As a sales manager, you may think that forecasting and tracking current sales opportunities, those scheduled to close in the current quarter is good enough. We might argue that it is good enough if you are only concerned with staying in business for the current quarter. For those intent on long term success, there is another important category to track and that is upside opportunities.
Upside opportunities represent sales that are viable, but not far enough along in the pipeline to forecast for closing in the current quarter; they shouldn’t be neglected because they may be crucial in the long run. They should also be tracked because doing so will provide a much clearer picture of where your sales team, and your business, is heading.
If a sales rep looks like he may not meet his current goals, or if one of his opportunities falls through, he will need those upsides to draw customers from. Perhaps there is an upside opportunity that could be hurried along if the sales manager authorized a discount or some other perk. If the rep is meeting his current sales goals, an astute manager will also want to know how he plans to get a jump on the next quarter’s goals.
So why wouldn’t your team want to track all opportunities, even those which seem a bit too distant to predict? One reason is that, of course, it takes more time and no salesperson wants to spend time pushing pencils when he could be out selling. Also, your sales reps may hold back from entering opportunities that are just getting off the ground in the sales cycle. If those opportunities don’t pan out, the rep will have to answer a few questions about why not or accept some help from his manager.
The responsibility for this issue should be taken on by the sales manager. He should decide how much upside should be tracked in each of his team members’ pipelines. A simple formula might be a multiple used against the sales goal. For instance, a workable example might be twice the sales goal. Each rep would be required to enter and track, in his pipeline, upside representing twice what is currently forecast to close. If the rep’s goal is $100,000, he should have at least $200,000 in upside. Not only is this important to cover slippage in the current quarter’s forecast, it’s just as important for a rep in carving out another $100,000 at the beginning of the next quarter.
If the rep doesn’t have a reasonable amount in upside opportunities, the sales manager can work with him to insure that he gets back on track before he falls farther behind. Knowing that the sales manager is monitoring the upside, the rep will be more diligent about following up with those opportunities when the time is right.
As for the objection that tracking upside takes more time; we have a solution for that. Crowe EditAble CRM Grid
allows for quick entry and updating of information, in an Excel-like grid, without having to open individual records. Its ease of use will allow for greater productivity without eating into the teams valuable sales time. Sales reps will be more focused and organized to reach their goals and sales managers will have the insight to oversee the entire organization’s pipeline to ensure that sales goals are met.
Tracking the entire pipeline, including upside, just makes good business sense; and Crowe EditAble CRM Grid makes it easier for everyone.