Jun 182012

Sales Pipeline: A Cure for the Stagnant Sales Pipeline

Sales Pipeline: By John Kenney on Sat, Jun 16, 2012

If you are at risk of failing to make your number in 2012, the problem could be your sales pipeline. Are opportunities flowing, or are they silently killing your year? It’s impossible to deliver predictable results if you cannot look forward to see where your business is coming from. Pipeline stagnation is often due to the lack of a process for releasing opportunities from the sales process and returning them back to Marketing for nurturing. Does this sound like your organization? If so, read on because I have a proven solution for you!

 Sales Pipeline: Stagnation: Symptoms of The Quiet Cancer

  • Opportunities that are endlessly open and bloat the true size of the pipeline
  • Reps keeping inactive opportunities alive for fear of seeing them assigned to someone else if they are closed
  • Marketing pointlessly nurturing returned leads without the benefit of understanding who they are and how they have interacted with the company in the past.

Overcoming Stagnation

Since the beginning of this year, our firm has been engaged with a global B2B technology firm to develop and implement a customized sales process. During a design workshop we talked about the start of the process where the leads become opportunities and enter the sales process. That made sense. Then we talked about how opportunities become leads when they stop moving forward. That idea was completely foreign.

(For a primer on the fundamentals, read Vince Koehler’s excellent overview of Lead Development.)

The Dreaded Open Loop

Their sales process lacked a way to handle opportunities that had stalled and needed to be recycled for more nurturing. They had just 2 choices:

  1. Discard the work-in-process as “Closed – No Opportunity”
  2. Let the opportunity linger in the CRM system

By choosing “Closed – No Opportunity,” any chance of winning the deal later was lost because it had disappeared from all radar screens.  The alternative was to leave the opportunity in active status in order to attain a pipeline target. This option encouraged reps to waste additional time and energy on stagnant deals. It also distorted essential CRM process metrics like sales cycle length and forecast accuracy, compromising the data needed to manage the business. These were both ugly alternatives.

The Light at the End of a Very Dark Tunnel

sales pipeline




To Discuss how these Solutions will add value for you, your organization and/or your clients, Affinity/Resale Opportunities, and/or Collaborative Efforts, Please Contact:

Tom McDonald, tsm@centurytel.net; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

sales pipeline, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC