Home > Ideas > The Good, the Bad and the Year-end Sale!

The Good, the Bad and the Year-end Sale!

In the Indian Corporate Sector it’s that time of the year again – Financial Year-end! Two things are on every employee’s mind, particularly the ones who have clearly spelled out budgets to achieve:

1. Achieving the Annual Target (which means bonus / incentives)

2. The Annual Appraisal (the outcome of which is hugely dependent on Item.1)

I am going to focus on Item.1 in this article.

It’s a mad race and all stops are pulled for this one. Sales Professionals really start work in this quarter – don’t get me wrong; they aren’t sleeping in the other nine months … Snoozing, maybe! 

JFM is the quarter that sees frenetic action – no prospect is left alone; even the prospects in deep-freeze  or in a comatose condition are brought to life and given “Never before and never going to happen again” offers.

When I receive such calls in JFM I ask the Executive right away – “It must be year-end or quarter end scheme? How short are you from achieving your target”. A sheepish smile would fleet on their face and then they gather themselves again to make the automaton-like pitch: “Sir, you don’t know what you are missing by refusing this offer.”

I feel like telling the youngster – “And you don’t know how much peace-of-mind I am gaining by refusing to fall for it.”

Only this morning I went to the bank to make a deposit; looking around I noticed this young fellow near the door give me longing looks – don’t get me wrong, he did not have any intention other than trying to separate me from my hard-earned money. If his look could be turned into an image we’d have seen a cash-cow or something akin to that.

Poor chap was way off mark – I wasn’t even a cash–calf! He cornered me and I braced myself for what was coming. There was no time for nicety, he launched in the pitch – it was a lengthy paean on the virtues of the insurance scheme on offer and how I was going to benefit from it. I pleaded that I had enough insurance and he said this offer was better than that – he had not asked about my portfolio of investments. It went on for five minutes – in that period he also had tried to coax me into opening an account in this branch because I was a customer elsewhere. I ran away without revealing my phone number or email ID which he desperately needed to continue being the pest. I don’t think he is smart enough to check the Deposit Slip I had submitted along with the cash – it bore my number.

–          Why do Sales Managers permit things to come to such a pass – if business did not materialize all year how is it going to make an appearance in the last 15 days of the financial year?

–          Are the customers acquired in these melee really good quality ones? Have all the checks been done to assure long-term revenues from the account? Are corner being cut to achieve the target?

–          Why are schemes being given to low–quality, last minute acquisitions? The customer who comes in at the lowest cost may not be the right fit for the organisation’s desired profile. It can impact revenues in the years ahead and create a steeper hill for them.

–          Why isn’t the marketing spend focused in running loyalty schemes or referral schemes, which help to increase stickiness of the revenue yielding customers? It’s often seen that customer acquired earlier, at higher cost, and remaining loyal for years often get sidelined or forgotten. The logic is that they are going to stay anyway – its only when one suddenly decides to leave, having received a better offer from another service provider, that our worthies decide to wake-up.

Sales Managers really need to get into this game early and plan the year-end a lot earlier – get rid of the short-term thinking, look ahead into the future and ask yourself whether this is going to benefit you in the long-term.

This is a bit of hind-sight in action – I too have done last minute window dressing of this nature to give my work for the year a cute appearance. It has not done me much good later on.

Year End Sales or Y.E.S should be a big No-No in the Smart Managers book!!

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  1. March 7, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Completely agree! its only a week ago that the account manager for a HR system which my organization has been evaluating for a while said, “Please decide before March, I have to meet my targets” – was such a put off. I think personal integrity and real corporate values (not the ones which are pasted on the walls for style) mostly define a professionals action. Unrealistic targets driven top-down created without the mangers real involvement, lack of true consideration/care for the employee and the customer, these are the issues. I remember another organizations insurance sales man who pleaded “Saar agnane parayale Saar” meaning “please don’t say that” – when after his investment of time and effort I said, “NO”.

    • JayadevM
      March 8, 2012 at 3:47 am

      Sajan, thank you for that insight and you are bang on target when you say Corporate Values should not be just for pretty posters on the wall.

      Some others have replied to me in the same vein about the way targets are driven. There is a crying need for a shift in thinking on this.

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