If you don’t have pipeline management in place, you will never be achieving maximum sales for your business. And there is basically no point having a forecasting system if you can’t even accurately plan for what sales will be closing, and when.
Previously we discussed about the importance of a sales process – a map showing the journey from someone being a prospect to becoming a customer. And while this is vital for every business to have, without proper management of the pipeline, growth outcomes will be minimal.
There are really only two reasons a pipeline fails – not enough opportunities, and poor quality of prospects in the pipeline. But that is what a proper sales process should rectify. And as a business or sales leader, once the sales process set, it is your responsibility to ensure it is adhered too by your sales team.
And because the process is about being as effective as possible to achieve top line growth and profits, the Objective Management Group has a list of 10 ways to ensure salespeople follow your pipeline;
- It isn’t voluntary
- No exceptions
- Live it and breath it
- Hold them accountable to it
- Coach to it daily
- Reinforce it
- Point out what happens when they skip steps
- Show them what happens when they execute
- Non-compliance has consequences
- Practice daily
And what it basically comes down to is continually refining it to be as effective as it can possibly be, and of course this will change as new information emerges from data, or an external factor influences particular tasks.
Measuring results, and analysing them, are two of the most important tasks you, as a business leader, can take responsibility for when it comes to pipeline management, as this then leads to being able to accurately forecast.