Chapter Three of our “Best BOD Decks” series zoomed in on the Marketing Update. In Chapter Four, we’re sharing tried-and-true best practices for sales leaders battling sky-high quotas, dried-up pipelines, and more.
Acing your sales presentation to the board isn’t easy, and the preparation starts long before everyone convenes in the conference (or Zoom) room. But, follow these best practices, and you might just put some wind in your sales ahead of the big meeting.
Best Practice #1: Measure the Output for Every Input
The best sales leaders understand how every step in the sales process, from lead qualification to expansion bookings, is trending. At every stage of the sales lifecycle, you should measure the resources being allocated and map these to their respective outputs.
A birdseye view is crucial. Take a step back and determine if your sales operation is optimally structured and if your processes require a second look.
Here are some foundational sales elements worth reevaluating to ensure you’re not cleaning up too many messes down the road:
- Systems – Does your current combination of software support optimal ramp time and reduce friction?
- Training – Is your training program and mentorship/coaching approach improving the performance of account executives?
- Procedures – Have you provided sales team members with the materials and processes needed to successfully close deals?
Best Practice #2: Proactive > Reactive
The same proactivity required to reevaluate your sales processes extends to your sales results. What is moving the needle and what isn’t?
Actively identify the primary drivers of efficiency in your sales machine and closely monitor how these results are trending on a daily and weekly basis. This allows you to preempt any impending dips in sales performance.
For example, a review of sales calls might find that discovery conversations often derail when pricing comes up. Or maybe you study the most common objections to your product and realize many prospects lose interest later in the sales cycle. Observe your team’s successes and opportunities from multiple angles: Is the right champion being targeted at these companies? When are prospects going dark? What customer personas generate a high win rate?
Dig into the data early and often. Leverage your findings. Replicate what’s working and course-correct as needed so you’re in the best possible shape at the end of the quarter.
Best Practice #3: Benchmark to Future Expectations
A lot can change in sales from day to day. It’s easy to get caught up in the now. But sales leaders must pair their quick decision-making and improvisational skills with a big-picture mindset if they want to build a first-class sales organization.
This means benchmarking to future expectations and scaling your sales team for future budgets. The best sales leaders have a strong grasp of their current lead gen, pipeline, and bookings capacity, and understand what these KPIs need to look like in two, three, four quarters to make budget.
Sufficient lead gen, late-stage pipeline, and Account Executive (AE) capacity are paramount to maintaining your growth targets. Hiring ahead is a must. Analyze the quota capacity needed to support growth in forward periods and hire accordingly so sales reps have enough time to ramp up and hit their numbers.
Sales leaders should also frequently assess the tools, literature, tribal knowledge, and other resources utilized by AEs to see if they align with future projections. A refresh may be required in order to boost efficiency.
Additional Sales Tips
We can’t promise smooth sale-ing, but if you measure the outputs of your inputs, proactively fine-tune your sales approach, and benchmark to future expectations, that board meeting should be far less grueling.
Need a hand assembling the slides for your board deck? We’ve got you covered. Inspired by the sales leaders we’ve worked with over the years, the slides below will help you get the ball rolling.
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