Working in a sales organization with a monthly quota and correlating attainment goals often feels like riding a rollercoaster. For many, the only thing that feels consistent is the inconsistency. Sales reps frequently go back and forth between waves of heavy prospecting, followed by frenzied closing activities.
At Salesforce, our sales team also operates on a monthly cadence with monthly revenue and growth targets. A phrase you’ll hear frequently from Salesforce sales managers is “make every month.” This means that reps need to hit their monthly quota and correlating attainment goals every single month with no exceptions.
But without a concerted, conscious effort, this cycle of heavy prospecting followed by frenzied closing continues to persist and contradicts the ultimate sales goal of making every month.
So, how do we break the cycle?
The Two ways to Close More Deals
Sports analogies are often overused when it comes to sales, but both types of teams operate similarly. For example, in basketball, there are two ways to score more points:
- Take more shots (volume), or
- Score a higher percentage of the shots you take (quality)
This model translates perfectly to sales, where the two factors that influence closed deals are activity volume and conversion rates.
Let’s start by looking at activity volume.
Take More Shots
The first step towards making ever month starts with consistent activity.
Consistent activity that generates closed won deals can be broken down into a math equation. In general, the equation is formulated based on:
- The number of activities you need to set a meeting
- The number of meetings you need to set a demo
- The number of demos you need to send out a proposal
- The number of proposals you need to close a deal
Let’s look at an example and analyze how we could coach a sales rep to hit their number.
A rep has a monthly target of $100k but consistently fails to meet their quota. The rep’s numbers vary from month to month, but on average they posts the following numbers:
100 Activities = 20 Meetings = 14 Demos = 10 Proposals = 5 Closed Deals x $10k Average Deal = $50k in Revenue
In the example above, you could say that if the rep had 200 activities, they most likely would have had the pipeline to hit his monthly target. The sales manager should set a goal minimum of 200 Monthly Activities, 50 Weekly Activities, and 10 daily activities.
For any rep experiencing the roller coaster effect, the root cause is likely due to patterns of inconsistent activity. No matter how good of a month a rep is having, the manager should hold their team accountable to these targets. Consistent activity leads to more consistent revenue.
Score a Higher Percentage of the Shots You Take
Now, let’s look at the second way to close more deals: increase conversion rates.
This part of the equation is not as simple. Conversion rates are derived from a variety of factors including rep skill level, lead quality, and having a compelling reason to call. Driving up conversion rates is complex.
One example of how Salesforce increases our rates is through monthly sales programs. We create a cadence of marketing and sales activities throughout the month aligned around a common goal and rolled out in logical sequence.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at our sales program cadence:
Step 1 – Create Calls-to-Action: Before we launch the sales program, the marketing team starts by creating new resources for our sales team to share. Often, this includes a new blog post as well as a webinar or an event. By creating these resources ahead of time, we are able to give our sales reps a compelling reason to reach out to their customers.
Step 2 – Share the Monthly Play: The next step is to share an overview of the program on Chatter with a post that includes the month’s focus and a link to a Quip doc with a specific sales play. This Quip doc includes a target account report, a personalized talk track, email templates, discovery questions, a point of view statement, and customer success stories. It’s a step-by-step guide with all the resources needed to close a deal.
Step 3 – Plan Enablement Call Blitz: The third step is to host a call blitz for the sales team. Expectations are set for the sales team to prep their call lists in advance. We kick off the blitz with a 15 minute enablement session where we walk through the play and announce a small contest to get the sales team excited. Then, the sales team is tasked with driving attendance to our upcoming webinar or event, making 20+ calls, and scheduling 2+ meetings over the course of the following 2 hours.
Step 4 – Post the Webinar or Event Attendee List: After the webinar or event takes place, the marketing team posts a list of webinar or event attendees for our sales reps to follow up with.
Creating a structure around our marketing and sales programs allows our teams to drive quality activity. We consistently give our sales teams new and compelling reasons to call customers that are aligned to their prospecting focus for that month, and we coach them on what lists to calls, email templates to send, and POV statements to deliver. Sales knows what to expect and this process is built into their monthly routine.
What should you do next?
Here are five things your sales and marketing teams can start doing immediately to help you make every month:
- Sales: Break down your sales funnel to understand how many activities each rep needs to hit your sales targets. Set monthly, weekly, and daily minimum targets based on this analysis and hold your sales team accountable.
- Marketing + Sales: Get sales and marketing in a room, and align on a monthly focus.
- Marketing + Sales: Build a structured play around the monthly focus, a step-by-step guide on how to close a deal.
- Marketing: Align your upcoming marketing calendar (blog/content, webinar, events, etc.) to the monthly focus.
- Marketing + Sales: Build a structured cadence where you can drive focused, quality activity through your sales team around.