Kristie's Blog

Your Funnel is a Fantasy

Your Funnel is a Fantasy

It appears that there were enough deals in the pipeline and yet here you are again, a few days left in the quarter and you’re only at 52% of your Q3 goal. The quarter started out as it usually does; a “full” pipeline, reps confident they will hit quota this month, and you reporting the good news to the board. But with only a few days left neither you nor your reps feel good about how the quarter will end.

So what happened?

I hear this struggle from Founders and Sales Leaders all too often and my 1st thought is – Your Pipeline Funnel is a Fantasy. I don’t want to be right, but history tells me I probably am.

So I recommend that we sit down and review every single deal in the pipeline.

I know. It sounds painful. And it can be.

As we review each deal, here’s how I determine if a deal should stay in the pipeline or be moved to Closed/Lost.

The criteria for determining If a deal is qualified to be in the pipeline:

  • The discovery notes have clear pain that your product or service can solve
  • Your rep is dealing with a strong influencer or the DM directly
  • There has been consistent 2-way communication in the past 2-3 weeks
  • There is a FIRM next step on the calendar and the prospect has accepted that mtg. Invite
  • Your rep know what the next step is the moves the deal closer to close/won and can articulate it

Here is what you’ll see when there are deals in the pipeline that need to be closed out as LOST:

  • The primary contact has been ghosting your rep.…… for weeks
  • The is no real pain or impact (Impact is how that pain is financially affecting the organization)
  • 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 30 days
  • They were told to “follow up” in a couple of weeks. Calls aren’t being returned and no reply to emails
  • The budget didn’t get approved and this initiative will have to wait until next year
  • Your rep. lost their contact/DM 60 days ago and they’ve had not connected with the replacement

Friends….. STALLED IS NOT A PIPELINE STAGE! A stalled deal is a lost deal, for now.

Cleansing the pipeline is painful and requires discipline, but it’s much less painful than standing before the board next month and telling them that you missed the target… AGAIN. It gives you and your reps an opportunity to add fresh deals to the pipeline that do have a chance to close in the next 90 days.

So, I challenge you to do a pipeline review with each of your reps, this week, to make sure you enter Q4 with a clean pipeline and a clean conscience.

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

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