I recently had a conversation with a VP from a massive public technology company who asked me if we push deals into the next quarter if we’re over the current quarter’s goal. Basically, if we enable sandbagging.
For those of you not familiar with the term, in sales, “sandbagging” is when someone hides deals or pushes out close dates to limit expectations on the company or an individual in order to then exceed anticipated results. Everyone does it—salespeople, sales managers, and even VPs.
Why Salespeople Sandbag
There are a few common reasons that many salespeople sandbag:
- The salesperson previously had a great quarter and lacks confidence she can repeat the success
- The salesperson is at or about to hit their number and wants to give themselves some padding for next quarter
- Sales leadership doesn’t want the quarter over quarter performance to appear choppy
If Everyone is Doing It, Why is Sandbagging a Bad Thing?
If everyone is sandbagging, then it can’t be that bad, right? As a sales leader, I have to disagree.
Sandbagging is bad because it blocks the business from maximizing it’s potential. In a modern world, a business needs to fire on all cylinders 24/7. Otherwise, market forces, competitors or a combination of both will kill it.
Sandbagging is like electronic speed limits that are installed on many modern cars. However, in business, the only way to win is to have your business operate at the max performance, like the so-called “Ludicrous mode” in a Tesla.
So, in effect, your company’s sandbaggers are keeping your company in the slow lane—and you can’t afford to be there.
How to Identify Sandbaggers with Data
Luckily, it’s easy to use sales activity data to identify potential sandbagging activity.
Here are two common scenarios to look for:
- An account with a lot of activities that looks like a completed sales process without an open opportunity
- An opportunity that has activities that look like “ready to buy” signals (lots of meetings with champions, C-level/exec meetings lead up to the quarter end, etc.)
How to Respond to Sandbagging
With that mind in, you might be asking yourself about the next steps to end sandbagging in your organization.
Using your sales activity data, start by identifying which individuals are possibly sandbagging deals.
Setup a 1×1 with them and show them why you believe the data is showing you a different story than what is being forecasted. Then, do a deep dive of their current deals to see which are potentially sandbagged and create an action plan to close them within the quarter.
It is possible the salesperson was unaware of what they are doing and just needed some coaching and feedback. But regardless of the intention, this process will show you which deals COULD close now and get your company out of the slow lane.
To see how People.ai can help you use your sales activity data to uncover and address sandbagging, schedule a demo today.