We are already well into the final “selling phase” of 2014 and, at this time of the year, I always urge a total focus on “closable opportunities” for a really big finish.
It takes courage, and a real sense of realism to focus in on what is probable – not just possible. This is not a time to be optimistic. We need realistic.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure, and if you can’t measure your pipeline, then you can’t improve your productivity. There are a number of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that can be measured, monitored and managed to ensure achievement of sales targets:
- Pipeline Opportunities – These should be measured in value and the number of opportunities in the pipeline.
- Opportunities by Milestone – Once these milestones and their different probabilities of closing have been calculated, these figures ensure greater accuracy of forecasting.
- Average Deal Size – This ensures better focus on larger deals and ideally will increase steadily each year.
- Sales Cycle Time – Shortening this can have a huge impact because of the cumulative ‘saved time’ available for prospecting.
- Profitability – Margins can be tracked to ensure that there is sufficient contribution to enable ongoing account handling.
- Conversion Ratio – The number of opportunities won and the % of pipeline potential converted.
Finally, do remember that there are no prizes for having a pregnant pipeline – the prizes are reserved for closed business.
The reality is that, for a number of reasons, 30% of the opportunities currently residing in your pipeline will not happen – do you know which ones they are?
If you weed them out early, you will give yourself so much more time to work on those that will happen.
It takes just as long to work an un-winnable opportunity through the pipeline as it does a winnable one!
Last big push please!