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Bringing a Sharp Focus to Your Sales Meetings

During the past few months, I have been consulting with several clients on a variety of issues and coaching others via our new "Acumen Project" (more on that later). In both environments I have begun to revert to a similar sales management technique to achieve the desired results. For this week's blog, I thought I should share this fundamental concept with you. If you are attempting to bring an increase in focus on weekly sales and activity and on exceeding your monthly sales goals, this idea will help you.

First, you should be using Acumen's Sales Meeting Template. When you get to the sales forecast section and opportunity discussion, note your monthly sales objective (for example, $250,000). You can either go to the "white board" or via Excel and a PC projector to do this.

Second, ask each salesperson to forecast each account and dollar value on all sales opportunities with greater than 75 percent probability of closure. Write each entry underneath your sales goal.

Third, total the overall sales to see if they exceed your sales goal. If they don't, list all additional opportunities with greater than 50 percent probability of closure. If you still don't have enough opportunities and potential sales to exceed your quota, you are in trouble.

Fourth, discuss each opportunity as a team to ensure the salesperson has the next TWO sales steps planned to close the opportunity for this month.

Fifth, perform this exercise each week in the month (save the list) and as certain opportunities closed or are postponed, work to move other sales opportunities to the close list. The "50 percent" list becomes your "upside" list.

Six, track what your individual salespeople forecasted at the first of each month and what they actually ended up selling. This is called the "forecast accuracy ratio," a great way to better understand your team's ability to forecast and understand their prospects' buying reality. You will be in a great position not only to forecast pipeline values to your management team with this historical view, but be a better coach for your sales team.

Seven, each week, each salesperson should be prepared to report on specific weekly activities. While this will vary by type of sales organization, by having a weekly reporting function, salespeople will have to be accountable. As a rule, we ask each salesperson to rate their previous week on a scale of 1-5 at the beginning of each sales meeting. In other teams, each salesperson must earn 25 points a week by performing a certain level of variety of activity. If you would like to see a sample of the 25-point list, send me an e-mail at [email protected].

What's the bottom line? It's fundamentals and back-to-basics. Salespeople pay attention to what sales management pays attention to. Discipline of focus is always the payoff to success. What is your commitment to success?  Let me know your ideas to drive performance.

As for Acumen Project...

I was watching the Golf Channel several months ago -- specifically, a show called "The Haney Project," where a golf coach would take a well-known celebrity for six weeks and provide customized coaching to improve their game. While it was somewhat a reality show, it had positive results. I thought about that program and have now created the Acumen Project. Using our online Interactive Sales Management Tool Kit, my books, DVDs and 12 hours a month of consulting services over five months, we will turn executives or sales managers into leaders of sales teams. We cover the strategies and tactics of successful sales management: recruiting, compensation, reporting and coaching and much, much more. For more details, e-mail [email protected]

Posted by Ken Thoreson on January 21, 2013