Sales Strategy Secrets to End 2020 on a High (5 Bold Predictions Series)


Sales Strategy Secrets to End 2020 on a High (5 Bold Predictions Series)

It’s the final quarter. It’s time for all hands on deck when planning your sales strategy. It’s time to be innovative.

As a rookie salesperson at Xerox, I prepare diligently for my 4th Quarter Review. I’m expecting to sit down with my sales manager for a thorough review of my pipeline. However, I am stunned to see six executives sitting at the conference table when I walk into the boardroom. Six? Why the executive presence?

My mind races – we were coming off a successful year, but, due to an unexpected economic slump, sales slowed down. The team was having difficulty getting traction, possibly missing their annual target.

That’s when the District Manager said, “Good morning, Danita. We’re looking forward to hearing your plans. What might you do to exceed your revenue target?”

I’m grateful that I’m prepared.

Presidents and CEO’s are Attending Q4 Pipeline and Sales Strategy Planning Meetings

So, what will you be asking your salespeople at the 4th Quarter Review? What questions might you ask to stimulate creative, innovative approaches to ensure they exceed their 2020 targets and are set for a successful 2021?

As a president or general manager you might not usually sit in on the territory pipeline planning meeting.  For your Millennial salesperson, it will be extremely helpful to have a team looking at their accounts, asking questions, challenging them to look at things differently.  I strongly recommend it as a best practice.

For more insights on this strategy, read this article from Hunter Byington, a guest author. In 3 Key Steps to Ensure Your Sales Team is Ready for the Second Half of 2020, he writes about the importance of your presence, the executive, at the Midyear Territory Reviews.

Given the disruptive times we’re in, now might be the perfect time to start doing the same with your salespeople. 

Watch this video clip from my keynote at the Economic Times Sales Strategy Virtual Summit (India): Innovation Mindset

Searching for Breakthrough Ideas at Sales Strategy Meetings

In this series, we’re talking about my favorite question to ask leaders who are looking for breakthrough solutions – “What might you do to make a positive difference?”


Here’s the second word in this power-packed question…


It’s a small word.

Yet, it’s packed with power.

The word invites us to search for new ways to tackle the sad-looking pipelines that our sales leaders are showing us.

Use the Power of Might  –  Spark Problem Solving and How to Improve Sales

Might invite possibilities, options, and new connections.

The Har­vard Business Review in The Secret Phrase Top Innovators Use points out the impact of this word. The “how might we” approach ensures that would-be innovators are asking the right questions and using the best wording.

Turn the problem into an opportunity by inverting it with the simple phrase, How might we…? ~ Jim Little Click To Tweet

For those who love neuroscience, adding “might” to a question opens neural pathways and creates new connections. That’s where new ideas, products, and markets are born.

Avoid Red Flag Questions – They Derail Innovation that Helps You Know How to Increase Sales

What happens when we don’t use “might” in our questions? For example, what occurs psychologically when you ask, “Why are sales down? What are you going to do to increase your sales?”

I call these Red Flag questions.  Why? These questions cause defensiveness.  Your salespeople feel pressured, backed into a corner.  They feel like they MUST come up with a workable solution…..right now!  In today’s economic climate, that’s almost impossible.

These Red Flag questions are bound to elicit an unproductive, negative response from your team. I’m sure you’ve heard…

“Oh, we’ve tried that a few years ago and it didn’t work!”

Red Flag questions won’t spark the innovation that fuels the breakthrough results you need to exceed targets.

Ask Green Flag Questions – They Ignite Options for Sales Growth

Green Flag questions unlock our salespeople’s ability to see new options. Creativity is sparked. They start seeing how they’re going to solve some of the massive problems they’re facing.

Be intentional in spotting and leveraging Green Flag questions that include the word, “might” – a word that stimulates an innovative mindset.

Leaders with an Innovation Mindset will find solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems. ~ Danita Bye Click To Tweet

During your upcoming Q4 Territory Reviews that you’ll be attending with each of your sales leaders, these examples of “might” questions will trigger helpful insights:

  • What might you do to speed up closings for 2020?
  • What might need to happen to improve conversion ratios?
  • What might your team rethink to create a more effective sales process, given the current reality?
  • What might you do to address mediocrity, under-achievement, and complacency on the sales team?
  • What might you do differently to stop losing business to the competition?
  • What might you do to improve the accuracy of the pipeline forecast?

These Green Flag questions all include the word, “might.” Practice using them. They strengthen the innovative mindset you need from your sales team to overcome obstacles and challenges.

Calling for Breakthrough Q4 Pipeline and Sales Strategy Meetings

Business owners and sales leaders are asking, “Are my salespeople calling on the right accounts – digging deeper into old accounts, opening new accounts, or expanding into a new market sector?”

It’s Q4. For many of us, it’s a time for the all-hands on deck approach. It calls for you to be working with your Millennial sales leaders and salespeople to dig deep into every single entry on their pipeline. It’s your time to say to all your sales leaders, “What might you do to exceed your revenue target?”

Stay tuned for the next post in this series, An Ownership Mindset Will Increase Breakthrough Results, to discover how the third word in our powerful sentence drives breakthrough results.

Your leadership matters greatly during these uncertain times.

For the previous article in this series, go to: Secrets to Improving Territory Sales Reviews and Your Sales Strategy ,  as well as the next post in the series The Secret to Superior Sales Coaching.

Leadership Lesson:

Leverage the power of “might” – that’s where new ideas, products, and markets are born. 

Leadership Question:

What might you do to develop your Millennial’s innovation mindset so that your business can grow in the midst of economic uncertainty?

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