Time to Unclog the Pipeline!

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 20-Jan-2009

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Deals seem to be taking longer, more decision-makers are getting involved, and more deals just keep slipping from quarter to quarter without ever coming to a decision.  As a result, many sales pipelines are getting clogged up with deals that are going nowhere fast - and have been for ages.

At first glance, it might appear comforting that at least the deals haven't gone away or worse, been lost to a competitor.  But all these go-nowhere deals are hardening the arteries of sales pipelines and making it difficult to move the fast-moving deals through to completion.

Most organisations would benefit from a rigorous re-qualification of every deal in the pipeline based on a evidence-driven evaluation of their true potential.  What should we be looking for?  Evidence of buyer intent, expressed through actions that take their buying process forward, and clear championship within the buying organisation.

Establishing evidence of buyer intent is a key element of proactive pipeline management.  In these risk-averse times, one of the most powerful signs of buyer intent - in addition the their observed behaviour - is an identified and acknowledged "cost of inaction": what would the potential costs, consequences and risks be to the buyer if they made a decision to do nothing at this stage? 

If it's proving difficult to get your champion to articulate this clearly both to you and to their colleagues on your prospect's buying team, it may be time to focus your energies on others that show greater promise.

Almost every pipeline would benefit from moving the faster moving deals into the middle of the flow - where they can enjoy the best attention - and gently moving the slower moving projects to the side where they are less likely to stand in the way.

Topics: Scalable Systems, Revenue Management, Complex Sales