The year-end push is upon us. As providers, this is a routine that never goes away. HME sales teams must finish strong to reach the goals set by our strategic plan. There are holidays, vacation days, and maybe even weather disruptions, but we still must finish SALES STRONG.
A strategic approach to finishing the sales year strong actually finds itself rooted in the way we operate our sales efforts each month, week, and even day. This year-end push will never be avoided, but it can be seriously and positively altered if we adopt a monthly strategic sales plan.
Start with a full-year review
As providers, we see the sales year coming to an end, but let’s look at the full year in review. Some basic elements that should be reviewed now, and on a monthly basis, include:
• Sales Referral Trends
• Prospect to New Referral Source Conversion
• Product and Services Growth
These three items are the trinity or Venn-diagram of sales. The Sales Referral Trend reviews the month-over-month trend of referrals coming from specific referral sources. This helps us gauge both actual and potential growth year over year. The Prospect to Referral Source Conversion metric provides insight into what is referred to as top of funnel growth.
How are we adding more referral sources to the top of the sales funnel? Finally, Product and Services Growth helps us understand how successful our efforts were for expanding specific products and services. A closer look at both product and service growth will provide a report card for the past year and a guide for the future.
Let’s look at some end of year actionable items that should be considered:
• Narrow down and focus on December targets
• Evaluate missed gaps from Q4
• Set expectations for the new year
If we must finish strong, then we must narrow down and focus on our December targets. Let’s break this into two sections. First, narrow down your end-of-year approach to the referral sources you will call upon. Empirical data will show us which referrals have given us business throughout the year. Narrowing our scope of calls to these accounts could prove very valuable.
But, before jumping to any conclusions and thinking that I am suggesting not to prospect in December, let me assure you; that will never be a thought I will have or an action I would recommend. You can and must do both. Narrow down your targets and focus on prospecting.
I know what you’re thinking, how can I do both?
Well, you just do. This is the end of year push; this is not a time to coast into next year. Unfortunately, this is what some sales reps do, they coast. Might I remind you that you will only coast down-hill. This is not the momentum we are looking for. So, combine your narrow targets with strong prospects and make more sales calls and conduct more in-services than spring into the next year and not coast.
As part of the narrowing and focus effort, take a close look that the gaps in referrals for this quarter thus far. Who is not referring as they did in previous quarters? Add these accounts to your list and steer the sales call and ask for the business.
Set clear expectations for the new year
If we are going to spring into next year, then we must have some clear expectations for the new year. This should be a collaborative exercise that you as the sales professional and sales management and ownership work on. This should be done now and is part of your strategic sales plan for next year (by the way, stay tuned as I will be conducting a podcast on this topic with Trella Health before the end of the year).
Combine these thoughts to finish strong with the referral community. So, how does sales finish strong with the internal team, and as a sales professional?
Finishing strong with our internal team is as important as finishing strong with the referral community. While we have made every effort to grow our business and be the visual representation of our company in the referral community, a statement that should resonate with all sales professional is simply: while we have great products and services to sell, it is the people, the internal people of our company that we are really selling. After all, they are the ones doing it all.
Take time at the end of the year to always thank those who serve the consumer with our products and services, who speak with them, engage with them throughout their care with our company. This should not be an end of year event, but an on-going display of gratitude.
Finish the year Strong in HME Sales
Finally, as sales professionals we finish the year strong by reflecting and projecting. Reflect on the year and identify things that we could have done better or initiatives that needed some major overhaul. Also review the things that we did well. This reflection should fill a page in a notebook. Reflection will help us with projection.
How will we project these reflective thoughts and ideas into actionable items for next year? This list of action items becomes part of your personal sales strategic plan. Maybe you identified that you need more payer training, use your CRM more effectively, better qualified candidates to conduct in-services with, and the list goes on. Now make that list a reality and execute.
There are many moving parts to our sales efforts and the year end is no different. We cannot and should not lose the fact that this time of year is a great time to reflect and set new actionable items for our sales efforts for the new year.
Finish Strong, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and may next year be your best year yet.
If your organization is seeking new resources to set your sales team up for success in 2023, check out Trella’s CRM and market insights solution.