“The forecast is all over the place – I just can’t trust it.”
“We are hanging onto people too long – Zombie pipelines”
“We have amazing reps in SF & NY but we can’t replicate in Denver”
“We let go most of our enablement because we just didn’t see ROI.”
I hear versions of these almost every week from a frustrated CRO/CSO/CEO and in the age of automated analytics, reporting and revenue acceleration tools, this seems confounding. A ‘glossed over’ input to this is the human element – The data we rely on for decision-making is largely based on the validity of data and assessments made by individual salespeople. Here are some examples that the analytics tools rely on:
- Pipeline stage being correct
- Deal qualification data being correct (EG MEDDPICC/SPICED/ETC)
- Relationship status/coverage
- + more…
As far back as 2001 my focus was working with executives to drive sales performance. Today, the promise of the new AI-assisted tool stack is very exciting; notwithstanding, the things that will hold you back include:
- Inaccurate data (From optimistic or careless assessments)
- A lack of execution based on those insights (EG. Being single-threaded)
Two years ago, we partnered with www.objectivemanagementgroup.com to get to the root of it with an empirically proven assessment. It involves understanding the mindset and specific sales behaviors that inform what is REALLY going on behind the data. The assessment is very comprehensive, but relevant to this article is understanding the TRUE state of deals in the ‘Proposal’ stage.
Respondents are asked questions about what has been completed for opportunities where a proposal has been sent, and it is always illuminating – Here are two examples:
The real issue illustrated above is that AE#1 had sent proposals so early that 0% were actually closable! They were with the company for a full year and then transitioned out after missing quota by a large margin. AE#2 was promoted and moved into management – 100% of their proposals were sent to closable prospects.
The checklists on the left point to some additional non-displayed assessment items, but even a cursory look will make it obvious that many of these items can’t be understood except for a deep interrogation by a manager/enablement professional – Most managers either don’t have the time or skill to make a proper inquiry.
Here are some questions every sales leader needs to be able to answer:
- Who needs what development to be successful?
- Who just won’t make it quickly enough?
- Is our pipeline an based in reality?
- What would be the best investment in our training/enablement $?
If you are looking to answer these questions, have a look at the full offering and grab a time with me to discuss.