In my last post Sales Tactics for Dummies – Part Two I went through the decision model approach of Collaborative Decision Making in sales. The objective for using such approach in decision making is to make better decisions when you face a sales tactics problem occurring from an unplanned event. To accomplish that, I pointed out two components;
- Tactical decision model for sales
- Software platform
where (1) was discussed in the previous post. What about the Software platform then? Let’s try to catch up the sales tactics scenario in the previous post. In which parts did we have a need of support? Typically when:
- Peter got information that the sales was dropping in the Report
- …considering alternative Sales Scenarios…
- …he sets an Objective, but
- …there is a need to add and remove constraints (the price was such)
- Then Peter wants to get people involved in an iterative Discussion
- …to bring the Process going forward
- Peter Decides the upon the adjusted scenario and turn it into an Action Plan…
- …where the chosen scenario (eventually) gives new sets of KPI’s
Let’s start from the beginning in this post.
The Report and Scenarios
Peter got the information in some form of format; Excel, CRM, BI-tool, pdf-report etc or simply by phone or e-mail. The important is that Peter also get insights, not only order figures.
Why? Because he in the next step needs to establish an Objective to his organization. My point of view is that Peter need a tool to bridge the Report and the Objective in different alternatives – Scenarios. By respect, the receivers of the objective may not be exactly informed of the topic; in fact they rarely are – but they are the experts in their specific area and need a sort of prepared scenarios to consider to really help Peter.
Many BI-tools have the possibility to run scenarios. However, the use of traditional BI-tools require the scenarios to be prepared when they arrive to Peter. Somebody clever (Finance) guy or girl has to make the preparations in advance. But I’m convinced that the preparation task has to be done by Peter himself or a member of the management team directly with the real-time data. By elaboration, Peter and the management team starts to think of “why”, “what if” and so on. This types of thoughts and scenario comparisons are part of the decision process as well and I think this is not a VP Finance task, it’s a Business Executive task.
It’s important the management team take active part in the scenario elaboration process to secure the objective provided to the organization is the scenario the management believes in.
The scenario elaborations are also a way for Peter and his team to control that the strategic goals can be achieved. Case scenarios can be prepared determined by business constraints and criteria Peter, the team and Board see it.
Therefore, in a scenario tool you have to have the possibility to sketch up reasonable sales scenarios to be able to communicate them to selective parts of your organization in a way they can understand them and contribute to the decision process in a constructive and creative manner.
The time perspective is also an important parameter. If we are not meeting the budgets, when can we be on track again? If we are required to catch up in three weeks or in five months, is a complete different situation. Here comes the constraints in (see later blog post) – i e it’s impossible to do 56 sales meetings in one week, even if meeting the strategic goals would demand it. Catching up during a longer period would wait to see the results, but provide a more calm sales management coaching.
And by having the correct basic data directly from your CRM-system you later on in the collaborative decision making process can set up the proper measurements and sub goals – KPI’s based on the new business criteria.
In the best of worlds, the software platform should include a real-time connection to the source data. In the case of Sales, it’s your CRM-system’s database. The software platform should also present the information as alternatives – scenarios. Best is if the scenarios also show how different alterations impact the sales process. For example; to catch up a declining sales order revenue in coming three months, how does that impact how many sales meetings have to be performed every week or, as in my example in “Part Two blog” how many leads have to be produced to catch up?
Based on actual scenarios with fresh data, Peter easily can provide an distinct Objective, which are the foundation for the coming discussion.
Keep an eye – to be continued.