How WAS Next Quarter?
No, I am not using bad grammar. I worded the title to this article deliberately, because I wanted to emphasize the fact that most sales managers can’t predict the future results of their team’s current efforts due to the fact that very few managers have documented, defined and metrically managed processes in place. Without metrics, it’s impossible to calculate or predict future results.
All sales activities convert with some ratio into results. Simply stated, there is a mathematic relationship between all activities and the results those activities produce. For instance, if a sales team produces no first meetings (either by phone or face to face), then that team will either produce no first orders and, if they do, those orders would only occur based on luck and happenstance.
Conversely, if the team produces one hundred first meetings and the proven, managed metrics show that ten percent of first meetings convert into first orders within ninety days, then that manager has the ability to predict his/her future, to some degree. The manager who doesn’t manage with metrics is forced to be what I refer to as a cheerleader. He or she attempts to motivate the team, either through coercion, encouragement and/or the occasional training session.
But, without metrics, you don’t really know what to coach. Is the problem first meetings? Is it the inability of the salesperson to qualify first meetings into good funnel opportunities? Or, is it the inability of the salesperson to negotiate and close? Without metrics, all you can do is encourage that man or woman to “sell smarter” or “sell harder”. Or, the old standby cliché, which is “make more calls”.
I believe that the absence of repeatable, scalable sales processes is the perpetual burden placed on sales-driven teams. To break this cycle, I suggest that you document your current sales process. Measure and benchmark your current situation. How many first meetings does your average salesperson record? How many quotes does he or she publish? What percentage of quotes converts into orders?
An even more important question is: What is your current process? All salesforces have a process in place from beginning to end. Very few have documented that process, so everything gets to be sort of gray. I refer to this phenomenon as “funnel blindness”. All sales managers know how many leads go into the funnel and all sales managers know how many transactions come out of the funnel, but very few sales managers have 20/20 visibility on what’s going on in the funnel.
Without this visibility, once again, you can’t be a coach; you can only be a cheerleader. Take a hard look at how you’re managing your team. I encourage you to develop and deploy repeatable and scalable sales processes the improvement in your top and bottom line will be dramatic. Additionally, you and your team will rest better, as the team that can predict what their future results will be is the team that operates with lower or no stress whatsoever.
As always, I wish you…
Good Luck and Good Selling!!!