In spite of the best efforts to get sales teams producing desirable pipeline metrics, many companies struggle with this key fundamental of sales "blocking & tackling".
But my question for you today is this:
Is producing a desirable pipeline a result of CRM utilzation, or a lagging indicator that something else is in need of attention?
"Something else" that is actually keeping your team from producing the desirable results you are looking for?
Let's look at these scenarios to find out:
1) Do you often have "late stage" opportunities that never seem to close when their creator has estimated or worse "100%" probability deals that are lost in the 11th hour?
- Why are salespeople so inconsistent at predicting close dates and win probability?
2) Are there not enough new opportunities entering your pipeline each week...causing you to lose sleep over whether you team is generating enough new business to meet your growth goals?
- What can be done to insure an adequate flow of new opportunities?
3) Do you suffer from a "constipated pipeline" that has a pile of aged deals that have zero activity & are going nowhere fast?
- Why do your salespeople not take action on these?
4) Do you often have new opportunities appear without warning, just days before orders are placed and your organization is left scrambling to deliver on the product or services?
- How & Why does this ever happen?
If any or all of these painful scenarios sound familiar, what can you do to inspire your team to action and develop better pipeline discipline?
Chances are, this challenge has less to do with your team interacting more with their CRM and more related to interacting with their customers and prospects.
If you are committed to resolving this challenge, answer this 1 question -
"How well have you defined and communicated a company-wide "sales process" and how well are your managers coaching your team to this process on a consistent basis?
Does this resemble your team's response to implementing a company sales process:
"Sales is all about relationships and either you can develop them or you can't."
"A process won't help us. Our business is different with every opportunity. We don't need to create sales robots, we need people who can think quickly on their feet and just figure out how to win".
Ok, I don't disagree relationship building is a vital skill to have in sales and sales people need to be quick on their feet, but what would your pipeline look like if the following were true:
a) You could clearly define what stage each opportunity in your CRM was at, and you had a qualifying checklist that needed to be answered to justify the assigned stage or win probability?
- Would this discipline help improve your pipeline forecasting?
b) You established KPIs for leading activities such as lead generation, weekly calls, discovery meetings, and quotes/proposals.
- Would implementing these leading activity KPIs help ensure a more consistent flow of new opportunities in and keep unqualified deals from clogging your pipes?
c) Your team used proven strategies to uncover customer pain points - prior to providing product solutions and proposals?
- Would this improve your overall win rate?
There is no denying "sales" require skills or an artistic approach, but companies that can put "science into selling" by implementing a clearly defined sales process have enjoyed 17-19%* growth within their first 12 months.
Ventas Solutions empowers your team with a robust sales process & we do so in a way that engages your team to energize the behavior changes needed for success.
(* As noted in Harvard Business Review & Objective Management Group studies)