90 Days This Qtr? 59 to be precise.

This Qtr you have 64 working days(US markets).

And we just finished five of them. That leaves you with 59 working days to smash that $100K quota.

A Qtr is a fancy word.

“My quota for this Qtr is $100K.”

“The feature will be released next Qtr.”

“We need a 21% QoQ growth.”

A Qtr is a fancy word.

What I mean by it? Let’s break it.

“Hey Q2 just started. Gotta smash that $100K quota this Qtr.”

Okay. In your head that is three months. In your head that is 90 days.

gif: dribbble

But here’s the thing: this Qtr you have 64 working days (US markets). And we just finished 5 of them. That leaves you with 59 working days to smash that $100K quota.

Presuming your avg. deal size is $10K, on avg. you ought to close a deal every sixth working day to hit your quota this Qtr. You see it now?

Breaking a quarter into months and months into weeks and weeks into days gives a fair idea of measurement for a revenue stream you have already figured.

With that understanding, giving back your reps their time to sell is critical. There are too many variables outside your control but then too many we care little to pay heed to.

gif: dribbble

Presume an internal sales meeting of ten reps, scheduled 60mins every week and on avg. the meeting starts 5mins late and goes longer than planned by 10mins. Take a moment to reflect if that is true to your meetings. Else this is a futile exercize with no outcomes for you.

In net effect a rep spends 5mins of unutilized time and 10mins more than planned on this meeting. That’s 50mins of unutilized time for your team of 10 reps and 100mins more time spent than planned per meeting. The team together just spent 2.5 hours more than intended on every 60min meeting.

At scale, every rep every quarter is spending 3hours more on this weekly recurring meeting. The team together is spending 30 hours more every quarter on this meeting.

gif: cgp

If you are a leader, the onus is on you to drive this behavioural shift that in effect translates into company culture.

And that is but one meeting. Now think at scale on the effect every min lost on meetings causes. Think of meetings that could have been emails.

The best thing you could do to your sales teams is to give them back time to sell.

Few suggestions:

  • Do not schedule meetings to share information. Period. There are channels for that: Email and Slack.
  • A meeting without an agenda is a meeting for meeting’s sake.
  • Publish meeting agenda at least a day in advance

  • Share data for the meeting at least a day in advance with hyperlinks to your source data (on CRM, etc.) so there are no ambiguities (ex: We are projecting new business growth for the Qtr by 20%. Here’s how we arrived at it.) It gives time for people to clarify questions before the meeting.

  • Ask recipients to acknowledge back they read the emailed report and the agenda. When people commit to something in writing, they will always be careful and this ensures people come prepared for the meeting and the meeting is not information sharing and an avenue for them to clarify doubts regarding the data. Meetings are for decisions.
gif: behance
  • If possible, always present the data at source in your meetings. Present data “on the CRM” and not outside it in Excel or Sheets.
  • Use DRI. This piece of fantastic advice comes from Steve Jobs. Jobs had this practice of marking every single outcome on the meeting attached to “one single stakeholder” – the Directly Responsible Individual (DRI). Say one of the questions in the meetings is if one of the google paid campaigns is working. And you would say “Marketing team please confirm this in the next meeting.” Everyone nods and that is all. You are doing this wrong. Share your screen, clearly list out items to clarify by next meeting in a sheet. Against this paid ads question, add to the DRI column, the “name” of the person within Marketing who owns this. It can’t be the entire function clearly and marking the DRI clears out who’s answerable for this.

There’s enough variables in an ever changing world already not in our control. But there’s enough in our control that we care less about. Meetings are just one aspect of giving back the time to your teams to do what they do best. If you are a leader, the onus is on you to drive this behavioral shift that in effect translates in a while to “company culture”. Why do you think all Amazon meetings “start with silence”? Jeff Bezos drove that culture at Amazon. Jobs drove the DRI culture at Apple. And as a leader, so should you at your org and for your team.

Ian Cairns on Twitter

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