I really want to get this sign made up as labels to slap across some sales pipelines I see.
Pretty much in the same way health and safety specialists do, or the gas board do when you’re a student and the boiler’s condemned
Extreme reaction? Not at all.
Some sales pipelines are so congested that nothing moves – good leads, bad leads, indifferent leads…in fact, who can tell what types of leads they are?
It’s not so much a sales pipeline as a waiting room where good leads go to die.
Your sales funnel is a static entity where good, pre-qualified leads are carefully entered in the top of the funnel and are ejected again as profitable orders at the end.
The sales pipeline and the management of that sales pipeline SHOULD be the highly mobile process that moves all the leads efficiently and effectively through the sales funnel until such a point that they are rejected or they convert to order.
What could possibly go wrong?
Here’s the three killer crimes that make the sales funnel static, jammed, congested and downright constipated:
1. A poor sales pipeline process – You know you’ve got this if you’re suffering from inaccurate sales forecasts, you’re sales funnel just gets bigger because no-one ever cleans it out, and when you look through it you realise that the age of some of the leads is almost B.C.
2. You’re keeping every single lead as a ‘not now but maybe’ – your criteria is probably centred on something like ‘well, they’re not ready to buy now but I’ll contact them again in 6 months’. You see, I’m not saying that this is a bad policy…I’m simply suggesting that if you are going to use this question for screening a lead in or out of your sales pipeline then you should consider really being very careful to apply the next point
3. A lead qualification process that’s not robust enough – meaning that every lead is given equal weight once it gets into the sale funnel. And it retains that equal weight as it moves through the sales funnel. Some banding of leads needs to be applied, and that’s usually associated with some fairly robust questioning and clarification around very specific buying criteria associated with each individual lead. You simply need a universal qualification criteria for each stage in the sales funnel
Taking a strong hard look at your sales funnel and the accompanying sales pipeline with these three points in mind will allow a much higher level of clarity regarding the potential value of orders in your sales pipeline.
To me – that’s the key metric.
If you know the value of orders in your sales pipeline, you know the historical conversion rate, and you know the sales conversion recipe from the top of the sales funnel to the bottom then you have a stable business and sales monitoring tool and the start of a solid sales system
Until these are standardised and adhered to, your business may be subjected to these negative impacts:
Inaccurate sales forecasts
Peaks and troughs in sales performance
Lost orders as good leads go unattended, lost from sight in the mix of the not so great leads
Inability to plan ahead to compensate for the peaks and troughs
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