Sales has a lot of dependency on variable factors. These factors are your prospects, product upgradations, festival season, long weekends, market economy, etc.
Though forecasting allows us to make sure that we can narrow down the effects and consequences to the bare minimum, there is always an element of uncertainty involved. In such cases, your best guess is to lock your end of the deal.
If you dwell deep enough and research well, you can easily govern and give powerful insights to sales reps and make sure that they keep up with their targets. And your homework is not only about supervision or boosting morale, it is a wide horizon which extends to understanding the delicate nature of a sales pipeline. If you do your preliminary research right, you can dwell deep and tap on many untouched sales opportunities. You can close more deals and get more revenue for your business. But to be able to do that, you need to be more observant, precise and a bit commanding.
It is almost the end of second quarter and this is the time where you can graphically and statistically know your team’s performance. Almost half a year has already passed, with fewer months left, it is of paramount importance that you seek answers to imperative questions.These will not only help you build a better sales force but also ensure that your personal targets reach their benchmark performance.
So what are these questions that you should ask your sales rep during a sales pipeline review?
Question 1. Do they have a list of prospects or leads for the coming quarter?
Ideal scenario – Since second quarter is almost over, it is time to plan ahead now. Ask your sales force to start collecting data for coming months. If they have any passive leads that can be made active, make sure they include those contacts as well in their upcoming list.
Question 2. Did they start preparing a sales forecast sheet?
Ideal scenario – You have data, numbers, statistics and lead status for the previous two quarters now. It is the best insight you can get and it is right there for you. You should start extrapolating those dots now. Your previous quarter’s performance can give you great futuristic view on how the market trend is for this year. Ask your sales force to prepare a well documented forecasting sheet, to get more leads.
Question 3. Have they started funnelling out dead leads?
Ideal scenario – There are going to be prospects andleads who haven’t answered to your meeting requests, have been delaying it or seem uninterested.It is time to move on now. Start replacing bad leads with new leads. This way, you can save your time and energy and perhaps get more closure.
Question 4. Have you set your BOQ (Beginning of the quarter) quota?
Ideal scenario – With the next quarter almost knocking with bucket full of opportunities, it is important that you define your targets well. This way your sales rep will have a clear picture in their heads about the number of engagements they need carve out. A sales pipeline review must give everybody in your sales team accurate clarity on your company’s profit and loss trajectory.
Question 5. Did you plan a meeting with your sales force to discuss pitfalls and highlights of previous quarter’s pipeline review?
Ideal scenario – Before your sales force enters into the next quarter, it is important to understand how successful or unsuccessful your rep’s efforts were. This meeting can be a group discussion or a one-to-one approach. But the agenda needs to be, to have pristine understanding about hardships faced – depending upon customer profiles, demographics, market trends etc. And how can you overcome or improve these pitfalls.
Question 6. Have your sales reps mastered ‘The what, the why and the how’ of your product and company?
Ideal scenario – Many managers often overlook the importance of communication skills while hiring sales force. The general mindset being – one can learn this on the job. Which is true up to an extent, but this can often reflect badly during a sales pipeline review. Many a times, the lead has a lot of scope of conversion, and because your reps lack fundamental (and mastered) knowledge about ‘why only your company, why should they choose you, what else do you offer’ it can easily slip out of your hands. Make this question a mandate for all your pipeline reviews, and see the growing statistics.
Question 7. Do you ask them a lot of questions?
The ‘always’ scenario – This is perhaps the one question where I would urge you to ask questions. If you aren’t asking your sales team about governing decisions like how much research are they doing to understand your competition, on prospect’s profile, lead targeting, lead analysis, understanding demographics, etc. the chances are that you have a leak in your sales pipeline. The best approach is to ask them questions and make sure they prepare for a 100 contingencies.
I hope that the coming quarters help you grab more opportunities and is a better selling season. If you more points to add or feedback to share, let us know in the comments section.