Many of you are living your sales lives 90 days at a time. The tyranny of the urgent plagues all sales leaders. But as a sales leader in today’s environment, you must be thinking beyond this quarter and next.
As the head of sales, your ability to influence in quarter deals is limited; beyond just playing super rep and closing the deal yourself. Which doesn’t scale and is not the purpose of your role. You should be thinking about segmentation, capacity, pipeline generation, marketing activities and a multitude of other factors. These will influence your business in the quarters to come. Couple that will balancing your time and energy on coaching your team to make this quarter happen.
No one said it would be easy, but it’s the burden you carry as the sales leader. The question is, what should you be doing today to make your number tomorrow? Use the rest of this blog to help you think through an action plan on how you are going to make your number this quarter and beyond.
Marketing Alignment: Depending on your revenue life cycle, marketing’s influence on topline takes multiple quarters to manifest. Knowing that, you and the CMO should be tied at the hip and developing targeted marketing tactics to create pipeline 2+ quarters out.
If I’m sitting in your chair, I would be looking at your out-quarter pipeline and identify areas of softness for the marketing team to focus on. This will help you call the right plays relative to need. Is it a demand gen play? Is it an ABM play? Let the future pipeline inform the plays you run with marketing. When sales and marketing organizations are aligned, the chances of you making your number increase exponentially.
Segmentation: When your sales team is in the field, where are they spending their time? Are they calling on the right accounts? The ones with the most potential or highest propensity to buy? Unfortunately, the chances are that the answer is “no”. What do you do about it? You conduct an Account Segmentation exercise where you rank your account (customer and prospect) based on propensity to buy. You then use this data to allocate and prioritize your sales team’s time and energy. Segmentation also helps you think about capacity needed relative to the opportunity.
Pipeline Inspection: Forecast calls are a sacred ritual that happens almost weekly for sales leaders. These are a necessity for you to be able to call your number. The problem with them is they tend to be short sided, meaning they primarily focus on current quarter deals.
In addition to current quarter activity, we as sales leaders, can’t lose sight of out quarter activity. For the sake of simplicity, lets call all deals outside of the current quarter ‘pipeline’. So what are you doing to inspect your pipeline activity? How are you measuring pipeline growth? Are more deals coming into the pipeline? Are the deals progressing? What is the source of the new pipeline deals? What is the average deal size?
All of these questions seem somewhat sophomoric, but all have a significant impact on your 2+ quarters from now, so we tend to lose focus. Point being, you as a sales leader should be spending just as much time and energy inspecting your pipeline as you do your current quarter forecast.
The above are a few plays of many you can run. But these are foundational when thinking about tactical activities you can do today to help you make your number tomorrow.
If you think that any of the above may be a potential opportunity for you in your business, I suggest you complete the Revenue Growth Diagnostic. This will help you think through how you prioritize your time and efforts.