Pipeline or Funnel – Move Your Opportunities Forward!

Probably the biggest thing I do in sales coaching is helping people with the shape of their pipeline - meaning that we first list all of their known sales opportunities into categories which result in earlier stage and later stage possible sales put into a form such as a pipeline or a funnel.

I like the pipeline because it is horizontal and is easy to follow the progression of an opportunity.

You cannot improve what you don't measure. This is the critical point about managing your sales process.

My suggestion to someone new at this is as follows: on a piece of paper, create a pipeline from left to right: create categories such as activities, interested, coached, qualified, selected, closed, and satsfied. Track opportunities, not clients - because one customer could have more than one opportunity.

Write in all of the opportunities you are working on, placing them in the appropriate category:
activities (marketing, trade shows, mailing campaigns, etc)
interested (want to meet with you by phone or in person)
coached (you've spoken with them and it is clear that there is an opportunity)
qualified (they meet your criteria as a qualified client)
selected (they've chosen to do business with you, but no signed contract yet)
closed (purchase order or contract signed and in your hands)
and finally,
satisfied (you have received a letter of referral from them and they are a happy client)

This is the first big step to being able to manage your opportunities and coach yourself on what you need to do to generate more sales.

Topics: Sales Tools

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