Is Your Pipeline Healthy or Unhealthy?

Is Your Pipeline Healthy or Unhealthy?

Too often salespeople believe that their pipeline is healthy and hitting their monthly or quarterly quota target is well within reach. The problem is that these same salespeople often miss their targets and end up blaming customers, the economy, the product, etc. for it. While there are many factors that come into play to consistently hit quota, pipeline health is a major one. So, how do you know if your pipeline is unhealthy? Below are seven indicators to help you make an assessment. They are:

  1. All losses are devastating. If you only have “enough” opportunities in the pipeline to hit quota, losing one means missing target for the month or quarter. Success with no margin of error is unlikely, especially over the long term.
  2. Forecast is regularly inaccurate. If you continue to miss forecast, there is a strong likelihood that you lack a consistent sales methodology and process. Should the opportunities committed truly be forecasted?
  3. Holding onto deals too tight. Even though all signs point to an opportunity being “dead,” you continue to hold onto it. When not enough active opportunities are generated and worked, hope becomes the strategy, not good.
  4. Underperformance against targets. You knowingly or unknowingly do not have enough opportunities to deliver quota. Question: Does your sales funnel support current meetings, opportunities and win rate targets?
  5. You are desperate for sales. When you are desperate, customers sense it (“commission breathe”). Engagements go bad and opportunities are lost when sellers do things for themselves, not customers.
  6. You are not working with ideal customers. When you do not have enough deals in the pipeline, customer engagements may not be ideal; e.g., wrong industry. Ideal customers accelerate revenue growth.
  7. You feel rejection for deals lost or pushed. When you do not have enough deals in the pipeline to cover losses and pushes, you take it personally. Accountability means never blaming customers for performance.

Considering the above, how can you fix a broken or unhealthy pipeline? If you have not defined your ideal customer profile, focus on quantity first and then quality. If you only focus on quality without knowing the key attributes on your idea customers, you will miss out on learning key data and information. Or, if you have already defined your ideal customer, focus on increasing your activity level. What are your ideal customer sources (“lines in the water”)? What is your plan to get in front of them (e.g., cold call, social media, etc.)? What actions need to be taken?

Building and maintaining a healthy pipeline requires action. There are four types of action salespeople can take. They are: no action, normal action, wrong action and massive action. How do you know when you have taken massive action? When you lose a deal and your performance is not negatively impacted because you have other opportunities to cover for it. Or, you can do business with who you want (ideal customers). Or, you have the right number of opportunities to consistently deliver quota. Question: When is your pipeline big enough? Never.

All contents copyright © 2017, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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