The 3-step sales pipeline purge that sales people will thank you for… eventually

April 3, 2024 David

Read this if you have sales pipeline reviews.

Your sales pipeline is the life blood of your business.

Getting clarity on its accuracy is very important.

All manner of prospects appear on pipelines, some that shouldn’t be there in the first place.

I’ve seen prospects hang around for months, dreamy big ‘whale’ accounts with big numbers attached and other prospects that don’t really fit.

As a business leader, you need the best possible information with which to plan.  

Having been a salesperson and Sales Director, I know that sales can be challenging, and this is not about bashing sales efforts.

It’s about shared understanding and consistency to accelerate sales and spend time wisely.

Here’s my 3-step plan that creates a consistent picture you can rely on.

Step 1 – Who are we targeting as prospects and why?

This may seem so basic, but taking a moment to check in that the prospect belongs on our pipeline is such a time saver.

If you have a clear understanding of your role in the life of clients/customers, then this check should be simple.

If not, you may have a targeting or proposition issue.

Does this prospect fit with where you are as a business and where you add value?

So, ask the question and take them off early in the process to save time and money and disappointment.

Step 2 – Tell me about the person we are taking to?

There is a whole day seminar in this step, but let’s be brief.

Ask about the role, responsibility, and position of the individual you are in most communication with.

Do they have authority, a budget, deal sign-off, autonomy?

Or are they an influencer, well-meaning but someone who is fact finding for more senior colleagues?

Dig a little deeper here and decide if you are likely to get the outcome you want from this point of contact.

If not, plan a different approach.

Step 3 – What about timing for progressing the opportunity?

You will have your own pipeline development stages to monitor the progress of your opportunities.

The key is to have a consistent qualification method that moves a prospect to a close.

I recommend developing your own qualifications like the following 5 categories to keep everyone on the same page.

  1. They are in our audience group and have a general interest
  2. They know they have a problem, but they are yet to fully define it
  3. They believe that we may be able to help with problem definition and possible resolution
  4. They have a well-defined need that they acknowledge they need support with, and they are comfortable that we can help them with it
  5. They have a well-defined need that they acknowledge they need support with, and we’re the preferred supplier

You will need to think about what these are specific to your needs.

The higher the number, the more imminent the closing of the deal.

But the idea here is simplicity, simple questions that require only simple answers.

I run sessions on developing better pipelines through clarity and shared communications.

Drop me a note here and let’s get your sales pipeline in great shape.



Image: Revenue Storm


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