It’s amazing how fast the year slips by. For many sales executives it may seem like we just got revenue objectives for 2011, and now one-third of the year is already in the history books. If you are ahead of plan and have a solid pipeline, congratulations. But what if you aren’t?
Back when I was running sales for the technology firms I worked with, May 1st was always a gut-check moment for me. I knew the Board would be taking a hard look at our performance at the end of Q2, so I wanted to proactively do that ahead of them so I would have time to make midcourse corrections in strategies and tactics, sooner versus later.
Part of the process was to do a review of the sell cycle and the buy cycle for Q1 and look at how performance compared to expectations. Was the economy tracking as we had thought it would, were we more or less effective at dealing with competition than we had planned, were our sell cycles taking longer or shorter than projected, were average deal sizes and margins in line with the financial models we had created, etc.? The purpose of the exercise was simple. I was not looking to do a six sigma-oscopy of sales, but rather surface the challenges we were facing and then decide what to do to successfully address them.
My peers in the technology space set some very high goals for this year. As part of CSO Insights 17th annual Sales Performance Optimization (SPO) we gathered data from 500+ technology sales organizations. What we found was that 95% of these firms had raised revenues goals for 2011; and the percentage increases were the largest we had seen for this industry sector in the history of our study. At the same time, only 5.5% of those firms reported that they believed they would “easily” meet or exceed those goals; the lowest confidence level we had ever recorded.
We have been fielding a lot of calls from our research clients regarding initiatives they can put in place to optimize performance for the rest of this year, and then position them for further improvement in 2012. One May 4th, I look forward to presenting some of the advice we have been sharing with these sales executives in a webinar I will be co-hosting with David Fitzgerald, EVP of Sales and Marketing for Brainshark.
During this session we will focus on the top five challenges technology sales teams are facing this year, quantify the cost of poor sales performance, and then lay out four areas we need to focus on to increase win rates. If you are a technology sales professional looking for ways to maximize your company’s revenue performance in the remainder of this year, we invite you to join us.