Your Sales Pipeline is there to analyse, not just to look professional.
ALWAYS FOCUS ON THE TOP 5 & THE BIG 5
What are the TOP 5 things that are going to happen this week?
What are the BIG 5 things that are going to take longer, but they’ll likely be more sizeable, valuable or strategic?
If you think about your business journey like an adventure, your BIG 5 will be the larger objectives like the destinations you’re heading to, the amount of money you’ll need, the equipment you’ll need, how long it will take to get there. These things take planning, time and they can change over time so you need to monitor and review them.
Your Top 5 will be the things that you need to start doing to get the show on the road. Need supplies? Better drive to the shop. Need to get to China? Better start walking. Need to raise funds? Better start making calls.
Mix between some defined strategic prospects, but lots of little ones that are going to drop. By finding the balance, you’ll be able to move forward towards your big goals, whilst also making sure your business survives.
You need to commit a certain amount of time to each, however, because they both depend on each other.
If you lose sight of where you’re heading, there’s no point carrying on walking until you’ve figured out where you’re going again. Likewise, you might know where you’re going, but unless you actually start taking steps to get there, there’s no point.
Just like if you’re changing products or services, you need to analyse how this is going to affect short term actions like your sales calls before you make more sales calls, otherwise your prospects are going to end up confused. You might make sales but they won’t relate to what you’re actually providing, you will harm your brand and eventually lose the customers.
Equally, you could know exactly what you offer, but be too afraid to go out there and execute. Your brand will be intact, but you’ll go out of business.
Key Points to Consider
Tread the line between feast and famine. This keeps a steady supply of work coming in. If you know you’ve got a project that’s going to end in 5 weeks, then maybe in 3 weeks’ time you begin to make calls to other prospects. This keeps you in the nice position that you aren’t having to kill yourself to complete a workload that you’ve taken on, but also never being sat around doing nothing.
Monitor your cashflow. Ensure it doesn’t have gaps, calling existing customers to get feedback and use it as an up-selling or referral opportunity.
Get a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool to help you. Being able to tangibly see where deadlines are, who you’ve promised to call, what activities you’re spending the most time on are all great analytical perspectives to see what you need to do more or less of.
Never take your eye off the BIG game. If you suspect and prospect right, which is down to your marketing strategy, the rest of your pipeline should be streamlined.
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