If you’re like most companies, you have many contacts in your CRM system that haven’t budged from their sales cycle stage in months–or maybe even longer. In fact, many sales executives we talk to admit they are unclear how accurate their sales pipeline is, which puts its value into question.
For these and many other reasons, a pipeline assessment can go far as a way to gain an honest review of recent sales meetings and engagements, evaluate prospect status, and identify who may have dropped completely from the pipeline.
This type of assessment basically allows a sales organization to re-focus on the “low-hanging fruit” – the prospects with the highest, best opportunity to close.
Here at C-Level, we recently launched a new “Sales Meeting Effectiveness” program to help our clients do a little spring-cleaning where their pipelines are concerned. Whether you assess your prospect lists and sales meetings weekly, monthly or quarterly, here’s what we’ve found to be the 7 most valuable reasons to get it done:
- Enable new sales leadership: Often when new sales leadership enters a new environment, they are told that their pipeline is robust and loaded with impending new business. It’s always an “a-ha moment” when they come to realize the pipeline was not nearly as strong as they were led to believe. By being proactive about reviewing the pipeline early, however, these new leaders can gain a clear understanding of prospects’ positions in the sales cycle right from the start, and from there, can establish the optimal path towards focusing their sales team’s efforts going forward.
- Empower existing sales leadership: A sales effectiveness review is also valuable for longer-tenured, existing sales leadership who want to uncover deeper reasons or trends behind why prospects are not moving through the pipeline. Many times, the research discovers reporting errors, misunderstandings, or the proverbial “dropped ball” pointing to sales activities that are not matching reality. Sales leadership can then reassess their situation and recalibrate their efforts, whether at the start of a new month, quarter or year.
- Fix your message: By investigating your sales engagements and pipeline, you can discover where your message is resonating, and where it’s falling short. Often, a minor point can create a misinterpretation that can lead to an objection by the prospect. This minor point, possibly around benefits or pricing, might be easily fixed and the objections overcome, leading to instant new closes.
- Gather competitive intelligence: Often, sales assessments discover that prospects should be dropped from the pipeline for a very good reason – they purchased with a competitor. A pipeline status check can not only uncover this, but also reveal intelligence about which competitor they went with, when, and why. This information can be quite valuable in repositioning your product or tweaking your messaging to better combat what the competition is doing or saying.
- Fix your contacts files: People change roles and companies constantly. Perhaps the reason a contact hasn’t closed is that she or he is no longer with the company, or another person is now in that role. By discovering this and fixing the CRM file, your sales team will spend less time chasing the wrong contacts, and more time with the right decision makers. Also worth noting: if your prospect did close a sale with you, or was about to, but then moved on to a new company, they may well be interested in implementing your product or service in their new organization. That’s why it’s important to stay in touch with your valuable contacts as they move through their careers.
- Re-energize your team: Internal sales team meetings with your entire staff can be considered time-intensive and costly, but these engagements present the ideal opportunity to re-energize and re-focus, using the insight gained from the Sales Meeting Effectiveness research. With a fresh, accurate assessment of the sales pipeline, sales leadership is prepared to review current issues and trends, revisit and reinforce the sales message, and get their team on the same page—and on the right path for success in the coming period.
- Optimize ROI: By identifying and focusing on the best opportunities, sales team efforts will be maximized, time to close will be shortened, and less energy will be spent chasing lost or “long-shot” prospects.
A good sales meeting effectiveness program involves the use of trained professionals who circle back with decision makers with whom your sales team has previously met. Simply put, their goal is to gather the insight needed to determine whether your prospects will be moving forward in the sales pipeline.
At the same time these experts can uncover gaps in your approach to pricing, sales personnel, messaging or sales proposals and presentations. You can then make the adjustments you need to win more customers and close more deals—fast.
Don’t let an inaccurate sales pipeline, or lack of deep insight into your sales program’s progress, stall your sales cycles. Get your spring-cleaning started now, and ask us about our new “Sales Meeting Effectiveness” program. Read more about the program here, or contact me, Bonnie Rodden, at 512.768.8571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.