With January in the books it’s time for Sales Leaders to review their sales performance metrics for month one of the 2012 sales plan.  Like we did at the end of last year, we are providing a sales leaders checklist of the information you should include in this review – as well as suggestions on where to focus at this point in the first quarter.

Step 1 – Compare Your Actual Metrics to Sales Plan Targets

Current Cycle Metrics

  • Qualified Pipeline to Quota Ratio
  • Pipeline by Source (current account, new logo, channel, etc.)

Mid-Cycle Metrics

  • Win to Bid Percentage
  • Walkaway Ratio (no bids)

Step 2 – Account Review Action Plans

If you are completing at least one account review a week you have four sets of Action Plan Summaries to follow up on this month.   Review those summaries and provide the appropriate nudges where necessary to keep everything moving.

Step 3 – Update the Sales Forecast

Now that you know which opportunities closed and which ones slid into February you can update your sales revenue forecast with actual data.  Keeping this important model up to date ensures your alignment with the Finance organization as they are refreshing the company forecasts.  (The CFO will become your new best friend if you make this a regular monthly deliverable to her team.)

Step 4 – Meet with Marketing

Marketing plays such an important role in the success of today’s sales model that a once a month is the absolute minimum frequency for this critical team.  Depending on how advanced and integrated with sales your marketing function is, items to cover can include:

  • Lead Pipeline Analysis (how many leads are in each stage, current conversion percentages, values by stage)
  • Website analytics and keyword reports (see what we had to say on this topic in Three Skills Sales Leaders Never Thought They Would Have to Master)
  • Outbound messaging campaign dashboards and review of upcoming campaigns.  Are these programs aligned with your sales strategy (i.e. verticals, geographies, targeted functions and roles, etc.)?

Step 5 – Step Away From the Desk

Sales Leaders need to maintain their relationship with the field.  That means spending face-to-face time with important clients, prospects, field sales managers and sales reps on a regular basis.  Also be sure to meet with your company’s field delivery organization on your trips out of the office.  Yes, being a ‘corporate resource’ is important when your team needs an advocate in HQ, but that doesn’t mean spending all your time in headquarters and meeting rooms.

One month is now done and how you adjust and react to what happened impacts the rest of your sales year.