Sales Management Question

Sales managers have a great job. That is if the product is good and the market is there and the sales guys work half as hard as the sales manager does. These ifs can kill sales managers and get their resumes on the street.

Let’s put aside that the product is good and the market is there. What about the sales people. Sales guys, and I have met many like this, can spin good yarns about deals to drop and drop they may or may not. So my question is:

“How valuable is accurate, up-to-date sales data?”

I wonder some times, if most sales managers value sales data. The lean, mean, hungry ones are all over accurate forecasts and some of the older, set in stone guys, are not. And I was the latter too several years ago. I am a high volume guy, I need lots of leads and deals flying around and when this stopped happening during the last down turn I got worried. And I wondered what I could do to change my sales business.

Desperation or inspiration moves people to change and I was desperate. So I got organized, I started using a sales software tool to manage all leads and opportunities. No magic wand, is sales software, but I sure could see where I stood. Each day I could work to move deals along, each day I could measure progress toward quota. 4 x quota is what I needed in qualified deals and boy, the sales software showed where I was weak.

I learned that I was good at getting in the door but bad at moving to close with many leads. I saw that my conversion rates were just not high enough and I thought about this. I started to structure my sales cycles better, to plan and to share my plans with the prospects. I then got agreement to this structure from prospects and my conversion rates went up.

I learned much more about my selling business because of a my sales software usage.

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