Where did the time go? It seems like it was just a couple of weeks ago when 2016 was just getting started. This week, we hit the halfway mark. If the holidays have an impact on your business, then we’re past the halfway mark.
It’s a good time to stop and assess the following:
- Where are we in relation to our plan?
- What’s been working? What hasn’t worked?
- What have we learned?
- What should we stop doing? What should we do differently?
As you conduct your review, you’re going to find yourself in 1 of 3 situations: ahead of plan, on plan or behind plan. If you’re at plan or ahead, keep doing what you’re doing, while finding a few places to improve. If you’re behind plan, don’t fear; there are still things you can do to finish strong.
Here are five tactics to ensure you finish 2016 strong.
When you find yourself behind, it’s easy to feel like you’ve got to do more. The reality is that you’re best decision is to do the opposite. Now is the time to focus. Do less...and do it better. Be sure your marketing team is clear on their highest priorities. You sales team needs to be clear on what accounts represent the best opportunities, and they must be sure to focus additional time on those opportunities
2. Introduce new, simple campaigns
Introduce a new lead nurturing program. You could identify leads and prospects that you haven’t engaged with in quite some time. Develop some intriguing content to share with them. Be sure that you’re teaching and challenging your customers. Don’t succumb to the pressure to get overly salesy and commercial here. Your goal is to create conversations - give your leads and prospects a reason to talk and business will result from that.
3. Create some new offers to generate leads
When you’re behind, you’ll be tempted to think only about the bottom of the funnel and forget the middle and the top...DON’T!! Momentum and velocity are important to turn things up. Sometimes it’s a new lead that provides the best opportunity.
Create some new content that you can use to generate new leads, and reengage leads you already have. Look at the key obstacles or challenges your market is dealing with and create something valuable that will help. Not only will this help you create new business opportunities, but you’ll put yourself in a stronger position to close existing opportunities as well.
4. Check you KPIs
When you’re behind plan, an often overlooked and common contributor to the problem is that you’re using ineffective metrics (or, and be honest here, that you’re not really tracking key metrics). Now is the time to get clear on what you’re measuring; remember, what gets measured gets done.
What are your key performance indicators (KPI) going to be going forward? What metrics will comprise your dashboard? Don’t just track activity, be sure you’re tracking the metrics that directly connect to what causes sales. If you don’t improve your KPIs, the likelihood of improving your performance is greatly diminished.
5. Remember the world doesn’t end on 12/31 - now’s the time to make sure 2017 has a stronger launch than 2016
Don’t get myopic. It’s important to realize that 1/1/17 is just the day after 12/31/16. There’s nothing actually magical about the end of the year (other than it’s an easy structure to measure). If you’re behind plan, you didn’t get there because of one weakness or mistake. It’s probably been building for some time. Be sure that while you’re focused on finishing 2016 strong, you’re building a stronger foundation for 2017.
It’s far too commonplace for businesses to become so focused on the next month or the next quarter that they become increasingly weakened because they never build the structure to support growth. So if you haven’t defined your buyer personas - don’t let being behind plan be your excuse for not doing them now. Same with you message and your lead generation and lead management processes.
At this point, the most important question you must answer is, “What are we going to do to ensure that we start 2017 in a stronger position than we find ourselves in today?”