I am reliably informed that at least one in two front-line sales professionals are going to miss quota this year. Surprised? Not me.
Now, we can consider all of the reasons: Markets are becoming more competitive; the standards and quality of sales skills have never been so poor; 80% of sales managers are insufficiently qualified to lead their teams; companies remain ignorant of the need to take at least a portion of their selling activity online; standards of customer care – and hence customer retention – are generally quite appalling… and so on.
We cannot play the “poor economic conditions” excuse card any longer. It is exhausted. It is dog-eared after five years of constant use.
It is time to wake up and savor those aromatic, caffeine-influenced aromas.
According to my calculations, as of today, you have around 40 selling days left – but of course from that if you live in the US, you should also deduct the time you spend celebrating Thanksgiving. Ergo, you have a very limited amount of time to finish the year strongly.
Even if you are going to be one of those one in two who miss target, there are very compelling reasons to not throw in the towel. The mindset that you finish the year with is the same mindset that you will take into 2016.
So you have had a disappointing year – next year is going to be so much better for you, if you choose to make it so. You have that choice.
Begin today by thinking about your pipeline activity – this is one of the real secrets, which will determine your success or failure in 2016.
There are two escalating pressures in today’s marketplace that are creating a need for a more disciplined approach towards sales opportunities:
- The need to be more specialized and individualized in dealing with clients because we can no longer afford to treat all situations in the same way.
- The reality of competition – Often to increase market share, you must do so at the direct expense of the competition. The competitive intensity of the sales environment is escalating with the globalisation of the economy.
These are the main “drivers” behind the demand that organizations adopt methodologies and processes to manage these issues.
By utilizing a rigorous and formal opportunity assessment, we are aiming to achieve two sets of objectives:
- Determine which sales opportunities should be pursued at the direct expense of others
- Given resource limitations, decide where and on what basis resource should be allocated to a sales opportunity
- Determine whether our company is over-investing or under-investing in a sales opportunity
- Enhance forecast accuracy
- Use “proven” criteria to reduce the cost of sales
- Identify, quantify and categorize opportunity assessment criteria
- Increase “Hit-Rate” (Win – Loss ratios) by avoiding unsuitable business
- Discover where we and our competition stand with a customer
- Gain a complete and accurate view of a sales situation prior to writing a sales plan to win
- Calculate the probability of winning or losing a deal early in the sales process
All sales professionals claim to be permanently time constrained – we always have limited time and resources with which to achieve our targets.
We can be involved in only so many accounts or sales situations before we begin to lose our ability to manage what is taking place. At that point, we lose control and the competition takes control.
We can only control and manage what we understand and that is the real value of continuous and rigorous assessment of our pipelines.
More thoughts about your 2016 strategy soon …