All posts by Peter Holland


What do you need to make your sales kick-off the best ever?

As you start 2024 are you running a sales kick-off meeting?

This is a great opportunity to get everyone together and energised for the year ahead but,

What should you put into the content to make is valuable for your team?

One of the most powerful outcomes for the salesperson is having clarity.

Too often when I attend these events the focus is all around ‘what’ the company wants to achieve in the coming year, the results, sales growth percentages or the new product or service to be launched etc

Don’t get me wrong this piece of the puzzle is important but more than once I’ve left not having heard anything about the ‘How’ or the ‘Why’.

These are two critical elements you must include:

The ‘why’: one of the strongest motivators is to understand why you’re doing something. What’s the purpose?

This has two aspects from a company perspective you know and appreciate how the work you do each day is contributing to the health and success of the organisation. So, even if it’s repetitive or boring sometimes you feel is has value to achieving the overall goal.

The second part is linking the work closely to your personal goals, buying a home, taking an amazing holiday etc. In sales this is a key driver for you to hit and exceed target and maximise your income.

The ’How’: If you’re creating this kick-off meeting its vital to provide direction this piece often gets forgotten. The focus is on the overall number to hit for the year and bags of motivation and encouragement to go do it…but there’s precious little detail to answer the question in every salesperson’s mind. “How am I going to do it?”

You need to give clear direction to the team as a group and on an individual basis on how they should approach the market. If you don’t provide this strategic direction then very easily you will have several different and messy uncoordinated sales strategies running at the same time, not great.

One person may choose to focus on increasing sales from existing clients, another will decide to hit new business targets, someone else selects to focus their efforts exclusively on selling the new product range. You get the point, it’s like standing under a signpost with multiple directions to choose from which causes massive confusion and anxiety.

As sales leaders our job is to give clear direction on how, where, and when to implement the company sales strategy. Do the above assessment its a great place to start and see where you can improve.

This is great because it creates certainty in the minds and hearts of the people we lead, and the feeling of confidence because you know where you’re going, why and most importantly how you are going to win.

Incorporate these key pieces into your kick-off and you will nail it!

If you’d like to know about other tools and best practices to make your implementation successful drop me a line at and I’ll be happy to forward them to you.

Here’s to your best sales year ever in 2024!



Is your Sales Manager really the answer to your sales problems?

If you are investing just in your frontline salespeople, training won’t get you the peak performance results you desire.

Don’t get me wrong I love training and developing sales teams but over the years’ experience has shown me that if we don’t invest in developing their sales manager much of the improvement can be quickly lost.

That’s a big statement from someone who generates a large percentage of their income from sales training!

But it’s such a critical point to creating a high-performing team that it needs to be clearly stated and understood.

Today smart companies across the globe are waking up to an important fact.

They must invest in developing their sales managers to achieve maximum performance.

Which means stopping the erroneous notion that by promoting your best salesperson you automatically will have the greatest manager.

It won’t happen automatically because ‘Sales Management’ is a completely different role.

Primarily because you need to move from a position of winning for yourself to winning through your people, and that is a massive transformation to make without some expertise and support.

So, here are 5 reasons why every company should be investing in developing their sales managers.

  1. Set the pace. – They are the ones that set the pace and create the atmosphere for the whole team to achieve high performance.
  1. Direct link between boardroom & field. – They are the ones who can effectively communicate the strategy and direction from the boardroom and translate that into meaningful sales activities to be implemented in the field.
  1. Know their numbers. – They must understand their sales figures and be able to read them like a book! Spotting pipeline pitfalls and forecast potential blockages with the ability to help their team overcome them.
  1. Leverage their experience. – They need the tools and coaching skills for a strong Knowledge Transfer, developing everyone by multiplying their skills throughout the team.
  1. Breed Loyalty – A good manager will be able to win the hearts and minds of their team. This is another valuable quality when you consider the high cost and impact of staff retention on your organisation. The person in the role of sales manager can dramatically affects the bottom line, but they need to know and develop the qualities required to lead.

When you think about these 5 points is very evident that investing and empowering your sales manager is the key to superb results.

For additional insights checkout, the attached visual – -The Essence of Thriving Sales Organisation’ and listen to the podcast –

‘Empowering your sales manager to lead the team.’

Committed to Your Continued Sales Success!



Is there a way to confidently measure your pipeline size?

Yes, it’s that time of the year again!

Sales managers everywhere are being questioned by Senior Management about their confidence in the pipeline forecast for Q1 2024 and into the New Year.

But having confidence assumes you have a reliable way to calculate this vital metric.

Unfortunately, many companies have a simplistic or mistaken approach.

