It has been a while since Doug and Jess have recorded for two weeks in a row. Did they actually survive last week? Did they actually have time to record last week? Yes in fact they did and everyone is shocked.
We had a strong end to the third quarter. A crazy strong end to the third quarter. In the first week of the fourth quarter Doug thought he was going to be able to take a breath and that theory did not last. It's been a crazy year, it's been a crazy month, and it's been a crazy quarter… it doesn't stop.
Today we're talking about the fourth quarter and end of the year for RevOps.
- [RevOps Show] Episode 37: Get in to the Zone - The 3 Zones of Execution
- [Blog] How to Create a Strong Hypothesis
- [Blog] Creating A High-Impact Outbound Scoreboard
- [RevOps Show] Episode 11: Strategic or Tactical - The 5 Levels of RevOps
Is the fourth quarter different from any other quarter?
Jess says because it’s cooler to which Doug agrees because in Maryland it’s around 70 degrees and sunny. All jokes aside this is an interesting question and Jess believes it’s different because there’s more pressure put on sales reps and RevOps from the standpoint of closing business and wrapping up things that need to be done. It’s the time of year where budgets are done. There’s definitely more pressure put on.
Here is where Jess gets broken by Doug as he asks her to tell him more and she draws a blank.
Should the fourth quarter be any different?
Jess says no. We’ve talked about looking at things, particularly closed revenue or metrics, from a trailing standpoint versus quarter over quarter. But people behave differently in the fourth quarter because of pressure, because they want to hit a number and end the year with a nice little bow on it.
Is that a bug or a feature?
It lights a fire under people’s butts so it might be a feature.
It’s an interesting topic because when December is over, January comes around. We’ve had both good and really bad Decembers in the past and no matter what, when January happens there's the same reaction because we get to start over.
We hit the end of the quarter and were just shy of a particular number. Why does that matter? Why does it matter that we didn’t hit that number at the end of the quarter?
Just so everyone understands, the number we barely missed was a number that was actually our target for the full year. It’s not like we missed our quarter number. Doug can’t say that he was unhappy, but it matters and it doesn’t matter all at the same time. There’s a value to a finish line. You plant in the spring, you harvest in the fall, and you clean out in the winter. If you don’t clear the field, then your harvest won’t expand. Doug would recommend more attention and thinking with a sophisticated mind around this because the danger is, if the end of the year number because of the scoreboard, you get bad behaviors.
Is this all about keeping score?
Not if it’s done right. Because if you’re keeping score, you're scoring on quality inputs. If you’re playing baseball, your goal should not be to get a hit, it should be to have a good at bat. It should be to put a good swing on the ball and execute your plan. You have a hypothesis going into it so that you can go back and assess the outcome. If you over-assess the one at bat, you’ll drive yourself crazy.
We crossed the number on Monday. The threshold we didn’t hit on Friday, we hit on Monday. It literally makes no difference, except the third quarter ended and we were 99.8% to target. Do you know what they call 99.8% to the finish line? Not across the finish line. You didn’t finish.
We missed our number in the second quarter pretty healthily in terms of what our target number was. Doug was explaining what was happening on a couple of calls and people thought we had a really bad quarter. He had to explain that it wasn’t really bad because there was an underlying cause as decision cycles got longer. Doug’s hypothesis was that our quarter three is not only going to cover its number, but would also make up the delta for what we missed in quarter two. And that ended up happening.
If you have a bad month, quarter, or year, does that mean you should crawl under a rock and disappear? No. You have to show up the next day. It’s called resilience. And you can’t have resilience without some degree of optimism.
Why is the fourth quarter different?
The reason that the fourth quarter is so hectic and has so much chaos is because of a bad process. The fourth quarter is when everything comes home to roost and is when you pay the price for everything that you put off. In the fourth quarter, everything is closing. Doug finds that this isn’t as true as it used to be, it’s not a great quarter to get things started.
The challenge for RevOps teams is unfortunately right now it’s too late to put anything into action. As a RevOps team, you should know coming into the fourth quarter that people are going to fight more against the process. Why? When people are trying to get things closed, they don’t want to slow down or stop to think. What Doug would tell a RevOps team, if they are taking a strategic approach, is now is the time to be thinking about Q4 2023.
How should you be thinking about Q4 in 2023? What should you be planning for when we talk about that?
You should be preparing for what the cycle is. You should be preparing in the first quarter new ideas that have more complexity and that have longer gestation periods because there’s typically a lesser sense of urgency. You may need to update your economic models, and the first quarter is a good time to do that because there’s a little bit more space. In the fourth quarter you have a launch and it’s more about tightening things up rather than starting a lot of new stuff.
The goal is learning; learning in progress. There’s a philosophy that says all progress begins with honesty. The problem is honestly far more nuanced than it is black and white. Again, this isn’t a scoreboard and you have to be careful that it doesn’t become the scoreboard.
- Having a finish line and a starting line is key as you’re working through things.
- Now is the time to be thinking of Q4 2023 and 2024.
- Figure out what your complete is and then reprioritize at the beginning of next quarter.
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