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Pipeline management: is your forecasting accurate?
Guest articles > Pipeline management: is your forecasting accurate?
by: Sharon Drew Morgen
What does your pipeline consist of? How long have the ‘opportunities’ been in the pipeline? How accurate is your/your team’s forecasting? Why isn’t it better – are your sales folks putting in bad leads? Are your sales folks able to enter the buying decision path and influence the Buying Decision Team in a way that will speed up the sales cycle and follow the buying decision process?
Do you know which of the opportunities are the top 10 – and are you certain they are the top 10? How are you and your team – VP of sales, sales execs and managers – connecting with the prospects to know what they need to ‘be ready to buy’ ? How do you know, from where you are sitting, at what stage of the buying decision path they are on?
And how do you define ‘opportunity?’
THE FRONT END VS. THE BACK END OF THE BUYING PATH
Sales merely manages the last 10% of the buyer’s journey. It has no capacity to address the private, off-line, and often unconscious (certainly not based on needs or solution choice) aspects of a decision path that are, by definition, idiosyncratic. Sales was designed merely to assess need and place a solution.
Here are a few things buyers must do before they can buy. As I introduce each one, see if you can determine where your buyer is on this path, because until they complete each of these they will not buy, regardless of their needs or how well your solution fits, or how much ‘pain’ they are in.
Just because we see a problem and have a great solution, doesn’t mean the buyer is ready, willing, and able to buy – otherwise you’d close a lot more sales.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW TO POPULATE YOUR PIPELINE
Why are prospects in your pipeline?
What criteria of yours have placed them there?
How accurate are you with your projections? And why aren’t they more accurate?
What’s the difference between someone who will buy and someone who might initially look like a buyer but isn’t? And how do you know the difference?
So long as you place prospects in your pipeline because you believe 1. the buyer is ready, 2. they have the money, 3. they know they need your solution, and/or 4. they like you and are in ‘pain’, you will have a wildly fluctuating success rate.
Here is what you should know before putting a prospect onto the pipeline:
Manage your pipeline by managing the buying decision path. Otherwise, your forecasting is ineffective. Buying Facilitation? will teach you how to manage the buying journey and understand exactly when, who, why, and how the solution will be purchased. Then you can forecast with accuracy
Check out Sharon Drew Morgen's new book: Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it.
Or consider purchasing the bundle: Dirty Little Secrets plus my last book Buying Facilitation?: the new way to sell that influences and expands decisions. These books were written to be read together, as they offer the full complement of concepts to help you learn and understand Buying Facilitation? - the new skill set that gives you the ability to lead buyers through their buying decisions.
Contributor: Sharon Drew Morgen
Published here on: 24-Jun-12
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