The year was 2008, and 4 months into an aggressive 2-year sales target the Global Financial Crisis struck sending the markets everywhere into a tailspin.
Seeing no apparent end to the crisis and with the 2 year end-date marching inexorably closer, something radical had to happen.
The pressure was intense. To fail meant to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses tied to the sales target.
But these were no ordinary bonuses. Months earlier we'd sold the business and the bonuses were part of the sale price. Our families were relying on us to deliver the remaining part of the business-sale deal. But to deliver we had to beat the greatest financial crisis the world economy had seen since the depression of the 1930s!
Faced with seemingly impossible odds we had to get deadly serious. Focus focus focus. Where will the sales come from? Who should we put our time into? How can we squeeze every last dollar of revenue from every account? Where will new business come from? Who calls who? How do we track progress? The answers to these questions lay in the data. And to the data we turned.
20 months later, and on the last week of the last month of an intense nearly 2-year sprint, we burst across the finish line barely 1% over target. Over by the slimmest of margins, but we were over and that's all that mattered.
What was the secret? What did we turn to when the chips were down? It wasn't the CRM, we just didn't have time for it's complexity, we had to sell. No, for 20 months we had solely focussed on the sales numbers. On a simple excel spreadsheet.
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