Let’s discuss how you can calculate your sales pipeline revenue confidently.

Sales pipeline size is the ratio between the total monetary value of your pipeline compared with your upcoming revenue target.

So, if your total sales pipeline is three times your target. Then you’ll need to win 33% of the pipeline’s value to hit your target.

Remember though, that’s not one-third of all the deals but one-third of the value of the pipeline.

If you win deals that are bigger than average, you will only need to be successful with fewer of them.

However, if your pipeline size is smaller, maybe only one or less than your target figure you don’t have enough to hit your revenue goal. Even if you were able to win every opportunity.

Most companies are just simply taking the total pipeline size and dividing it by their target.

For example, their sales target is £10m and their pipeline opportunities due to close next year total £35m.

How did they get to that figure?

Generally, what’s driving this thinking are assumptions made about the win rate.

If you assume you will win a third of the pipeline value for the year, you’ll need 3.5 times the volume of opportunities to achieve target.

Or if you thought 25% was more achievable then you’d need four times the target figure.

Now in principle that sounds good, it’s simple to calculate and come the beginning of January you think you’re all set.

But the truth is this is not an accurate method, it’s way too simplistic and you will run into problems, often leave you feeling the figures seem meaningless as you try to predict sales revenue.

Here are four basic problems I often see when companies use this approach to calculate their pipeline size.

  1. The salesperson is prompted to add opportunities into the pipeline based on hope rather than genuine customer interactions as they know they are under pressure from managers to maintain the overall pipeline size and value. They are then motivated to keep deals in the pipeline that have slipped past their closing date and have little probability of coming in.
  2. Measuring your pipeline only by value/size doesn’t consider the various opportunity sales stages or your clients buying cycle. What if you have many opportunities at the early sales stage with a low probability of winning? This presents an overly rosy picture and leaves you with a false sense of security.
  3. This form of measurement is only useful at the start of the sales period being measured. So, part way through the year when you have won several deals, you must carefully compare what is left of your target amount with those opportunities that are significantly advanced through the buying process to ascertain if you have enough deals to confidently hit your target.
  4. When you only measure total pipeline size you miss another important factor. There are differences between types of opportunities, for example different win rates between existing customers and brand-new business, or maybe key client accounts, new territories, or growth sectors.

Is there a better way?… Yes, there is.

Using – ‘Measure Weighted Pipeline Evaluation’

You can calculate using a weighted pipeline method which focuses on expected sales revenue.

Expected revenue has two parts:

1st the value of the opportunities you have won.

2nd the value of your weighted pipeline.

Add these two numbers together and you have the ‘Expected Revenue for that period’.

It’s easy to calculate the weighted revenue, you simply multiply the opportunity value by the probability.

For example: if the opportunity is worth £90,000 and the sales stage probability is 30% then the weighted pipeline value is £27,000.

Add this number for each for your pipeline opportunities and you’ll have your weighted pipeline value.

Now you can measure your expected revenue with your target.

For example, say your target for the quarter is £250,000, you have won £90,000 already.

Your weighted pipeline is £170,000 so you have enough pipeline to hit your target.

Using the ‘Expected Revenue Method’ rather than total Pipeline size allows you to be more confident in your forecast, because the figures reflect the different sales stages as an opportunity progresses though the pipeline.

The reason this is more valuable to you is that you have allowed for the differences between for example: a late-stage opportunity at 80% where you are doing final negotiations and an early-stage opportunity at 10% or 20% you have just discovered.

All these variances are reflected in your weighted pipeline so it gives you a reasonable estimate of the amount of revenue you can expect from your open opportunities.

Another major advantage of using weighted pipeline and won revenue figures together to give you your expected revenue is that it’s valuable not only at the start of the quarter or sales period.

So, if you are halfway through the year or quarter you can find a reliable estimate of the likely sales revenue, compared with just looking at your total pipeline value.

I strongly urge you to start applying this method as it will increase the accuracy of your forecasting and boost your confidence in your ability to deliver reliable and consistent revenue results.

If this topic resonates with you or your experiences and you found this article useful drop me an email be good to hear your thoughts and share further insights

Committed to Your Sales Success!



Is Your 2024 Business Plan Fit for Purpose? – 5 Keys for Sales Growth

Are you a sales leader with your head down planning the sales strategy for 2024?

As you review results this year and look for growth in 2024, you know you can’t leave this planning to chance.

Your competitors will be doing the same and no doubt looking to take your market share.

Simply put many companies are doing their planning wrong.

Here are 5 keys areas to create a powerful business plan.

