3 Tips to Accelerate Sales Pipeline Opportunities
Time kills all deals…
When thinking about the glory days of getting a lead, whether those are self-sourced leads or an oh-so-coveted lead from the marketing team, it is important to efficiently work that deal through the funnel. As we in sales say, time kills all deals! If you’re not familiar with the saying, it means once a deal is stagnant in the funnel, your risk of that deal going Dead or being Postponed increases every hour it loses momentum. So how do we keep our deals moving through the pipeline at an efficient rate?
Regardless of what you are selling or whom you are selling to, here are a couple tips to keep your deals moving through the sales funnel and into your bank account.
How to keep pipeline opportunities moving through the funnel
NEXT STEPS: This one couldn’t be more crucial! The biggest mistake that we see sales executives make is not leaving every single interaction with a next step. That could be anything from a referral to an on-site meeting, a demonstration or a pricing call. Forgetting to set your next step prior to getting off that call or leaving that interaction is a sure way to lose momentum on a deal.
PRO TIP – Send out the meeting invite on the call. We like to ask, “who else should be on this call?” or “who else would this impact?”. You never want to over invite because then you can lose focus of the agenda. But knowing who is involved in the next step of the sales process is crucial when keeping your deals moving.
Focusing your time on the right buyer
CHAMPION vs. DECISION MAKER: Who is your Champion? Understanding who your go to person is that will give inside tips and a lay of the land vs the actual cheque signer, is another fundamental step in pipeline acceleration. How often do you hear about deals slipping into the next month because the sales executive didn’t know exactly who was signing the order form? This can be an easy oversight and sometimes takes reading through the lines.
PRO TIP – Asking questions like, “have you bought something like this before?” or “do you have any vacation, territory trips, or other priorities that could slow this down”, have helped me in the past with keeping projects moving. Always remember to tie the timeline to your customers objectives, not your own. We will talk more about this in our upcoming Strategic Discounting blog post.
Confirming your buyer’s timeline and next steps
MUTUAL PLAN: You know what they say about making assumptions… In PG terms, it is the best way to make an A! out of You and Me. Never make assumptions in sales because you are probably assuming wrong! A mutual plan is a tool that will give you better clarity on what needs to happen between every interaction and will give your customers a lot of comfort, and you will look like a pro. Ask yourself, “Whom would a customer rather work with?” Someone who has done these 100 times before and is providing a structured evaluation or someone who is new to the game, guessing on next steps?
PRO TIP – Mutual Plans can always change or be updated. Just because you create one does not mean that timelines will change or that one step cannot happen before another. A Mutual Plan is the best way to make sure that your customer understands where you want to go and helps you understand if your customer is on board. Another major benefit is that it is a good qualification tool. If your customer is seeing a sign off date of next month, they are going to tell you pretty quickly if that is possible or not. Remember, we love Yes’s and No’s but HATE Maybe’s!
Some final thoughts…
Always have a reason to call. Never call to check in or follow up. Always call with a purpose and add value. Re-qualify on every call. Has Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline (BANT) changed, is anyone away from that office that needs to be a part of this decision, have other priorities taken precedent? If you follow these steps, you will keep the right opportunities in the pipeline, close them faster and keep tire kickers at an arm’s reach!