6 tips to help reduce deal slippage this winter.

Image

September is on its way out and we can see winter lurking up ahead. For a great many B2B companies it’s a stressful time of year as for some a big piece of the quarter is effectively unavailable for B2B selling due to the Christmas break. The stress is created because we know that some of the deals just won’t happen or at best will slip into the next period.

So maybe this is a good time to take stock of the health of your pipeline and identify what can be done to strengthen your position. Here are 6 top tips that you could employ now to improve your chances of hitting your number.

  1. Review your sales pipeline and identify where each prospective deal is sitting at present. Is the deal “stuck” at a particular stage? Is support needed to get the deal moving again? Pick out the bigger deals and work with them first. (Remember Pareto, 80% of your number will likely come from 20% of your opportunities).Slip-199x300
  1. Check that each deal meets your selection criteria. i.e. is the deal real, does an opportunity really exist? Is the deal attractive for your company, can you make money and is it something that’s part of your core offer. And of course, can you actually win the deal? e.g. Do you have the customer relationships to get the votes you need? If you don’t have a Selection Criteria, do that work now and apply it at the qualification stage of your pipeline to ensure that you pursue deals that are real, attractive and winnable.
  1. If the deal passes the selection tests, then check that you have a close plan. If not, build one. i.e. How are you going to win this deal? Who will be involved and what are the key milestones? What do you need to do to get this deal over the line.
  1. Communicate the close plan to all parties that touch the deal. (No matter how light that touch is). Make sure everybody knows what part they will play in winning the deal. Build a deal team for each opportunity (of a certain size).
  1. Establish a “sales war room” to regain traction, track progress and determine strategy and tactics on each and every validated deal. Ensure that every stage of the sales process is identified, and importantly, make sure that the activity required at each stage is identified along with who in the deal team will carry it out. Ensure that completion is tracked and progress is made to the next activity or stage. Establish a sense of urgency in the team.
  1. Make sure that there is constant focus on backfilling the pipeline. It is by its very nature a leaky vessel and deals will drop out as you progress them through. Remember that no matter how good you are, you won’t win every deal, so the pipeline needs to be constantly topped up. And secondly, sales naturally take time to transit the system; so make sure you act now. Delays in action only create delays in results.

Contact me now to learn more about how leading B2B companies have eliminated this stress by adopting a new visual approach to the sales process that can deliver all of the above, giving salespeople and leaders a panoramic view of accounts and deals, identifies what they need to do next, and helps prevent unseen deal losses.

Advertisements

“Back to School” – time to Re-New, Re-Fresh and Re-Focus

Although we are currently working our way through the month of June, before we know it we’ll be mourning the end of summer and starting to think seriously about how we hit the sales number in the last few selling months of the year.

In some industries this period is known as “Back to School”. It’s a time that any of us that have children will recognize as when we prepare our offspring for a new school year and invest in equipping them with new uniforms and supplies to ensure they can be as confident and successful as possible.

ImageMaybe businesses should do the same for their people? Why does investment in training have to be a remedial event? Perhaps it should be a planned event to prepare individuals, teams and organisations for the challenges that we all know lie ahead.

In a lot of organisations a re-fresh of best practice activities and skills is all that’s needed. Sometimes it’s a little more, re-newing skills by adding new insights and practicing the set piece or maybe it’s the need to re-focus attitudes and your approach to your target markets.

So here are a few pointers that you might want to review to check if your people are going to need some “back to school” investment post summer.

  1. The pipeline is starting to look as if it could thin out and there is a risk of feast and famine rearing its ugly head. Worse still, the famine in results looks like it will hit at the end of Q4 or perhaps affect your sales into 2015.
  2. The “hygiene factor” noise from the team  is starting to increase in volume.
  3. Last years sales at the end of Q4 and perhaps Q1 this year were touch and go and although you hit the number, it involved a lot of scrabbling around.
  4. The business habitually goes tactical at the end of summer as the activity levels struggle to return to pre-summer levels.