‘Manage Your Pipeline’ is a phrase much used in sales – but often an activity that isn’t very well undertaken.
A healthy sales pipeline is crucial to long term continued success in sales. This includes a variety of activities, including:
- Finding, qualifying and engaging with new opportunities. This is prospecting activity – this is the activity within the funnel that points opportunities to your pipeline.
- Managing opportunities within your pipeline. This is healthy sales activity to move opportunities from the top to the bottom of your pipeline
- Closing opportunities.
So managing your pipeline is just a consolidation of many of the sales activities you do in isolation anyway – so why is it so difficult for many to do?
It is very easy in sales to become excited over an opportunity – this is what we’re there for. Accordingly, a lot of time is focused on the bottom of a pipeline as this is where the opportunities are most pressing.
The sticking point in many sales peoples’ pipeline management is continuing to do all the activities even when they’re busy – particularly those at the top of their pipeline.
Failing to do this creates gaps in your pipeline – areas where you have dead spots of no opportunities. These will typically happen a period not long after you’ve been busy working on the bottom of your pipeline. The trick is to have many people at many stages of the sales process throughout your pipeline.
None of the individual activities that make up ‘managing your pipeline’ are unique or bespoke. The trick is doing all of them, all of the time – regardless of how busy you are.