But the reality is that human-based forecasting is subjective and error-prone. A miss in a sales forecast creates pessimism in your market and might impact how your company allocates resources. Business success depends on forecast accuracy, but what happens if the inputs are flawed?
These flaws can be attributed to many causes, and it’s hard to place blame on anyone factor when they happen. The good news is that there are improvements you can make and processes you can put into place to both identify and move past the two most common flaws that result in a failed sales forecast. Let’s take a look at a case study.
John was a competent VP of Sales, leading a focused global team of sellers who had been riding a wave of successful growth. Their company was getting a lot of buzz, and planning for the IPO was already in flight. In fact, the phrase “like shooting fish in a barrel” came to John’s mind as he looked at his increasing growth month over month and quarter over quarter. But last month was different. Every sales leader forecasted a drop in projections. It wasn’t significant, but it was a drop.
The sales managers were confident this was a glitch. Salespeople were not updating their CRM system because they were so busy with their increasing customer demand. At least that was the story that sounded good. It was a logical reason to explain away the miss, and other managers not wanting further inspection jumped onto this argument.
John was now poring overlooking at the forecast data, which showed double-digit decreases in every period forward. He hid his hands in his face and sighed.
In Las Vegas, there are only two ways to lose money: chasing your winnings and chasing your losses. While John and his company’s story is fictional, it’s based on real-life cases of companies. Clayton Christensen, former Harvard Business professor and author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, saw this and the rise and fall of Digital Equipment Company (DEC). The ill-fated story of DEC led him to create his well-known theory of disruptive innovation.
Living with purpose may not be the first thing you thought of when the ball dropped in 2022—a new year ushers in new business metrics, financial goals, and growth targets for many businesses. The results of life in 2021 became codified into reports.
Beyond the numbers is the heart and soul of your company– your people. And if you are leading a company or any part of it, people look to you as a standard. Will you model what's needed? Will others accuse you of living on purpose instead of by default?
There is a fundamental element of succeeding in business that may not be top of mind for you. You want to blitz past your competitors, but you need a clear vision of why you're investing yourself in your business. What makes you leap out of bed in the morning, raring to go? What fires you up, and what gets everyone else moving in your direction?
If it's unclear how you can impact your firm by living with purpose, consider these benefits identified by experts.
1. Living With Purpose Helps You Stay in the Game
Being an entrepreneur demands determination, grit, and persistence. No one will pretend that success is a walk in the park. You have rosy visions of success when you first start, but they seem slightly out of your grasp.
But as all company owners know, unforeseen circumstances, hold-ups, and setbacks are all part of the deal, and you have to learn to roll with the punches as you chase success.
Knowing you're in the Game helps you hang on. Purpose gives you clarity and motivation, no matter what happens.
As you examine your purpose, look at how they align with the organization you lead. What are the core values of the company? What stories do you tell that reinforce these values?
2. Leading with Purpose Promotes Excellence.
If you know your life's purpose, you'll want to give it your best shot every day. You'll want to surround yourself with the best people, get the best advice, and make the best decisions for your firm. When you live on purpose, your team knows you bring meaning to your work, and they sense a difference from someone who is simply clocking their time.
When you know you're in it for the long haul, clarity of purpose means you make decisions not for short-term gain but as an investment in the future. You promote excellence because it is at the core of your life.
What's more, purpose-driven employees are happier, healthier, and more engaged in their work. These involved employees refer others like them to your company, and they are more productive.
3. Your Purpose Can Inspire Others to do the right things
Knowing and living your purpose makes for robust and inspiring leadership. People are attracted to work for someone who has a vision and isn't afraid to go for it.
Living with purpose means you will act with integrity, in alignment with your values. It inspires trust, respect, and confidence. That's what people look for in a leader, in a mentor.
An example of purpose-driven leadership exists in the tragedy of the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11th, 2001. Sandler O'Neill was a small company with a tight-knit culture. On that day, one-third of their corporate family served their last day at work as the towers tumbled. The devastation was monumental. Sandler lost their workforce, customer records, infrastructure, and history. This small company takes the art of showing up to a whole new level.
The CEO decided to go to every employee's funeral. His partners followed. Sandler also paid for deceased employees' salaries through 2001. Right about this time twenty years ago, they approached the CFO with the plan to continue payment to these families for all of 2002. An entire year's salary would be paid to the families, even though employees would not contribute to the bottom line. The CFO thought this was not the right fiduciary move for the business and offered to buy any partner out of the firm. This move spelled rough times, hard work, and sacrifice ahead. Not one partner opted to take the easy road.
