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Ric Ratkowski

Recent Posts

March 26, 2021

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Analytics

The next four blogs focus on best practices related to sales analytics to support an accurate sales forecast.  The previous four best practice blog series of:  Data Access and Enrichment, Sales Pipeline, Sales Opportunity Management and Sales and Sales Management Process set the foundation for accurate, timely, and relevant sales analytics to support the sales forecast.  This is the fifth category of the blog series “Best Practices for B2B Sales Pipeline and Forecast Management started on January 21st of 2020.  The ultimate goal of the analytics is to provide fact-driven information, interpretation and insights  across the four key sales roles: ...

Sales Automation, Sales Operations, AI for Sales, sales best practices, Sales Analytics, Sales Metrics

February 22, 2021

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Quarterly Business Review

This blog focuses on the fourth part of the Sales Management Process, the quarterly business review[QBR].  These meetings are held at the beginning of each quarter and in lieu of the monthly sales strategy meeting discussed in the last blog.  These meetings are an integral part of the sales management cadence described by this blog series..  The QBR meetings are individual presentations by the sales rep.  Each rep is given 30 to 60 minutes to review their performance for the previous quarter and their game plan for the new quarter.  The previous quarter review should include a few opportunity postmortems of both close-won and close-lost opportunities.  The QBR meetings are usually done within the first two weeks of the new quarter and set the stage for hitting the current quarter goals.  ...

sales technology, Sales Process, Sales Tools, Sales Pipeline Management, sales best practices, QBR, Quarterly Business Review

January 15, 2021

Best Practices For B2B Sales - Monthly Strategy Review

This blog focuses on the third part of the Sales Management Process, the monthly strategy review.  These meetings are held on a monthly basis, usually twice a quarter, at the beginning of the months when the quarterly business review[QBR] is not being held.  This is a team call with the sales manager and his/her sales team, plus sales support and marketing.  While it may not be feasible to invite marketing to all the one on one’s and sales forecast calls, they should attend the monthly sales meetings and the QBRs.  This will help align marketing and sales. ...

sales management, Sales Process, best practices, sales best practices

December 14, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Forecast Call

This blog focuses on the second part of the Sales Management Process, the sales forecast calls.  The last three blogs focused on Sales Coaching and One-on-Ones, the first part of four parts that make up the Sales Management Process.     A Word of Caution Both One-on-Ones and Forecast Calls are weekly meetings, but don’t make your One-on-Ones the forecast call.  One-on-One time is for the sales rep.  This is the sales rep’s  sales development time.  It is your time to help them become  A-players.  The Sales Forecast Call is all  ...

Sales Calls, Sales Forecasts, sales best practices, Sales Forecast Call

November 21, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Rep Coaching-Performance Reviews

This is a continuation of the previous two blogs on sales rep coaching.  This blog focuses on reviewing the sales rep’s overall performance during a one-on-one.  In a series of weekly one-on-one meetings this topic typically comes up once every four weeks.   ...

sales management, AI for Sales, best practices, sales best practices, Sales coaching, Sales One-On-Ones

October 30, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Weekly Pipeline/Opportunity Review

This is a continuation of the previous blog on sales rep coaching.  The prior blog reviewed how sales rep coaching fits within the sales management process and outlined best practices related to “call coaching”, one aspect of sales rep coaching.  This blog focuses another aspect of sales rep coaching --  sales pipeline reviews and detail opportunity reviews.  The next blog will focus on the third aspect of sales rep coaching, sales rep performance one-on-ones.   ...

sales management, Sales Process, Sales Pipeline Management, AI for Sales, automated sales rep coaching, sales best practices, Sales coaching

October 16, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Rep Coaching and One-on-Ones

Sales rep coaching and sales manager/sales rep one-on-ones are the catalyst for sales optimization and sales growth. They are also the tool for increasing the sales rep proficiency and converting C and B quality sales reps to B and A players.  Some supporting research from CSO Insights reveals a correlation between quota attainment and coaching.  The study found the better the sales manager coaching the higher quota attainment.   ...

Sales Executives, Sales Tools, AI for Sales, sales best practices, Sales coaching, Sales One-On-Ones

August 26, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Management Process

The next four blog posts will focus on the sales management process.  This is the overarching sales processes between sales leadership and sales managers, sales managers and sales reps and sales operations with sales leadership, sales management and sales reps.  These processes align the different sales groups towards the same goals. This is the fourth category of blog series Best Practices for B2B Sales Pipeline and Forecast Management based on the original blog post for this best practice series started on January 21st. ...

sales management, AI for Sales, sales best practices

August 19, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Opportunity Postmortem

or a sales team, complacency is the enemy of improvement and growth.   Top sales teams continuously improve to achieve better standards, no matter what level of success they have reached in the past.  The blog “Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Pipeline Data & Process Improvement, focused on using analytics as a basis to identify bottlenecks in the sales process and create a process for continual improvement.  That is one way.  Doing a sales postmortem is another.  It provides an operational perspective on how to enhance the sales process. ...

sales best practices, sales opportunity management, sales account management

August 11, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Always Know the Next Step

The most important step in any sales process is the NEXT step.   It is a hurdle that must be cleared to give you the right to move to the “NEXT, NEXT” step.  The next step is not granted, but earned by successful completion of the current step.  The next step has to be set up with the buyer as you finish out the current step.  ...

