Anthony Cessario leads Clari's Enterprise West sales team.
In step 1, I showed you how to triangulate a reality check in order to hit your week 1 forecast. If you missed it, here's a quick recap:
- For most sales leaders, the week 1 forecast is often closer to a New Year’s resolution than it is an accurate projection of how much revenue your team is going to bring in for the quarter.
- Now finishing my 2nd quarter at Clari, I've come within 2% of the forecast I made when we began the quarter.
How did I do it? By following the below 4 steps I'm sharing in a 4-part blog series.
Step 1: Triangulate a reality check. (Read the story here.)
Step 2: Inspect current and out-quarter pipeline. (Read more below.)
Step 3: Conduct data-driven 1:1 coaching sessions. (Story here.)
Step 4: Bring your revenue teams together. One of the benefits of pressure testing out-quarter deals and forecasting out-quarter pipeline is that this forward-looking sales pipeline visibility gives the entire revenue team much more confidence in the pipeline going into the quarter. I'll walk through what this looks like.
Here's the next step to take to nail your week 1 forecast:
Step 2: Inspect current and out-quarter pipeline.
With the insights from step 1 in hand, the next step is to look for risk in the current quarter and opportunities to accelerate deals that are slated for end of quarter or for out quarter.
In most companies, pipeline inspection rarely is a data-driven process. Most sales leaders will start with the biggest deals in their pipeline. The following is what typically happens:
- Review Deals. They will review dollar amounts and close dates in CRM, maybe a quick skim of sales methodology type fields if they’re filled out.
- Call Reps. Then they will call the reps, either in their 1:1s or ad hoc, and ask them to talk through the activity taking place, relationships, sales methodology, etc... (more on this “reporting the news” in Step 3, available next week).
- Make a Judgement. With little visibility into what’s actually happening in the deals, they may or may not believe what their reps are telling them and in turn usually apply some level of “judgement” to account for any details that they didn’t quite trust.
This lack of trust at the foundation of the pipeline reverberates up all levels and across all the revenue teams. In our experience, there are a few things wrong with this approach:
- The assumption that the biggest deals are the ones that need your attention most.
- Managers spending valuable time having reps “report the news” as opposed to leveraging that time for value add activities, such as coaching.
- Out-quarter deals and renewals often get little attention given the limited time reps/mgrs have in 1:1s and all the news reporting that needs to happen on current quarter deals.
How to Inspect Your Pipeline the Right Way
For Clari customers, this is where Clari's Time Series Data Hub once again goes to work applying data science against 2 years of data, both at the company and rep level, surfacing which deals are likely to be won, lost or pushed.
Now, with the help of a simple red, yellow, green color code and a score of 0-100, I’m able to very easily leverage all the data science that Clari is doing on my behalf to focus my energy on inspecting the riskiest deals first (red).
This past quarter, the data science quickly identified several deals that my reps felt were tracking well, but where we had no alignment with the economic buyer, didn’t understand the budget or decision process, and/or were being progressed through sales stages much faster than any deals that these reps had ever won in the past.
Here's an example of what that looks like:
Armed with this data, I went into our first 1:1s of the quarter with a data-driven POV and a great opportunity for coaching. We'll dive into this in-depth in Part 3.
In the meantime, watch the video from Part 1 here, stay tuned for steps 3-4 and subscribe to the blog to get alerts when they're live.
- Step 1: Triangulate a reality check. (Read the story.)
- Step 2: Inspect current and out-quarter pipeline. (Covered above.)
- Step 3: Conduct data-driven 1:1 coaching sessions. Armed with data around deals at risk, I'll explain how to head into your 1:1s with a data-driven POV so you can coach instead of interrogate.
- Step 4: Bring your revenue teams together. One of the benefits of pressure testing out-quarter deals and forecasting out-quarter pipeline is that this forward-looking visibility gives the entire revenue team much more confidence in the pipeline going into the quarter. I'll walk through what this looks like. (Available September 25)