4. Helping your team find their purpose increases engagement
If you have not noticed, COVID made employees rethink their relationships with employers. According to a Department of Labor report, as the Great Resignation continues into 2022, 3% of workers voluntarily exited their jobs in November. Workers were not engaged, unhappy with the demands expected of them during the pandemic with little consideration for the sacrifices they made. Some industries like healthcare are experiencing nothing short of a labor crisis as droves change careers and leave for better conditions.
You can't mandate your employees to find purpose and meaning in work. However, you can reinforce strategic priorities and set a vision for WHY they are essential, and complement its values.
Talk is cheap, and action matters to help your team find their purpose. While many have upheld that people should bring their authenticity to work, they check to see if you mean it. If it's just lip service, expect to spend lots of time replacing key talent in 2022.
Engage your employees to bring their best by helping them identify and promote their strengths. Reinforce the observable behaviors that align with your company values. Give praise often, and check down on any biases you are a leader bring to the table. Elon Musk recently shared a tweet on the 50 ways we adopt preference in our daily thinking. If all leaders learned how to see others for their best potential, what would the impacts be in terms of employee engagement?
5. Clear Purpose Will attract clients
Employees are not the only people attracted by purposeful leadership. Your current and potential clients are looking for someone they can trust. Think about why you choose the business you select. What is it about them that makes you part with your hard-earned cash? Most likely, you trust them. And why do clients trust businesses? Because they live their values, their purpose. You know you can depend on them to deliver what you want when you want. And that's the first step in building a robust and loyal client/business relationship.
Bestselling author Simon Sinek shared how great leaders inspire action. He drew three concentric circles, dubbed the “Golden Circle,” and placed WHY at the center. At the outer edges where WHAT a company does (i.e., We make widgets) and HOW they do it (we make widgets with more quality).
Communicate WHY you do WHAT you do. Your purpose will be the best advertising to help lead your company into the future.
6. You help others live their purpose by empowering them
Living your purpose can help you as you help others. One excellent tip I have for my family and the teams I lead is whenever life and work seem harsh. Then you need to help in service to help others. In serving others, you will not only see needs that need solving, but you will also identify your weaknesses and become better at delivering services to your community. It's as simple as that.
Empowering people to solve their problems and telling you about the process they are in is a meaningful way to give them more purpose. Challenge them to adopt a “passion project” that is difficult. When you empower others, they begin a path of self-reflection that leads to personal and business benefits for life.
7. Gratitude becomes an essential part of your life
Living on purpose brings you more joy than gratitude. When gratitude arose before your desires, it made you feel comfortable living in the moment and enjoying the relationships you have with your family. When one has a purpose, the person acknowledges their needs and desires and makes it a daily habit to get away from the stuff that is lacking.
8. You develop more empathy for others
When you live your life deliberately with purpose, you can see how some live their life haphazardly, by default. How could you add real value to their life and career? The solution is to provide a positive direction toward their goals. Don't simply focus on their professional goals, but address their whole life.
Empathy is seeing people where they are in life, not just at work. Help your people focus on what will bring them joy, happiness, and meaning. Do they want to save money for a new house but lack the steps needed to get them to their goal. Now imagine how committed they will be if you help them get into the home of their dreams.
9. You are more aligned with your career
When you don't align yourself with purpose, you'll be unable to translate what you do best into a vibrant career. Success is achieved from inside before it shows up externally. Follow your passion, leading you to contribute more authentically at work.
10. You gain clarity about the future despite uncertainty
Uncertainties always have an important place in our lives. Often we realize unspoken potentials at these moments. Regardless of the life purposefully lived, uncertainty can be a stepping stone to achieving broader goals.
I've faced uncertainties that have surfaced clear direction for the future. You can only address it head-on when you are in the moment and face uncertainty. As you move, you discover new things about the situation and yourself. Sitting on the sidelines risks nothing in life and your growth. With knowledge is power.
From the foot soldiers of the Roman Empire and Genghis Khan’s cavalry to today’s military, the contributions, and leadership of people in uniform have stood the test of time.
I spent eight years in the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserve and the leadership lessons I learned have lasted a lifetime. I often rely on my military leadership lessons to lead sales and business teams today.
