6 Ways to Bounce Back from a Tough Q1


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It feels like last year just ended.  The holidays, SKO, president’s club and then back to reality.  Now you find yourself behind the Q1 number.  All the good things that happened last year mean nothing if you miss Q1.  And now that it’s the beginning of March, you can’t do much to bridge the in-quarter gap.

How can you catch up in Q2?

First understand why you missed in Q1. It’s easy to blame outside forces instead of looking at the true root cause.  Here are some common excuses sales leaders use:

  • We drained the lake in Q4
  • A few deals we thought were going to close in Q1 got pushed
  • SKO and Club were a distraction
  • Q1 is always slower
  • The new comp plan is killing us
  • My quota isn’t realistic
  • We lost a couple good reps

Some of these may be true, but they won’t get you to your Q2 number. So, what do you do?

First, you have to stop playing the victim.  If you are using the excuses above, you are living in the past.  The past is gone, so move on and control what you can. 

Also, don’t overreact.  Most sales leaders resort to short-term tactics and micromanagement.  This can lead to long-term failure.  It’s better to focus on how to allocate people, money, and time – also known as strategy. 

The 6 Bounce Back Ideas

  1. Hiring – find two people to hire that are better than your best in Q2. Upgrading talent is the number one change a leader can make to get a lift.
  2. Increase selling time – eliminate as many non-selling tasks as possible from your team’s plate. More selling time should equal more time with customers and better results.
  3. Focus team on the right opportunities – selling to the right accounts can help move the number quickly. Conduct an account segmentation exercise to focus the team on sweet spot accounts.
  4. Fill the top of the funnel – do you have a prospecting methodology? If you don’t, consider creating one.  Having that in place will lead to a consistent flow of self-generated leads.  Also, get aligned with marketing on expectations.  Set a regular communication cadence with marketing leadership to discuss progress. 
  5. Pipeline process – build a great one and use it. Don’t just do quick calls to get a status update.  You need to dig into every deal and focus on the deal strategy.  Spend time on early stage deals as well as late stage.  Eliminate deals that have little chance to close and the rep shouldn’t be working.  Advance early stage deals that have the potential to close.  Get final stage deals across the goal line.
  6. Big Deal Reviews – winning big deals is often the difference between making or missing the number. Focus on big deal execution.  If this leads to just one big deal closing, then you have been successful.

Think beyond Q2

You may not be able to act on all 6 areas right away.  Pick 2 or 3 to get started on after answering the following questions:

  1. How will it impact my number?
  2. What is the probability of success?
  3. How much time and effort will it require?

Don’t waste time defending what happened in Q1.  Focus on making Q2 the quarter you get way ahead.

Learn other Q2 improvement best practices. Subscribe to the SBI Podcast. We’ll bring you the latest B2B insights, every day of the year.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Scott Gruher
Scott has extensive experience helping B2B Sales and Marketing Leaders Make the Number. Gruher has helped companies such as Yahoo, GXS, Ryder Systems, Conoco Phillips, Expeditors International, Genesys Telocommunications and Caliber Collision Centers accelerate their growth by leveraging the benchmarking method.


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