Sales pipeline management – some things aren’t what they seem
At Broadley Speaking we work closely with clients helping them build sales pipelines which are sustainable for short, medium and long term.
This usually starts with an in-depth look at what currently is in place.
We are also big fans of the graphic art of MC Escher, the Dutch genius who mastered the art of illusion and perspective in his graphic work. This is not just for the sheer joy of his skill and expression but also because, on occasion, his work provides insight into our world of new business development, and sales and marketing.
We use his work ‘Relativity’ to illustrate something we often see when we do initial benchmarking of our clients current sales pipeline programmes.
In a sales context we use it to demonstrate the often seen phenomenon of people mistaking ‘activity’ for ‘action’.
We often see critical disjoints in thinking and practice when people are looking to build sales prospect pipelines.
On occasion we see a client’s “sales pipeline” that is a combination of new business coming from existing clients – with some very high volumes (great!) – and “leads” that have been “validated” that they are counting as “opportunities”.
Now, our understanding of any decently qualified sales pipeline is that it is a function of ‘potential value of the opportunity’ x the probability of its closing at any time x the date it’s likely to close. This can be a very detailed and nuanced business. We have one client who has 13 stages of the sale, and subsequent probability, in their pipeline analysis, for instance.
So if a decision maker’s name was found through Google, or a card picked up at a tradeshow, or from PPC that is just – a “lead”. The base metal from which the sales alchemy starts. In terms of sales probability we would count this as having somewhere between 2 and 5% closing at that time.
As Escher might say perspective is everything.
From our perspective this “lead” is, at best, a ‘suspect’; a target that might fall on the edge of our clients radar.
To make it a properly qualified prospect first you need to establish the buyers grid; then work out the buying influences in it, find out how decisions are made in the organisation; finally, form an idea of their needs and wants, their budget, who holds it, and when the sale might close . It has detail, depth, and can bear some scrutiny.
As with Escher we think there’s an art and science to this sort of work. We’d like the opportunity to talk to you about both these aspects. We’d also like to talk with you about your sales pipeline and how your currently feed and sustain it. If we may we would love the opportunity to offer you some perspective based on Broadley Speaking’s 20 years of delivering new business development opportunities for some of the biggest B2B brands in the world.
Our approach, methodologies, service and results have been termed “best in class” by FTSE Top 50 companies. From the World’s leading B2B brands to innovative SMEs and start ups. We partner with our clients to provide a world class business development service.
We would love the opportunity to talk with you, to understand your particular sales pipeline needs, and to see if our perspective matches yours.
Call us on 0800 988 7253 for a straightforward sales pipeline conversation.