Actively Managing Your Sales Funnel

"I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about funnel management, so I thought this would be a good place to share some best practices.  The word funnel is often used to describe our pipeline of deals as the typical funnel would show the ideal shape we need to deliver a healthy stream of revenue.  That is, we need more opportunities and leads at the top because as they progress through the selling (and buying) stages, some are no doubt due to fall out.    If we know an opportunity is not a good fit, it’s better to remove it from our funnel in an early stage rather than do a lot of work on it only to lose it in the end.  Sometimes salespeople are..."

Salesforce: Impossible

"It seems like a new restaurant makeover show pops up each week.  By now you've probably seen at least one where a charismatic world class chef comes in and saves the owner from a desperate situation.  I think the shows have broad appeal, because who doesn't love to go out to eat?  We all have a little content expertise and if you're like me, you're a sucker for a happy ending.  So all of this got me wondering - what would this formulaic approach look like for a flailing salesforce? The first thing our muscle bound celebrity chef does is taste the food.  This is the basics - if you don't have good food, people won't eat at your restaurant.  Conversely, do this well and some folks may be willing to..."

Don’t Lose Twice

"Losing stinks. If you’re like me, you hate to lose an opportunity, especially to a competitor. But sometimes in our haste to move on and focus our efforts on the remaining deals on our plate, we fail to get to the bottom of the reason for the loss. I call this losing twice. Sometimes a loss can provide us a chance to learn something and to avoid repeating a mistake we may have made. The best salespeople take this opportunity to have a discussion with the selling team, and often the customer, to find out how they could win a similar deal in the future using a structured loss review. It’s sometimes difficult for sales teams to be objective in these situations and not..."

Coaches that help you win

"An important part of setting a strategy to win a complex opportunity is getting timely and accurate information. One way to do this is by developing a good coach. I spend a lot of time talking about this concept with sales reps and wanted to share some best practices with you here. Just like in sports, coaches give us information to help us win. However, they don’t step on the field and play for us. We’re still responsible for the selling work required to move an opportunity forward. Coaches may be able to help us fill in missing information or give us important feedback about other people who could influence the outcome of our sale. When you are identifying candidates to be..."

Shorten your sales cycle with personal credibility

"Credibility and the length of your sales cycle have an inverse relationship.  That is, increased credibility can help shorten your sales cycle.  Whether you are new to a sales role of have been selling for years, establishing and enhancing your personal credibility should be a priority in every interaction with customers.  Too often, salespeople take their credibility for granted.  Lack of credibility could be a reason that customers are unwilling to make commitments to us or share information with us.  Strong credibility will help open doors and will help customers feel more comfortable in cooperating with us to help them accomplish their objectives.  So how does a salesperson establish credibility?  You may start with your background and experience or may even have some credibility transferred from the reputation your company..."

Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Playbook – Sales Playbooks

"I was speaking with a client this week who would like to revise their sales playbook and it got me thinking about what makes a good playbook. But before we go there we should probably define the term.  Just like in football, a playbook outlines a series of moves that will help us reach our goal – but in this case we’re talking about an order instead of the end zone. A sales playbook describes the stages of our sales funnel and the steps required to move opportunities from one stage to the next. The best sales playbooks not only describe what the selling organization is doing at each stage of the funnel but they also go into detail on what actions the customer is taking at each stage and what..."

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