Pipeline management does not have to be avoided like a confusing tongue twister.
In fact, managing and reviewing your pipeline are among your most important tasks as a salesperson. They help you prioritize what activities to complete each month, as well as give you an accurate indication of how healthy your sales pipeline truly is.
Here are a few steps that can make your reviews and management more effective:
- Hold detailed pipeline reviews at the start of every month.
- Sit down with someone in your organization who is capable of looking objectively at your work and someone who can challenge the assumptions that you are making. If you are the sales VP or the business owner, sit down with each individual sales rep to make sure that they are clear on which accounts will close and which won’t.
- Ask tough questions. Push until you receive an objective answer on everything you need to get done in a month. Figure out how much is really expected to close, and how you are going to get it closed.
- Get the facts. Smoke out all false assumptions and ask questions such as:
- What proof do you have that this deal will close this month?
- When did you last speak directly to the client?
- What is stopping the client from buying right now?
- What are your next steps?
- What other contacts can you make inside the account?
- When will you complete those next steps?
- Be on the lookout for answers that reveal thinking based on feelings and assumptions rather than facts. Don’t let your sales reps get away with making a decision without the proper evidence to support it.
- The last step is to dig a little deeper. Once you have challenged the basic assumptions, dig deeper and ask probing questions to yourself or to your sales team about the facts supporting an account. This is the time for a more rigorous examination, especially when you see any of the following associated with deals that are supposed to close in a month.
- If you or your rep describe the account as still being at the qualifying stage or lower.
- Anything less than 70% probability to close at the start of the month probably isn’t going to close that month.
- Lack of clear financial information linked to the sale.
- Last contact date is greater than two weeks in the past. After all, you can’t close business if you are not talking to your customers.
When you have completed your review, you will undoubtedly have a smaller pipeline, but don’t dismay. This “revised” version of your pipeline will be real and based on facts rather than assumptions. It may not be pretty, but pipeline reviews and management are absolutely essential to your success. <– Click To Tweet
It’s easy to fill your pipeline with weak prospects who may or may not buy. Unfortunately, doing so gives you a false sense of security.
Get the facts, and move forward with confidence or make necessary adjustments. It’s just that simple.
Looking for more strategies to fill your pipeline with real and healthy prospects? Get your copy of Nonstop Sales Boom!
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