When our clients come to us to improve their sales planning processes, they often have a misdirected focus. Their sales teams are spending too much time “working around the opportunities.” The key to driving qualified pipeline, however, is focusing your team on the territory, not opportunities.
A sales franchise mindset demands your reps work smarter. They build pipeline at the territory level and they’re more accountable for the forecast. When your sales team sees their own territories as their own business unit, the level of building pipeline is elevated.
Your ask to your reps in territory reviews should be, “What is your franchise doing right now to generate pipeline?”
With a sales franchise mindset, your reps own the plan to make the plan. They’re committing pipeline activities that target specific accounts (e.g., here are my marketing activities, the events I’m holding, here’s why these activities will generate pipeline, etc. . .). Because they’re building pipeline at the territory level, they have a better understanding of what their franchises will produce. As a result, they’ll be able to better articulate their ask of “the brand” (the sales leadership, marketing, etc. . . ), to define how the organization’s resources can plug into the plan. By working higher, sellers can also better evaluate the risk of their pipeline and, as a sales team you can take steps early to mitigate any problems.
The pipeline generation process is one of the greatest areas for sales managers to add value. As a sales leader, help your sellers build the activities needed to develop qualified pipeline:
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- Analyze the territory white space and the new accounts to be pursued
- Analyze the untapped space within an account
- Determine the areas of greatest opportunity to build pipeline
Once you know the gaps, you will know how to collaborate with the rep to move pipeline through the sales process. If your sellers see their territories as their own business unit, they are (1) accountable for the forecast and (2) the planning process becomes a way for you to get the mind share of the sales rep and plug into their plan.
There’s no scrambling to close deals that aren’t ready. Your territory and account reviews are more productive and you’ll have fewer surprises at the end of the quarter. You are a better sales leader because you leverage your own line-of-sight, while coaching your reps to make their own “sales franchises” successful. Read more about developing a sales franchise mindset for your sales team, by downloading our guide below.