How often do you hear yourself asking your reps, “What’s new in the pipeline?”
Based on their answers your reps sound like they have hundreds of qualified prospects chomping at the bits.
Yet, the number of closed deals aren’t matching up to the numbers in the pipeline.
Because many of the accounts in the pipeline are actually messing up the potential of closed deals.
For example, the other day I overheard the office manager on the phone saying, “Sure, you can keep me on your list and yes, it’s okay to call back in 3 months.”
We are never going to be in the market for their product or services.
Turns out, the office manager agreeing to the rep’s request wasn’t fair to the rep, her boss or their company. Being nice isn’t going to toughen up this rep or offer accurate growth data.
And even after being told we weren’t a candidate for their services, this rep felt compelled to keep us in the database.
Maybe she gets incentives for the number of prospects?
So, how many of the accounts in your reps pipeline are messing up the actual potential forecasting numbers?
How do you fix this?
Take out your calendar and schedule an appointment with each of your reps.
At your meeting evaluate each prospect with this criteria:
- Length of time the account has been in the pipeline.
- Number of actual customer interactions. When? How much time between the conversations? What information was exchanged? NOTE: Leaving voice mail does not count! Only actual conversations to advance the sale count.
- Identify the specific needs, wants, opportunities or problems the prospect clearly stated. Not the ones the rep ‘thinks’ exist.
- If there’s an accurate answer to #3 – then identify the specific reason the prospect has declined purchasing or has requested to remain in the pipeline. Again, no guesses. What did the prospect really say?
- If this is a viable prospect – identify specific action steps to move the prospect forward.
- If answers to #1, 2 and 3 indicate this prospect is taking up space in the pipeline either trash the prospect or consider assigning the prospect to another rep. A fresh approach often works.
Good luck cleaning up the pipeline and providing accurate data for your reps to know if they are really tracking to meet their sales quotas.
Alice Kemper, sales training expert and founder of Sales Training Werks mobilizes sales reps to crush their monthly quota.