Business

7 Things Every Sales VP Should Know About Sales Forecasting 

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Imagine you just received an urgent message from the directors at your company. They have to make an immediate decision that will set the direction of the company for the next five years. The decision will be based primarily on the sales forecast for which you own responsibility.

The meeting is in one hour, and they need you to present an accurate sales forecast.

If this were to happen to you, would you be able to deliver an accurate forecast? If you’re not sure, consider these seven things that can help you foster accurate sales forecasting.

1. Prepare 30, 60 and 90 Day forecasts.

Most salespeople and sales managers can accurately estimate what is going to be happening during these time frames. As a result, you should be able to get good data for these timeframes from the sales team.  

2. Make it easy.

Make sure the sales forecasting process your team must develop and maintain is simple and straightforward. If your CRM is difficult or confusing, your sales team is less likely to use it. Keeping it simple improves your ability to keep it accurate.

3. Scrutinize the forecasted sales carefully.

You’ve heard the expression, “You can’t believe everything that you read.” This probably was originally written about sales forecasts. Don’t trust the information you see without applying some good old fashion common sense.

For example, you might see that certain sales opportunities have been in the pipeline for an extended period of time and that the close date keeps being reset to some point in the future. If you see this, question the sales team regarding the real status of the opportunity and, unless the sales managers can give you a compelling reason to keep them active, consider eliminating these opportunities from the forecast.

4. Develop a sniff test.

Develop some rule of thumb guidelines to help you quickly assess if something doesn’t look right in the forecast. For example, your average sale per salesperson is $ 25,000 and the average sales person sells 10 deals per month. That translates into a typical monthly forecast of $250,000. Any out of the ordinary numbers should raise a flag. Developing some quick review metrics will help you sniff out problems quickly and correct any mistakes.

5. Make sure the sales forecast and the sales goals are consistent with one another.

If you plan to sell $48M annually, then make sure your quarterly sales forecast is consistently tracking at $12M.  If you have sales goals tied to products, make sure you are forecasting sales by product line and watch for deviations in the forecasts. There should be clear alignment between sales goals and sales forecasts.

6. Make sure your sales forecasts are consistently reviewed to determine accuracy.

If they are not accurate, analyze why and make adjustments to improve your next forecast.

7. Have great reporting tools.

Make sure you can quickly and easily pull current pipeline data out of the CRM. Make sure that the reports you get are in their final format. Don’t get data that you then have to manipulate, summarize or sum up separately in another program. If getting your reports takes multiple steps or involvement from multiple resources, figure out a way to change the process.


Having these seven things down will give you the ability and confidence to predict and present an accurate sales forecast when the pressure is on, even when your leadership team gives you only one hour to prepare!

Author: Mack Powers

Source: Xoombi

 

 


6 Things Great Sales Leaders Do

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(via xoombi.com)

Sales leadership is one of the most difficult jobs in business today.

I've always enjoyed watching great leaders in action. When you observe the best, there are six things you'll notice that great sales leaders do.

1. Culture

Leaders define the culture. It begins with establishing a higher level of thinking reinforced with an understanding of how the organization responds in the face of a challenge. And, just as importantly, how it behaves during times of success. Leaders are first people who represent the brand and create an environment for success.

2. Opportunity

Leaders can see into the future and make decisions that will open doors for opportunity. They embrace up-and-coming talent and new ideas. Driven by an unyielding commitment, they take their people and the organization to a higher level of excellence.

3. Development

Leaders gain an edge when they develop their people. It lays the foundation for greatness and creates an "always be learning" attitude. Everything is about coaching, continuous improvement, finding ways to get better, and moving forward in a positive direction.

4. Performance

Leaders understand the business and the key performance indicators that generate results. They build strategic initiatives around leading indicators rather than lagging indicators. They assess a situation, connect the dots, and provide high value recommendations to improve results.

5. Empowerment

Leaders empower their people. Clear expectations, coupled with supreme confidence, allows leaders to step back and watch their people make their own decisions, decisions that will shape not only the present, but the future of the organization. They understand the power of putting people in a position to shine.

6. Recognition

Leaders recognize and reward top performance. They don't wait until the end of the year to celebrate success. Great sales leaders look for daily opportunities to provide sincere and timely recognition. They make their people feel valued, secure, and energized.

 

Author: Doyle Slayton, Co-founder @ Xoombi.com


Copper's Conferencing Promotion for the Democratic National Convention (DNC)

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Road closures here in Denver are gonna be very disruptive during next week's Democratic National Convention.  What an opportunity!

