If your not making your revenue number start by taking a long, hard look at your sales funnel. In Part 1 of this blog we provided seven questions to ask and look for. Here are seven more.
7. What opportunities have been added to the funnel?
Whenever you win an opportunity you should prospect and quality another viable opportunity and place it into your sales funnel. This keeps your sales funnel full and balanced. Savvy sales VPs know what percent of the funnel are new opportunities, the total number of new opportunities, their dollar potential, how closely they match their ideal customer profile and where they are located in the buying process. They ensure that enough prospecting activities are being done to add opportunities into the funnel.
8. Are the closing dates realistic?
Early in the sales process the close date is typically the date the seller wants to close the business. This is usually based on their end of month, quarter or year-end requirements. As buyers proceed through their buying process the close date is when they wish to place the order. Be sure the close date reflects the buyers desire and not yours.
9. Which Opportunities Were Forecasted to Close and Didn’t?
Occasionally we all get surprised by deals that were projected to close and did not. Its important to learn why so we can prevent its reoccurrence. The most common reasons for opportunities not closing that were forecasted to close are:
The sales representative did not know the signature authority levels, process or timing.
The sales representative did not identify the final yes.
The sales representative did not determine in advance that funds were available.
10. What are the critical opportunities that are expected to close within the next 30 days?
Asking this question forces you to reflect on what specific actions must be done to ensure the opportunity is won. It allows you to set your priorities and brings clarity and focus. Be prepared for questions about the decision making process, the final yes, timing, and the process for issuing a PO along with what could prevent it from happening in the time allocated.
11. What is your gap management plan?
Simply put its unacceptable to miss plan. Sometimes its unavoidable but this should be the exception and not a pattern of repeat behavior. If you miss plan for a month or a quarter develop a specific plan to make up the shortfall. Be prepared to explain it and defend it.
12. Which opportunities are a “must win” for you to make your number?
In every sales funnel there are always some opportunities that are a “must win” to make your number. Identify those and have a strategy to win them. Be prepared to discuss this strategy in detail.
13. What help do you need?
As you develop your sales strategy and look at where your customer is in the buying process think about what company resources you need to help you advance the sale. Everyone needs help and thats why we have managers. Don’t be bashful about asking for help to win opportunities. Keep in mind that if you miss quota its likely that your sales manager will as well. They are vested in helping you be successful. Use them wisely and appropriately. Be prepared to tell them what help you need . Be specific.
The sales funnel is a representation of the buy-sell process and how effectively it is being managed. If you are a sales leader demand sales funnel accuracy and integrity. Your job depends upon it.