Here we are at the beginning of the last month of the quarter, and as managers and sales professionals, we're consistently reviewing ....
- ...the percentage achieved and to go to reach Quota and Plan for Q1
- ...the total pipeline opportunity pipeline
- ...What's at the narrow end of the funnel and can close in March
- ...The stats of revenue, bookings, or ACV or MRR
At the end of March, all of us in sales and management will be judged on the achievement against our sales plans, whether those metrics are based on the higher quota plans or the lower numbers found in the company's business plan that was committed to the Board in early January. The numbers will be the numbers, so let's take a look at the recent CSO Insights data on how we did overall with quota attainment over the last few years:
Quota Performance was suprisingly less than stellar last year, especially given a much stronger 2014 business climate in both B2B and B2C sales than in 2013.
When we take a look at the reasons behind the numbers, we come up with answers such as:
My take on this weak performance is that the world of the buyer has changed forever, and too many salespeople and their managers have not caught up with improved tools, more defined processes and integrated technologies.
I've been studying these stats and the data behind them for seven years now, and what's frustrating to me is that all of these barriers are directly (I didn't say "easily") correctable.
Let's take this a step further, and even though I believe it's a cop-out in today's environment of Sales and Marketing being joined at the hip, if I were to cut out anything to do with Marketing from the chart above...
- Lack of qualified leads
- Poor Sales and Marketing Alignment
...everything else is directly correctable by sales managers who are focused on optimizing their sales processes and enabling their salespeople with the appropriate sales tools.
Lack of Adherence to Process & Weak Tools
- Competitive differentiation says to me that the company's current Value Proposition tool is weak and being used inneffectively and/or that the sales team is not adequately trained in delivering it.
- The items identified as "Close Rates", "Long Sales Cycles", and "Inaccurate Forecasts" all point to Items #5, #6 and #13. Close rates, long sales cycles and inaccurate forecasts all result either from a weak sales process which is not uniform among the team, or worse, there's no process at all.
If we think about the various levels of Sales Process adoption among a wide range of sales organizations, we define these as......
Level 2: Companies who are Solutions Providers and Strategic Contributors but only use informal processes.
When we take a look at process adoption and what that means to quota success, the resulting table looks like...
Formal Sales Processes always wins. They win in reps making quota. They win in the number of wins achived. They win in improving forecasting accuracy, and they win by reducing turnover among your sales team.
The very good news about it being March, other than the hope that we're done with the snow and cold, is that no matter how you finish in Q1, there's plenty of time left in the year to readjust yiour metrics, tighten up on your sales process, invest in more tools and perfect your sales training so that you can significantly impact the results for Q3 and Q4.
When you're meeting with your sales team this week, review these stats with them, compare them to your own metrics, and then set a date for a day-long sales planning session in early April. Review your Q1 metrics, measure where you are against your Quota Plan but, most importantly, spend your time detailing out your improvement tactics and your activity plans for both Q2 and Q3.
Welcome to 2015. Going be a great year...as long as you're planning for it.
Derby Management...for 25 years
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-Business & Strategy Planning Specialists
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