AI for Sales, Guided Selling, sales best practices, Sales Pipeline Visibility, sales opportunity management

August 4, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Guided Selling

Guided selling is the process of prescribing optimal sales execution steps to the sales reps to enforce a consistent and efficient sales process. The tasks and process are based on sales patterns of past close-won, and close-lost opportunities. Dynamic guided selling is the automated collection of prospect interactions and seller activities with the application of artificial intelligence and pattern matching to prescribe optimal buyer role based sales execution steps  and coaching ...

AI for Sales, Guided Selling, sales best practices, sales milestones

July 28, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Account Management

This blog may be a little controversial.  Many blogs and white papers talk about account management as a sales function.  Sales reps target accounts to sell to.  They then flush out sales opportunities within the account and work on closing those opportunities.  At TopOPPS we take a broader approach to account management.  We believe account management starts with marketing.  It includes both marketing and sales. ...

Sales Funnel, Marketing Funnel, sales best practices, sales opportunity management, sales account management

July 13, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Opportunity Management

This next couple of blog posts will focus on Sales Opportunity Management.  This is the third category of blog series Best Practices for B2B Sales Pipeline and Forecast Management based on the original blog post for this best practice series started on January 21st. ...

Sales Pipelines, Guided Selling, guide winning behaviors, best practices, sales best practices, sales opportunity management

June 29, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales-Pipeline Monitoring & Closing Deals

This blog provides more details into the final two of the six tactical best practices outlined in the blog “Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Pipeline”.  It focuses on: Monitor the sales pipeline from different perspectives depending on the users role (sales rep, sales management, sales opperations, sales leadership) Focus on closing the best leads, nurturing the new leads and “close loss” opportunities as soon as possible Monitor the pipeline from different perspectives  The sales pipeline is the beating heart of the sales process and the revenue engine. ...

Sales Pipeline Management, AI for Sales, sales best practices, Sales Pipeline Visibility

June 17, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Proactive Follow Up & Content Delivery

This blog provides more details into the next two of the six tactical best practices outlined in the blog “Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Pipeline”.  It focuses on: Proactive follow up on opportunities in the sales pipeline Proactive delivery of the right sales content and insights to members of the buying team and guidance to the sales team It may feel like these two best practices could be consolidated into one called proactive selling. Both could be handled via alerting and prompting solutions or optimized with a process we call “Alerts Requiring Action”.    However, there are subtle differences between the two that make a big impact on sales.  ...

AI for Sales, Guided Selling, guide winning behaviors, sales best practices, Sales Pipeline Visibility

May 15, 2020

Best Practices For B2B Sales-Sales Pipeline Data & Process Improvement

This blog reviews best practices related to two of the six tactical best practices outlined in the previous blog “Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Pipeline”.  It focuses on: The ability to easily update the sales pipeline on a regular basis Sales process review and improvement An accurate sales forecast requires an accurate, timely and always up-to-data sales pipeline.  This data includes up-to-date: sales activity and buyer/seller interactions; buying team members and roles; opportunity descriptors and attributes; and company descriptors and attributes, in the CRM.  It also includes integrated reporting from the CRM to produce the sales pipeline, porting CRM information to Excel is not an option. ...

Pipeline Optimization, Sales Pipeline Management, AI for Sales, sales best practices

April 28, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Pipeline

In my original blog in this series “Best Practices for B-2-B Sales,  I outlined five categories of best practices: The previous five blogs in this series, reviewed the best practices related to data.  The next three categories, Sales Process, Opportunity Management and Pipeline Analytics all are driven off of the sales pipeline. This blog introduces 6 different best practices related to the sales pipeline.  These best practices cut across all  three areas. ...

Sales Pipelines, Sales Process, Sales Tools, sales best practices, Sales Pipeline Visibility

April 14, 2020

Avoiding A Horrific June Sales Quarter: Sales Pipeline in Crisis

Our current economic climate feels all too similar to the great recession of 2008.  We knew the story back then, “Work harder and sell less.” That is all we could do, we didn’t have the technology to help mitigate the impact of the great recession by better sales pipeline visibility and better cost control by understanding what is “real” in our sales pipeline. This time around we will have to work just as hard, but if we work smarter with the help of technology we could even the playing field and even sell a bit more. ...

Sales Pipeline Management, AI for Sales, Sales Pipeline Visibility

March 23, 2020

Tactical Best Practices for B2B Sales-Company Attributes

This blog reviews the tactical best practices for collecting information about accounts [companies] where you have sales opportunities or are targeting for a sales opportunity.     This blog is the fifth blog in the series “Best Practices for B2B Sales”.  The first blog organized the best practices along five key areas. The second blog divided up the first area, data access, into four key areas.  This blog focuses on the last area of data access and collection. ...

Artificial Intelligence, AI for Sales, best practices

March 9, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales-Opportunity Attributes & Buyer Team Tracking

This blog reviews the tactical best practices for collecting information about a sales opportunity [opportunity attributes] and information about buying team members and roles.  Much of the information about the sales opportunity is not available electronically. The objective is to make it as easy as possible for the sales rep to enter it and provide benefit to the sales rep by presenting it in an intuitive manner to keep both sales reps and sales management up to date on the opportunity. ...

Artificial Intelligence, AI for Sales, best practices

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