H1 is over! Hard to believe, isn't it? Did you make your number? If so, congratulations, you are in the minority. If you haven't and have fallen behind, it can be a sickening feeling. You know you need to catch up but HOW?
Either way, it's not how you start, it's how you finish!
Today we’ll focus on 10 techniques proven to keep your bookings and revenue heading in the right direction, making the year a celebration of success.
My previous article, “Q2 is nearly over! The Board expects growth and Enterprise Value. Are you ahead or behind the plan?”, highlighted the #1 definition of your success by the Board and Investors: Increased Enterprise Value and Revenue Growth.
I showcased there are only five sources of new opportunities into the Sales Pipeline. In client work, I evaluate whether the productivity of each of the five is optimized and the answer is typically "no", flagging much needed performance improvement opportunities.
Here are my ten techniques proven to accelerate bookings and revenue.
10 Ways to Make Your 2018 Numbers
1. Determine the Tipping Point
Depending on your Average Sales Cycle Length, determine at what point it is time to shift the focus from generating new opportunities to maximizing the value of the current pipeline. If your Average Sales Cycle Length is 6 months or longer, you are already there because anything but a bluebird won’t close this year. Every day that clicks by means fewer new opportunities will close by year end.
2. Qualified Expansion Leads and Year End Budget Sweep
There are only two exceptions to the rule, expansion leads for cross-sell and upsell from existing customers close at half the time and have 2X the conversion rate of Marketing Qualified Leads. Q4 unspent budget deals face less scrutiny and move faster than any other time of the year. More on this later.
Today we’ll chat about how we can quickly get you back on track, here are my ten key steps to getting your revenue heading in the right direction this year.
3. Clean the Pipe!
While it can be the bane of any Sales Leader’s existence, you must make it absolutely mandatory that every rep update all the deal data in their pipeline. Even the most capable Sales Leaders can’t compensate for unreliable data. Pay particular attention to the two most important data issues: filler deals that aren’t real, and deals that are real, but the reps haven’t entered. GIGO – we’ve all heard it, garbage in garbage out.
4. Ruthlessly Requalify
Requalify every significant deal that has the potential to close this fiscal year. Be ruthless! You are determining where you and your team will place your bets to make the year. If you don’t have your own formal criteria, use MEDDIC or another proven framework. Get rid of the deadwood, the deals that haven’t moved in months can create a false sense of security.
5. Diagnose Pipeline Health and Value
Do the math. To know exactly where you stand, continuously and rigorously analyze the value, health, and adequacy of the pipeline. Each company is different, but on average only 41% of deals forecasted to close actually close. Here the key metrics, use them to first calculate overall pipeline behavior, then predictively apply these same calculations to each opportunity.
- Total Pipeline Value
- Average Sales Cycle Length
- # of Opportunities and Pipeline Value by Stage
- Conversion Rate from Stage to Stage
- Conversion Rate for Each Stage to Close
- Time in Stage by Stage
- Time from Stage to Close by Stage
6. Identify and Pursue All Significant Cross-sell and Upsell Opportunities with Customer Business Reviews (CBRs)
Are there additional opportunities to make your customers more successful through your solutions? As stated before, Qualified Expansion leads from existing customers close in half the time and 2X the conversion rate of Marketing Qualified Leads, and cost only 20% of new Customer Acquisition.
Review all meaningful cross-sell and upsell opportunities, focusing on those that will have the biggest impact to your bookings and revenue growth.
Once you’ve identified your key opportunities, schedule a Customer Business Review (CBR). Its purpose is to ensure your customer achieves their desired success and value with your solutions as well as to build trust. By gaining a deeper understanding of the customer’s business and plans, you are perfectly positioned to create new sales opportunities by offering ways your company can deliver more value and earn more of their business. CBRs are a powerful technique to not only retain customers but significantly grow revenue.
7. Build Close Plans for All Critical Deals
Every critical deal required to make your numbers needs to have an end objective, and that end objective should be signing with you for a defined amount by a specific date. Over my career, I’ve honed a systematic approach to closing critical deals. It begins by creating an unambiguous Sales Objective using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound) goal format. The next step is to build and execute an all-encompassing step-by-step plan and fully committing to making it happen, thereby achieving the Sales Objective and getting to YES. Failure is not an option and a laser focus is required.
