At this time of the year, business leaders are starting to really knuckle down on just how they're going to hit their numbers in the final quarter.

After all, there’s ample time to sign up new clients and customers before the end of the year and for many it’s their busiest time. Perhaps you’re rolling out special offers on your services to entice using-up-of-budget spending? Have lined up a email marketing campaign that even the most hardened buyer cannot ignore? Or maybe you have an exciting new line of products whose features just sell themselves...

Whatever your goals are, these strategies can work, for sure. But if you’re serious about really upping the ante and ending 2016 in the best position possible, then don't ignore your greatest chance of hitting those numbers – your people. Here, we’re going to share some practical hints and tips that you can start implementing right away.

Consider whether you need to roll out refresher training

At this time of the year, exemplary customer service and focussed sales skills can make a huge difference when it comes to your profits. Are your staff comfortable with talking about your products and services? Can they pinpoint opportunities to offer an up-sell? And are they really firing on all cylinders when it comes to their day-to-day work?

Take the opportunity to consider how you can offer training to drill down on key points you need to change, and take performance up to that next level. You don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune on bringing in external providers, so think like a bootstrapped startup when it comes to how you can deliver any development needed. Perhaps pairing up members of the sales & marketing team to hone in on the key value proposition your product/ service is offering to clients and customers would give a much needed boost to those who are struggling to bring prospects along the sales pipeline? Many sales tools record your calls and can be used to immediate feedback to people that can be started as soon as this morning....  Or how about some e-learning courses to give some focus and boost skills? Bitesize courses can be found on all manner of topics from customer service to google Analytics on sites such as Lynda.com & Alison.com

Make sure that everyone has goals to be working towards

If your staff have been in their positions for a while, then they can really easily fall into a mundane routine. Particularly in the run up to Christmas. After all, everyone’s a bit well, knackered? They turn up to work, do their bit, and then go home.

Could it be the case that they’re feeling complacent? If so, now’s an excellent time to get your leadership team together and ensure that everyone has realistic but stretching goals to be making progress towards. So gather them all in a group huddle if you don't have time for individual meetings this week and make it crystal clear what you need from everyone and what you need to deliver by the end of the year. Word to the wise however: now is not the time to be beating people up over performance: think 'motivate' rather than 'denegrate'.....

Everyone should understand and recognise the contribution they make to the bigger picture, so make sure they understand the part they play and are recognised, though it’s also sensible to think about how you can encourage staff to work together to achieve bigger things.

Work out how you’ll incentivise this fabulous performance  

If you’re after a short sharp focus to hit specific targets, then bonuses could be the answer here. Although not scientifically proven to help in all cases, behaviour can be changed if the task is simple, the rewards understood and the task not too difficult - so get to work on creating an incentive scheme that says ‘thanks’ a lot to the team but makes sure you hit the right goals.

Again, this doesn’t have to be something that puts a strain on your budget. There’s a ton of things that you can do to offer an attractive incentive for outstanding performance, even if you’re on a tight budget & for more ideas on how to do this with your sales team, check out Katy Cracknell’s article How To Motivate Your Sales Team Without Focussing On Just The Money And, of course, you should never underestimate the value of of rolling out a Blue Peter-Style Thermometer to really visualise your sales. In addition of course, to simply saying thank you….

The year’s speeding to an end, but if you start taking action right away on the points that we’ve outlined above, you can make a big difference to your final results. So what are you waiting for?!

If you need some help with managing that final push, then pick up the phone. We’ll be looking forward to having an initial chat about how we might be able to work together, without any obligation or pressure. Get in touch at hello@thehrhub.co.uk, or give us a call on 0203 627 7048.

Image by Me!bourne Mermaid

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