  1. No Customer Involvement – the critical person in the success of your plan is your customer.
  • Have you discussed with them where you are adding value?
  • How can you best support their growth next year?
  • What existing or new service do they really need?
  1. Not a live working document – most business plans even the good ones are not referred to or adjusted frequently enough. Often only being revisited annually or bi-annually with little impact on the day-to-day priorities. You need a one-page document that links results, objectives, activities, and metrics you can refer to frequently to monitor success.
  2. No Sales Objectives – the business plan only outlines the business results desired; it does not link them to specific sales objectives that show ‘ how ‘ these results will be achieved. This leaves the sales focus vague and the salesperson to formulate their own individual approach instead of having a united cohesive approach.
  3. No Sales Activities – the business plan does not include the specific sales activities that need to be performed each week and are directly related to achieving the selected sales objectives.
  4. No Sales Metrics – the business plan only has result based metrics, sales, revenue, turnover, or margin. There are no metrics designed to measure the key sales activities to ensure accountability and implementation of the sales strategy.

Including these 5 elements will create a business plan focused on adding real value to the customer. And it will engage the sales team with a clear action plan.

Plus providing management with visibility and control over how the results are being achieved month by month.

If you would like to chat over any aspect of your business planning drop me a line at and let’s, make 2024 your best year ever!

Dedicated to Your Sales Success


Banish Your Uncertainty & Boost Your Sales Results Now!

We all should learn to live with an amount of uncertainty in life that’s only normal.

But if you are in a sales slump right now, I know it’s hard emotionally and physically to get back on track.

It’s easy to let these feelings of doubt and uncertainty take over as you think about achieving this year’s business target.

Today, I’d like to share with you an experience that I think you will be able to relate to and offer a powerful suggestion to leverage your mindset and results.

In the last few months, I’ve been working with a talented sales manager who’s dealing with this issue. We’ll call her Rachel to protect her confidentiality and the innocent from Interpol!

Despite setting a solid sales strategy and implementation plan in January, she seemed to be losing momentum.

When we analysed it together, we discovered her real issue was the habit of ‘self-editing ‘.

You know what I mean, the negative thoughts that your mind comes up with, second guessing your decisions and causing doubt about the rightness or validity of your plans.

In Sales, it can manifest itself in many ways.

You stop making all the calls you should to prospects, you even start second guessing if a planned meeting will be that productive or not.

What’s the key to leveraging this situation to your benefit?

Here are 21 Words which capture it in a nutshell.

“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”

Sir William Osler

As painful as it is you need to get on the phone, call clients , dig into your emails and LinkedIn and start taking action.

Every time you take the needed action you will see this doubt and second-guessing start to fade.

The right actions cause your momentum to rise, and you attract new opportunities to yourself.

Don’t look at your pipeline worrying if it’s good or bad.

Focus solely on improving it daily.

The reality is there are an abundance of new opportunities every day, ones where your products and services can add real value to others.

So, stop ‘self-editing’ and throw yourself into the right actions that lie clearly at hand!

The results will follow.

If you’d like further regular insights on improving your sales performance sign up here:

Committed to Your Successful Selling.




Have you got the right metrics for top sales performance?

Selecting the right metrics may at first glance seem a rudimentary affair.

However, research has shown there is, in fact, a great variety when it comes to what the top companies choose to measure and monitor. This is surprising when you consider these companies have decades of sales experience and invest literally millions into their CRM systems.

Would you expect to find a clearly defined short list of key sales metrics for the rest of us to implement religiously?

Well probably…but that is simply not the case.

It’s not uncommon to find companies measuring all kinds of facts and figures simply because they can.

In addition, old historic reports will be added to newer ones as new managers join the business. Overtime this reporting can morph into a plethora of data that threatens to drown any sales manager.

I recently worked with a Managing Director who had an assortment of 25 different multi-colored graphs to demonstrate sales performance!

We must stop this insanity and get the data to work for us and not against us.

One way to do this is to cut back.

Ask yourself this question.

Why am I measuring this?

The only reason to measure something is because it’s linked to the key activities you need to take to achieve your goal.

It’s that simple.

Choose two or three metrics that measure the actual sales activities you need to do each day or week to generate sales.

As you monitor these activity metrics against your results, you’ll be able to get total visibility over your sales process.

This is valuable as it enables you to make any needed mid-course corrections as you go.

Rather than blindly repeating the same old activities expecting new improved results.

So, I strongly encourage you to look at your current metrics and make sure they are squarely focused on measuring the key revenue generating tasks your salespeople need to perform to get results.

If you’d like more insights how to create superior results check out a copy of ‘The Sales Strategist’

Committed to Your sales success!



Do Your Sales Team Meetings Drive Revenue or Boredom?

Let’s face it most sales meetings are boring.

