Software for Sales Managers

Manager's Minute

It’s Time to Implement the Shot Clock

by Adam Cuzzort

Time kills all deals. Say it with me now “time kills all deals”. We know this to be true from so many different angles. Whether we are talking about lead response time or actual sales cycles the longer a deal is open the less likely it is to close. In every sales team we’ve worked with, every data set we’ve evaluated, actual average sales cycles are much shorter than what the teams currently work from. The key reason being that every outlier, most importantly the longest deals, stretch that average sales cycle. 

When you remove the outliers and look at the central tendency, in other words, the most likely outcome, we always see shorter windows for successful deals. This has been something I’ve worked from even before starting Canopy. One of the best exercises I have ever implemented is the “Shot Clock”. 

Here’s how it works.

1) Identify your average sales cycle. 2) Shave 10% of the days off from whatever that number is today. 3) Any deal that starts to get close to that number in age, is a shot clock violation. 4) No more than 3 shot clock violations allowed. 

When a deal hits a shot clock violation your seller has to have a very specific plan and path to close the deal. If we haven’t had recent activity, there is no Mutual Action Plan that validates why this is beyond the shot clock, and no contracts are in hand, it’s time to close this deal. 

It sounds crazy but I can assure you that your team is currently working on junk. Wasting cycles and time or even worse betting on deals that will never come in. At the very least it will light a fire under them to get moving and come back with tangible results. In the next 3 months, I can assure you that habits will change, deals will move faster, and things will convert at a higher rate. Good luck!

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