We are all hopeful in January.  We all share a sense of relief that the struggles of the past year are behind us, our slate is clean and we have twelve full months to make all our goals come true.   This is true for CEOs and Sales Leaders more than anyone else in the company.   “A tough year is past and we lived to fight another day,” as the saying goes.

But right now, it’s fourth quarter and we’re in the thick of the battle. Maybe we still have a chance to hit the original sales goal if those elusive big deals close on time.  Possibly we’re just clinging to hope and a prayer that we can hit our revised forecast.   The odds say most of us are in one of those two camps.

How Did We Get Here?

Try to recall the conversations you had with yourself back in January about your 2012 sales objectives.  After you made your commitments to the board and locked the company’s sales quota for the year – were you optimistic of your chances or already fighting back the doubts?   Too many CEOs and Sales Leaders (if they’re being honest with themselves) will admit that their 2012 sales plan was 10% preparation and 90% hope.   And Hope, as everyone knows, is NOT a Strategy!   

Avoiding A Sales Strategy Built on Hope

If you found yourself with these doubts and concerns in January, you were facing a stacked deck before the first hand was dealt.

  • I hope the economy finally improves.
  • I hope our sales leadership really does hold the team accountable.
  • I hope those new sales reps are as good they interviewed.
  • I hope our competition quits cutting prices.
  • I hope our big marketing investment pays off.
  • I hope we finally have a strong first quarter.
  • I hope those new markets grow like we need them to.
  • I hope our channel partners have better years.
  • I hope our top sales reps don’t leave us.

Were any of these hopes entering your mind back in January?  Regrettably, there’s little you can do now to minimize their impact on your 2012 results.

Next year however can be a turning point for your sales team and a winning year for the company!