For media companies launching teams of hunters, a key issue for managers is tracking how the pipeline is building. But not all media organizations have a pipeline-style Customer Relationship Management platform.
In short, if sales take two or three calls to close, and the rep is spending most of the day in the field, how can a manager quickly see if a rep is on track, overall?
The simple worksheet can help.
First, the rep plugs in what is already booked - just the total number will suffice - for the upcoming month.
Then the rep lists their best prospects with an estimate of how much they will spend if closed that month into the column with their best guess as to how close the account is to closing, expressed as a percentage.
The worksheet estimates the upcoming month's billing, and how much new business is needed.
Here's an example:
A couple of notes on using these forecasts:
1. Plan to create them on the third or fourth week of the prior month. The third week will provide more time to react if the forecast is low.
2. Watch for lists that stay the same month-to-month. It's always a good idea to have the prior forecasts on hand. Worksheets too similar to prior month mean that rep is not adding new business, but calling on the same accounts.
3. Copy forecasts from successful reps to show new reps what it "should look like." Typically, the right hand columns fill up first, then the business shifts left as it get closer to closing. Long lists in the 80% and 50% columns means that the pipelines are filling up.
4. Use the worksheet to talk about strategy. Obviously, if new business is needed, the conversation is about the number of appointments and where to prospect. However, you can also see and discuss size of accounts, categories etc.
The imaginary rep in the example above had been calling on $500 a month acccounts, shown in the 80% column, but had switched their strategy to call on more $1500+ accounts, which are now in the 50% column. These are taking longer to close but obviously a successful strategy! The worksheet lets the manager "see" and acknowledge development of the pipeline - good behaviors that have not yet shown up in the revenue number.
5. For reps making lots of new calls, the 10% column is actually not very useful because it can get overly long. So rather than creating a new chore, ask reps only to list their "top 25" or based on another strategic focus, such as a targeted category, account size, or neighborhood. You are really looking for a snapshot to talk about.
6. Keep the worksheet paperless in the Cloud. You can use Dropbox, or Google docs if the company's shared space if over-crossed.
Many thanks to those who shared their worksheets! If you have a favorite management tool, please share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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