Pay Attention to the Pipeline

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Aug 30, 2005 @ 08:08 AM

You have no idea how many companies pay such poor attention to the pipeline. Not in your company you say? You know what’s in there? Good for you. I’ll bet you don’t know, with any degree of accuracy, which opportunities will close, when they’ll close and for how much they will close. I’ll bet you don’t know how long some of the opportunities have been in the pipeline. I’ll bet you don’t know whether each of your salespeople have enough opportunities in the pipeline. Oh, you do know that one? Sorry. That’s right. None of them have enough opportunities in the pipeline. And lastly, I’m sure you don’t know whether each salesperson’s pipeline is balanced. What is a balanced pipeline?

First, you can’t tell if the pipeline is balanced unless you can visually see what’s in there in some way other than a report or a spreadsheet. My favorite way to look at a pipeline is to overlay the pipeline on a baseball diamond. Each of the base paths represents a different category of prospect. Suspects – those with whom an appointment is booked line up on the first baseline. Prospects, those who have need, a compelling reason to buy and, what I call S.O.B. Quality (you’ll have to buy my upcoming book to learn about that) are on the second base path. Completely qualified prospects (criteria in the new book) show up on the path to third base and all of the closeable prospects line up on the third base line.

Once you have assigned each opportunity in your pipeline to the appropriate place on the baseball diamond, you can visually see your all of your potential new business, where the revenue is sitting and what will really close. More importantly, you can see whether the pipeline is balanced. A balanced pipeline will typically have two to three times more suspects than closeable opportunities. If the one you are looking at does not, there isn’t enough prospecting for new business taking place. Try doing that with a spreadsheet!

© Copyright 2005 Objective Management Group, Inc.

Topics: accountability, Pipeline

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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