Recognize the deals that are moving faster than the buyer moving
Specific Seller actions that can get the buyer to take action
As a VP, you have various training options with your reps to generate sales. The most impactful method is proper Pipeline Strategy. Yet most reps don’t understand it. Training typically involves selling skills or negotiation methods. Rarely do you train on how to strategize on a deal. But this allows you to prioritize actions required in those deals to get movement. This will get your deals to close quicker.
The Best Practice Pipeline Strategy has Three Major Components:
1. Opportunity Assessment: This is a simple list of questions assessing the current deal situation. The answers reveal where the deal sits with the buyer. You must assess the opportunity factually before deciding on next steps. That will help you decide how to get the deal quicker. Some sample questions your reps needs to answer:
Has the Buyer expressed their need to us?
Did the Buyer quantify how their problem affects their costs and/or revenues?
Have we identified the Buying Decision Team?
Has the Buyer established a decision timeframe for addressing their need?
Does the Buyer understand the consequences of inaction or remaining with the status quo?
2. Buyer Action Review: This is identifying what actions the buyer has demonstrated. This helps to identify where the buyer is in their buying process. This is also critical in determining next steps. Too often we are not in sync with our buyer. This causes confusion which slows down the deal and frustrates the buyer. To understand where the buyer is we must first document their typical actions. The major actions are known as buyer stage exit criteria. This prevents a sales rep rushing the deal without the buyer preforms certain actions. The key is to notice what the buyer has or hasn’t done. Based on their typical actions we can determine where they are in their process.
3. Major Interaction Preparation: Major interactions are those buyer meetings that are critical to advancing deals. Preparing for these critical interactions gets the deal sold faster. Major interactions are best prepared for with a call plan. Simple call plans help prepare and keep the interaction focused on the objectives wanted. There are many times we ‘forget’ to accomplish all objectives on a sales call. We then need to ‘go back’ and find out the proper information. This takes us another week or two extending the deal. Call planning prevents this delay and helps us accomplish more on the same call.
Using Pipeline Strategy requires repeatable, rhythmic meetings. Every week you and your sales managers need to have these strategy sessions. During these sessions:
Focus on the opportunity assessments that are in the late stage of the pipeline. Look for the ‘no’ or ‘don’t know’ answers. This is where you will shorten the sales cycle.
Next make sure these late stage deals are in the proper sales stage. Check the actions of the buyers. This might need you to have the actual sales rep in the strategy session. They often are the only ones who know the buyer actions.
Finally, make sure the next customer interactions have completed call plans. These are critical in identifying and accomplishing the chosen objectives. It allows you to accomplish more with less time.
Pipeline strategy will help get your deals closed quickly. Use the Quarter 3 Pipeline Assessment tool to quickly test the deals in your Pipeline. Focus on your late stage deals and try these 3 steps. Leave a comment on how they worked shortening your sales cycle.
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