Here are a few of the most enduring lessons I learned. Whether you have served or not, you can take some of these golden nuggets and apply them to your business:
It’s Not About “You.” It’s About “Us”
The moment enlisted or officers start their initial training – the core value is the same. No one person is greater than the team. If you are a lone wolf, you won’t go far. From the minute your service begins, you learn that the sum is more significant than its parts. The team is everything.
Resilience, tenacity, and faith. They all give us the ability to look at the situation as temporary, which helps create the mindset that you can get through the crisis. Navy SEALs have a saying, that “the only easy day was yesterday.” This means that when you work hard, you get past your limits, and in retrospect, yesterday seems easy. Confronting challenges means you can’t fail. You can only grow, and get better, making all those yesterdays easier.
In this interview series, we are exploring the subject of dealing with crisis and how to adapt and overcome. The context of this series is the physical and financial fallout that resulted from the COVID 19 pandemic. Crisis management is one characteristic that many successful leaders share in common, and in many cases, it is the most important trait necessary to survive and thrive in today’s complex market. I had the pleasure of interviewing Joe Paranteau.
Finding focus on a busy day is harder than ever these days. Distraction and interruptions are expected and mostly accepted, for work-from-home professionals these days. I can’t count the number of young ones, pets, and delivery men who have made their way into my workday over the past year. None of these things were part of a daily routine pre-COVID, but as we’ve transitioned into a work-from-home society, especially for salespeople, a lot of these distractions are likely here to stay.
Even just the amount of time we spend at our desks these days is different. A lot of us used to travel a lot more than we do these days. And even though traveling can make us busy, there was downtime on a plane or at night in a hotel room where we were alone and able to focus on tasks without any distractions. That 100% pure undistracted alone time is hard to come by these days.
The Time to Find Focus is Now
So what do we do? A lot of the time, we put it off. It’s easy to say, I’ll get more done tomorrow, but especially right now, it’s hard to know if tomorrow will be even better. One of the important things I’ve learned in my career is to live in the moment. Never anticipate what is coming tomorrow, or missed opportunities from yesterday. It’s important in order to be successful to seize the day. Get it done today. Don’t let important tasks hang over your head. The time to focus and get it done is now, whether you are having trouble finding focus or not.
Here are 5 tips that help me find focus for my work and priorities amidst the noise in a busy day:
People see authenticity, and they love it. If you believe in what you’re doing and what you’re selling, then you will never be salesy or pushy. I’ve been pushy in sales at times, but it’s because I have absolutely been convinced that what I was doing was the right thing for the customer at the time. When you mix passion and purpose, it equals results. -Joe Paranteau
a part of my series about how to be great at closing sales without seeming pushy, obnoxious, or salesy, I had the pleasure of interviewing Joe Paranteau.
Joe Paranteau is a leading expert on sales, generating more than $1B in just five years, an uncommon accomplishment. He has led nearly 30K sales meetings in his 28-year career with Fortune 500, SMBs, and startup businesses. In his first book, Billion Dollar Sales Secrets, he shares fifteen secrets to help inspire salespeople to rise to meet today’s challenges, ignite their dreams and success. Connect with him on LinkedIn @thejpar.
Thank you for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this career path?
How do companies grow their sales revenue and create customers who are raving fans? For salespeople, they wonder, “How will I hit my quota so I can buy a new house, buy a new car, take a vacation?” or another dream. Can sales success be learned?
Sales are the great equalizer of dreams. Everyone wants to be like the top salespeople, but nothing happens until a sale. Many look for the easy button to show them the sales secrets they need to become one of the world's top salespeople overnight.
The truth is, I explored some of the best sales tips that have helped me connect with business leaders. My customers were some of the world's largest companies, entrepreneurs who struck gold, and amazing people who were willing to share their secrets with me. I learned from sales experts who shared sales strategies I was able to put to use. I have read sales books and met their author. I'm ecstatic that today, my book, Billion Dollar Sales Secrets, is available worldwide. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million are just a few places, including thousands of indie books stores, libraries, and universities. If you want it and can't find it, let me know. I am joining the ranks of many others who share their secrets to sales success.
The early reviews reveal people love it!
A recent editorial review shared: “The book addresses all aspects of selling, from overcoming cold-call jitters to turning one-time successes into long-term opportunities. Its solutions to problems incorporate resources like trust and honesty or using self-awareness to tackle roadblocks in the way. Its fine-tuned advice on issues like planning and delivering stand-out presentations, the eight components of a successful call, and getting the timing right on follow-up efforts draw on Paranteau's years of experience well.” (Forward Reviews, Jan 2021)
Sales Secret #1: Sales success starts with you.
