Panelists provide sales leadership perspective on topic of “Finishing the Year Strong and Getting Ready to Start Fast Next Year”

Atlanta, GA – The end of the year can be stressful for sales leaders as they strive to deliver on expectations for the current year while working in parallel to prepare their sales teams for the upcoming year. To help sales leaders gain the competitive edge, the Atlanta Sales Leadership Community hosted a moderated panel discussion on the topic of “Finishing the Year Strong and Getting Ready to Start Fast Next Year” on October 7th at the Northcreek Conference Center.

The panel included Tim Fuller (Executive Director, SAP Go-To-Market for EY), Christiane Palpant (Vice President, National Sales Manager for FIS), and Mike Pollitt, (General Manager Americas and Global Sales & Marketing Leader for ABB Enterprise Software). Charlie Thackston (President of SOAR Performance Group) introduced the topic and provided moderation for the discussion.

Panel Discussion Questions

Each of the panelists shared their view on these important questions:

  • With the end of the year approaching, as a sales leader in your experience, what are the keys to finishing the year strong?
  • How do you balance finishing the current year with preparing for a quick start in the new year?
  • What are the top 3 pieces of advice you would give to others regarding finishing strong and preparing for a quick start in the year ahead?
Finishing the Year Strong

When commenting on finishing the year strong, panelists highlighted the importance of starting the fourth quarter in the ‘right position’ by knowing the opportunities and how they are being viewed by all levels within the organization. Because of the visibility, the quality of the pipeline is critical. Additionally, it is important to prioritize the opportunities into ‘must wins’ based on sales amount and strategic importance. For each prioritized opportunity, the sales team needs to define (or create) the compelling reason for customer action. As the push to the end of year progresses, sales teams need to manage the communications and expectations internally with finance, operations, service, solutions specialist and other internal stakeholders. As one panelists emphasized – ‘Communication, communication, and communication’.

Preparing for a Quick Start Next Year

When the discussion turned to preparing for a quick start, panelists highlighted one of the traps that sales teams can fall into is only focusing on the opportunities that may close by year end. One panelist recommends to their team that they spend 20% of their time in the final quarter on opportunities that will not happen until after the start of the new year. Additionally, it is imperative that sales leaders balance their time in the close of the year between supporting the sales teams while also setting the sales strategy and clarifying the go-to-market messaging that will be part of the sales kickoff for the new year.

To listen to more (including the complete audio recording of the meeting), please go to –

“Our students enjoy participating in these events to learn more about sales leadership and careers in sales. The opportunity for them to hear from panelists on practical topics really helps and they value the opportunity for deeper exploration during the open question and answer time block”, said Steve Young, Lecturer at Georgia State University and Co-Chair for the Atlanta Sales Leadership Community Advisory Board.

Future Meetings

The next meeting of the Atlanta Sales Leadership Community will be on February 3, 2017. The event is by invitation and will feature a panel discussion on “How Sales Leaders are Addressing Changes in Customer Buying Behavior”. For more information on the meeting, please go to –


The Atlanta Sales Leadership Community was co-founded by Georgia State University and SOAR Performance Group. The Atlanta Sales Leadership Community is a cross industry organization of senior sales leaders focused on building a community within the Atlanta market for advancing best practices in sales leadership. It also creates networking and mentoring opportunities for sales executives with Georgia State University students participating in the Georgia State University Sales Program.

About Georgia State University (

The largest business school in the South and part of a major research institution, Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business has 200 faculty, 8,000 students and 75,000 alumni. With programs on five continents and students from 88 countries, the college is world-class and worldwide. Its part-time MBA is ranked among the best by the Bloomberg Businessweek and U.S. News & World Report, and its Executive MBA is on the Financial Times list of the world’s premier programs. Located in Atlanta, the Robinson College and Georgia State have produced more of Georgia’s top executives with graduate degrees than any other school in the Southeast.

About SOAR Performance Group (

SOAR Performance Group is a client-focused sales consulting and training company that concentrates on sales performance improvement. We accelerate results for our clients through the development and execution of new sales and go to market strategies. Clients achieve success through a process of insights, diagnostics, consulting and training centered on a comprehensive understanding and connection to each client’s business.