Hit Your Sales Numbers Out of the Park

Categories: Sales Planning

The spring season is upon us.  Whether you’re a Braves fan (we miss you already, Freddie), a Dodgers fan (boooooo!), or you’re just watching because there is nothing on until football starts again, you have to admit that hitting your sales numbers has a lot in common with America’s greatest pastime.   

Your senior sales leaders (the General Managers of sales) have spent months putting a winning team together. Your sales managers and enablement leads (your coaching staff) have been running drills with your sales reps (the players) and playing hard in the preseason. Blood, sweat, and tears have gone into reinforcing your sales process. Everything looks set for a perfect season. But once the regular season starts, everything can fly out the window. 

The best-laid plans of mice and men… (Sorry.  No more English lit references, we promise.) 

Keys to the Sales GameKeys to the Game

You’ve reviewed your plays on the conference room whiteboards. What more can you do to ensure your team is ready to go out there and win? Even though you’ve spent the whole offseason putting together the perfect lineup, you have to go into any important at-bat understanding the keys to a W.  

There are a few areas you should be paying special attention to all season long to keep the team tracking toward the revenue goal. Who doesn’t want to make the playoffs and hit that accelerator? 

  1. Manager Development – Sales managers have different strengths and weaknesses. Managing the A’s is a VERY different ball game than managing the Yankees.  Do they need more specific coaching goals, organization skills, or more consistent communication cadence with senior leads? Make sure you are customizing the development goals you set for each manager.  
  2. Sales forecasting – You need to look at film. It’s the historical data that will help to inform a realistic number to call for the quarter… and the year. Revisit your numbers and game plans regularly to see if adjustments are needed.  The last thing you want is to get thrown off by late-season losses   
  3. Market and customer research – If you do not know your target, you will never reach the right person. Get ahead of blindspots by researching your competitors and working with marketing to review battlecards. If your goals involve expanding on past wins (a.k.a. your account base), you should also be meeting with your customer success team to gain intel and learn more about the strategic goals of your clients. 
  4. Prospecting – Make sure your team focuses their efforts on the best prospects. If you’re in the NL East, there is no reason to break your back trying to beat the Angels (how about that Ohtani kid though?!) when you are getting your a$$ beat by the Phillies. Lose the dead-end prospects and focus on the deals that matter in each quarter. 
  5. Sales Enablement- Make sure your managers are coaching reps to closed/won and enablement pros should focus on guiding sales reps to run the plays that result in the right outcomes to hit their targets. That means developing the right number of prospects at each stage and executing the right activities to generate a sustainable pipeline to get them to quota attainment.  They should continually train their players to get them to a closed-won volume that will sustain the season.

Navigating ChangeupsSales Coaching

You’ve had player injuries. And your ‘ace’ players end up struggling to hit their numbers. The team has seemingly forgotten everything from the SKO. Your sure-thing strategy looks chaotic and unattainable. What the actual… happened? 

The best laid… I know, I know. The bottom line is that stuff happens. Humans are variable components. You need to take a long, hard look at your lineup and make changes. What’s broken in your approach? Are you slacking on defense?  Is your offense not “challenger” enough?  

Take a hard look at the stalled deals and the losses. What keys to the game did you miss? If you need more ammo for the competition, work with product marketing to update those battle cards.  Is your first pitch failing? Bring in sales enablement to run role-playing exercises and diagnose the hiccup. How about your closers? If you’re losing in the 9th, run a closed-lost analysis to drill down on the reasons you are giving away the game after a strong 8 innings. 

If all else fails, call up some fresh players from the minors or make a trade. Remember, you are buying or selling talent based on where you need the team to finish at the end of a grueling 162-game season. Sometimes an energy change makes all the difference. And after all, hitting is contagious.

Art + Science

Sales - Art & ScienceWhen the right combination falls into place, sales teams earn championship rings. It takes a delicate combination of winning game plans, manager strength, and player chemistry. Trust the data but don’t neglect your gut instincts. As a sales leader, if you can find the right balance of the two, your team will confidently take the field and hit your number out of the park. 

Whatever your process, set your team up for success with training, ensure consistent execution, and let your managers lead your players to a win! 

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