Business Owners and CEOsTips for Entrepreneurs

How full is your sales pipeline?

By May 22, 2012 No Comments

Are you happy with the state of your sales pipeline? Is it filled with 2x or 3x the dollar value of opportunities you need to achieve your revenue goals this quarter? this year?

If not, what are you doing about it? Have you successfully sold your product or service to a number of clients? If not, then you need to work on a number of fundamental problems I am not going to address here.

If so, start by identifying the steps in your successful sales process. Work your way backwards from the customer’s signature. What happens to get to that point? Probably some sort of quote or proposal immediately before the signature. Before that? Maybe a demonstration of your product or service? And so on and so on until you are back at a hot lead. My clients use an EOS tool called Getting What You Want to do this exercise.

Once you have done that, you should agree upon what event needs to occur at each step to successfully move a prospect to the next step in your sales process. A simple example is that a hot lead might be considered an opportunity when you can document the client problem and the fact that they have an approved budget for solving that problem.

Then agree on how long a particular item typically remains in each sales stage. This is critical in order that you are not harboring false hopes based on an inflated sales pipeline. (Sales people hate to say they lost a deal; they would rather keep it alive as long as possible so their pipeline looks reasonable.  (I say this with love as a long time sales person myself).

Eventually, you will gain confidence as to what percentage of items move from one stage to the next and what the probability of them, at each stage, becoming a sale eventually. Once that happens you will begin to be able to forecast your future sales results. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Then manage the process. Of course, there is more to it than that, but with those basics and a talented sales manager, you will be well on your way to having a sales pipeline which will achieve your revenue goals.

Sales is a Core Process for any size company. Have you documented your successful sales process?

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