Sales For Life has been in business for the last seven years, and just like any company we have our natural ebbs and flows. As a result, we monitor the peak times when customers will typically look for sales performance training. We’ve found that the #1 time of the year when companies invest in training is around sales kickoff in January and February, with the second peak time in June, July, and August.
Why invest in training during the summer months?
June, July, and August are usually the slowest times for sellers in the market. This means you have an opportunity to increase the yield and throughput of your sellers—and prepare them for the most important quarter, which is Q4. The skills your sales team learns today will translate to actions and activities throughout the summer months of September and October, and help you roll into 2020.
Here are some action areas that will help you look at your pipeline development, and where training can help your sales team.
1. Action areas
Analyze where you’re struggling with pipeline development. Pipeline development is the #1 leading indicator for any sales department, so this step is critical. Hopefully, marketing is providing a portion of your pipeline creation, but your sales team is responsible for the remainder.
You need to analyze:
- What is the pipeline coverage of every seller today – is it in a healthy position?
- Take a macro overview of your pipeline coverage. What specific skills and abilities are your sales team lacking that is affecting its pipeline creation?
- You need to understand what they need to learn most – is it lead identification, account selection, account planning, or first touch engagement? Where are they struggling to create sales-qualified leads and opportunities?
2. Don’t do this alone
I’ve written 1,000 blogs about capabilities and skills training. If you had the skills to do this internally, you would’ve already done it. Don’t think that you’re magically going to pontificate some new way of pipeline creation. Seek a partner; find people who have served companies have helped your competitors and served your customers. The playbooks they’re running can really help you advance your pipeline creation, by specifically identifying leads and new ways to target accounts.
3. Act now to secure a budget
Your 2nd quarter might end on June 30, rolling into the 3rd quarter. You need to sit down with the CFO and General Manager now and understand where there might be surpluses. Are there surpluses in headcount? Are there surpluses available because you didn’t roll out some specific tools? You as the sales leader need to take it on yourself to acquire the funds to make something happen. The pipeline isn’t going to magically appear for you.
Bottom line: The summer months are when you can restock the shelves in the skills and capabilities of your sales team, so you can create greater yield and throughput from each seller going into September and October, and into 2020.