Tips to Maintaining a Full Pipeline
Sales management experts, us included, talk a lot about the importance of maintaining a full well-qualified pipeline of sales opportunity.
There’s a good reason for that: The more solid prospects you have, the better your chances of closing sales.
What’s probably most important to talk about is how to identify the causes of an empty pipeline and how to overcome them, which can be extremely frustrating for those in positions of sales leadership trying to coach their salespeople on building robust pipelines.
(By the way, elite salespeople don't have to be asked. They will keep their pipelines filled on their own.)
So, let’s first address why salespeople might be struggling with pipelines.
If you are having difficulty getting salespeople to fill their pipeline, then one or more of these things is likely happening:
The salesperson is inexperienced and, though willing to do the job, just isn’t very effective. This is actually an okay place to be because coaching will be effective provided you’re both willing to do the work.
2. Lack of motivation
Lack of motivation applies to a salesperson that is happy to live off of their existing business.
This can be toxic to your sales culture. While such people might manage a tremendous amount of business, it’s possible they are setting a bad example for others.
3. Lack of desire and commitment
Desire is the fire within a seller to win deals; commitment is to what degree they will hang in there and take action when the going gets tough.
Bottom line: There is no place on your sales force for a salesperson that lacks a desire to be a success and the commitment to do what is required to be successful.
4. Call anxiety
This is your second best scenario, but it will take a lot of training, coaching, and time to improve, and some reps will never overcome it.
Knowing that, how do you turn it around? How do you get low performers to fill their pipelines?
The answer is very simple but it’s uncomfortable: You make it a condition of continued employment. Now, before you object, we urge you to provide training and coaching to well-qualified candidates who otherwise don't know how to fill a pipeline and provide training and long-term coaching for those who are uncomfortable doing it. That is your responsibility to your employees.
Consider redeploying those who aren't wired to prospect for net new business to an account management position. After providing the necessary support and training, anyone who doesn’t have both the desire and commitment to produce, let them go. How do you distinguish between a lack of motivation, lack of commitment, hidden weaknesses, and skill gaps? Our Sales Force Grader will provide you with that intelligence.
Remember, it’s not enough to know that you should keep a full pipeline. You have to make sure you have the right people in place to do so and the techniques to help them succeed at it.
If you’re still uncertain about what’s keeping your organization from maintaining a robust list of qualified leads, or how to get your team closing those prospects, give us a call.