A near-empty pipeline is never a good sign for a business – and also for the salespeople that are responsible for bringing on new customers.
For sales managers and CEOs, it is a never-ending frustration to not be able to rely on consistent, well-qualified leads coming into the sales funnel.
So what is the problem? The main reason, uncovered through extensive worldwide research, is that your sales team is not equipped to hunt effectively. And to operate in the ‘new normal’ economic climate of today, you can’t afford to have salespeople that are unable to be proactive in hunting for new business.
The truth is, not all salespeople can hunt, or have the ability to, and it is about assessing these skills, and understanding if there is any possibility that training will be able to remove those weaknesses. If not, then unfortunately you can probably never expect to see any improvement in that salesperson’s ability to sell.
There are a few different ways you can assess your sales team capabilities, but the most effective is a sales-specific tool – however, even then you need to be sure it aligns with your specific sales pipeline.
What is important to remember, is that any issues with your pipeline requires careful review of multiple factors - as guessing what the problem is doesn't work, you will only waste time and resources on things that will not have any effect at all.
But, if your lack of new opportunities requires a quick fix for a small period of time, you could provide a band-aid solution as noted by the Objective Management Group, which involves scheduling a one, two, three, or five-day blitz where the only activities that will take place are those that will generate new opportunities.
Have all of your salespeople come in off the road and pretend they are on holiday, but instead of hitting the beaches on some warm, sunny island, put them on the phones. Have them call prospects they failed to sell, prospects with whom they failed to get appointments, prospects they never called on before, and customers/clients who can refer them to new prospects, etc.
Micro manage this blitz, give out awards if you see fit, and make sure the entire company is focused on the goal. Make sure that all of your employees support the focused sales effort by not distracting the salespeople from what they need to do over this short period of time.
Remember, this strategy is only a band-aid, it doesn't solve the underlying problems and, like any rubber band, will return to it's original state as soon as the pressure is released. So the key is to long term gain is ensuring you have a strategy in place that deals with any issues salespeople face with creating new sales opportunities – it is only the way your pipeline will always be healthy.
Keen to further understand what it takes to grow sales in your business, including advice around pipeline management and sales processes? Download our free eBook: 6 strategic ways to plan and implement sales success in your business.
Also included is a bonus article – A 9-step process for a highly effective sales call.