Goodbye FY23, Hello FY24: Key learnings moving forward to the new year
A few weeks ago we wrapped up the fiscal year in LinkedIn, and I must say, it's been more difficult than expected. Most of the conversations with our customers focused on their need to become more efficient, and how they and other organizations had to lay off great employees due to markets slowing down. I was able to achieve last quarter's targets at the last minute quite literally, on the last day of the quarter. After celebrating a bit, I wanted to look back on the year that was an uphill battle and understand what were the key learnings from it.
Though there were many lessons throughout this year, these 3 are my main takeaways for the new financial year:
1. Growth mindset vs fixed mindset - Working in sales is extremely numbers oriented. We are measured by clear numbers and it’s very dichotomic, whether you are successful or not.
However, KPIs mindset can be a very narrow mindset as it avoids the effort and other objectives that are fulfilled through the journey. When I realized that I can measure my success on more than “just” the cold numbers, I could see the progression and achievements I had this year that are not just the final sell. For example, the number of decision-makers I built relationships with, the depth of the relationship, and different initiatives that lead to providing my customers with valuable insights and knowledge. The main aim is to focus on what I can control and (try) to embrace what is out of my control.
2. Celebrate the small wins - Same as in ultra marathon running, the journey can be exhausting sometimes with endless challenges. When you are halfway to the race, it’s the middle of the night and you feel like you’ll never make it to the finish line. Same as in tough years, the churn increases and it feels like no matter what you do, nothing helps. Despite this uphill battle, there are small wins that can and should be celebrated. For example a positive conversion with a customer where they shared their upcoming forecast (that can help you plan your forecast); identifying churn risk in advance so you can work towards mitigating it; meeting a new decision maker at one of your accounts who is motivated about your product and can potentially be an internal champion.
3. People are everything - account management can be a lonely role. At the end of the day, I have my book of business and customers that I need to figure out how to grow on my own. Having a supportive team can change the day-to-day significantly. Although each of us works on different accounts and different markets, our peer learning, knowledge sharing, support and having a good time turns the bumpy road into an adventure with great views and memorable moments.
Looking forward here are my 2 cents
While summarizing the past year, the new one has already begun at a high speed and with high hopes. Despite the macroeconomic times that are still here, I am trying to lead with the great mindset of Dr. Sues:
"On and on you will hike,
And I know you'll hike far
and face up your problems
whatever they are".