Sunday, July 13, 2014

Guidance for New Sales Managers: Reviewing Opportunities - What Should You Look For?

You've finally made it! You have your first role as a Sales Manager. Then the reality hits you. Not only will you have to manage your people and your clients, but you will have to learn how to do opportunity reviews and forecasting for your leader.If you're fortunate you will be taking a role from someone who was organized well. If not, perhaps there will be a mentor in your new organization that will help you learn the ropes.But what happens if there isn't a 'buddy' to lean on? What do you do and what do you ask? Before going into a full panic, pause. Remember that you may be a Sales Manager now but the operative word is Sales. You have been there. You know how a deal works. Just because the word manager has been added to your title doesn't mean that you forget/lose your selling skills.With this in mind consider the following questions and facts.1. You will need to make a forecast for your management team and that forecast should have a minimum variance (positive or negative).2. It is your role to question, coach, lead, assist your team in accelerating deals. You can only do this if you know about the deals and you have all the relevant information you might need.3. Does your management look at a factored funnel (dollar value x probability) or a deal by deal view?4. Now you should have some questions in the 'kit bag' for your Team members. First you need to look at the probability of a deal closing this month. If someone has a deal listed at 75% probability, what is stopping them from closing it this month? What help do they need to move the deal forward?5. Next you need to look at the aging of opportunities as you examine a Team member's funnel. How long have opportunities been open? What percentage are they sitting at? What is the next step the salesperson is committing to to advance the deal? What is the typical sales cycle by product and service? Given the duration of the sales cycle does the length of time in the funnel seem reasonable?

6. It's time to drill a bit deeper on the opportunities. Who has the Salesperson been meeting? Why do they need the product/service right now? What is the impact of the customer doing nothing? What is the customer's timeline to make a decision? Lastly, who from your executive has relationships and how can they be leveraged?7. As part of your first few meetings, ask the salesperson for a firm commitment on what is coming in. Here's some things to remember though. A 'zero' is not acceptable. Every salesperson should have something in their funnel that they are working at closing. A committed deal must come in or be replaced by a deal of like size (preferably the deal that was called will come in). With the committed deals what needs to be done to deliver these in your favour?With a critical and discerning eye you should be looking at the details. Not to institute a 'big brother' mentality, but rather to prepare your Team member for the best possible success and to share your approach and thoughts to make the opportunity stronger.For me I believe the role of the Sales Manager/Sales Director is one of the most influential roles in any organization. Not only do you guide the ambassadors of your company, you are the conduit of information to your organization and the voice of your customer back to the company. Enjoy the role and have fun as you develop and help your Team Members to develop.----

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