It’s amazing how quickly commentary on Australia’s economic position has shifted solidly into reverse across the last 60 days. Yes, I know that there has been an increasingly concerned tone across the last 6 months, on the back of international factors, but I think it’s now on the sales planning agenda of our largest ( and smallest) organisations. This interview in the Australian which is probably one of the gloomiest of the recent musings of our economic elite, prompted these thoughts.
Bottom line here is that many sales organisations are already seeing this stuff play out with deals in their pipelines deferring or get cancelled with their customers citing an uncertain demand in their markets. Sales Director’s will now be facing some difficult choices over the next 6 months as to how to respond.
What to do?
- Flog the reps harder and tell them to make more calls?
- Abuse Marketing for not giving them enough leads?
- Have the sales management weigh in and put the whole organisation on daily deal reviews.
- Start politicking within the organisation about the tough economy and look for budget relief?
- Re-visit the market development plans to stack the pipeline with deals (real and imagined).
Not sure which of these may be the most effective but what I do know is that in the next 12 months the whole organisation will need a single source of trusted sales pipeline information. These market conditions typically lead to different parts of the organisation creating their own “most favoured” view of life. Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint decks proliferate! Marketing have a view, Sales have a view, different Geographies create their own view and your business partners all send in a view of life. We even see, in some cases, extra staff added to analyse this proliferation of data!
A really good place to start, right now, is to make sure all parts of the organisation have a single definition of what constitutes a sale and it’s status – make sure everyone reports this to a single point! Make sure that all reviews, irrespective of business function, use this single report as the hub of both reviews and planning.
Ban individual sales reporting spreadsheets now!