Predictable Sales Forecasting: Do You Know Your SOE?
Back to basics
We have all heard it, and seen it (either with Zoom or in person). The sales meeting where another rep gets brutally skewered by sales management for a sh***y forecast or the lack of ability to rattle off what will close this month. What’s even worse is sales manager that gets mad when forecasts are missed, and reps can’t answer simple questions on BANT (See what is BANT? if you don’t know). And there is almost no coaching!
Here we are in Q4. And you are one of two types of sales people: the Joyous kind or the Stressed kind. Most of the stress, or joy, comes from an ingrained understanding of what is called the sequence of events(SOE). In sales, the key to predictability and meeting forecasts is knowing how your signed deal will flow through an organization. A single question will not get you the full picture, and here are some questions you need to ask for a complete picture as early in the sales process as possible. Here they are, in no particular order:
When is the project slated to start?
How far in advance will you need licenses?
Is the project staffed?
Who needs to sign off on this purchase?
Will this go through purchasing?
How long does it take for the approval process?
How long for a purchase order?
Will this go through legal? Typical turnaround?
How long does your approval process typically take?
Are there any red flags in the legal agreements we should address now?
Will anyone in the chain of signature be taking vacation?
These are in no specific order, you will need to arrange them based on the situation and size of the organization. Asking these soon rather than later can give you a firm timeline to close, and prevent last minute surprises that can ruin your sales plan. Did I miss any?