A long time ago I realized that in the suburbs outside of Boston, new leaves reach full size each Spring on May 11. This year, with the cold April we endured, May 11 came and went and the leaves were delayed.
That said, spring leaves on May 11 are exponentially more predictable than pipeline opportunities. Why might an opportunity not close when it was forecast to?
Technically, there are seven possibilities:
- Closes as forecast and you win.
- Closes when forecast and you lose.
- A short delay that you will close
- A short delay that someone else will close
- A long delay that you will close
- A long delay that someone else will close
- A delay of any duration that results in no decision.
And why might those conditions apply?
- Your CRM application wasn't configured to properly calculate the projected close date
- Your sales process/CRM application does not include a scorecard that scores and predicts a win
- The opportunity was not thoroughly qualified because the salesperson:
- didn't know how
- wasn't aware of the need
- fear or discomfort
- ignored what the prospect said
- The salesperson had happy ears
The statistics on salespeople evaluated and assessed by Objective Management Group (OMG) show us that only 27% of all salespeople have the Qualifier Competency as a strength. The top 10% of all salespeople only have an average of 77% of the attributes of a Qualifier and all salespeople average 53%.
The same statistics show us that only 30% of all salespeople have the CRM Savvy as a strength. And the top 10% of all salespeople only have an average of 64% of the attributes of CRM Savvy and all salespeople average 43%.
And 27% of all salespeople have the Milestone Centric Sales Process as a strength while the top 10% of all salespeople only have an average of 66% of the attributes of the Sales Process Competency and all salespeople average 49%.
Of the nearly 6,000 candidates that were assessed in the past 4 weeks for sales positions, 38% of them "think it over" when making major purchases. That makes them vulnerable to prospects who wish to think it over at closing time, extending the sales cycle, and causing a delay. because they "understand."
See OMG's statistics in all 21 Sales Core Competencies and filter by industry as well as your company.
Preventing delays can't always be avoided but more thorough qualifying makes a huge difference. The key is asking more questions. When you think you have asked enough, there are always a few more you can ask. For example, in this article, the difference between "nice to have" and "must have" are often the difference between delays and closes. This article shows that the when salespeople meet with the actual decision makers they are 56% more likely to close the business.
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