During the last sales management training session I facilitated, one of the mangers in the room stated that based on analysis of their pipeline data, “We win in 61 days, and we lose in 186 days.” This reinforces the importance of establishing qualifying criteria early on for both marketing and sales to ensure that only “real” opportunities enter the pipeline. When I work with clients and help them put qualifying elements in place, it’s not uncommon for them to flush 50% of the opportunities out of their pipeline. Often there are engagements that were never going to close anyway or ones that had aged to over 12 months. That means that 50% of your pipeline may be creating a tremendous false expectation that will have a major impact on your forecasting and budgeting processes. Plus, pipelines full of erroneous expectations can be demoralizing to your sales force. So instead of managers spending time “closing” deals with their sales people, I suggest they spend time helping them better qualify opportunities early on. The reality is if someone is going to buy from you anyway (as in, they are “qualified” properly), they don’t have to be closed – they will “buy.”
Posts Tagged ‘Motivation’
February 1, 2013
Accountability is Key to Motivation
When sales managers are asked to name their top challenge, they consistently say it is holding sales people accountable and motivating them on an ongoing basis. What I find is that sales managers tend to focus on managing their sales people to results from month-to-month, or quarter-to-quarter. There is little understanding of how to help sales people link their day-to-day activities to achieving results, which causes confusion and apprehension. Helping sales people map out a clear path to success through planning and holding them accountable on day-to-day or week-to-week activities creates a sense of urgency. And I can’t think of anything more motivational than creating a causal link between activities today that result in rewards one, two, or six months down the road.
See my article in the Knowledge Center under Sales Management entitled Motivating Sales People through Accountability for further insight.