Sales Velocity and the Funnel

Posted on February 2, 2011. Filed under: Funnel Audits, Lead Generation, Pipeline Measurement, Sales, Sales forecasting, Sales Funnel, Sales Goals, Sales Management, Sales Metrics, Sales pipeline, Sales Quota, sales training, Sales Velocity | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

One of my clients, a director of sales, gave me solicited input in a meeting I was preparing to facilitate for him and his colleagues and the VP of Sales last year.  This was an existing Funnel Principle client looking for ways to leverage the system they installed a few years earlier.  “Let’s make sure we talk about sales velocity”, he said.

“Absolutely”, I replied.  Then I asked, “If you had better or more information about sales velocity for your region funnel how would you use that information to manage better?”

He replied almost before I finished the question.  “I don’t know.  But it seems like I should know more about it.”

Metrics like sales velocity are valuable for many reasons.  Whether your company has a sophisticated system of metrics, or keeps metrics to a bare minimum, or has no metrics at all you all share a common need to make the information you gather meaningful to your troops.   Ultimately, their greatest value is the role they play in changing or reinforcing selling behavior.

Funnel value (we call it TVR, Total Viable Revenue) is probably the most common metric that I hear VPs of Sales say they want to have and provide for their salesforce.  I agree it’s a valuable metric but only if it’s acted upon.  I continue to see a gap in having that information and in driving change.  I see two reasons for this.  One is because the users don’t trust the data on their funnels.  Therefore, the funnel value has little credibility.  Two, there’s a lack of connection between funnel value and actions to run a territory.

TVR is a key leading indicator to the true health of a funnel.  It’s all the sales on the funnel that have reached a critical stage of the customer’s buying process called Commit Funding.  At this stage the customer has committed funding and possibly significant resources to making a change one way or another.

The best way to connect TVR to actions is to inspect the funnel regularly and use the information to plan, organize and execute.  Think ‘lean’ for a second.  If a rep’s TVR is in the red, the action plan has to include ways to get it to green.  These ways are tied to working specific accounts and opportunities at specific sections of the funnel, namely the non TVR sections.  These are the early stage opportunities.  You go there first to find more TVR.

An action plan to find more TVR if that’s what the diagnosis suggests is not a loose, airy, feel-good next step kind of thing.  It’s specific and therefore accountable.

It’s the sales manager’s job to help the seller define this plan and keep her accountable to it.

Ain’t rocket science.  But man it is powerful.

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The Seller’s DNA: Goal-Setting Machine

Posted on January 19, 2011. Filed under: Lead Generation, Sales, Sales forecasting, Sales Funnel, Sales Goals, Sales Management, Sales Metrics, Sales pipeline, Sales Quota, Sales Velocity | Tags: , , , , , , |

Last week’s blog was devoted to developing good funnel habits as your new year’s resolution.  Once you have a plan for that then you can set goals.

You know what they say about goals.  If you don’t know where you want to go, you’re sure to get there.

Goal setting is the essence of the sales professional.  Where some people shy away from setting goals, we embrace them.   Where some people would never share their goals with others, we’d put ours on a billboard in Times Square.  We don’t care what others think.  We know what we want to achieve and we go after it.  This doesn’t make us better, it just make us us.

If you’re not tracking with me, let me give you an incentive – nine times more money.

This is what you’d earn in a lifetime simply by writing down your goals, according to Dave Kohl, a professor at Virginia Tech, a  college in the US.

So a million dollar career could become nine million dollars?  I’m just doing the math.

But here’s the astonishing news – Kohl says 80% of people say they don’t have goals.  16% percent say they have goals but don’t write them down.  4% have goals and write them down.

You can take this concept one step further by ‘going public’ with your goals.  Telling others your goals puts an added pressure on you to produce results.  Salespeople like pressure.

Several years ago w(hen I didn’t know better) I ran a marathon.  26.2 miles.  About 42 kilometers.  I told everyone I would beat three hours and 30 minutes.  That’s just about 8 minutes per mile.  I wasn’t bragging.  Rather,  I knew that it was a more likely outcome if I shared it with others.  I finished in three hours and 26 minutes.  When the pain was like a knife stabbing my thighs I kept telling myself, “Sellers, you fool don’t you dare slow down or give up!”

I suggest you break up your annual sales goal, quota, into quarterly goals.  The whole year is so long it’s like a marathon of selling.  Four quarterly marathons might be less overwhelming and easier to track.

I suggest you define some activity goals.  The splits in a marathon tell you if you’re losing ground or keeping pace.  Similarly, activity goals serve as splits to let you know if you’re keeping up the pace of funnel related activity.  One activity goal could be number of sales appointments you make in a week.  Another one could be the number of sales calls you have in a week.  If you hold lunch and learns, or do webinars, or attend lead generating shows, you could set a goal for the number of those events you hold.

As long as you’ve got your strategy defined first, you can set goals and watch with delight as you knock them off one by one.

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