This is it: the last real week to hit your number for both the quarter and the year. Next week’s a wash, so you need to have the pedal the metal from daylight to dark all week. To help you stay focused, close more deals, and start thinking about the year ahead, here are last week’s best sales stories from around the web.

 

A Look into Microsoft’s Data-Driven Approach to Improving Sales (HBR)

Two B2B sales pros from Microsoft open the kimono and discuss how the tech giant used people analytics to understand and improve their sales operations. With 2,000+ salespeople in over 100 countries, it was no easy task, but learning how and why they did it—and what they learned in the process—can provide key insight for improving your own sales team and aligning more closely with what your customers want.

 

What The Modern CMO Looks Like (Forbes)

If you’re selling into marketing, this piece gives some interesting perspective on the realities of today’s CMO, including the gulf between where their digital proficiencies should be and where they actually are. It’ll help you understand your prospects’ priorities and pain points in greater detail and, hopefully, enable you to approach new opps with a little more empathy.

 

Which is More Important: New Account Growth or Account Expansion? (Tom Tunguz)

Landing new logos and growing existing accounts are obviously both important—but which should you prioritize? VC veteran and thought leader Tomasz Tunguz has a compelling POV here, and we happen to agree strongly, especially when it comes to early-stage startups. It’s a quick read, but it makes a very persuasive case.

 

How to Make the Best Follow-Up Sales Call in 2019 (HubSpot)

Is there an ideal time to place follow-up calls? Does it matter what day it is when you qualify a lead? Are there times you should stay away from the phone altogether? The answer to each of these questions is “yes,” and this HubSpot post breaks them all down in a digestible fashion. This is a good one to share with your reps, too.

 

Highlights from the 2018-2019 Sales Performance Study (CSO Insights)

This summary of CSO Insight’s annual performance report are equal parts interesting and troubling. There are lots of useful nuggets here that can and should inform your 2019 strategy, but the full report is definitely worth the read once the quarter wraps up. For now, though, this summary should tide you over until the EOY madness comes to an end.