Feast or famine is defined as a situation in which something is always either extremely abundant or in extremely short supply. In this case, that something is sales leads. Do you often have times when your team is so busy that you can barely manage it all? Are they followed by times when your team is frantically making calls in the hopes of drumming up new business?
If you answered yes, you are a victim of feast or famine. Admitting it is the first step. Now, let’s focus on how you can get off this seemingly never ending treadmill and positon your sales team to always have a steady flow of leads coming in the door.
Most sales teams who find themselves on the feast or famine treadmill are reactive. When they receive a new lead, they nurture it, taking it through the sales cycle, closing the deal. But then they wait for the next lead and if the next lead doesn’t come, the famine begins. If you allow your sales team to get too comfortable at feast time, they neglect building their sales pipeline and when the easy leads dry up, they find themselves in panic mode.
Successful sales teams mitigate the risk of going into famine by always being proactive when it comes to leads. They don’t just sit back and wait for the marketing team to provide them; they go out and get them by making calls, attending networking events and developing their own presence as a subject matter expert on social media. It’s when you already have an abundance of leads coming in the door that you must not rest on your laurels but still have that hustle mentality to keep bringing in more.
Identify Your Ideal Output
It’s key for sales managers to identify the ideal level of output the sales team is capable of consistently producing. To do this, take a recent six month period where business was steady. Total the gross sales of that period and then divide it by 126 (the number of workdays in a six-month period). This will provide a daily and weekly output for your team to strive for. It can also serve as a warning, alerting you that your team is underperforming, allowing you to make necessary changes before the end of the quarter when it’s too late to make an impact on your sales numbers.
Forecasting is Your Friend
Take your daily and weekly sales capacity and apply it to the schedule. For example, a sales team who can comfortably close 50 deals per week might aim to schedule no less than 10 sales calls per day (preferably more to account for those that don’t close quickly). By forecasting, the sales rep knows when to walk away from a dead-end deal and when to focus on filling their schedule in a week that may have unused capacity. Forecasting gives you the ability to see what is happening with your sales team in time to change direction if necessary.
The secret to ending the cycle of feast or famine is to never stop growing your pipeline. Never stop looking for the next opportunity, no matter how busy you are now. Always remember that famine could be waiting for you just around the corner.