The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 9 months ago

How to Hold to a Committed Forecast w/ Paul DeMore

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, we cover key steps to make sure you hold to your committed forecast. 

Force Management Senior Partner Paul DeMore has conversations with sales leaders nearly every week around enabling salespeople to hold to their committed forecasts. He joins us to share what’s top-of-mind right now for sales leaders looking to reduce slipped deals and improve win rates. He also shares actionable tips your managers and reps can use to improve outcomes and speed up their deals.

Here are some additional resources on sales planning:

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As you're going through it. Sometimes it's not as easy because if you're looking at two or three or four different companies, it comes down to, you know, the end of the day, who has the best champion. You are listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your team's sell more faster. will feature sales leaders sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth, presented by the team at force management, a leader in BTB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello, I'm Rachel Clap Miller. Thank you for listening to the audible ready sales podcast. Today we are going to talk about holding to your committed forecast. Someone who does this really well for us at force manage it is my own colleague, Paul De More Palm. No pressure, but I know you're talking to sales leaders a lot about this very topic every day. Awesome, Rachel, and thank you for having me back on your podcast series.

And Yeah, definitely one of the greatest benefits of working enforce management is the people that we get to talk to most are chief revenue officers at you know, prospects and customers, and many of our customers are having fabulous years here in two thousand and twenty one. But when we get into areas of opportunity for improvement, you know, what does come up on a regular basis is around forecasting accuracy and trying to maybe not eliminate but reduce the amount of slip deals that come in or that don't come in on the expected quarter. So it's a common theme and it comes up on I'd say at least two to three times a week. Right, frequent, frequent challenges for a lot of sales leaders out there and we often tout medic the qualification methodology as a way to find those red flags on your deal. But the reason why deals are slipping can really be any number of things. It can be and a lot of times it comes down to, you know, qualification right and how...

...the manager in the red are doing opportunity qualification internally when they're preparing for the sales call. You know, one of the things that I like to reference is the qualified sales leader by John McMahon in his book. Specifically on page twenty six, he talks about yeah, and I read it on a lot of calls. He says an entirely different story can be told when a group is using the same words but different meanings. Same words, different definitions. This resulted in pictures of the exact actual account status and left them unable to find a common ground on the next logical step. So as people are defining what a champion is versus a coat with economic buyer. So there's I find that there's some inconsistency when it comes to Medi metic or medpick based on the definition and how people communicate internally, but also in this world. Things have changed and so there are some things are out of their control. But their job as a seller is to is to continue to move the four cast forward and to keep the cut, you know, keep the conversation going. Yeah,...

...that's great. Page twenty six qualified sales lead. Those of you who are regular listeners or podcast we remember the interview we did, the two part series with John macmahan about his book. will go ahead and link that those episodes up in the show notes. And as book it's I keep seeing on linkedin that everyone's everyone's reading it because it has so many gems. To your point, Paul, and that consistency in language drives efficiencies and great qualification, I know and one of our trainings. We have a slide where it has this circle of the internal process that's going on internally along with the external process that you have as a salesperson with the buyer. And as much as we try to do our best, right deals are going to slip into the next quarter and your job is to really figure out how you're going to mitigate that. Yeah, no doubt. And there's also if you think about a forecast...

...in general, whether you're an individual contributor take you know, focused on your own or your the sales leader, looking at your entire organization. You know, you basically label opportunities as must win, whether their new logos, cats and dogs, right or over, a hundred K K, whatever the number is. Call it when you want, but if you close or slip into next quarter, it becomes an issue. One of the things that we talked about at PTC back in nine nine any seven. Paul Cunningham, who is running global sales, would talk about how slip deals never closed, and the concept behind that is sometimes they would close right, but the reality is a lot of times they would not because the business problem that you're attached to is not big enough in the organization or you truly do not have a champion, right. You have a coach, but you don't have a champion. And and so the remedy for that at PGC was if you had a slip deel. So if you had a will say, a quarterly commit of a hundred and you had a k deal slip into the next quarter, it does it...

...allow you to credit that K towards the following quarter? Right? So, yes, if it did come in, it was great, but you were still on the hook for the hundred K, if that makes sense. And and I think it's all around holding people accountable and truly, you know, understanding the business the best that they can. Yeah, and I think I know that you have a concept that you use yourself with your own with your own deals, called backwards planning, and I think that'd be a great concept. It go through as it relates to this topic. Talk about what what it is. Yeah, so backwards planning is it's a concept many people probably have experienced that are tried it, but it's really it's looking at the end game, right, whether it's closing the opportunity. You know, what are all the steps needed in order to close the opportunity on the timeline that you have set. So if you think about backwards planning, it's typically towards the end of the quarter. What are the eight to ten, will say fifteen, things that need to happen between now and then, the closed items that...

...are done by you and also items that need to be done by the buyer? Right. So the idea is to get a real clear understanding of you know, taking your mutually agreed upon plan a map, which many people do, but put it on dates and milestones so that you are progressing the opportunity forward and moving into the right direction. Right. So, if I want to close this deal in whatever quarter, I need to think through all the steps that need to happen to get there and essentially backtime it. Yeah, yeah, and it take you know, take a sheet of paper, draw a line right through the middle like a balance beam, and look at those list of activities and if it's an activity that you your company need to do, put an x on it or put it up on the top of the top of the balance beam, and then, if it's something that the buyer needs to do, check a reference. Right, introduce you to the economic buyer, schedule a demo with the right people etc. Put an x or put the activity below the beam and when you're done with this exercise, if...

