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Sales Management: How Does March Look?

In magazine columns and other blog postings I have written about being a proactive strategic sales manager rather than a reactive, fire-drill crazy, un-organized sales manager. As we close down 2010 and your thoughts about January are nestled in your head, its March that you should be considering.

If you have already built your first quarter sales training programs, have your management systems in place to analyze pipeline values and your recruiting plans are activated then you have some of the systems in place. Just to check, you might like to take a few minutes and take the Sales Management Assessment on our website: www.AcumenManagement.com.

One of the concepts that I truly believe in is developing "leading indicator" analysis. These statistics are activities that can assist you in either forecasting pipeline values or sales opportunities well in advance of the current month. This view is why you now should be considering March’s sales potential. If you have created these key indicators, you may have the time to adjust your forecasts or sales/marketing activities to counteract negative potentials or, more importantly, if they are showing all "green" light indications, you can focus on improving your operations and closing sales opportunities.

I was reading the WSJ the other day and came across an article titled "New Ways to Read the Economy." It described how economists read leading indicators.  Here are just a just a few examples: 1) Broadway ticket sales=future tourist revenue, 2) diesel-fuel sales=industrial production, and 3) subway-passenger traffic near Union Station in San Francisco=sales tax revenue. These kinds of related activity that can predict future results are the kinds of analysis you must determine for your sales organization.

Depending upon your sales/marketing environment you need to consider several pre-sales activities and measure them for a minimum of six months before considering them reliable.  These kinds of activities should be the same for each salesperson and your entire sales organization. What else? You need to know the length of your sales cycle and the correlations of activity to results.  In a typical B2B sales environment, consider 1) the number of monthly sales calls that require a pre-sale technical Engineer=future number of proposals/quotes, 2) the number of opportunities/pipeline values in Stage two as compared to Stage  seven (assuming seven is your final stage) or 3) the number of new prospect face-to-face sales calls/month.

What kinds of leading indicator activities make sense for your firm? Leave a comment and let me know.

As a strategic sales manager with a good perspective or view on managing what is  happening today and knowing its correlation to future  results or revenues you will not only produce greater results but you will sleep better too!

Ken Thoreson, president of Acumen provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.         

Posted by Ken Thoreson on December 21, 2010 at 11:59 AM