You’re either sitting waiting trying to remember what you’re going to say or finding yourself losing concentration listening to everyone else’s story.

If you’re a sales manager, it’s time to stop this madness and make your meetings amazingly valuable for you and everyone on the team.

First, understand you need to have two types of ‘Sales Team Meetings’ a Forecast Meeting and a Pipeline Meeting.

It’s easy to dedicate a lot of time and energy to the exciting soon-to-close opportunities located at the bottom of your sales funnel. They are often where our focus is, as these potential orders are the ones we have forecast to come in this month and demand our attention.

But if your focus and discussions are only about the soon to close element of your pipeline, you’re missing out on a huge revenue generating opportunity.

Your Forecast meetings are great opportunities to talk with your salespeople about the deals they expect to close soon, but they are not the best time to talk about the general Pipeline health, which is determined by the quality and quantity of leads in the pipeline.

It’s important that you make this distinction and separate your Forecast meetings from your Pipeline meetings.

In your Pipeline meetings you need to ask your sales team about the new projects they have recently registered in your CRM. These early-stage sales opportunities are the ones that will have a larger overall impact on the company’s condition.

As a manager this is where you need to focus your energy as these earlier stage opportunities need your guidance and where you can add the most value in developing your team’s performance.

These pipeline meetings can also serve to educate the entire team on improving their sales opportunity qualification for example or how to ensure all the influencers and decision makers involved in an opportunity have been considered and communicated with.

By using these Pipeline meetings to review and discuss your ‘Must Win’ opportunities everyone can gain from the experience and best practices of others. Often, I find that someone on the team will have a relevant case study to share or knows of a useful contact that they can introduce to a colleague to help them on their sales opportunity.

By keeping your focus and energy on coaching opportunities earlier in the sales pipeline you can improve the skills of the team and improve the accuracy of the monthly sales forecast.

If you want to explore this and other areas to take your sales team performance to the next level, just drop me a line and let’s start a conversation.

Committed to Your Sales Success!



Want to Save Your Sales Time and Energy? Qualify & Track

Over the last month in speaking with several Sales Directors a similar issue keeps coming up.

“We have plenty of inquiries coming in, our salespeople are trying to keep up with all the quotations, but despite the level of opportunities we are not winning at the rate we want!”

Looking at this in more detail it’s easy to see how you can lose focus on the quality of your qualifying questions.

Without taking the time to understand your prospects situation and concerns you end up quickly reacting and going into ‘solution mode’.

A couple of key elements I see often getting missed are a) understanding how they will make their buying decision, the steps and who is involved.

And the key milestones or steps in the process that are important to the buyer to complete their project successfully.

If you miss these vital pieces of information, you will be in the dark when it comes to knowing what is happening with the opportunity.

The more sales opportunities you put into your pipeline the easier it is to see the time you previously spent on opportunity tracking being lost.

Unfortunately, this is a key issue because if you and your sales team do not have a clear focus on qualifying opportunities you can quickly find yourself on a ‘Hamster Wheel’ churning out quotes for people while previously qualified projects in your pipeline get neglected.

Without proper follow up and follow through the quality of information on these opportunities start dropping significantly and more importantly so does your conversion rate.

Another issue to exacerbate the problem is that once you neglect your opportunity tracking you allow your competitors to get in on the sales opportunity, often causing you to play catch-up to get back in pole position.

So, what can you do? Two things.

  1. Focus your efforts on creating sales opportunities that are a good fit for your products and get involved in projects earlier rather than later.

Better selection and closer tracking results in higher conversion rates with less work!

  1. Self-discipline. Everyone in the sales team needs to be crystal clear what type of opportunities are best for your company and product and how to qualify these opportunities early on and consistently engage throughout the sales process.

Qualify before quoting… so you can prioritize where you should spend your time and let your top 10 ‘must win’ opportunities be the focus of your efforts; these are the ones that really count and if you’ve done the hard work up front to create them you don’t want to lose focus on winning them.

Dedicated to Your Sales Success!



Sales Leaders Before Recruiting Have You Developed Existing Talent?

Is your team stuck in a sales rut?

Doing the same activities day in day out with mediocre results?

It’s tempting to just look to hire new people, but what about your existing talent.

Can you keep your top performers and develop new ones?

Here are five tips to boost retention and develop new sales stars.

  1. Dedicate some time to them.

Before you try to motivate someone, it’s important to know what motivates them. Showing personal interest in people takes time and effort on your part, but the results are well worth it.

By identifying their personal goals and then linking them to their business objectives you create genuine motivation and engagement.

