Most senior executives get excited when a lot of business starts to close all in a fairly short period of time. They think:
- Cash Flow
- Best Practices being executed
- Processes being followed
- Strategies being executed
- Tactics being utilized
- Salespeople becoming more effective
- Focus on bigger opportunities now
What they should be thinking is more along the lines of:
- is the pipeline emptying?
- what's coming along behind this?
- has anyone been filling the pipeline during all this closing frenzy?
- how could I have not seen this coming?
Sales managers get caught up in the excitement of a closing frenzy when they should be taking a step back and asking themselves, what's wrong with this picture?
If you have a short sales cycle - less than 30 days - you won't feel the impact of this as much as a company with a longer sales cycle. If you have a six month sales cycle and the pipeline just emptied in a closing frenzy, it could be six months before business begins to consistently close again!
You may see a similar phenomenon when salespeople are on an appointment scheduling frenzy - nothing seems to be closing - and opportunities are not moving through the stages of the sales process.
So what is the answer? Balance. Your job is to maintain balance - hold salespeople accountable for all three requirements:
- filling the pipeline
- moving opportunities through the pipeline
- closing the closable opportunities in the pipeline
- all at the same time
- without breaks in the action
- without excuses
- without blinders on
How about at your company - is there balance?
(c) Copyright 2010 Dave Kurlan