Occasionally, business owners and executives may find it difficult to understand what is really going on with their customers and prospects. Moreover, there is a good chance that no one else knows inside of your organization either.
Business owners and executives that want to keep their sales strong even during tough times must have key insights to their customers problems and priorities. Without that strategic insight the executive is left to make decisions by guessing.
In prosperous economic conditions companies may be able to get away with guessing their way through; however, in a tight economy anyone leading a sales team needs to get a firm grip on sales.
No time is better than the present to give your pipeline a thorough examination.
This means that this is a good time for a pipeline triage.
Questions for consideration are:
• Which opportunities are DOA?
• Which opportunities cannot be revived?
• Which opportunities should be excluded from the prospecting list?
• Which opportunities are likely to close?
Analyzing these questions will enable salespeople to prioritize their time and resources. Focus should be given to opportunities that are most likely to close and to prospecting for new business to replace deals that are unlikely to close.
Structuring Your Sales Pipeline Triage Process
To provide clarity, triage means to sort out and prioritize. Begin by sorting the pipeline by sales professional and then by the stage within the sales process. Place close at the top and prospect at the bottom. Review each sales professional’s pipeline in detail.
Business owners and executives should work closely with each salesperson to do the following:
• Strategically disqualify any opportunity or lead that is unlikely to close. Be sure to update the CRM to note that it is a lost opportunity.
• Strategically note the remaining opportunities as in good standing or high risk.
• Update the stage, product revenue, and close date for each opportunity that is in good standing.
Identify all deals in good standing and also marked as a stage near closing, then map the steps and the timeline to get the opportunity to close. Begin with those nearest to closing and strategically plan the next action and required date for that action.
For high risk opportunities, state reasons that could change the high-risk status and what actions could be taken to improve the status.
Next it is important to discuss the leads that could still be reasonably closed within the next 3 to 4 months with each sales professional. During the conversation with the sales professional, the following items should be discussed:
• High priority opportunities (List and rank the opportunities)
• The action plan to move the opportunities forward
• Immediate changes needed to support the opportunities
In summary your organization needs to find revenue to replace lost opportunities. The sales growth strategy should include searching for opportunities that have been previously overlooked.
Consider asking the following questions:
• Do existing clients have needs that have previously been ignored?
• Can adjustments be made to current offerings to support new requirements?
Where are the markets that previously didn’t need our offerings; but, now urgently need them? What are the best methods and strategies to communicate your solutions to their problems?
While some may exclaim that these are challenging times, executives and business owners should have a swift corrective mindset and implement action that rescues the company. Ensure that opportunities are truly lost before crossing them off of your prospecting list. Search for opportunities that may close sooner. Network with people that you wouldn’t ordinarily speak with and discover how you might help them. You might find sales opportunities that have existed out side of your awareness. As a business owner or executive, it is up to you keep the company on track by remaining focused and by closing new business.
For additional resources and help with sorting out and prioritizing your sale opportunities, Contact Falcon Project Consultants.