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Sales Forecast and the Fly on the Wall

My superpower is being a fly on the wall, and I love it. As a sales coach it’s where I add most value to my customers – observing the conversations sales leaders have with their people, especially in their forecast and 1:1 cadence meetings.

The focus on sales forecast isn’t going away so the meetings have to happen. Even though they’re time-consuming and often become a one-way street of checking and information gathering. But it’s a great opportunity for sales leaders to turn the time invested into something much more productive.

Last week while observing a sales director in the US doing his regular cadence, I had an ‘Aha’ moment; a blinding flash of the blooming obvious.

I was observing through my ‘coaching lens’ and noticed he was breaking quite a few coaching ‘rules’. For example, he started off by bowling in to questions about the salesperson’s first deal and then handing out suggestions. And yet, it was working! The sales director was getting solid information for reporting, the salesperson was getting valuable ideas AND showing total commitment to the actions. So why was it working when coaching ‘rules’ where being broken?

Then it struck me, the ‘Aha’ moment

…it may not have been stated as the goal of this meeting but it was obvious, the primary focus for this sales director was enabling his salesperson to make their number.

The sales director confirmed this in our debrief when he said “When we take people on board we create an expectation they will smash their numbers and it’s my job to make sure we meet those expectations.”

With so much attention on forecast and reporting it’s easy to lose sight of what should be the primary focus for sales leaders, but when the focus is there it has the power to make even a routine forecast call very productive.