Whether you hit your sales targets or not this year…

You left money on the table.  

How do I know this? Because we all did. And if you’re like me, this is an extremely motivating thought heading into 2020.

So let’s break this down a little further by getting into the top 3 reasons why you left money on the table in 2019.

Inconsistent execution sales processes

Did you have any deals with a 1-day sales cycle? Or look at an in-quarter or Q+1 deal with missing or incomplete information? If so, then sales process execution can be improved because one of the easiest ways to spot this is a lack of information in CRM.  

Without consistent execution and documentation, you won’t know if you are heading in the right direction. I spoke with Bridget Gleason recently on this, she is the Head of Sales and Customer Success at Tidelift.

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If somebody is repeating the same thing, and it’s the wrong thing, you’re not gonna get where you need to go. There’s a lot that needs to be done in terms of making sure that the reps are on point.

As a manager, you have to be prescriptive about what you want your reps to capture at each stage of the sales cycle. This should be documented in CRM. It’s a phenomenal reporting tool when it has data. Then use standard reporting on opportunities to see if the rep is on the right track as well as trends in overall team behavior. 

Calls are more ‘Deal Review’ than ‘Coaching’ in nature

When information is not in CRM, managers have to spend the majority of team calls doing discovery to understand what’s happening in opportunities. So what should be a strategic, coaching call ends up being another pipeline or deal review session.

Sales reps and managers become equally frustrated because neither feels like they get much value out of these “reporting the news” exercises. Instead, help create the news.

Mike Goldenberg, Head of Sales at Alyce, talks about how sales managers should be able to give reps tangible ways to fix the problems they have.  

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“I think the biggest difference between a good and bad manager is their ability to help with how versus just telling them what. If they knew how they’d be doing it already: How am I gonna move people through the deal faster? You need to move X amount of deals through these phases and get Y conversions, things like that.” 

In 2020, you’re already going to be running more consistent sales cycles so you’ll have better access to information, right? Now, use that information to run more strategic coaching sessions and impact sales opportunities earlier in the sales cycle.

Saving late-stage deals with ‘diving catches’

Most managers were high-performing sales reps. If that’s the case for you, you probably have to fight the urge to jump in and save the deal. 

Matt McDarby, Managing Director at Specialized Sales Systems, and I were talking about some of the consistent challenges he sees across companies:

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The number one struggle is managers get involved too late. They are trying to affect the outcome of an opportunity when the outcome is already determined. Managers need to shift away from making the diving catch. That’s where all the credit is, right? Maybe you don’t get as much credit if you’re in the background influencing strategy… but it’s what a manager has to do..

Swooping in at the end hurts you in several different ways:

  • It’s not scalable – more deals could use your help than you have the bandwidth.
  • Less time to be strategic – if you felt like you never have time to coach, this could be the reason why.    
  • Reinforces poor rep behavior – the lesson is not learned and reps will continue to repeat the same behavior.

So 2019 is all but wrapped up, let’s use this time to reflect and plan for a record-setting 2020.  Get more data into CRM, use this information to coach winning behavior, and engage earlier in the sales cycle.