Kick Your Sales Into Gear: 5 Foolproof Steps [#3 The More Things Change]
Michael Gear, GoodData’s Vice President of Sales & Field Ops, brings to you a five part blog series entitled, Kick Your Sales Into Gear: 5 Foolproof Steps. Over the next two weeks Michael will share with his wisdom and experience for improving both the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales organization.
#3 The More Things Change
I’m fairly confident you’ve all heard the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Well, yes and no. When it comes to politics and elected officials, I’d say absolutely “yes.” But in sales, the answer is a definite “no,” simply because the more things change, the more they change. As a sales manager, you better stay on top of those changes. This isn’t just another election, this is make it or break it time for your company.
How much business have you won? How much progress are you making toward your organization’s sales goal? Better compare where you are now against historical estimates. You don’t want to fall behind. How have things changed in the last 24 hours? Check on your actual numbers to understand what deals are changing and why.
Many other questions should be asked as well. How fast is my business creating and closing opportunities? What regions and what reps are creating the most sales opportunities? It’s essential that you monitor wins as you progress through the quarter. Try to stay above quota.
The sales pipeline is extremely important when attempting to make an accurate prediction of how the quarter will end. How large is the pipeline in comparison to your quota? Try to carry four or five times the best case pipeline. Understand how the pipeline changes over time. Changes in the pipeline over the period will show you where your dollars are going and what business was lost, won, reforecast or moved out to another quarter.
Monitor events that are effective, and examine them closely. The biggest movers are opportunities with the largest absolute change in sales stage. The biggest “shakers” are the opportunities with the largest absolute change in value. Look at the win/loss highlights of the current period. Are the most lucrative deals still open? How much of the pipeline do they represent?
You should sound the “uh-oh” alarm if the expected and won estimate is not above the quota. Monitor your estimate and current status in the same chart. By looking closely at actual performance versus goals, you’ll thoroughly understand the scope of work that needs to be done.
As your sales organization becomes more complex with multiple product lines and business units, it’s important to see pipeline information for all your teams. Look at progress towards quarterly goals across all regions and products, and estimate where the quarter is going to finish. Use comprehensive sales data to visually show how much business has closed, what deals are expected to close, what deals are at risk and if anything significant happened to effect the quarter.
Do a great job, and you might get nominated for a higher position.