Kristie's Blog

“Stalled” is NOT a Stage


I was doing a pipeline audit for a client a few years ago when I ran across a sales stage called “Stalled”. What is this, I asked? “Oh- That’s where we put all the deals that we think will close someday but are currently stalled out. We don’t want to lose track of them.” WTF????

So as crazy as this sounds, they aren’t the only company I’ve run across with a similar thought process. So let’s set the record straight. Stalled is not a stage in the sales cycle!

So let’s define what a stalled deal looks like:

  • The contact has been ghosting your rep.…… for weeks
  • There is a competing project and the deal is going to have to wait a while
  • There is no FIRM next action on the calendar and your rep. hasn’t had any 2-way communication with their contact in 60 days
  • Budget didn’t get approved and this initiative will have to wait until next year
  • This deal requires board approval and they don’t meet again for 3 months
  • Your rep. lost their contact/DM 60 days ago and they’ve had not connected with the replacement

These are all frustrating and disappointing situations when they happen after weeks or months of hard work and no one will like the following #realtalk, but these aren’t stalled deals, they are Closed/Lost deals……for now. I prefer the term NRNs (Not Right Nows).

Even though they’re being closed out as lost, there are steps that should be taken to nurture them until they’re ready to re-engage:

  • Add them to your company newsletter/mailing list
  • Connect with them on LI, if you haven’t already (which you should have)
  • Change their contact and company status in the CRM to “nurture” (and hopefully your marketing team has a nurture strategy)
  • Set a task in the CRM for every 2 months that says “Send an article of interest”
  • Set a google alert for the company so you can reach out when the company is in the news
  • Be on the lookout for opportunities to make introductions or send business their way

Closed/Lost deals, if kept warm, can provide a welcomed surprise just when you least expect it and probably need it. You should be running Closed/Lost reports quarterly and putting those accounts into a Closed/Lost outbound campaign to see if you can re-heat that cold pizza.

It’s time to take a hard look at your team’s pipeline and ask yourself this, Is your team’s funnel a fantasy or a realistic picture of what your team is going to close this quarter?

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Antecdotes, advice and tough love for sales professionals who want to be intentional about their career.

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