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Managing your Sales Pipeline - Shifting the focus from Activity to Value

Posted by Ingrid Maynard on 12 June 2018
Managing your Sales Pipeline - Shifting the focus from Activity to Value

CRM's are often a reflection of the way we recognise sales performance - activity.  So, most CRM's are stage based on the assumption that opportunities are linear and that each stage measures progression towards a sale.

What sales managers find though is that even when opportunities are in the Ready to Close stage, that the criteria that sits behind this is generally just the submission of a proposal.  The quality of that proposal, indeed, the quality of the relationship, the relevance and value to the opportunity of the solution presented in the proposal are not always easy to determine just from the CRM.

So, there is a tendency for sales people to continue to be measured on their activity rather than on the value of that activity and its impact on revenue generated.  And their KPI's reflect this focus which drives a "busy" narrative within the sales team regardless of the readiness of the prospect or whether there is a genuine opportunity to provide value with actions, such as the number of meetings and the number of proposals being the mark of forecasting.

To shift this focus, it's helpful to provide some criteria for stages to enable sales people to begin to have value driven conversations with opportunities rather than on "getting quotes/proposals" in the system.

Stages that are issues based can include a model such as this:
Beyond 19 Managing your sales pipeline
It is important to measure the ratio of opportunities won versus the total number of opportunities identified.  The criteria below provides an objective view of where you are in the process and assists to develop the next step strategy and relevant actions.

1. Need

  • Drivers
  • Motivation
  • Pain points

2. Authority

  • Decision makers
  • Influencers
  • Relationships
  • Level of authority

3. Value Proposition

  • Right product/service for the customer based on needs
  • Downstream focus
  • Areas of uniqueness

4. Decision Process

  • The process that the customer will use to make a decision
  • The criteria each stakeholder will use
  • Timing

5. Budget/Funding

  • Budgets
  • Sign-off levels
  • How they will pay
  • Timing

6. Competition

  • Major competitors for this opportunity
  • Level of relationships
  • Previous dealings
  • Internal competition

7. Solution

  • Connected to the overall need and needs of stakeholders
  • Must deliver value to the customer
  • Where are you unique?

This way, when you see opportunities in Ready to Close, you'll have more confidence in them actually closing and therefore in your forecast.

Tips from John Buchanan, Beyond 19, Coaching Practicing Lead:

1. Getting results is as a result of knowing the PROCESS for results

2. The 7 criteria for understanding opportunity and activity verses value and sale are important replicatable measures

3. Correlate the process with the outcomes or results being achieved

If you found this article interesting you might be interested in the following articles:  

Author: Ingrid Maynard
About: For more than 20 years Ingrid has worked with sales leaders and teams to improve sales performance. After 8 years with The Body Shop Australia and International in sales training and market development, Ingrid has spent the last 12 years founding and running companies in the sales performance space. These companies provided solutions across sales performance improvement solutions and sales coaching for Australian and International clients across a range of industry verticals: Automotive, Banking & Finance, HR, IT&T, Marketing & Design, Recruitment, Retail and Transport & Logistics. Ingrid has worked with clients to achieve significant and measurable improvements in profitable sales growth. She works closely with sales leaders and teams to refocus their approach to selling; aligning sales behaviours with strategic objectives for lasting results.
Connect via: LinkedIn
Tags: CRM High Performance Sales Sales Behaviours Initiatives Sales Growth Cadence Mindset Sales Leadership

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