Matt and I have conducted a number of CEO Sales Readiness workshops over the last two months. They are designed to help CEO’s without sales backgrounds get under the covers of their sales organizations. The workshops debunk the myth of the “art of the sale” and provide proven methodologies CEO’s can employ to put the science back in their company’s sales processes.
During a recent workshop we were helping a client standardize a revenue forecasting methodology. Before we completed the exercise the client had already realized that based on their sales cycle duration and implementation timelines there was no way they could achieve their 2010 sale plan. That was a pretty sobering realization since they were barely into the second quarter.
We spent some time discussing how the 2010 plan had been developed and the simple answer was that the board handed down the number and the CEO accepted it without being to factually agree to or challenge it. The client also experienced some unplanned revenue erosion due to a large customer’s bankruptcy at the beginning of the year. Combined, these situations put the company in a hole that they cannot recover from this year.
It’s critical that when planning for revenue growth you must be both aggressive and practical in your approach. Making sure you have the right investments from a people, product, and process perspective will ensure you have a fighting chance at making the plan, and always count on revenue erosion to avoid those surprises!
I am including a link to our 3forward proprietary revenue planning tool. We encourage you to download it and do a sanity check on your pipeline’s ability to achieve your 2010 plan. It will help you determine if you have enough pipeline to make this year’s number. And if not, depending on your sales cycle you may still have the time to make a course correction and achieve your plan. (Looking for more information, view our webcast: The Five Most Important Numbers for Sales Revenue Planning).