Copper Conferencing is doing a promotion for those Denver-based companies affected by these week-long issues with our local commute.  FREE CONFERENCING FROM COPPER THROUGH AUGUST 31, 2008!

Detailed Coverage in the Denver Post

Denver companies can request FREE Conferencing accounts here.


Our 2nd Anniversary @ Copper Conferencing

Man...time flies.  Happy Birthday Copper Conferencing!

As I start to write this post, we are eclipsing the second anniversary at Copper Conferencing.  The holding company was founded in April of 2006 with nothing more than a loose business plan amongst industry veterans to raise private money. We acquired our first company in July, 2006 with the help of our first loyal investor.  (Events, June 2006) marking the official start of Copper Conferencing from my perspective.

Since June 2006, we have grown over 630% with another larger acquisition and awesome organic sales growth (80+%) in channel sales our first sales organization that we developed.

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We started on day 1 with 2 employees, my wife Amy and me, working from Amy's dining room table...our first office (thanks Amy!).  Our 3rd employee Kelli came the very next day, in Atlanta...and we were off.  For 6 months, a total of up to 5 employees worked at the company, which was headquartered in the dining room of my home until January 2007 when we moved in to our first office in Broomfield, CO...a huge milestone.

After raising some professional money and surviving a year of semi-organized growth, we acquired another conferencing company in January, 2008...our biggest achievement to date, moving into our second more accomodating office in our building at around that same time.

There were a few classic challenges in integration since merging.  (Another post for sure)  We now have a very strong company with 25 great employees in 3 US offices: Denver, Atlanta and San Diego.

We are now at a very fun time in the business, where we get to 'turn the dials'...making improvements that matter most, like cutting unnecessary costs, ramping organic sales, innovating in our relationships with customers, adding more value, etc.

Thanks to all who helped us in the first two years.  Here's to even more excitement in the next two! 

Grazi!


Good Service = Real Value

A Seth Godin Blog Post today that particularly hits home with Copper Conferencing:

No such thing as price pressure

Your sales force and your customers may scream that you need to lower your price.

It's not true.

You need to increase your value. If people don't want to pay, it's because you're not delivering enough value for the money you're charging.

You're not selling a commodity unless you want to.

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I cannot stress this enough to our Copper employees and that there is value in better customer service and better customer experiences.  The Copper customers that actually value this tell us and pay a fair price for that service...not the lowest price.  "Customers" being the operative word here. 

So how do you get your "prospective customers" to identify with that very value before they buy when words are just words in the sales process?



Copper Conferencing Continues to Build Its Board of Managers

Aother piece of company news.

It is with pleasure that we announce today that Carolyn Bradfield, an early investor in Copper Conferencing has joined our board of managers at Copper Conferencing.  Carolyn helped me with the initial capitalization to acquire our first conferencing company, JamboTECH in late June of 2006.

I have personally known and worked with Carolyn for over 7 years now in various capacities.  She has been my customer, my boss, an investor and now a board member.  As a result, Carolyn has been extremely impactful on my career to date and I am excited about her participation on our new board as our next business adventure.  Relative to Copper's business plan, Carolyn's experience and industry track record couldn't be more aligned.

Thank you for your staunch support and ongoing participation Carolyn.  Welcome aboard!


Copper Conferencing Adds A New Board Member

Bill Ernstrom, a respected conferencing technology veteran, has joined the Copper Conferencing board of managers. I am proud to say that we know have a well-rounded group of successful conferencing veterans and added financial prowess to contribute to Copper's success.

Yes, we now have a board at Copper Conferencing.  An exciting new step in the growth of our business.  While we have always had incredibly smart individuals who are willing to assist and advise us in our journey, having a board makes for a more official and more formalized level of stewardship.

While operating as a senior manager with board leadership is relatively familiar to me,  managing a board directly as the executive leader in a company is not.   It's exciting.  I view it as my next business challenge and learning opportunity as I forge my progress as an entrepreneur.

Welcome aboard Bill.  I  look forward to working with you.


What A Long Strange Trip It Has Been

Nearly 7 months and four score ago (always wanted to write that), we at Copper Conferencing embarked on a quest to acquire a second and much larger company in the small but rewarding telecommunications space of providing conference calls to business. 

Finally:  Copper Conferencing Acquires The Conference Depot

Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen.  It was truly a monumental effort with many people involved.  The list is lengthy, so more on that later.  Meantime, there is work to get done.

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