How important is your Sales Pipeline for your business?

How important is your Sales Pipeline for your business?

So the first quarter review has more than likely happened at this stage with your sales team. Sales reps are really good at sharing how good their last quarter was, but less forthcoming when forecasting the next quarter, so why is this?

Have you ever heard any of the following comments?

  • We lost the big opportunity that we were confident that we would win.
  • That deal now won’t close until the next quarter
  • Our sales people need help qualifying and closing orders
  • Our product/price wasn’t competitive.
  • Our sales people don’t have enough leads.

At some point you may have heard and on occasion accepted some of the above excuses.

So how do you avoid that happening at the next review.

One of the most overlooked tools within Sales Departments is the CRM system. Built correctly, a CRM system provides clarity and visibility within the entire department. Built incorrectly, all you will have is a very expensive spreadsheet.

Here are the four key benefits that a good CRM system will deliver for your business:

  1. Pipeline for this month and next month’s business
  2. Accuracy with forecasting
  3. Sales Process Adherence and Opportunity Review
  4. Lead Generation (Marketing and Sales lists)

CRM when built with a provider that understands your business and is invested in ensuring adoption, is much more than software. It’s a sales tool that supports managers and sales reps to be able to do their job more efficiently and effectively.

If you’re struggling with predicting pipeline, ask yourself these questions:

Are my sales stages based on customer behaviors ?

If your Sales Stages are solely based on an emotional feeling, “oh that meeting went really well, I expect to close that in 2 weeks time”, you have a challenge in your business.
Sales stages must be customer driven, with clear actions or agreements.
As a sales manager / leader, you must challenge this issue.

What qualifies that customer to be at this stage in your pipeline? This is where you need to be tough !!

What other information are you including to determine your pipeline?

To evaluate your forecast , you need answers that can qualify the client that is in your forecast.
Is there a compelling reason WHY they are looking for a new solution or service? 
Are you the sole provider in the opportunity?  What budgets have been discussed?
Who is the decision maker?
Have you pitched to all stakeholders?
All of the answers would have a dramatic impact on your chances of closing the sale..

Having a CRM sales process will result in better conversations with your team.

Some key issues will be resolved:

Proposals getting pushed into the next quarter: While the customer and rep seemed excited, there was no compelling reason driving them to buy.
Pitching to the wrong person becomes a real, stand out problem, when you discover that your contact within the account needed approval on budget.

Ensure your sales people are skilled at every step of the sales process. Provide support, with coaching and training to help improve their sales performance.

Jo Collins - Sales PerformanceFor me a CRM system is a valuable sales asset that enables sales growth. Sales Directors need to take control of this conversation with IT as a supporter to the project.

A good CRM system that is designed specifically for your business is vital in today’s market. Yes you can buy of the shelf, but you get what you pay for, and it’s wiser in my view to find a partner to work with that will provide a solution for your business.

I implemented a CRM system into a large sales department, so I have first-hand experience, that will help you avoid some pitfalls, and could help speed up the adoption process and increase the sales performance of your team.
For more information, contact me : jo@salesperformance.ie

 

Jo Collins
Jo Collins
Jo Collins, through Sales Performance, works with business owners who want to develop their sales people and improve sales results. With over 25 years experience in Sales and Sales Management, Jo has a very practical approach to increasing sales performance. Having been directly involved in many sales roles from : Tele Sales – Field Sales and Sales Management, Jo has a great blend of practical knowledge in addition to the theory of Sales and Sales Management.

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