H2 is here and it’s not a midsummer night’s dream. It’s real. Of course, you can dream of a second half so strong that it drives your numbers up, salvaging your year, insuring robust performance and healthy commission checks. But how did your dreams of H1 turn out? January to June was likely filled with an assortment of positives and negatives. Always the case. But your sales optimism tells you that there’s plenty of time left before the ball drops on 2023. Time to accelerate. Time to close strong. Time to hit your numbers. Yes, there’s still time.
Your 2023 H1 dream takes you back to January and that SWOT analysis you conducted on your territory – that dreary process that assesses those four well-known categories:
Strengths: The internal characteristics, providing you with a clear advantage.
Weaknesses: The internal attributes that place you at a disadvantage and limit your ability to achieve your goals.
Opportunities: The positive external factors that increase your chances of success.
Threats: The negative external factors that jeopardize your success and increase your vulnerability.
You remember that January SWOT process well, don’t you? And maybe you’re fortunate to be part of an inspired organization that insured you integrate those January SWOT findings into practical plans to guide your 2023 progress. Probably not, though. If your sales organization is like most, those SWOT results were quickly forgotten in deference to a laser-focus on breaking out of the January selling gate fast. Those SWOT flip charts filled with valuable content were rolled up, rubber-banded and shoved into the corner of the storage room, never again to see the light of day.
But here we are in July at the very start of H2 and, at this point, there’s still time. Time to maximize strengths, shore up weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities and defend against threats. But how? By revisiting traditional SWOT? Truthfully, that’s not much better than dreaming. If you don’t believe that, why are your flip charts sitting behind the copier? It’s not about updating traditional SWOT but about raising it to a new and truly actionable level.
Go grab those flip charts and review your territory’s January SWOT findings, using them as a baseline. Some were likely spot on while others probably missed the mark by a mile. Refresh them now with honesty, using the lessons learned from H1. You can’t get a reboot on those six months of history, but you can learn from them. Experience, of course, is a cruel but effective teacher but you must have it on your side. And while you’ll identify new items to add that didn’t come up previously, your January work will save you lots of time. And just in case, if in the interest of starting strong, you never did conduct that January SWOT session, now is the time to do it. Not, though, through traditional SWOT and its passive focus. With half the year gone, that’s not good enough. You need to bring SWOT to life with concrete actions to drive real acceleration to insure a strong H2. To make a meaningful impact, you must act now.
The concept is simple, like all of selling’s best practices. It’s light on theory and heavy on action. To improve on traditional SWOT’s output, you create practical, defined actions for each identified SWOT item, enhancing each through these four critical areas:
1. Action: The primary action to drive improvement.
The outline of a plan or other type of initial progress, dictating real movement, strategy and action.
2. Impact: The effect of the achievement of the results of the action.
Here, you determine the expected impact – your forecasted H2 results of the action.
3. Accountability: The person accountable for making the action happen.
Since several individuals on your team play roles in driving the actions, it’s vital to identify who does what. The most effective way to accomplish this is through the popular RACI system, which illustrates the clear responsibilities of each person engaged:
R = Responsible – The people who perform the work to get the job done.
A = Accountable – The one person specifically and ultimately accountable.
C = Consulted – The people whose counsel is sought and with whom two-way communication flows.
I = Informed – Those simply kept informed of status and progress. While their input is always welcome, it’s not required.
4. Date: The date by which the action is to be completed.
The realistic date the action will be implemented.
With this simple process completed for all identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, the actions are then listed by both impact level and date, generating a prioritized schedule for attacking the most productive actions first, maximizing improvement in H2. Your prioritized track to run on.
Take the time to build a practical, action-focused framework for your territory for H2. No dreams and no rolled-up flip charts collecting dust. You’ll have a powerful path forward to real improvement to win in H2 and to close the year strong. Remember, there’s still time.