Here in the United States, for the past 236 extraordinary years, the 4th of July has been a day of both commemoration and, of course, celebration. In a most singular and dedicated fashion, we gather with friends and family to enjoy those quintessential summer activities – a barbeque, a few well-deserved libations,  and an evening of star-spangled fireworks to dazzle our spirits, and to remind us how fortunate we are to live in this precious realm of freedom we call America.

On this day, in 1776, the newly-formed Continental Congress performed ‘one critical action’, by adopting the principles contained in a Declaration of Independence to ensure, among other things, unfettered and unregulated pursuit of our commercial endeavors. And the sales profession, given its awakening and immense potential, exploded, and we, as a global force to be reckoned with, have never looked back.

However, there is a second day within this particular week, often unheralded, though significant enough all the same, when you just might be tempted to light up the night sky with a few Roman Candles of your own – June 30th. Within a more fiscal fanfare, June 30th is, of course, the end of Q2,  and whether or not you have hit your revenue target will determine just how festive or celebratory you feel.

For salespeople, June 30th is a day when you will either have a rare and hard-earned moment of relief, or you will no doubt begin to experience a ratcheting and unrelenting increase in pressure. And in the latter case, from the standpoint of management, it might be justifiable. No matter which category you fall into, one thing is for certain; whether or not you will hit your number for the year hangs on what you do during the next 6 months. Let’s face it either you will be basking in the rocket’s red glare of triumph, or wallowing in the company revenue’s red glare of, well . . . ink.

There is one critical action you can take now to ensure your 2nd half revenue is not just explosive, but absolutely pyrotechnic.

Make sure you understand what happened in the 1st half of the year – then decide what worked and what didn’t

I don’t mean to be overly-simplistic. Indeed, when you reflect on the first half to understand what worked and what didn’t, you’ll see that it can be a difficult analysis which is why – other than mentally, you may not do it. Now that I’ve said how difficult it can be, I’ll suggest keeping it simple. Capture the key take-aways into a cheat-sheet for easy reference. The first step is to ask questions that will get to the crux of the situation. Here are some examples.

  1. How did my account activities deviate from plan?
  2. How effectively did I use my time?
  3. What did I do that worked exceptionally well?
  4. What did I do that did not work particularly well?
  5. What resources did I lack?

Don’t get tripped up, or bogged down, by too much detail. The purpose of this exercise is to look for the big themes, or overriding obstacles to proficiency or productive output. Write one honest and objective statement for each scenario, and create a cheat-sheet you can refer to as a regular reminder. Bear in mind, it is not how much you manage to do, but how well you manage to do it. Your cheat-sheet should also focus on those ‘golden nuggets’ of insight gained from each category of experience. And if it is resources that you (currently) lack, it just makes steps 1 through 4 that much more critical in terms of self-evaluation.

Here’s an example of items you might have on your cheat-sheet.

  • I will review my account plans every other Monday to see if I’m deviating from plan unintentionally and make the necessary course-corrections.
  • I will spend less time on distractions by doing a better job delegating. Conversely, I’ll spend more time on activities that affect revenue like mapping each account to additional products they should be buying.
  • I will do more video emails because they get the best response and I get important insight like when the recipient opened it.
  • I will create fewer proposals from scratch and will take the time needed to put commonly used paragraphs or text blocks into templates.
  • I will do a better job communicating my resource requirements.

It is certainly acceptable, and indeed admirable, if your list is longer. When it comes down to revenue-generation or performance-enhancement, no ‘to-do’ list can ever be too long. The trick is to make it specific enough (read ‘actionable’) that you can implement each component or process while keeping the framework simple to follow. The important thing is that you take the time to put it down on paper so you can refer to it on a daily basis. In fact, print it and post it by your monitor. After a while, these changes in habit will become second nature, and wired into your mental hard-drive.

Perfecting the way you go about performing your job is the key to explosive revenue growth. The numbers won’t lie. Nor will honest analysis of what is obviously far from perfect performance. It’s not possible to perfect something without first evaluating what needs improvement. And if my history lesson has taught us anything, improvement was exactly what our founding fathers had in mind. One critical action was all it took, and the rest, was pure fireworks.

Author, Nancy Nardin is the foremost expert in sales productivity tools. As President of Smart Selling Tools, she consults with many of the top sales productivity software vendors as well as end-user organizations looking to select the right tools. Click to get Nancy’s What & When weekly digest with invitations to complimentary webinars and informative publications. Follow Nancy on Twitter @sellingtools or subscribe to her Tool Talk blog. Nancy can be reached at 916-596-3035. To schedule a free 30 minute consultation.