How You Should Think About Your End-of-Year Planning

Robert McLaws
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In a few short weeks, your team’s heads will be filled with sugarplums, family holiday celebrations, and New Year’s festivities.

NOW is the time to focus on three big things before the holiday drift begins:

  1. What went right this year and what still needs improvement and fine-tuning
  2. What your key goals are for the year ahead
  3. Who you’ll need on your team to achieve those goals

And, if you really want to hit the ground running next year, you should be laser-focused on creating your capacity plan and searching for those key people who will make a huge difference in helping you achieve your targets.

Bring Your Entire Team Together

You may be remote, so schedule a fun and collaborative online session. If at all possible, bring as many of the team members together in one location for a day of planning and collaboration. If your budget permits, spring for an outside speaker and/or refreshments and team gifts.

Think of it as an intelligent pep rally, where the bright future of your business is the trophy.

Go through the past year with an objective and positive idea. Ask yourself:

  • What were our biggest wins and what led to them?
  • What areas did we trip-up on and why?
  • Who are your A-team players? What qualities do they possess?
  • What types of talent (especially on the sales side) do we need to have a winning season next year?

And, above all, make sure that your capacity plan ties to your revenue goals. You’ll need a few different subject matter experts involved in that exercise -- sales (of course), marketing, human resources, and finance.

Obviously, if you’re in the early phases of a business, you may not have all those functions on your team. Consider bringing in an objective business coach to help you put the pieces together.

Publish Your Plans

A reason that goals sometimes get missed is that the team who’s delivering against them doesn’t understand them or may not buy into them.

If you have a larger organization, make sure you hold an all-hands session in which your entire organization can see the plan for the next year. They must also believe that their management is on the same page in achieving KPIs and has committed to doing what it takes to hit those targets.

When you use a platform like BurnRate, sharing your capacity plans with a team is easy and credible. People can see that your assumptions are based on fact and not guesswork and, if you are running a fully transparent organization, the entire team can see, reflect on, and (most important) buy into the capacity plan.

Then, Get to Work...FAST!

Once you have a solid capacity plan, you need to start recruiting to fill any gaps and prepare for growth. Remember, finding, onboarding, and getting a salesperson 100 percent up-to-speed can take up to 90 days.

So, if you’re not starting that process until the end of the year, you may already be falling behind.

The holiday season used to be a difficult time to recruit, but it may actually be a great time of year. Many people are getting their end-of-year reviews and bonuses and contemplating next steps.

If you hire now, you’ll still have time for training before the sales team hits the ground running right after the new year.

Remember too that your buyers may be going through their own end-of-year recaps and may see gaps in their product/service needs. Companies that still have unspent budgets may be looking to buy what you’re selling, so take advantage of that opportunity.

Bringing on new team members over the holiday season can be a great strategy. The newbies can join in with your end-of-year celebrations, which can help them meet other team members and get accustomed to your culture. If someone feels like they fit in from the beginning, they’ll be happier in their role and perform better.

Conferences, online workshops, and holiday events are happening during the last couple of months of the year. They can create opportunities for meeting new people and asking your peers for referrals to talent. Let everyone in your circle know that you’re hiring. Post on LinkedIn, make sure your Glassdoor reviews are stellar, and use every channel to spread the word. Employee referrals remain a great source of talent too. Offer a bounty for referring new team members.

Remember that as you hire new team members, look to diversify your team. Studies show that companies that are intergenerational, diverse, and inclusive may perform better.

Make the Tough Decisions

If you discover through the planning process that you have weak links in your sales or management change, put the wheels in motion for parting ways. That’s never easy and you may be reticent to cut someone loose or give a less-than-stellar performance review over the holidays. That’s totally understandable.

But what that means is that you might need to carry that headcount on the books into the new year. So, account for that in your expense plan and be sure to set a firm date when you’ll be making staff changes.

Watch That Calendar and That Clock

Days seem to split away at an alarming rate during these last months of the year. Having a tool like BurnRate enables you to see the direct impact of late hires or holding on to team members who aren’t performing.

Every day counts.

Without stressing-out the entire management team, make sure that everyone involved understands the urgency of decision making:

  • HR and recruiters, who may be sourcing candidates
  • Sales leaders who need to schedule interviews
  • Trainers who onboard new hires
  • Your current sales team who must continue to hit their goals to finish the year strong

You’re in the fourth quarter and this year’s goal is in sight. But equally important is the championship you’ll be playing in next year.

Having a cloud-based capacity plan that’s tight and accessible to your team (and can be easily readjusted throughout the year as circumstances change) is that extra point you need!

End the year with BurnRate. It’ll help you start next year strong! Schedule your demo now.

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