What we learned from closing our first sales quarter in Costa Rica on New Year’s Eve
by Juan Ugalde – Costa Rica | February 26, 2018
December 31st was the date on the calendar, and families were gathering for their usual annual reunion to celebrate the end of another year. In the Latin America Inside Sales Center we were all enjoying a great time with our loved ones, while keeping one eye firmly on the sales queue, watching as the status change and hoping for time to slow down to have enough time to get all our transactions in before midnight. But before we see how this day turns out, we have to go back 72 hours. It is a tale of deep team connection, collaboration and community. What we learned from this story will make a new team stronger.
Friday December 29th
The whole team was watching their pipe hopefully, looking for that last push that was going to get us to that precious finish line. Team members were helping each other, the more knowledgeable ones leading unique processes, the rest of us learning and frankly, feeling like we were barely surviving our first half closure, which came around much more quickly than most of us expected and was more challenging than we ever thought possible.
The Team Huddle that started it all
We all sat in the room (team members who hadn’t yet landed in Costa Rica were with us virtually thanks to Skype for Business) and we all agreed on our mission, “We have to make the best first impression with customers that we can, there are no second chances and we are all in. No deal will slip, no deal will be lost, it’s all or nothing”. We left the room so pumped and encouraged to achieve more together that everything else just came naturally; ideas were flowing, the sales tactics used in Argentina were now being (successfully) used in Mexico, the great spirit brought by the Chilean team “infected” the Colombian team, and finally, we understood what One Microsoft really meant. We were truly acting as one – a major unstoppable force that would show that LATAM was ready to join the crew.
The longest weekend of the year
We had the luxury of time on our side!! December 30th and 31st fell over the weekend, and with a whole army of great Microsoft teams (Operations, Credit and Collections, One Commercial Partner) making sure that all of the gears were perfectly synced, we made the most of those 2 additional days of unexpected time. As a result, we were able to recapture almost $3M of pure sales over a single weekend. We had team members refreshing our sales tools every 25 minutes, checking the operations queue every 17 minutes (you may be wondering how we came up with these numbers. We calculated how often sales stage changes were happening in the tools, it may have been a placebo effect, but it worked well for us). We continued this hectic pace until Sunday around 9:00 pm, when we were finally able to say… WE DID IT!
Soooo… what’s next?
I truly believe that the LATAM team is now well prepared to proactively close months, quarters and years together. We know that the luxury of having a 48-hour buffer before a quarter close is very uncommon, and we understand how to align our different teams to the same goal. The biggest lesson learned was the value of listening to the insights and ideas of your teammates, regardless of how inexperienced they may be. The act of opening our minds up to different points of view can make us find the solution that we’ve been searching for when it is least expected.
Armed with this knowledge, Q3 closure… you’re next, and we are not willing to be defeated.
Inside Sales LATAM