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Checklist: Supporting your sales team and adjusting your sales forecast | COVID-19

With the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 virus, how you manage your sales team and your sales forecast will determine how productive and resilient your remote sales team needs to be during these turbulent times.

Leverage this checklist to help you organize your thinking around the core elements to fully support your sales team, founder and clients. Remember to inspire what you expect by directly engaging in meetings, making those tough calls today, and picking up the phone and prospecting with your SDRs.

This is not intended to be an exhaustive set of steps, but rather a starting reference point. Please email your additional suggestions and learnings to Tony Cascio, Senior Advisor, MaRS at tcascio@marsdd.com  who will be updating this article to include input from sales leaders.


1. Establish and communicate the top priorities 

  • Everyone has great intentions, but you need to communicate and define what good looks like right now so everyone shares a compassionate sense of purpose.
  • What are the most important sales activities (leading indicators) required to drive minimum sales results in the next 30–60–90 days?
  • Leverage your founder and senior leaders to repeat, reinforce and replay the priorities.

2. Leverage your demand and sales data to identify the specific areas within your sales cycle that are most impacted  

  • Where in the sales process are clients not responding?  E.g., identify/discovery, capability/demo, develop/propose, or commit/close phase. 
  • Double down on call preparation and role playing with your reps to increase confidence.

3. Pipeline hygiene: Review all the top growth deals untouched for the past 30 days and 30 days past your average sales lifecycle period

  • Prepare sanity-check questions on top growth deals to prioritize next critical actions.  
  • Foster situational leadership: Identify problem/analyze/solve/empower your rep
  • Bring gratitude, care and trust for your team’s ability to advance opportunities with your oversight!

4. Protect the base: Client and wallet retention is the bedrock of survival  

  • Proactively reach out to all clients renewing in the next 90–120 days
  • Offer renewal incentives that deepen trust and value to solve client’s real problems (e.g., add licenses/users, upgrade service level, 12 months paid for 18-months term)
  • Show gratitude by being flexible to client pressure points and their cost/risk factors.

5. Build your scenario-based forecast range for worst case/expected case/best case

  • Remember your demand and sales data in March is an early indicator of the percentage of the slowdown pace.
  • The largest source of variability will come from your top priorities leading performance and behaviour metric—for example:
    • Demand: How much demand activity is still being built from new inbound and outbound flows?
    • Sales: How many top growth deals have a mutual plan in place with the client?
    • Behaviours: Team daily behaviours demonstrated in Rise Up! daily standups   

Trust and close relationships are key

These are some steps to help you start building out your sales forecast. Now, more than ever before, trust and close relationships with our teams and clients surpass position/title. Nobody has experience or expertise in managing a sales team under these current circumstances. We encourage you to take the time for self-care and be grateful for your family, friends and colleagues.  

Additional tip 

If you like checklists, please feel free to check out our recent MaRS community Lunch & Grow panel webinar with sales, marketing, and customer success leaders discussing how to adjust your growth sales, marketing and customer success strategy.