THE PIPELINE PROBLEM
Mike’s list of “active” prospects was always long and detailed, and he was sure everyone knew this during his team’s sales meetings. But when his manager Jacqueline did a little digging, she was surprised to learn how few of Mike’s “active” prospects matched up with the ideal sales cycle. Some were taking twice two or three times as long to reach a decision as the prospects of other salespeople on the team.
What was going on? The answer, it turned out, was pretty simple. Mike was spending a great deal of time on “opportunities” that he should have been able to realize were going nowhere.
TWO UNASKED QUESTIONS
Having a big pipeline of “prospects” is typically seen as desirable. The more prospects you put into the pipeline, the more will eventually emerge as customers. At least that’s the theory!
And in principle, the theory is valid. Some of the people you put in the pipeline will become customers. But we always need to ask ourselves two important questions about our pipeline: “How many of these opportunities do I expect to turn into customers … and how long will it take for them to emerge from the other end of the pipe?” Mike wasn’t asking those questions.