Picture your Monday morning sales meeting:
“How are we doing in new sales?”
“Are we close to getting any new work?”
“Everyone I talked to is not happy with their current contractors.”
“How many is everyone?”
“What’s the plan for this week to get these guys?”
“I have lots of meetings set up.”
OK, perhaps I am being overly glib here, but you get my point. That is not sales management.
No data, no details, no facts, no math, and no real plan. What’s the probable result? No sales.
You cannot manage what you cannot see. Your salespeople must be held accountable if you’re having conversations like the one above. You must have data, facts, and math to plan. That is the function of a business management software: Data drives actions. Actions produce results.
To define the cascading reports for sales management, we go back to the beginning—your budget. Your budget determines your new sales goal (for our industry, I am referring to all new snow and green industry service contracts). We start with the premise that falling short of the new sales goal is not an option.
Cascading sales management
Let’s start at the top with cascading sales management—the sales KPI (key performance indicator) shown below. This KPI shows at a glance, by any time period I choose, the sales dollars that are proposed and sold in relation to the sales goal.
In this case, the KPI is showing we are ahead (110% of budget) in proposal dollars, and behind (90% of budget) in closed business dollars.
This is good information, but it is insufficient for three reasons: It doesn’t hold a salesperson to account, it can't predict the likelihood of success, and it doesn’t define a plan. We need more detailed functional sales reports for salesperson accountability, to provide indicators of success and to define a plan for sales going forward. We need to drill down into the KPIs.
There are two functional sales drill down reports I like to look at: the scorecard and the open pipeline.
This first report shows monthly performance—budget to actual—for proposals and closes. And by clicking on the February actual number ($205,993) within Aspire business management software, I can see each proposal that makes up that number.
These are the details required to assess closing probability and potential gross profit dollar contribution.
It’s not the perfect report because it only shows history. What I also need is present status regarding proposals. For that I need the open pipeline.
This report isolates proposals still in play. This is important as some proposals on the scorecard may already be lost and some may be so old they will never close. This report helps to determine the best plan of attack for the sales team based on present conditions.
So far, so good. Doing the math, I now know how many, how much, and whom. Now I need to define how to use this information.
How will I translate information into action? To do this, I will drill down to assess the actions that can produce results. I access this drill down report through dashboards (which are more simple lists than full reports).
Dashboards provide details on activities that drive the scorecard and pipeline results. Specifically, there are three dashboards I like to dig into to make the best plan: touches, prospects, and losses.
- Touches show whether you're doing enough (or possibly too many) of the right things at the right times to advance the sale to a decision.
- Prospects will one day become proposals in the pipeline; when these numbers decline, sales also decline about six months later.
- Losses teach you what you can incorporate into your selling process. A loss becomes a prospect (and maybe a win) in the next sales cycle.
That’s it—the whole sales management cascade for business management best practice. The whole purpose is to build a better sales team and sales process. This is green and snow business management in real-time as it should be.
To learn more about the key to retaining your best customers—stay tuned for the next post in the Do the Math series, "Do the Math, Part 5: Customer Management."
To check out the Do the Math series from the beginning, read "Do the Math, Part 1: Reporting for Accountability."