Halloween is here and there are spooky things all around us, but your sales pipeline should not be one of them. While others might be thinking of candy and costumes on October 31st, those of us who are part of the go-to-market engine are hoping we receive treats from our prospects and not tricks.
To ensure we have a strong end to 2019, we need to know which of our opportunities are viable versus those who plan to ghost us.
To solve for this, the first thing you need to do is understand what a winning versus losing opportunity looks like.
Knowing the number of days spent on a winning opportunity compared to the time you typically spend can prevent your reps from wasting countless days, weeks, even months on prospects that weren’t on the right track to start with.
Take the knowledge of the characteristics of a winning opportunity and apply that to your current pipeline. Empower your sales managers and reps with a blueprint of a successful opportunity so when they are in their 1:1s reviewing the pipeline, they can spot these trends earlier.
Not all spooky opportunities are going to be as obvious as an opportunity that has been sitting in a stage for way longer than average. Some opportunities may exhibit a smooth sales funnel and sales cycle process but can fizzle out at the last minute because we didn’t have the right people involved.
If one of the top reasons your reps are close to losing deals is due to authority, this means you are not addressing the right people at the right time. Depending on what sales methodology you have in place (Challenger, MEDDIC, etc), it’s crucial to have roles such as Decision Maker, Economic Buyer, Influencer, and Business User all identified at the right time during the sales process so you don’t run into an issue of bringing an Influencer through the sales funnel just to find out they did not have any buy-in for the Decision Maker.
Another common mistake sales teams make during the sales process is giving, giving, and giving without asking for anything in return. It’s human’s nature to think that if you give someone something, they will eventually pay it forward (and hopefully in the form of a signed contract); that’s reciprocity. However, these social norms don’t necessarily translate during a sales engagement. Often times we’re communicating with our prospects over the phone or via email. This type of indirect communication can lead to not realizing the prospect is taking all of your information and generosity without giving you anything of value in return.
To stop yourself from falling from these tricks, we recommend you keep a tally of what you are giving and receiving. For example, if an Economic Buyer is asking for a second demo of your product, ask if they can make sure the Decision Maker can attend. If your Economic Buyer turns into a scaredy-cat when approached with this ask, then you might want to rethink if they are serious about buying from you.
Now that you are aware of some characteristics that can lead to a spooky pipeline, revisit your opportunities for the rest of the year and ensure there are no surprises that will leave 2019 feeling haunted.