If you are in enterprise sales, you are probably working on a quarterly cycle. In a calendar year, the following dates are very important to you:
- March 31, June 30, Sept 30, Dec 31
Every quarter has about 90 days in it…and that seems like a plenty long period of time when it comes to forecasting your deals. Well…it isn’t long enough.
Here’s why. Weekends.
Today is April, 4. You have a deal forecasted to close May 19. Your calendar tells you that you have 45 days to close your deal…but because of weekends, you really only have 34 SELLING days left. What?!
Selling days are the days that both you and your customer have to work on tasks that need to be done in order to progress the deal, overcome objections, negotiate terms and get the PO. You just lost 11 days. “Oops” isn’t going to cut it on forecast day.
Don’t rely on your CRM tool to remind you that time is ticking. Get a handle on your deals…review the tasks that you need to complete and put a close plan together that:
Outlines ALL the tasks that need to be done by you, and by your customer
Identifies HOW long each task will take (it helps to know the purchase process at the customer)
Coincides with the close date on the Calendar so that you HAVE ENOUGH TIME!
In case you are wondering how to do this calculation…its pretty simple. It’s a formula called NETWORKDAYS.
Open an Excel Spreadsheet
- In cell A1 – put today’s date
- In cell A2 – put the expected close date
- In cell A3 – use this formula: =NETWORKDAYS(A1,A2)
Ultimately, the entire goal is to become more accurate in your forecast, and to be realistic about how long it takes to close a deal. Most people don’t think in terms of WORK time, they just think TIME. You will know what I mean when you realize too late that you forecasted a deal to close on a Sunday…which eats up TWO days of selling – because you can’t count on getting anything accomplished on Saturday and Sunday of that week.
This isn’t a lot of work…but it is a great way for you to show your manager, and your extended team that nobody knows your business better than you.
Shift your view. Go close that sale ON TIME!
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