“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” -William James
Time can be your best friend or your worst enemy. We’ve all struggled with deadlines, whether it’s poor time management skills or a long list of tasks to accomplish in little time.
In business, deadlines can make or break a successful deal. Missed deadlines can delay closing a deal, pushing off projected revenues and future projects. When dealing with contracts, delays in the process can bog down sales and legal teams, keeping them stuck on one contract and preventing them from expanding to more customers and opportunities for revenue
A slow deal can be incredibly discouraging for the both parties involved, giving customers time to seek alternatives, and striking a major blow to sales teams trying to retain customers.
While you can’t anticipate every delay, you can position yourself to be prepared for a potential slowdown and still reach that deadline:
Don’t begin your project without carefully mapping out responsibilities and expectations. In a business transaction, make sure both sides agree to the deadlines and sub-tasks. If a deadline is fuzzy, it can lead to confusion, set a standard as being “lax” and almost guaranteeing the deadline is not met. Get into the specifics, such as exact times with time zones. Whether a task is completed at the start of the day or the end can make all the difference.
A recent study shows that the sooner you begin a task, the sooner that task will be completed. If you procrastinate, this can be the game-changer. In fact, many people say they do their best work when they’re under pressure. If you move your deadline up, you give yourself less time to procrastinate, and greatly increase your chances of getting the job done on time. However, don’t just set one day as your deadline (see #3).
When most people think of a deadline, they think of one date. Anyone in business knows that everything can’t be planned out to a ‘T’. There are bound to be other last minute projects that fall on top of deadlines you already have. It’s best to set a string of days as your deadline. Most projects require input or approval from more than one person. A buffer takes account for the extra time required for that project.
There are typically sub-tasks to every major project in business. When communicating expectations before the project, set micro-goals or milestones leading up to the project’s final completion. Dividing time and labor makes completing a large project more palatable. By completing the small steps, you stay on track to completing the overall project. This also provides visibility into the progress being made in the project, and you’ll know who to go to if there’s a delay.
Some people don’t see this as an option, but when given a deadline that is unrealistic, it’s best to communicate your concerns to project managers. If you don’t, it guarantees that your next deadline will be just as unreasonable. If you stay quiet and things begin to unravel, your company can suffer financial consequences that could have otherwise been avoided. If you communicate your concerns, you could learn about a solution for getting the job done that you had not thought of, allowing the process to move forward.
The tools you use to do business can help sales teams meet their deadlines without overthinking the process. When dealing with contracts, an automated solution not only keeps the sales team on task, but loops in both parties and provides notifications, reminders, and tracking abilities that speed the entire contract process along.
You can learn more about how automation can streamline your sales process and help your teams hit deadlines and maximize revenue. Click here or the image below to download our ebook.