Hockey sticks and sales meetings

22 June 2012 by Charles Howden

Are the hockey sticks out at your sales meetings yet?

As we draw to the end of Q2, sales managers and directors will already have a sense of where their sales numbers are for the year, and the end of Q2 is a critical point of the sales year.

Critical? Critical because it is probably the last point that serious corrective action can be taken to an operational sales plan to have an impact on the current year’s sales result. Yes, this does depend on business size and geographic distribution though it’s a pretty good rule of thumb.

Soon you’ll have sales figures for the first half of the year though you should already have a sense of whether you’re ahead or behind your projections. Classic signs of a weakening sales position are:

  • A greater reliance on fewer, and larger, prospects that will need to be “closed” by the end of the year to fill the shortfall (combined with your sellers’ increasing confidence that this will happen).
  • A reduction in the number of new prospects entering your sales process.
  • The same prospect names coming up (needlessly) at sales meeting with a greater involvement of sales management in their progress.

Which is where the hockey sticks come in. When you ask your sellers to project their (and by definition your) sales figures for the rest of the year, the hockey stick shape to their projections emerges. Constantly on the slide, with a final upturn at the end of the year.

One of the behaviours of top performing sellers is optimism, though if you are seeing hockey sticks, now is not the time to be optimistic. It’s your last window of opportunity to make a difference!

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