Managing and maintaining your sales pipeline is difficult. Trying to keep fresh opportunities to work on while servicing existing customers is more than a full time job. And yet, that is what is expected of us as salespeople. If we had our druthers, we would have a healthy book of business with happy customers that keep us busy with constant new order. Rinse, wash, repeat, right? Most of us are not that lucky. We must continually be on the hunt for our next opportunity; especially while we are working on the existing ones.
Although successful sales is the name of the game, it also creates one of the biggest problems with your sales pipeline. No, it’s not just that you’re now busy with your success, but you find yourself becoming complacent as well. Why worry about tomorrow when I have plenty today. But there is a situation that is even worse; when we think we have major deals in the pipeline, we let off the gas pedal, but the deals never close. Now you’re left with no deals and no opportunities to work on. You’re back at the start and hungrier than ever. Here are 5 ways to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.
Be accountable – Accountability is one of my least favorite management buzzwords, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Be honest about your pipeline and don’t make excuses for letting it dry up. Excuses are a lot harder to sell when you’re not meeting your goals.
Set your minimum – What is the minimum amount of prospects you should have active in your pipeline? Most people can’t answer that and therefore they don’t know what to watch for. Even if it is just a 3 – 5 prospects over a month, it is much better than a dry pipeline.
Monthly pipeline review – It is hard to prime the sales pump when the pipeline runs dry. Make a habit of having a monthly pipeline review with a co-worker or supervisor. Discuss the opportunities, where they are in the process and which new ones do you want to focus on? You’ll find that just vocalizing these issues with someone else is enough to keep you focused and accountable.
Mind your activity – Sales work is hard so it is no surprise that we love our breaks whether others are looking or not. A sales pipeline alone is not enough to keep you going. There has to be sales activity. Pipeline + Activity = Results. Make sure you are doing enough to keep the ball moving forward.
Remember your goal – Never take your eye off the prize. You won’t get there with just one sale. You may feel that everything is going your way right now, but chances are you still have a ways to go. Not to mention the fact that there will soon be another new goal that you have to set yourself up for. Your goal should keep you focused on your pipeline. Don’t let your success sabotage your pipeline.