...you step back and look at it and out of the ten things, nine of them are on your to do list and only one of the customer, I don't think it's truly qualified prospect right. So you need to balance that out and make sure that you know that activities are somewhat consistent on both sides of the balance beam there, right, instead of call fine prospect, because your your buyer needs to own part of the process if they're really invested in finding next solution. Yeah, hundred percent, because you know they're going to want, you know, the solution at the end of the day is going to help solve a business problem that they have. So there is a vest vested interest for them to get this thing done. So it works out really, really well. When I think of my my own opportunities, it's you know, am I aiming to build the enterprise business case right is is how many you know, decisionmakers need to make this work in order to close? How many zoom or Webax meetings do I got to have and how do we get there? And then when you get into the demo, is it truly...

...necessary if we're going to do a product demo for a customer who needs to be there, right, what are the required capabilities that the customer needs are? Is that truly defined and agreed upon? And then, you know, how do we take what the product demonstration is and tie it back to the not the positive technical outcomes, but with the actual positive business outcomes are? And then when it comes time to meet with the economic fire, you know, how is our champion going to set us up for success and prepares for that meeting? So there's a lot that's got to happen right. It's just a matter of looking at the end in mind and making sure that the activities are going yeah, that's a that's a great question. Lest at those of you are listening, just hit that back thirty seconds, back fifteen seconds, but in a couple of times and write those questions downs, because those are good things to ask yourself in order to back backtime your deal. I mean, we just did a demo internally enforced management for a software solution and we got into the demo and we're quickly like we don't have all the right people...

...on this call, and so we had to schedule another demo. So now we're backed up, you know, a couple more weeks. So happens frequently and it's important to hold yourself accountable to getting the right answers on your deal. Also, Paul, you mentioned you know, a lot of other people are involved in your deal and your chief chief contact, and those people can definitely hang a deal up. Yeah, no doubt. And if you think about, if you think about after you go through and you got the verbal from the client, it then goes into what we call the paper process, right, or the legal side of the business. And you know when I remember listening last year at the end of q one calendar year. So it was an earnings call from one of our clients, and very successful client, and the CFO was on the earnings call talking about their q one results. So this was some time in May, and one of the comments that he...

...mentioned was that due to the covid the pandemic, that people working at home and things shifting, the paper process has changed, right, so things, things that were consistent before we're being disrupted, and so the rep had a truly understand the paper process and how that was going to go through. The same thing with legal when a contract has to go to legal. You know, I think a lot of sellers have blinders on, thinking that their deal is walking into legal the chief legal officers waiting on it. In reality, you need to get in live right because their legal department is working on contracts to close their own deals that they're trying to sell so they can drive revenue, but then they're also looking at what contracts are coming in. Are Truly you know, where do you? Where do they stand on the sense of urgency to get them done? And and that's where the champion bringing in or attaching to a big business problem. You know, all of that stuff will help you, you know, get in the front of the line. I guess it would be a good expression. Yeah, yeah, I think there's...

...also the other thing to consider, very simply, like vacation. You know, you've been in this conversations where all of a sudden somebody's like, Oh hey, guess what, I'm going to be out into Italy for three weeks or something like that to that or the holidays you're coming up, customers are closing right. Yeah, I know, it's all the above. Everything kind of comes together. So as you do your backwards planning and opportunity closing, you need to take any consideration all of that stuff, no doubt. Yeah, so ask US yourself those questions. We first timeline the answers from when you needed to close now what you're doing doing, Paul? Are you doing this on every deal? I'm not doing it at well, I guess people ask if I do medic on every deal. Yeah, I don't say I sit down and go through medic but I do think what's the expression, consciously competent? Is that what it goes? Consciously competent? Yea. Yeah, so I think I do do it. It's part of my DNA. So...

I think I do it at every opportunity, every sales call. When it comes to backwards planning, yeah, there's no doubt it's I'm looking at. I Have A, you know, a closed date that I have in mind that I feel that we're working together with the buyer based on, you know, in our world, when our delivery will start or, you know, when the customer wants to do certain things. And so yeah, I think it is something. It's a healthy exercise and it's something that I do on a regular basis. I don't necessarily write it out, but in my head. I'm tracking it to the best of my ability. Yeah, it's a key focus and it's part of that phrase we also say a lot, voracious qualification. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's qualified, qualify, qualified. And you know, I think the underlying game of this conversation we're having today, Paul, is to really make sure that you have great communication going on with your prospect that's sort of the kind of bottom line to all of this. It's no doubt it's you build a partnership to get the opportunity right and...

...as as you're going through it, sometimes it's not as easy because if they're looking at two or three or four different companies, right, it's it comes down to, you know, the end of the day, who has the best champion, right, and champions is we to find. You have power to influence. They sell for when you're not there. So they're setting traps for the competition. They're pushing your agenda, but they also have a vested interest in the overall success of the solution. So, as a seller to your job to make sure that you help build that out with them. Right. We don't want it to come down to wishful thinking. I mean, you should know where your deals are at all times right fo hi would hold. I would home well. I hope you have a great quarter. Thank you, Rachel. Going to talk to you yes. Thank you for joining us on the audible ready sales podcast and those of you, I know you guys out there listening are living this every day. Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Reach out to Paul on Linkedin or or myself.

And thank you, as always, for listening to the audible ready sales podcast. At force management, we're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategy at the point of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is in our results. Let's get started. Visit US at force MANAGEMENTCOM. You've been listening to the audible ready podcast. To not miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

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