July 03, 2009

Pipeline Reviews - Time to Beat Up the Salesperson Again?

Its hard to believe we have half the year over. At this time of the year lots of sales people are being asked to prepare for a half year pipeline review and most are looking forward to it like a hole in the head!

Sales people, the good ones and the not so good ones will all agree that there should be processes and a system in place to review the pipeline. But what they don't want is all their hard work to be questioned and perhaps even discredited.

The easiest thing in the world is to tear somebody's pipeline apart, ask all the questions and second guess the answers. You may even feel good after doing it. But rest assured the salesperson will not. A pipeline review should be something positive and forward looking. It is not an opportunity to beat up the salesperson leaving him, or her motivated and disoriented.

So if you are about to embark on a pipeline review with your team over the next few weeks, I suggest you think about the review from the sales persons perspective. A pipeline review is the perfect forum for coaching your sales person, don't miss out on it.

With many organisations suffering from a defecit of sales opportunities as a result of the slowdown, proactively managing the opportunities that you have got is more important than ever before.

The pipeline review should:
1. Help, support and encourage them
2. Challenge the pipeline
3. Identify gaps so they can be filled
4. Share ownership for pipeline development
5. Review next actions against key opportunities
6. Focus on ensuring the sales person has the time to advance each opportunity

Yes the review should be metric driven, but to be effective you need to put yourself in the sales persons shoes. We have written a lot about team based selling and the pipeline review is an ideal opportunity to coordinate and orchestrate the efforts of your entire organisation in the advancement of the various opportunities in the pipeline.

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