Hope Is Not A Sales Forecasting Strategy
I keep hearing a common scenario come up with some of my clients and their sales people, and I am going to go out on a limb here and take a bet that you’ve heard it from your sales people too.
Let me paint the picture for you.
One of your sales people runs into your office and says, “We got a good one! It’s a [big/ideal/perfect/right-in-our-wheelhouse] prospect, and they told me that they’re ready to buy! They just need us to get them a quote and they’re ready to go!”
Before you can even begin to ask questions to make sure this is a real opportunity, your sales person says, “I already have people working on the quote—we’ll get it to the prospect later today, and I’ll keep you posted!” Off they go with a beaming smile, believing that the opportunity is a done deal and it’s just a matter of dotting some i’s and crossing some t’s on the paperwork before the money starts coming in.
Here’s the problem: Your people are letting their emotions run wild on this prospect and deal.
They aren’t making sure that they understand the problem the prospect wants to fix or why the prospect believes that your product or service can help them fix it. They missed confirming that the person they’re dealing with is the true and only decision maker. They forgot to even discuss a budget and how the prospect will pay for your product or service. They have no idea who the competition is or what differentiates your sales person and company from them. On top of this, they’re clueless as to how the prospect will make the decision and what happens once the quote has been provided.
If you go with your sales people’s emotions and guts, you’re counting on the revenue dollars coming in and basing your revenue forecasts on it. Then, a few months later, you’re left frustrated and confused asking your sales person why this deal isn’t closed yet and there’s no revenue to show for it.
Stop relying on emotion and start relying on an effective sales process with objective milestones that you’re holding your people accountable to. Hope is not a strategy – especially when it comes to closing sales.