Professional sales are deep dependent on following a methodology where having a qualified pipeline is crucial. A good way to increase sales is developing a reliable forecast, which needs to be based on a qualified pipeline. Here some hints.
This article is based on personal experience and guidance I have received from professional institutions, and is addressed to sales persons that follow a formal sales process where creating a qualified pipeline is crucial. Few things could be of more interest than having a qualified pipeline this time of the year.
Once you review last year achievements, make sure to start the year with a qualified pipeline. And remember, qualification is not just an event in the sales process but a continue activity because the prospect´s circumstances can change over time.
Check for how long the-pending-to-close proposals have been part of your pipeline. After a couple of months the probability to close may get low. Be objective rather than just hope they will get closed.
There is this saying in sales: “If you do not know you are wining then you are losing”. It means that buyers, sometimes unintentionally, let vendors know that they are wining by some signs that need interpretation, like being more open for meetings, for conversations, for feed-back and even for lunch meetings.
On the other hand, buyers may have awarded the business to other vendor without telling you.
Also, buyers may be getting to a “no decision” situation; among common reasons are:
- Not seeing clear value
- No access to decision power
So be brave, ask your prospects, find out the real status of your opportunities and clean the pipeline. Focus on quality rather than quantity, and then start rebuilding your pipeline.
Put special attention on “aligning your sales process with your prospect´s buying process”.
The sales efforts will be affected by the buyer behaviours.
Sales persons have to intelligently converse and engage with buyers based on what is of best interest for buyers, not them, to earn the right of their attention.
By understanding the buyer process, sharing your sales process, and looking for a win-win alignment of both processes, you can:
- Have a qualified pipeline,
- Improve your forecast reliability, and
- Increase your sales in 2015.