I finished this last year, on March 5th, 2020. I watched the pandemic's devastating impact hit worldwide, and I knew life would change fast. I told people on my team who were at high risk to go home and prepare. It was the wrong time to release a book.
Fast forward a year. As the pandemic spread, work didn't stop. It changed. It was a new selling season, not like anything anyone had ever experienced before. The secret was that everyone was making it up as we went, day by day.
Don't you see – that's the secret! The sales secret is staring you in the face. You are enough right now to be successful. You don't have to compare yourself with where you want to be a year from now or the time to grow into the salesperson you are envious of today. The person in your business who has a great car the nice clothes makes selling seem effortless. You know the type. They would undoubtedly get a starring role if they were casting for a movie.
Over the past year, I've cried with customers, partners, and employees too many times. Instead, I dedicated my time to helping thousands of customers save their businesses and transition to a new world of work. And I began to weave new insights into the book. I discovered empathy is critical to sales success.
Sales Secret #2: Learn how to connect with people.
This book isn't about me. It's about you and the real people you know. Everyone sells. People need vital takeaways that will have a more immediate impact today! Sales are the fuel for job creation and the livelihoods of millions.
Today, I'm saying hello to many people I've never met before. I hope we can become fast friends soon. I've packed fifteen essential selling tips into this book to help you elevate your confidence and sales performance. I want to engage with you and your business.
You are students in college, wondering what the future holds. You're professional sellers and company leaders, CEOs, and “mompreneurs” with a growing family and business or direct marketing dream. You are charities that need donors, consultants selling the future, recruiters getting people back to work, veterans transitioning into a commercial business, small and family business owners struggling to stay afloat, and career-changers looking to put bread on the table. I wanted you to know that I am here to help you!
Sales Secret #3: Be up for a challenge.
The idea for this book started when customers and co-workers asked me to write a book of my sales secrets. The truth is, I didn't have the guts to write it then, and I lacked confidence. I've never seen a Native American business author before and was taking a leap of faith.
In March 2017. I reached a personal objective to sell a billion dollars in less than two years. I realized I was now in a small, elite group. I was confident and ready to share, but I had to learn WHY I was successful. What were my secrets to sales success, and what had all the other sales experts left out of the advice I learned over my career?
I dissected everything I knew about selling, jotting sales concepts onto hundreds of post-its on my wall. I classified and reshuffled these little yellow thoughts. Then I started to write. The results were
Sales Secret #4: Give thanks before and after your success!
It took three years to write this book. I worked full-time while balancing life, school, family, and friends. I wrote early in the mornings on weekends when no one was stirring, and many nights after everyone had gone to sleep. Thanks to technology, my voice dictated into text on my commute to work. I could tell when other drivers cut me off or agitated me by some of the words I later deleted in editing.
I enrolled so many fantastic people along the way to help make this book a reality. Above all, I'm grateful for them and their partnership. Andy Earle helped me edit and make sense of how to deliver the most value to readers. G Sharp Design in Charleston, SC, was a fantastic partner. I'm sorry if I'm a little protective; they are family now.
My family has encouraged me 110%, and I've had a fantastic publicist team and many coaches, mentors, and advisors. My co-workers at Microsoft inspire me daily as we tackle significant challenges. Thank you all! The process has been life-changing. I'm thankful to all my readers who will spend time on the pages of this book. It's my goal to give you the knowledge and confidence to help you on your sales journey.
Sales Secret #5: Plan for tomorrow.
Now comes the work of rebuilding, and sales will take center stage in the recovery. You and the people you know will benefit from these insights, and I can't wait to help you discover more about yourself and what might be holding back your potential.
In my time selling, I've learned a lot. Many people have influenced my sales career and helped me become the best salesperson I could be and become a great person. I've read many great books across various disciplines that intersect a sales career. I also put some elements into this book that I've never seen from anyone else. After I made mistakes, I thought about why I had never heard about some of these critical aspects of selling.
You don't have to wonder because I gave you all the vignettes to help you today where you are and inspire you for the future.
Check our Chapter 1 for Free
Chapter 1 is available for anyone who wants to see if they like it before buying it on my website. Also, check out my home page as well.
I'm so excited to meet you today! It's my honor to be on your team. Together, we will build your customer base. I want to help ignite your sales performance, dreams, and successes. Now let's change the world, one customer at a time.