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Ryan Plourde, Crowe Horwath

Why Your Sales Reps Should Be Required to Track Upside Revenue

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Upside revenue indicates opportunities that are advanced in the sales process, but you're not committing them to close within the current quarter.

A shortsighted sales organization will only require sales reps to forecast, and track, current opportunities, scheduled to close in the current quarter. Not that are equal to the amount of the sales rep’s goal.

But if you don’t track upside, as the current quarter draws to a close, you won’t be able to get visibility into how a sales rep is going to carve out their total revenue number for the year, and that's key. Also, what if opportunities fall out of the forecast? How will you be able to pull something in if upside in the pipeline isn’t tracked? To meet the forecast, you could make it attractive for a customer to buy now. But you’ll never know if there is no visibility.

There are a few reasons sales reps don’t like to track upside.

Issue #1: It’s more work – it puts more administrative responsibility on the rep to enter more sales opportunities. No one likes this and it’s just easier not to.

Issue #2: It provides exposure. A lot of sale reps are guarded about entering opportunities in the earliest stages of the sales cycle. They don't want to expose themselves by putting in any opportunities that they don't feel good about or have enough information about, if those deals don’t move forward there will be more questions and oversight of these opportunities.to answer.

Each of these issues need to be addressed if an organization if going to be on top of meeting sales revenue against their sales goals.

In my experience, a sales manager should actively manage how much upside is being tracked in each territories pipeline. A simple way of doing this is to come up with a multiple that can be used against the sales goal. For example 2x the sales goal.  So a sales rep would need to enter and track two times in pipeline upside revenue versus what is being forecasted to close against their sales goal. So if the rep’s goal is $100,000.00, they should have at least $200,000.00 in upside. Not only is this important to cover slippage in the current quarter’s forecast, it’s just as important for a rep to carve out another $100,000 at the beginning of the next quarter.

If I’m the VP of Sales and I look at Joe Salesman and he has zero upside being tracked and we are in Week 10 of the quarter, well I don't feel very confident that he's going to be able to carve out a forecast to meet next quarter’s goal. This can be addressed sooner rather than later.

If the rep knows that the sales manager is tracking upside and it impacts their revenue goals and potentially their jobs, that solves Issue #1.

Solving Issue # 2 is even easier. If an organization says tracking upside is important, but they don't want to overburden their reps, they can use Microsoft Dynamics CRM with the AbleBridge EditAble CRM Grid tool. This tool allows for quick entry and updating of information, in an Excel like grid, without opening individual records. (Read: How to Make Dynamics CRM So Easy Even Your Star Salesman Will Use It)

This tool allows greater user productivity for the sales rep and less of an excuse to say, "it's too time-consuming to put in all my opportunities."

When sales management takes those barriers off the table tracking a complete pipeline, including upside, will provide less risk to the forecast and set the appropriate expectations of what it takes to ensure sales goals are being met.

To talk about how your organization can better track data in Microsoft Dynamics CRM contact AbleBridge, 877-600-2253 or [email protected].

By AbleBridge, Massachusetts Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gold Partner, www.ablebridge.com

Twitter: @AbleBridge

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