They don’t work.

 

Ask yourself this question:

 

“Other than ‘reporting the news,’ what decisions get made on the call that positively impact  business results?”

 

Answer: Not many.

 

The calls have become a regular running of the Forecast Olympics for sales operations. Do any of these events sound familiar?

 

Shot Put 

This is the sales leader who needs to be built like Hercules to make his forecast. His only chance is if all the big deals he is forecasting go according to plan. And you know, the big ones never do.

 

Problem—No visibility into the big deals

 

100 yard dash 

This is the sales leader who joins the call late. He rattles off a bunch of deals that have not been updated in advance of the call. His data is half-baked and inaccurate. You get frustrated. He causes you and your team to spend time correcting.

 

Problem—Dirty data

 

Decathlon 

This is the sales leader who always has 7 to 10 obstacles standing in front of him. His forecast is never complete because he relies on the channel for business intelligence. He doesn’t have clear answers. This causes multiple manual work-arounds for you and your team.

 

Problem—Poor systems 

The list goes on. As the sales operations leader, this is one of your least favorite tasks. You know the reason the calls exist is to provide leadership with information on the health of the business. And there is so much more that can be done.

 

An Alternative Approach: Agile Operating Reviews

The most effective sales operations leaders have moved to a more fluid approach. The forecast has been replaced by an agile operating review. The forecast is one of many items that could be discussed. And there are other items that get included.

 

These operating reviews are decision making meetings with clear actions to impact business results. Here is how they work:

 

Sales Operations is the driver of this, via the Sales Operations Strategy.  

 

  1. Producing Your Dashboard

Each week, Sales Operations furnishes sales leadership with an updated dashboard. This dashboard is automated and comes directly from your data sources. Your sales operations team ensures that you have all the data you need. You defined your data sources while writing your strategy in Q4.

 

  1. Studying Your Dashboard

 

Why_Sales_Ops_Should_Eliminate_Forecast_Calls

The dashboard is the weekly deliverable produced as part of executing your analytics strategy. Simply put, analytics is providing sales leadership with the right data to glean insight on the business.

 

  1. Drawing Insight From Your Dashboard

You should have three types of data that are reviewed.

 

  • Behavioral Indicators (time with customers, sales process adherence)
  • Leading Indicators (New opportunities created, forecast, pipeline)
  • Lagging Indicators (Deal size, win rate, quota attainment) 

 

  1. Taking Action From Your Dashboard

The key with the dashboard is the alert system. Sales Operations should focus on both positive and negative metrics. Sales Operations should be sharing the positive behaviors in the moment with the organization. Broadcast why these sales leaders are performing so well in real time (Salesforce chatter, Yammer, Jive, etc).  Those who are trending poorly discuss corrective actions. Sales Ops is again sharing with the organization in real time the actions for improvement. The goal is to drive change that impacts the business.

 

Sales Ops Owns the Data

Sales Operations is the Big Data portal for revenue growth. The slow moving, antiquated forecast call has been replaced. It is now about the execution of true sales operations strategy. The sales ops leaders who have done this accomplish the objective of a forecast with more accuracy. Simultaneously, they allow executive leadership a platform to make decisions that drive outcomes. If you are looking for a strategic seat at the table, give this a try.

 

To hear how one of your peers accomplished this, listen to this global sales ops leader tell his story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Sharrers

Studies and works with the top 1% of B2B sales and marketing leaders who generate above average revenue growth for their companies.
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Matt is arguably one of the industry’s most connected, and physically fit, sales leaders. He “lives in the field.” As a result, he is the foremost expert in the art of separating fact from fiction as it relates to revenue growth best practices. Because of Matt’s unique access to the best sales talent, private equity investors tend to turn to him first when they need to hire remarkable leaders to unlock trapped growth inside of their portfolio companies. Matt’s recent engagements include work commissioned by private equity leaders Permira, TPG, Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman.

 

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