How do you check the health of your pipeline?
Are the opportunities qualified and to what level? Do they have NASA and does the rep have the FACTs straight?
NASA: Need And Solution Alignment
FACTs: Funding, Alternatives, Committee, Timing
How effectively are the Buying Process Exit Criteria being managed, by decision maker?
Do we know what each needs to see, hear, feel, understand and believe in each stage, to move forward to the next stage, with us? How well is the rep uncovering, clarifying, meeting, and confirming acceptance of provided support, for these exit criteria?
Exit Criteria: specific requirements that determine whether a certain stage in the sales process has been completed and identify that the buyer can move on to the next stage in the sales process?
At a high level, that’s where I’d spend my energy on pipeline management. Then, the feedback or coaching that’s needed is contextual to the opportunity (based on the above stuff and your overall situation assessment).
How to enable rapid revenue recovery for B2B Sales in a changed world?
The economic impact of the pandemic lock-down is widespread, but the individual impact per company is a sliding scale or bell curve. Some are crushed; others are “doing okay;” some are thriving. (The same applies to your prospective and current customers). You need to adjust your plans accordingly and execute with discipline and focus. Here are some things to consider, as you do:
Reassess your sales org structure and answer the question, “What are the roles required for the new normal (or the path toward it), and what traits and competencies are required for salespeople to thrive and produce results in those roles?” Based on the role definitions and the current situation, you may need to prioritize:
- Relationship-building skills
- The ability to sell value
- The level of empathy required
- For more on those three, see this and this
- Consultative skills
- The ability to work and sell remotely
- The grit and resilience they’ll need in this situation
Per Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, “Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.” (More detail here).
Assess your TAM, ICP, and key accounts to readjust your new business development and strategic account management plans. Adjust and establish GTM plans and key account plans accordingly.
Hopefully, all of the above syncs with your current forecast and you can see goals, objectives, and quotas aligning with market conditions. Based on the above-mentioned sliding scale/bell curve, you may need to adjust expectations (down or up). This is the time to do it.
Sales Effectiveness Practices:
Reevaluate your systems, processes, methodologies, sales tools/technologies, incentives, and sales management systems, to create an environment and culture that foster high-performance and support the talent you’ve put in place (and are developing). Prioritize organization initiatives and move quickly. Get personalized learning and development plans in place for everyone, supported by coaching, to guide them toward sales mastery in the new normal. Get front line sales managers into a regular cadence of leadership, management, and coaching activities.
What playbooks mean to today’s revenue teams?
Many playbooks are useless. Not because the concept of playbooks isn’t sound, and generally not because the content isn’t good (although occasionally, relevancy or effectiveness *is* a problem). The most common challenge, as you point out, is adoption. There are multiple possible root causes for lack of adoption, ranging from content relevancy, to manager buy-in, to ease of reps finding what they need when they need it, to being updated (or out of date), to being usable. Playbooks should also be wrapped into the fabric of the business… included in onboarding, discussed at sales meetings, used in pipeline management and opportunity management meetings, and in pre-call planning. They need to be coached to. It isn’t about making or using playbooks, it needs to become “how we do things around here” and the integration of best practices into daily operations and workflow. And that takes effort well beyond designing, developing or publishing a playbook, and that’s why most aren’t producing the results they should.
What’s the effect of COVID-19 Outbreak on sales?
Context is everything. If you don’t have a product or service that can help a buyer through this time and put their business in a better position to weather the storm, it’s best to wait to contact that specific prospect.
But if you do have a product or service that can help your customers or prospective buyers now to get through this difficult time in better condition, it’d be negligent, in my opinion, not to reach out. It’s how you do it, that matters most.
I believe that sales approaches in a time of crisis require a mix of Relationship, Value, Patience, Intent, and Empathy. If you need a way to remember that, just think about serving up “R-Value-PIE” (our value pie). This isn’t meant to be linear, or a script model. It’s the stuff you want to consider as you build your personalized approach.
You can read more, but here’s a quick breakdown of R-Value-PIE:
Relationship: Expressing caring and concern for others and developing trust (by acting in trustworthy ways).
Value: In a time of crisis, consider Maslow’s Hierarchy. It’s likely that Personal Needs and need for safety are elevated – so it’s best to check in on the person first. Then, you can ask questions and discuss ways you can support them and deliver business value.
Patience: Take it slow, don’t pounce on needs (even if you can resolve them). Ask questions, dig deep, engage them in truly understanding their situation and then work together to co-create solutions.
Intent: Communicate your intentions to help and serve, early and often.
Empathy: Consider their feelings and perspectives, and acknowledge them to let them know you understand, as much as possible.