Sales ReportingAug 19, 2021
䷤ A playbook for all: C-suite to Account Execs (with template)
Reporting sucks man!
As an IC and a manager I used to prefer to look at a pipeline dashboard and be done with it.
After all, reporting takes up valuable time when we could all be out selling, right?
Wrong. In my opinion, done right reporting forces the person to take a step back from the intense heat of battle for 1 hour a week, reflect, and think strategically, which in turn helps them better prepare to influence internal resources as well as their own time around things that will actually move the needle for them.
Oh and there’s also the small matter of employee happiness too.
Side note: TL;DR.. ..if this is too long for you or you’re in a rush, my reporting template link is at the bottom of the copy, but please do come back and read at some point, the context is probably at least as important as the template 🙏🏼
How my management philosophy bleeds into my reporting
I’m a big believer in the servant leader style of management and a “no surprises” culture. This style bleeds into my expectations when it comes to reporting.
I like to hire people that embrace the values of “being an owner”, and I like to hire people that have a bias towards action and care less for inputs, but rather obsess about outcomes - all in a sustainable and mindful fashion of course.
I also like to have ultra transparent relationships with my team. After all we are in go-to-market, and our work from marketing through to sales and into customer success is laid bare for all to see, so it makes sense that transparency is a key value in GTM leadership.
When and how to run the meetings
I like to run my 1:1s on a Friday local time, where possible. This is the natural time to reflect on the week just passed, and look to the week ahead. I also like to send my team into the weekend with a clear head, so they can relax with friends and family, rather than unnecessarily stewing on anything work related.
Here are my asks of them:
1) Take 1 hour out of your day on Thursday, take your laptop to a different environment than the one you work in daily and reflect on the week passed, whilst keeping the template structure in mind.
2) Focus on outputs.
3) Think ahead, always present solutions.
4) Send me your report, ideally giving me time for me to look over it on Thursday evening my time.
5) Check for comments in your report, before we meet.
A small note on #5. If I get time I like to get into discussion in the actual doc, ahead of the 1:1. I like to do this using comments in GDocs. It gives me the chance to ask clarifying questions and take actions on behalf of my team member even before we’ve had our 1:1.
🚩 How not to run the meetings
If I experience anyone (managers or ICs) running 1:1s as a playback of what I can otherwise read in a CRM or in the report, that’s the surest sign something is not working.
These meetings have to be constructive 2-way brainstorm discussions about how we can move the needle of the company.
Anyone slipping back into inputs (“This week I did this”, “I have closed $X so far this quarter”) is not making good use of our time, and we’ll need to adjust quickly in order to have a strong working relationship.
Template - the breakdown
There are 5 sections:
The quick reference section at the top:
This gives the reader access to key reports should they wish to dive deeper into your data.
It also gives them a snapshot of performance to goal. You have to get performance to goal on and off the table fast, it sets the tone for what is to come. So get it out there, address it head on, and whether you are ahead of, behind or on track to hit goal, do not dwell on this section.
Green - what’s working well, that’s yielding results, that we should lean into. For example:
”Major deal is about to close with X, they are a steal from competitor Y, and will be my biggest deal of the year so far
The Why: Our superior security protocols have been called out vs the competitors. The technical influence is a big fan.
The Ask: It feels like this is hard for our competitors to compete against, can we discuss how we can make more of this to drive a higher volume and quality of leads please?”
Amber - What is work in progress that we are not yet conclusive on but have some early insights worth declaring. For example:
“Started targeting sector Y for the first time, and with a new pitch focused on X and we’ve got interest
The Why: They have a major pain point around Z that we solve for
The Ask: If this goes well over the next couple of weeks, can I have some budget to attend a conference where the buyers from this use case hang out?”
Red - What did not go as expected that we need to consider remedial actions for. For example:
“I’m new in my role and I’d love more structure and cadence to the feedback on my performance in order to ensure that I do an incredible job for you and the company.
The Why: We don’t have formal 1:1s and no structure for 2-way feedback currently
The Ask: I’d like to present you with a report (using this 👆🏼 structure), each week, 24 hours before we meet for 30 minutes weekly, at a time convenient for you, does that work?”
Any Other Business - I like to dedicate this section to the happiness of the employee. It can cover anything from wider company or industry discussion to personal things the employee would like to get out in the open. For example:
“My father is having an operation next week, I’d like to be there for him and my mother through that time. How do you feel about me being in “reactive” vs “proactive” mode for this 24 hour period?
And there you have it. For the last decade I’ve run some version of this style of reporting to successfully report on my own work to my superiors, and have my team report to me.
Was it valuable? If you thought it was, I’d be thrilled if you shared this amongst your peer group in order to build this community of fast growth experts.
I’ve made it easy for you by putting a link right down there.. 👇🏼
And finally, here’s the link to the template, please make a copy, and best of luck out there!
Thank you for reading