"The 13th Month Year"17 Apr, 2002 By: Ronelle Ingram imageSource
"The 13th Month Year"
am acutely aware of the end of the month sensitivity, which most business people
possess. Managers and sales people try not to schedule anything that could
interfere with their need for an “all hands on deck” attitude. The sales
department is scrambling to close pending deals and pressure is then added to
the service department to: setup, deliver, and network all the last minute
To The Wire
two or three days at the end of each month, there is a whirl of excitement and
energy. No matter how much inventory there is in stock, the sales reps seem to
need that one last accessory, extra memory add-on, or piece of hardware, which
you do not have on hand. Then, last minute orders are frantically sent to the
appropriate manufacturer or vendor before the end of the month cut off.
checking credit applications and setting up new customer accounts. Meanwhile,
leasing clerks are faxing, emailing, calling, and voice mailing clients; trying
to get lease approvals and equipment acceptance forms signed.
trainers juggle their appointments and rush initial training sessions. Then,
appointments are hurriedly scheduled with the end-user’s IT staff to
coordinate installation assistance. Network installers are rushing to complete
sales reps make a point of keeping in touch with the in-house leasing rep,
service department staff, accounting, delivery drivers, their sales manager, and
delivery truck route runs from early morning, returning at the end of the day in
rush hour traffic. Overtime must be paid or a comp time schedule worked out.
Then the calendar changes from day 31 to day 1. Time seems to stand still. Sales
reps beg, “just one more day,” to close the big (commission) deal.
a service manager, I deal with the ongoing legacy of “the end of the month
rush.” This rush consists of, retrieving the majority of all leased service
agreement renewals and billings, as well as acquiring accurate meter readings to
be processed at the last minute. When 36, 48, or 60-month leases end, the
majority of my administrative service workload must be finished during the last
few days of the month.
the end of the month becomes the initial billing and standard money receiving
time. Accounts receivable clerks strain to find past due accounts to call in the
middle of each month. However, once the computer’s clock moves to the first of
the month, hundreds of accounts instantly move to the “past due CREDIT HOLD
program.” For the next several days, clerks struggle to deal with legacy of
end of the month original billing dates.
peaks and valleys of workflow are disruptive to general work morale. There is
the general perception from support employees that the sales staff, “gets away
with working only during the last week of the month.” From a sales point of
view, the competition is the strongest at the end of the month, when every other
dealer in town is pushing to close their sales. Most businesses have resigned
themselves to think, “That's just the way it has always been and always will
be. There is nothing anyone can do to change the end of the month closing
You Do Not Have Time, Make It!
few creative entrepreneurs have found and use another way. Not only can you get
rid of the end of the month blues, you can actually create one more selling
cycle each year. The 13-month year works on a four -week selling schedule. Every
four-weeks, the commission selling cycle ends. Meaning, commissions, bonuses,
rebates, and base & draw, are all centered on a four-week selling cycle.
This four-week (commission paying) selling cycle enables one extra billing cycle
per year. The 13-month selling year is invented, with no additional cost, and
one selling cycle is added.
“end of the month” date will move all around the calendar over the course of
a few years. The bottleneck of work is instantly shifted away from the last day
of the month. Within a few years of using the 13-month selling cycle, the entire
company’s workload, is evenly spaced throughout the entire month.
employee workload, which includes: billing, collections, leasing service
agreement renewals, delivery, installation, purchasing, pickups, training, and
accounts payable and receivable. Shortly, they will become a daily function of
your employees’ routine. No longer will they will be perceived “end of the
month functions.” The billing process is gradually spread out over the entire
month. Cash flow will improve, workloads will even out, and month end overtime
will be eliminated. A smoothed out workload also helps the morale of the entire
company. No longer will you have to deal with an avalanche of work at the end of
the month. Say goodbye to overtime when you “close out the month.” No more
excuses on the first week of the next month from the employees, who have to
set-aside their regular work, as they deal with the month end emergencies.
who have moved to the four-week sales cycle, usually find everyone stays focused
on the calendar the first few cycles after the new system is implemented. Some
sales people are not quite sure when they are supposed to get down to the
“month end push, for the close.”
the first few months, the selling team's focus seems to shift away from the
calendar. Attention is redirected toward the ongoing selling process. I have
been told that some sales reps have actually said, “It is just easier to sell
every day, then to figure out when each ‘selling month’ is going to end.”
importantly, your company gains one additional cycle of selling each year.
Dealers, who have embraced the idea of the 13-month year, have found their
revenue actually increases in excess of 20%. After the first few months of
getting used to the system, everyone seems to work a little harder throughout
the entire month. Because of a more even workflow, everyone seems to accomplish
a little more.
To Stretch Time
key to establishing a four-week commission cycle program is to, internally
“sell” the program to all the commissioned staff in your company. You must
make the last day of the four-week cycle (usually a Friday), the last day. No
exceptions and no extensions can be made. Everything must be signed, sealed, and
delivered by the last Friday of the four-week commission cycle. If your delivery
and signing extends to Monday, then the sale moves into the following commission
often, when using calendar months as your commission cycle, sales departments
manage to extend the month to a 32, 33, 34 or even the 35th day of
the (intended) month. When using the four-week sales commission cycle, the
company’s main accounting system stays on the traditional monthly cycle. This
will allow the sales people, who do extend their four-week closing date into the
next four-week cycle, to still have their sale fall within the company’s
accounting calendar month.
four-week selling month only requires the shifting of two or three days per
month. However it requires an enormous mental shift, an iron will, and tenacity.
The 13-month selling cycle per year will generate additional revenue for your
company and your sales staff. No need to look at the calendar, you can actually
start this program today.