The end of the first quarter is only days away. It’s the first critical milestone of the year and will establish the momentum for the next quarter. Possibly the rest of the year. And for sales leaders, it can be a major factor in determining whether they have a job in June.
So how can sales enablement leaders help sales teams make their numbers?
It takes more than a sense of urgency and a few encouraging emails. At the end of each quarter sales enablement should execute the following five critical motions:
1. Pull data. The most impactful way for sales enablement to move the needle at the end of the quarter is to study the data. Sales enablement not only has great deal data, they tend to analyze it more frequently than sales leaders and managers.
By this time in the quarter either you’ve built the pipeline or you haven’t. Right now, it’s all about opportunity management. So, what can the data tell you?
- Can a focus on certain products make a difference?
- What selling situations are winning deals? How many of those are in the pipeline?
- Are any teams or specific reps close to hitting their numbers? With the right coaching, can these folks can cross the finish line?
- Beyond pipeline quantity, look at the quality of deals. Are reps pursuing the right customers? The right markets? Are they spending time with hopeless cases, or can sales enablement recognize customers with high potential and direct reps toward those?
Sales enablement can also record and review coaching conversations to identify techniques of particularly good coaches and improvements needed for poor coaches.
2. Dive into the details. Sales enablement needs to know where their reps are. Literally – where are they? Are they spending time with the right customers? And figuratively – how close are they to hitting their number? To really understand where everyone is, they need to focus on the specifics for these last few weeks. Get obsessed with marginal gains. An extra hour here or there across the system generates revenue.
Sales leaders need to drive specific actions from their managers. They need to ask stronger questions:
- Where are your reps spending their time?
- Have you reviewed their calendars for the next two weeks? Are they pushing for near-term gains?
- Are they spending time in the right markets?
3. Look at the new hires. Where do they need help? Nothing will solidify a new hire’s loyalty to the organization like making their quarterly number. In addition, look at last year’s new hires. How many of them have opportunities in late stage? What’s needed to get them across the line?
4. Pivot. The best sales reps know how to study the situation and the buyer. They pivot to the sales play that will help them move the deal forward. But, more often than not, a rep will quickly know how to pivot because he’s seen similar deals before. He can move faster.
What patterns are reps and sales enablement seeing in late stage deals? Are there common themes, like a need for pricing approvals, a need to position against a competitor, or a need to build urgency? Each of these situations should be lined up with a set of plays. Sales enablement can ensure these plays are well defined and supported with the right materials. They can also make sure the team is running the right end-of-quarter plays.
5. All hands on deck. It’s not just the reps that need to pivot. During the end-of-the-quarter rush, the entire sales enablement team needs to jump in to do the work necessary to finish the quarter strong.
For example, sales enablement teams usually have a group of trainers able to work with field sales teams. These trainers can be great resources, beyond structured training. Typically they have the experience and skill to help the field managers coach the reps. They can also work directly with the reps, going on ride-alongs and providing direct feedback. Consider these folks a sales SWAT team, deployed to the most challenged markets and capable of saving good deals.
In addition to stepping in to help close a successful quarter, sales enablement leaders can also create long-term success by making these changes programmatic. They can use data for end-of-quarter recommendations. They can help managers and reps make sure everyone is spending their time with the right deals. They can focus on new hires, jump in as additional coaching expertise, and above all – help everyone on the team to practice pivoting toward the customer.
Reps need a new toolset, skillset, and mindset to execute modern opportunity management. This means a new approach to sales enablement that helps reps better diagnose and build alignment around the problem-solution set.
Access our latest research insights on how sales enablement can improve win rates and average deal sizes with a smarter approach to selling. Contact us to learn more and win more.
About The Author
Ralph is a partner with The Brevet Group, and for 20 years he has led sales performance teams in the United States and Asia. Recently he also served as a sales leader in both the media and technology industries. Ralph’s work has focused on a unique blend of management consulting and sales enablement to help companies execute their sales strategies. Prior to this role, Ralph was the APAC sales effectiveness leader at Mercer.