10 Summer Projects to Stay Ahead of the Power Curve

Sales Operations | Summer ProjectsThe dog days of summer bring both challenges and opportunities for the sales organization. Whether you are at the start or midway point of the fiscal year, July and August are a good time to assess the current situation and take advantage of the slower pace to set your company up for autumn success.

Summer vacations ensure that for the next 6 weeks, you won’t be able to assemble your full sales staff. Likewise, sales opportunities progress slowly because prospects face the same problem with approvals and decision-makers. Instead of accepting excuses for what can’t be done, be creative and find a way to get an edge.

Sales Operations | Summer Project List

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deal Desk

September quarter-end is especially back end loaded and tough to forecast as close dates push from the summer months. It is also year-end for US federal government business and a key fiscal quarter for many technology companies. Compensate for less accuracy in your June QBR by inserting a follow up checkpoint to assess major opportunities as part of your quarter-end deal desk procedure.

Outcome: Expedite qualified opportunities and prioritize resources

 

Sales Tools

Conventional wisdom says 80% of the materials created by marketing for sales are underutilized or ignored completely. Survey the field on utilization and impact of your top sales tools and collateral. Twice per year, I use a combination of online survey and interviews. Survey Monkey makes it easy to turn feedback into data and insight. Rate each sales tool on a 1-5 scale for utilization and the impact on the sales cycle.

Outcome: Align sales tools with the stages of the sales cycle. Shift investment to tools with impact and fill in gaps identified by your research

Lead Quality

Turn an area of contention into collaboration by the defining quality as the specific characteristics of leads rather than good or bad. These two dimensions are of particular interest to sales.

  • Demographic:  Account and job title compared to ideal customer profile
  • Engagement: What action was initiated and how “sales-ready” was the lead?

Outcome: Do more of what works with basic lead scoring for easy comparison and visualize the data in a 4-quadrant chart.

Salesforce.com

Look for ways to simplify your Opportunity record by using drop-down menus that streamline data entry and yield actionable data.  Win-Loss Reason and Lead Source are low hanging fruit when designers overreach or choose to defy human nature. Text fields or choices that are too granular can be tightened up and focused on objective criteria and actionable data. Assume the sales rep always plays a role in sourcing new opportunities and will plead the 5th on losses. You’ll end up with more useful data and there are better ways evaluate sales reps.

Outcome: 100% compliance on the opportunity record. Self-reporting isn’t a replacement for win-loss analysis or the place to justify marketing programs. It creates a conflict of interest that leads nowhere.

 

Local and Virtual Sales Training

Evaluate your current training program; assess skill gaps with sales managers and plan for delivery, reinforcement and certification. Begin with your sales process and work from lead to close on the skills required to execute properly. Map out a plan 2 quarters at time that combines virtual sales training and local implementation.

Outcome: Sales training and enablement is a year-round activity that is most effective when it aligns to a proven sales process and is embraced by local sales management. The first line manager is in the best position to practice and reinforce the concepts with their team. Use July and August as an opportunity to get feedback and refine your program.

 

More Summer Projects
  • Audit 3 deals to calculate true cost of sales
  • Refresh the sales recruiting and on-boarding program
  • Calculate actual pipeline yield for the past 2 quarters
  • Fill-in for a sales manager on vacation
  • Participate in 5 sales calls

 

Resources

5 Key Factors to Keep Your Sales Operations Project on Track

10-minute Conversation Ensures Your Sales Project Doesn’t Blow Up or Stall Out

 

About Neal Murphy

Neal Murphy is the publisher of Enterprise Sales Operations and former VP of Worldwide Sales & Operations with 20 years experience in enterprise technology.

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