Not Just How Much but When

Conventional sales asks; how much is the deal worth? How much did you sell? Most sales people and organizations are fixated on how much is sold and justifiably so. The more that is sold, the healthier the company, the stronger the sales team. How much is an important measurement.

There is another measurement I think needs to get more attention than it does. It’s “when” is it going to be sold.

In sales it’s not good enough to know how much you are going to sell, it’s also important to know when you are going to sell it.

Being able to accurately predict when a sale will close is part of the science of sales. The most successful sales people are good at this and they make a huge impact on an organization.

Organizations need to manage cash, revenue, product deployment, inventory and more. Sales prediction plays a hug role in the success of all of these. Without accurate sales predictions companies are often left scrambling to deliver, face inventory issues, miss Wall St. projections and more.

I don’t see enough focus on the predictability of sales. I rarely see teams or individuals measured on predictability. On the “carrot” side, I can’t say I hear sales people lauded for their accuracy. It doesn’t happen very often and it should.

I think every sales person and sales team needs to commit to their numbers. Every quarter they need to tell the organization how much they are going to sell. They need to commit to a monthly number and a quarterly number and standby it. At the end of each quarter commits should be reviewed for accuracy. Who go it right? Who missed it?

Measure the people and teams on how accurate they are and rank them. It’ll provide great insight into who knows their business and who has command of the sales cycle and who doesn’t.

Good sales people make their number. Great sales people make their number and accurately tell you when they will do it.

It’s not good enough just to know how much, you need to know when.

How accurate are you?

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