article | October 13, 2017
The Biggest Time Sink for a Sales VP
97% forecast accuracy was boldly proclaimed by a client this week. This prompted me to ask: “How much time do you spend on Forecasting each week?” The reply: “Only 4-5 hours with my direct reports and 3-4 hours with the Chief Sales Officer.” Ugh.
This Sales VP spent one entire day on forecasting each week. That is 50 days per year (minus a two week vacation). Two full months a year spent on forecasting. How much time do you and your team spend on forecasting sales?
Greater than 75% forecast accuracy equals too much time spent on the forecast.
Do I coach my sales managers enough? Upgrade the talent on my team? Strategize on Winning Deals? Plan the vision for my region or team for next quarter or 6 months? Or waste valuable time on forecasting?
The conclusion: Forecasting is eating up valuable selling time. It is distracting from asking how we will sell the deal vs. what we are going to sell.
We need a better way.
When forecasting your revenue for next week or month, first consider your pipeline. After all, it’s the pipeline that creates the forecast. Map the pipeline and forecast to the buying journey. How? Consider these metrics below to change the process. Also, take a deeper look at your forecasting approach by reviewing SBI’s “How to Make Your Number in 2018” , specifically the Sales Operations phase beginning on page 402.
The answer is to take these metrics and apply them in a worksheet based from your pipeline. Below is an example of a ‘Pipe to Forecast Worksheet.’ It can reduce the amount of forecasting time Sales Reps and Managers spend and transfer that time to Pipeline Management (A.K.A: Deal Strategy or Opportunity Management). It can move you from opinion based forecasting to fact based forecasting. Download a copy here.
Each sales rep is responsible for accurately recording where each opportunity is in their sales process. Their Sales Manager reviews each individual sales rep ‘Pipe to Forecast Worksheet.’ The CRM rolls it up to a SM worksheet. The Regional Sales VP then takes their 8 sales managers and rolls up to the CSO. The forecast is accurate based on real time opportunities, can be drilled down to closely examine any deal and saves time. One client got back over 35 days in one year using this approach. (Each sales person captured back 2 hours a week, each sales managers 2 hours per week and each VP another 2 hours per week=37.5 selling days).
Can you imagine what you would do with 37.5 extra selling days? Create a more robust Pipeline (which leads to a bigger Forecast)?
Call to action:
Actual selling time is decreasing and being replaced with forecasting time by your sales reps and sales managers. Stop the insanity with obsessive forecast accuracy. Get the latest emerging best practices from SBI’s “How to Make Your Number in 2018” or . Ensure you have the best strategy planned for next year.
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© 2018 Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), B.V.
A Business Strategy Consulting Company
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands