Managing Your Sales Pipe-line

18 March 2014 by Charles Howden

How confident are you that your sales-pipeline cases will go the distance?

Directors and business owners often tell us about their frustration with not being able to put a figure on the financial value of their sales pipeline.

They tell us about sales meetings with hours spent listening to reports of sales leads that are apparently on the verge of being completed (but never quite cross the line). With the same prospect names coming up, month after month with no apparent way of scoring the likelihood of ever achieving a sale. Sound familiar?

If it does, here are four questions you can ask your sellers, to identify whether they are reporting serious buyers to you.

Question One: Is there a budget?

Without an identified, allocated budget or funding stream, purchasing decisions will usually have to be signed off by someone outside the level of discussion that is currently operating.

Question Two: What is the timeframe for them taking action?

If there is no timeframe, in the absence of a compelling value proposition, the status quo will take preference.

Question Three: What is their buying process?

The who, how, and when, will the decision be made. Without a clear, mapped-out understanding of how buying decisions are made, the sale is going nowhere.

Question Four: What precise “problem state” does our proposition solve for them?

Because if sellers can’t clearly explain this, with a financial case for the purchase, then the chances are your prospect can’t either.

Of course, just because a seller can’t get the answers to these questions just yet, does not mean that the sale will never progress. It just means that there are some important steps to complete before you can take it seriously. And you can choose whether your sales meeting is the place for those discussions.

Clearly we have more complex models for scoring pipeline cases. The value of these questions is their simplicity, allowing you to quickly cut through the waffle to gain a better understanding of the quality of leads in your own sales pipeline.

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CPV have taken the mystery out of the sales process and shown us how to do it for ourselves, now I feel much more in control of our business” – PW, MD Financial Services SME

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