (or should) slip into the next month.  It is important to be brutally honest with yourself here.

Once you’ve clarified your deals, clean out your pipeline report so that you’re only focused on the former — you don’t want to spend too much time on the latter.

This doesn’t mean that you should stop demos to new prospects or stop advancing existing deals.  Instead, you need to focus your brain power on the handful of deals that you need to make your number this month.

5 Days Before EOM

By this point in the month, we like to have a good picture of both what we need to get — which is your sales goal minus closed revenue minus committed deals.

In other words, a sales goal of $100, closed deals worth $50, and committed deals of $10 means that you need to get another $40 to $50 to hit your number for the month.

You should also know what you’ve got in the pipe to get you over the line — committed deals, likely deals, and possible deals.  If you need to close $X to hit goal, hopefully you have some multiple of $X in your pipeline — otherwise you don’t have much margin for error.

The rule of 1/3 usually applies here — assume that 1/3 of your deals will close and assume the rest will either die or push.

We put all of our committed and likely/possible deals on a whiteboard, review each one, make sure that we have a daily touch plan, and then check in daily for status updates.  We also note which deals are likely to close with the current proposal / discussion and which deals might need an incentive.

3 Days Before EOM

If we’re going to offer incentives, this is when we do it.  We already know which deals we’re targeting for EOM and which ones we think might need a little nudge to close.

We offer incentives in a very careful way, which we’ve written in this post about being smart with sales discounts.  At the end of the month, we make sure that we only offer incentives to prospects that we know we have a high probability of closing and have confirmed that they can close by EOM.  And we don’t actually specify the incentive until the prospect confirms that they’re able to sign by EOM.

In addition to incentives, we also generally ramp up the pressure at this point in the month.  We don’t do it in a smarmy, intense way — instead, we just ask for the sale.  We explain that we’re running up to the end of the month and need to get to our number — can they help us get there?

Last Day of the Month

Unlike most sales leaders, the last day of the month is just another day for me.  We believe that if we commit to the process and run it with focus and discipline, then the sales month will take care of itself.

I definitely coach a lot down the stretch — jumping into calls with prospects, coaching the team through deals, working to overcome obstacles, leading the process, etc.  But like Roy Williams, I trust the team to execute at the end of the game and will accept the result of their effort.

Like any sales team, we have months where we pull it out and months where we don’t.  The most important thing is that we focus on the process and keep getting better.