This SaaS sales coach explains the 20% of work that produces 80% of results for sales teams

You just came out of your last meeting of the day, (the ninth one!), and you still aren’t hitting numbers. You’ve reflected on your coaching strategy, the hiring process, the CRM tool, your weekly meeting objectives. You’ve evaluated and tried to optimize everything.

And while evaluating everything may sound like an appealing option to catch the culprit, it might be the reason why you’re in this position.

Instead of trying to optimize every last detail, focus on doubling down on the 20% of work that will bring you 80% of results.

So what is that 20%?

We asked David Sanders of The Sales Coaching Institute to share the answer with us.

He has a deep understanding of SaaS companies and has coached sales teams of 8 people startups all the way up to businesses with $300 million in ARR.

And when I asked him for the answer he said...

The most precious 20% of work that drives 80% of results

It’s analyzing your sales cadence.


Looking at your sales cadence allows you to step back and identify where prospects are dropping off and therefore identify where your sales rep took a misstep.

This allows you as the manager to give data-driven feedback to your reps and break down small weekly goals. It also allows you to optimize your training program as you now have strong data that identifies the most challenging parts of your sales cadence.

Finally, you can easily forecast numbers based on data rather than guesswork.

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Sanders says, “it eliminates the surprises.” Instead of asking yourself why you didn’t hit a number, you know that you are managing a progression and can accurately estimate when the deal will be closed.

So now that you know you should be evaluating your sales cadence, how can you do that?

How to evaluate your sales cadence

As every sales cadence varies, the best way to evaluate your sales cadence is to ask yourself this question:

Is there a compelling event for why the prospect is going to buy, and, more than that, what are the consequences if he/she doesn’t buy in that instance?

Let’s break this down:

If you don’t have a compelling event, nothing is driving your prospect to close at a specific time.

How do you know if you have a compelling event?

A compelling event is a negative event that will take place if the prospect doesn’t purchase that day.

So if your prospects don’t purchase that day, what negative event will take place?

If the answer is “nothing”, you don’t have a compelling event.

Furthermore, a compelling event is not a coupon, but an event that will have an impact on the business.

How can you create a compelling event?

The only way to create a compelling event is to match the buyer’s journey to your selling process. This means that the sales reps need to understand all the steps that the prospects will want to go through before making the final purchase decision.

For example, your sales reps need to know if the buyer will want to see a demonstration, have 3 references or if you will need to go through legal.

Once the sales rep understands that, he/she can compel the prospect to kick off the project today by laying out a plan that has the project live by the prospect’s desired date.

Now that the sales rep has a compelling event, he/she knows whether or not the sales team is achieving those steps in the buying process and ultimately if the team will hit their dates.

The compelling event also allows sales reps to keep the process moving without sounding pushy.

For example, let’s say that, during the initial conversation with the sales rep, the prospect told the sales rep that the company wanted the project live by the end of June.

If during the buying journey, the prospect wants to push back a meeting, the sales rep can point out that if they do push back the meeting, the consequence will be that the project will not be live until early July.

This puts the salesperson in a position of power rather than begging.

The most common time wasters that occur in sales teams

In an ideal world, you walk into a sales team and everyone is spending about 80% of their time working with clients and 20% doing administrative work.

Everyone, including management, is using a CRM and the team can interact smoothly with other departments.

However, there are still some time wasters that can creep into this seemingly flawless plan.

Equating activity with success

Sanders immediately responded that a top time waster is, “equating activity with success.”

This ties in, once again, to the sales cadence.

For example, a sales rep doesn’t deserve a pat on the back just for having another meeting with a prospect.

Each rep should ask themselves after the meeting, “How did I actually advance the deal? Did I achieve one of the buyer’s objectives?”

Sanders says, “Buying the prospect another lunch doesn’t necessarily move the deal forward.”

Understand why they aren’t buying, not why they will buy

Another common problem Sanders addressed is sales reps that understand why a prospect wants to buy rather than why the prospect isn’t buying.


“I see sales reps get happy ears,” Sanders says. “They hear everything they want to hear as to why someone will buy when what they should want to hear is why a prospect is not going to buy.”

In this case, the sales rep doesn’t fully understand the buying process.

If there are no outstanding answers then the prospect should have bought.

Stop trying to fix everything


If you have tried everything you can think of to increase sales, try doing the opposite. Consider honing in on your sales cadence and ask yourself the right questions to improve it.

Allow the data from your sales cadence to guide your decisions from training your sales reps to forecasting accurate numbers.

The best way to track your sales cadence is through a sound CRM system that your sales reps want to use. Thankfully, we've got you covered: Close is a robust CRM designed by salespeople for salespeople. Featuring predictive dialing, email sequences, and advanced reporting, Close offers a sales workflow optimized to help you close more deals.

Want to see what you can do with Close? Try it free for 14 days (no credit card required!).

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