Here are the key actions you need to consider for Getting to YES:
Now view the deal from the prospect’s perspective – what are they looking to accomplish? Seek to understand what pain points and business drivers the customer wants to solve by using your solution. Prospects are 3 times more likely to move away from pain than toward gain. Identify if there’s a compelling event motivating the prospect to complete the deal by a specific date – how can you help them achieve their goals?
Make sure you have completed your due diligence in preparing to meet the prospect’s needs. Is Procurement and Legal ready to go? Have you allowed adequate time to complete contract negotiations? Have you negotiated and confirmed pricing, and are you meeting with all key contacts? Do you know which stakeholders are in favor of your objective and who is against?
Know each organization’s role in the process. List all the steps the prospect needs to take to get to Yes and sign the contract. List the actions your own company needs to complete to get to Yes as well, along with any internal assistance required, and identify the key individuals, deliverables and dates.
By reviewing and understanding all aspects of the deal from all perspectives, you’ll be able to prepare, and mitigate, any roadblocks to the customer signing with your solution.
8. Run a SPIF
Prioritize deals forecasted to close in Q4, Q1, and Q2. Put extra incentives in play to pull deals forward. SPIFs come in many shapes and sizes such as double quota retirement, fixed bonus amount, double club credit, or non-cash incentives such as a weekend away with partner or great tickets to major sporting events. Consider a combination. Build the SPIF on what you know motivates critical team members – typically members of the Sales organization.
Keep it simple. Well-designed SPIFs work, period. SPIFs should crystal clear and provide guaranteed results. Team members should understand that if they sell X, they will be rewarded with Y. SPIFs don’t need to be easy but must be attainable to create extra motivation, drive, and enthusiasm. Celebrate successes!
9. Create a Year End Budget Sweep Campaign
Unspent budgets in companies and government organizations often get reallocated internally, usually beginning in Q4 with a spike in late November through December. Prospects who may have earlier objected with, “I have no budget”, may have renewed access to funds with time pressure to spend quickly through use it or lose budget policies. Give them a reason to spend their funds with you. These deals may face less scrutiny and move faster than any other time of the year.
10. Communicate with the Board and Investors Early, and Keep Them Informed
If you are doing all of the above and still don’t think you’ll make your numbers, make sure you meet with your Board and Investors early on. Bad news doesn’t get better with time and key stakeholders don’t like unexpected misses. Leaders have an opportunity to earn tremendous credibility in how they handle difficult circumstances.
In this conversation, include a clear and accurately quantified assessment of current performance and discuss the challenges or root causes of the performance shortfalls. Showcase your strategy to address these issues and highlight the highest probability to catch up, and possibly even exceed, the current forecast. Even if you end the year with a miss, you will get credit for being on top the situation, doing everything possible, proactively communicating, and will live to fight another day!
There’s still time!
Finish strong with these 10 steps. Even if you are behind, six months isn’t a lot, but you can still get back on track. If you’re feeling crunched for time or want to strategize about achieving success you can schedule a FREE 30-minute online meeting with me and we’ll talk about what steps you might want to prioritize first.
Good Luck and Good Selling!
I also offer personalized Customer Success reports for organizations seeking to improve their customer experience. Simply fill out a short 26-question assessment, swipe your credit card through our secure payment system and within minutes, you’ll receive a custom 30-page report detailing your results, showcasing how you compare against your competitors, and what you can do to improve your Customer Success results.
Bob Dunn is the CEO of Dunn Growth Experts, an industry leading consultancy and online consulting provider. With 35 years of experience growing revenue, they offer fast turnaround and high-quality consulting for businesses and individuals. With a mission to help their clients meet and exceed revenue growth and value creation goals and expectations, Dunn Growth Experts has helped US and international organizations grow their success.
For more information about Dunn Growth Experts, please visit: www.dunngrowthexperts.com
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