Work to understand their preferred communication style and personality. This will create good communication and build long term relationships. Nigel Risner’s book ‘It’s a Zoo around here’ is an excellent resource to assist in developing your communication skills with all the different personalities in your team.

Don’t bother with online surveys or profiles to get feedback, it’s more valuable to devote time to speak with them personally in a relaxed informal atmosphere.

  1. Share your Vision.

Ask them if they know what the vision is for the business? Often the answers may surprise you! If their answers are not what you were expecting, look at how and when you and your management team are communicating this vision to everyone.

Make sure it is believable and compelling not just meaningless corporate words we all see hanging on office walls. Don’t forget to remind them what the goal is!

  1. Give them some purpose.

Now they understand the vision clearly, show them the connection between their efforts and activities and the results produced.

If they do their job successfully, what does that mean for the company?

Enable them to wake up each morning having a sense of purpose in the work they do, show how it makes a tangible difference.

Everyone can add value and play a key part in creating success.

  1. Give them some room to grow.

Retaining top performers is directly linked to their personal development and keeping things fresh.

Have you let them fall into a rut?

Many people have long-term personal and business ambitions. However, they may not always share them with you!

But if you talk to them about them, and then help them to achieve them, you will gain their loyalty, resulting in greater retention.

Is there an area of the business that they would love to get involved with or do they have some skills that you are not currently developing or using?

Why not allow them to put together their own career path and training proposal showing how they could add value to the business whilst achieving their personal goals?

If your staff turnover currently averages at around 2 years, then why not create a 3–4-year development plan with each of your staff, giving them more reasons to stay with you?

It’s essential that the individual has a path of growth within your company and can gain increasing ownership.

When you are hiring, actively think about what new employees’ careers will look like not just what they’ll do day to day.

How will they fit into your structure? Can you create management or leadership opportunities for them in the future?

Then you can revisit those conversations to determine how they can develop and take on more responsibility over the year. Helping employees grow within your company lets them know you’re committed for the long haul.

  1. Give (and ask for) Regular Feedback

Yearly reviews alone are pointless.

Many people dread their yearly reviews because it’s often the only time they get any feedback, and what if they have unknowingly been doing something poorly in the 364 days since last year’s review?

When it comes to retaining talent, one important tactic is to implement an informal weekly review together with a formal quarterly check-in.

This prevents miscommunication or unclear expectations developing from both sides.

So, why wait till the end of the year to tell people they are doing a great job?

Conversely, why miss an opportunity to help them improve if they’re not meeting expectations?

Use these opportunities to make adjustments and mid-flight corrections to keep everyone focused and moving forward positively.

Don’t forget that feedback is a two-way street, so be prepared to roll with the punches when you ask for some.

A leader’s willingness to have difficult conversations is one of the most underrated management skills out there.

However, it’s during these conversations that you get a true reading of people’s views. You can facilitate this by creating an environment that encourages everyone to speak up freely.

But remember it may also require you to push for truly candid feedback on your own performance … and then be prepared to accept it gracefully!

I encourage you to put an on-going development plan in place for the individuals in your team.

Clients who have improved communication and feedback loops have significantly increased their staff retention and discovered potential talent already within the company just looking for an opportunity to shine!

Not to mention the massive impact it has had on their bottom line.

‘Dedicated to Your Sales Success’



Are You Leading with Value?

Before you start any sales conversation ask yourself one question:

“What’s my intent?”

If your intent is to discover how you might be able to add value to this person’s situation, then you’re miles ahead of the herd.

Without getting this correct mindset firmly fixed in your thought process you can quickly end up focusing on you, your objectives, your product, or service and losing a ton of sales.

Why is it that so many salespeople are stuck in these old salesy patterns?

Because it takes development to level up your skills and be comfortable having a business focused conversation. Unfortunately, many only want to stay in their comfort zone, choosing to talk only about their products or services.

Recently, speaking with many senior sales leaders this is the one key area they want their people to develop.

The ability to have these higher-level business conversations where they can identify challenges and opportunities and add real value, allowing them to work in partnership with customers.

One way to rapidly improve your conversations is to take an hour as a team and whiteboard all the issues you solve for your clients.

These problems and challenges are the ones faced daily by your ideal buyers.

Do you think including these areas as topics in your discovery meetings would be something that would peak a prospect’s interest?

Sure, it would…from the start you show yourself as a person who is comfortable and experienced dealing with their challenging situation.

Secondly, make a list of your differentiators – then simply look at the list of issues you solve and determine what makes you and your company the best alternative to resolve these problems.

If you start with the right intent and demonstrate your expertise and value early, watch how sales resistance evaporates and you develop deeper meaningful engagement from your customers.

Dedicated to Your Sales Success