More on creating and managing an accurate sales forecast: be sure you understand the driving mechanism in each opportunity.
A driving mechanism is the thing driving a decision maker to make a purchase decision in a given time-frame. Without it, a purchase decision can be made, but the timing is harder to predict. That said, driving mechanisms exist in nearly all B2B complex sales opportunities. If you can’t find one, hold serious doubt a purchase will occur.
Here are examples of good driving mechanisms you may find in an opportunity:
- New facility is to be occupied by a particular date
- Money will expire for use by a particular date
- A product or service launch date has been announced
- Ancillary or support services have been ordered
Here are examples of poor driving mechanisms, mistaken as a reason a purchase decision will be made in a given time-frame:
- The sales manager believes there’s a need for sales training
- The IT department wants to improve the existing infrastructure
- The current system lacks a feature the department executive would like to use
- The existing system fails too often
Note the difference between the two lists: the list of poor driving mechanisms are good reasons to investigate solutions and talk to prospective vendors, but it lacks the certainty of action found in the first list.
There are many other things to monitor in sales activities — driving mechanisms are but one. But it’s an important gauge of how serious the prospective buyer is, what their next step is likely to be, and when they are expected to take action.
Look for driving mechanisms in every opportunity, qualify it, and use it as a stick to move the decision along it’s natural path.
What are some of the good driving mechanisms you’ve found in your sales opportunities?