Today’s post is by Brian Stahlhut Christiansen, CEO and co-founder of Milestone Selling – a Salesforce® Partner enabling proactive pipeline leadership – and author of Accelerate Sales: The Seven Golden Keys and The Sales Manager’s Milestones. Follow @BscStahlhut.
Do you know that feeling when you’re about to cut into a roast and you’re hoping you’ve managed to cook it just right?
It should be perfect. You’ve
- Made sure the oven had the right temperature before you put it in
- Asked the butcher how long this size of roast should be cooked at this temperature
- Let it rest a while after having taken it out of the oven
So, in theory, it should be absolutely delicious. But is it?
I’ve stopped doubting myself. My new meat thermometer tells me exactly when the roast has reached the right internal temperature, so now I know what I’m getting before I cut.
What can you do with that information in terms of a B2B sales organization? To me, the parallel is obvious. The year starts out with you hoping to reach the quota by the end of the year, but you aren’t sure. To increase your chances, you
- Measure how much has been sold every month
- Set requirements for how many meetings sales reps have to have weekly
- Look into a crystal ball and call it a sales pipeline
But you still never know if the roast will be perfectly cooked – whether you will have reached or failed to reach your quota by the end of the year.
If you want to know whether your team will reach its budget in the long run so you can be better at managing and motivating your sales reps, you need your own thermometer. You have to find out how to measure what’s happening in the sales pipeline.
That’s what the milestone philosophy is all about.
- STOP using long- or short-term sales quotas if you want to motivate business development. Long-term sales quotas are not motivating and never really seem urgent – until it’s too late. And short-term sales quotas are like celebrating today for hard work done 6-12 months ago – it’s not leadership; it’s trying to manage when it’s too late.
- STOP using activity metrics – they are not making any sense. Sales reps hate to be measured by activities and it’s always a source of discussions whether or not activities should be counted.
- STOP looking at the same opportunities in a static pipeline over and over again. The biggest sales pipeline may be worth nothing if opportunities are stalled or have gone cold. What really matters is the movement of opportunities, so:
- START measuring progress and momentum through the stages in your sales process – it’s a much more meaningful and motivating metric in B2B sales.
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