I Just read a great post on the Salesforce blog, entitled “12 Best Practices That Help Sales Managers Make Their Teams Successful” by Walter Rodgers, CEO of CloudCoaching International. There are some terrific insights in this post and I thought it made sense to highlight and elaborate on some of his points. Technology, along with strong leadership methodology, leads sales teams to higher success rate, more wins, more deals closed. Let’s delve into two of Walter Rodger’s 12-point plan for sales managers.
“Manage the Forward Pipeline: The difference between pipeline and forecasting.”
Rodgers does a great job at explaining the difference between pipeline management and forecasting, differentiating between late stage deals and future developments of deals and projections. This is where the technology piece enters. Now that you know the difference –how do you act on that information? Temporal event data keeps your finger on the pulse of any changing events, good or bad that are happening with the companies in both, your forecast and your pipeline. What if you have a company that just reported Q3 earnings and they weren’t as strong as they originally projected? And you were very close to working up the paperwork to negotiate the terms of your agreement, wouldn’t that be important to know as that would undoubtedly change your strategy and your immediate next action points? For your pipeline, knowing the conditional events of your companies determines where they are on the priority list based on their earning or any other important data. My point is: knowing how to make teams successful is only half the battle, having the tools to implement best practices is what will drive better results.
“Protect their time: You can’t sell if you aren’t spending time with customers.”
Technology can’t create more time – we will leave that to the Einstein’s of the world, but technology can help reps manage and allocate their time better. Like Rodgers said, “Highly effective sales managers practice good time management habits, and they enable their sales teams to make the most of their time by eliminating demands on their time that don’t directly help drive revenue.” Creating more time, does not ensure more results. In fact, it does not even ensure more actions are taken. However, technology can help with both. The use of temporal data can aid sales people in determining the best set of actions for that day. By best set of actions, I mean the handful of things that can be accomplished in the window of time variable within a given day to interact with customers. Using temporal data highlights which contact is prime to contact, and what message will resonate most TODAY. Further, data visualization tools speed the process by using the data to narrow those actions, saving time….which will, hopefully, be utilized to squeeze in a few more actions. The latter would be great, but it is gravy on top of the impact you will receive from better executed choices.
Now Rodger’s point # 12 is key: “Celebrate: Winning is fun. Celebrate it!” Why? Because your reps choose to take compelling event data and turn it into higher quality results in all stages of the funnel.