It’s officially Spring. In addition to getting your yard and outdoor areas ready for the (eventual) warm weather, I’d suggest that you think about doing some “spring cleaning” with your pipeline as well.
Too often, as the months pass by, the same “opportunities” roll over from month to month to month. I have seen some salespeople’s pipelines that have deals in them that started in the Clinton administration. Rather than delude yourself for eight or nine more months, think about scrubbing your pipeline now so that if you need to start rebuilding, you are doing it sooner rather than later.
A simple way to “sanitize” your pipeline is to follow this process:
1. Select your top 5 or 10 opportunities.
2. For each of those opportunities, ask these questions:
a. Did I find them, or did they find me?
b. If they found me, how am I differentiating myself from my competition?
c. Do I know what is driving their evaluation at a business level?
d. Do I have a good understanding of their current situation (i.e. how they do things today without your offering)?
e. Do they believe that our offering will help them achieve their goals, solve their problems and/or satisfy their needs?
f. Have I established a business case that justifies them spending money with me?
g. Am I dealing with just one person, or have I gained access to all of the key stakeholders?
h. If I am dealing with just one person, is that person willing to help me get access to the other stakeholders?
i. Have we established a mutually agreed-to plan that documents the steps of their evaluation and their desired timeline for implementation?
If you can’t answer one or more of these questions, or you don’t like some of the answers you’re coming up with, consider qualifying the deal out of your pipeline before you spend the next six months only to get bad news anyway.