Amongst the most burning desires of any business leader is that of growth. After all, if a business is not evolving, not expanding and progressing, it’s effectively dying.
However, that desired escalation can start playing against us if it’s not backed by some form of foresight. If we don’t have predictability, we can’t possibly make decisions with confidence.
Lack of predictability can be a symptom of chaos. It means we don’t have a true hold on where we’re going, what it takes to get there or in fact, what we’ll do when we arrive at our destination. And it’s this inability to forecast correctly that can stifle our chances of growing altogether.
Building predictable growth is especially crucial in Sales.
Aaron Ross put it well:
I learned people want “predictable revenue” because one unpredictable good quarter is not good enough – they want consistency year-over-year and they want the type of business growth that is not based on guessing and reactive, last-minute hustling at the end of each quarter or month. They want a process that is based on a formulaic and consistent approach – that is what is valuable.
So, in summary, as cool as smashing our numbers may make us looks, what we really want is to hit our target through a carefully crafted sales process we have adhered to.
Because if we can accurately map out the road we take to hitting those numbers, we’re more likely to replicate it time after time.
Building Predictable Sales Growth
So, what is it that we need to build predictable sales growth?
Here we look at just 3 ways you could guarantee a repeatable model that creates steady revenue.
1. Monitoring the right sales metrics:
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again - you can only manage what you measure.
Although analysing results is an important part of basically any aspect of the business, it’s especially critical for Sales. The stakes are simply too high to be anything other than data-driven.
However, it’s not always easy to figure out what it is that we should be tracking. Or in fact, how much.
In some cases, we get so wrapped up in measuring results and crafting reports that we end up with information overload; incapable to see the wood from the trees.
Which is why it’s so important to work out exactly which metrics really tell us about the success of the sales process or the health of the pipeline.
You can find a list of six of the most important sales metrics you should be tracking in this blog post.
2. Overprotect your data & CRM:
Of course, for the first step to be truly effective, you have to previously ensure that what you’re basing your decisions on is bang on the money.
Guesstimations are no longer valid.
For growth to be predictable you must aim to improve the quantity and quality of your leads and be mindful of how they’re being managed through the sales journey.
Start by ensuring your data is clean and can be trusted - i.e well rounded, high-quality leads and comprehensive account details.
Are the leads qualified correctly? How many contacts are attached to it? Are they in the right stage?
If you’re filling your CRM with rubbish, chances are what you’ll get out of it won’t be much better.
To really have a handle on sales growth, lead quality needs to be high. So make sure you’re being maniacal about what’s making it onto your forecast.
The traditional shape of the pipeline has changed. Qualify hard and fast so you only spend time and resources on the deals that stand a chance of closing.
Anything less than that, should not form part of your forecast.
3. Scale up your team. But not necessarily in size:
Scaling your team shouldn’t always involve hiring.
The secret to growth is not volume but agility. If you believe adding salespeople to the payroll is the key to acceleration, your model may be a little off.
Yet, we see this logic repeated across so many organisations:
More Reps = More Sales
A larger number of reps on the sales floor, a larger number of leads being followed.
Well, not always…
Before getting into the costly and time-consuming task of hiring and onboarding new sales professionals, take a look around the office.
Are you getting the best out of your existing team?
In a recent study, Gartner found that “70% of business leaders agree that employee engagement is critical to achieving business results.”
They follow on to explain what they mean by employee engagement:
Employee engagement is the state of mind of an employee in which they are both rationally and emotionally committed to their work as a result of their past events, present experiences and expectations about the future with their organization. This state motivates them to put energy and effort into their work beyond the minimum level required to “just do their job” and stay longer with their organizations.
There is a lot of potential still lurking within our sales force. If only we can figure out how to motivate and coach them.
To build a successful coaching plan, start off by figuring out what it is that makes your top sellers so successful. Dissect their habits, their secret sauce to selling.
With this in tow, invest in training and offer targeted coaching to those team members that may have fallen behind.
By understanding what steps your top performers follow, you will start to understand what your ‘golden’ sales process should be.
This intel will help you attribute success to very specific behaviours. And once you can pinpoint these, you can start depending on them when preparing for the next quarter - thus creating predictable sales growth.
Building a Believable Sales Forecast
In this guide, we discuss the five steps necessary to delivering a clear picture of your pipeline and true health of your business.