Most sales reps are opportunistic. Every prospect is a potential sale. Every current customer is a potential cross-sell/up-sell opportunity. Reps believe all deals can close. The problem is that your team continues to miss quota and your sales managers are scratching their heads. If you need more help with your forecasting accuracy, request a workshop with SBI’s subject matter expert on pipeline management. Simply sign up for a MySBI account and check the box in your preferences to request a workshop.
You had a plan ensuring enough deals filled the pipeline. Why does this continue to happen? Here is why:
Top Sales Performers spend 75% of their time on selling versus non-selling activities. This statistic is widely recognized. However, what is not so widely recognized is how performers maximize that time. How do they narrow down the universe of prospects? This is a developed skill over time. It is your job to teach this skill.
This post is about how to get your team focused on the right deals. In order to turn things around you need focus inside your current pipeline. These are quick wins. Download the Deal Qualifier Index to help you gain that focus. First, let us explore the danger in trying to work every deal.
- Spotting the Buyer– Sales reps have a tendency to move too fast. When this happens, two things are missed. First, your rep does not understand what problems your products and solutions are solving. These are trigger events. Secondly, your reps cannot spot the buyer in their purchasing decision. Are they in early, middle, or late stages? If they miss these, they could be working the wrong deals.
- Key Factors– Not all deals are created equal. Opportunity A is 100K. They recently made a purchase in the last 12 months with a competitor. Would you want your rep spending time on that deal? Deal B is also 100K. However, recently has expressed frustration with one of your competitor’s products. Which deal will take less effort? Which deal provides the greatest probability of success? Obviously deal B, but you would be surprised to know how often it is missed.
- Competitive Landscape– Who is your toughest competitor? Does your team even know if a competitive threat exists? Who is the incumbent and are you being used as a stock horse? Your team could be wasting cycles on deals they are never going to close.
The key with any of these or other factors is the following:
- Level of effort
- Probability of success
- Size of the prize
Giving your reps that sense of direction is a value add. The upside is consistently making your number.
- Time– A typical rep may work 50 hours per week. If we apply the 75% benchmark that means 37.5 hours on selling activities. Imagine ensuring each rep was focused on the 3-4 deals they could close. You would create an instant lift on your team’s closing ratio and sales cycle. Download the Deal Qualifier Index to improve your key metrics.
- Quota Attainment– The power of working the right deals provides predictability in your forecast. If done properly you can hit your number consistently. When you are off, you will know in advance what needs to be done. The other benefit is not blind-siding your boss on a miss. This is a cardinal sin and a reflection you do not know your business.
- Team Morale– Everyone wants to win or be part of a winning team. When a team consistently hits their number, recognition comes from all directions. People are making more money as well as being promoted. It is fun and makes your job more enjoyable.
Manage the efforts of your reps so they focus only on opportunities that can close. Executed effectively, prioritizing opportunities saves time, leads to accurate forecasts, and grows revenue. Download the Deal Qualifier Index to gain quick results.
Listen to an incredible use-case by Tableau’s SVP of Sales Operations, Evan Randall: Your Path to Pipeline Forecast Accuracy. Access a comprehensive resource of emerging best practices by downloading our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017. It’s the guide top sales leaders use to contribute to revenue growth in a consistent, predictable way.