There are a number of things you can do to be a successful sales person, but here is one of the most important: set a realistic, yet challenging, sales goal! You know this, right?! But did you also know that you need to write it down, tell someone, measure your progress throughout the year, and then adjust your sales activities as necessary.
What do we mean by “measure your progress?”
The way to measure the progress you are making towards your sales goal is through your pipeline. The tightest definition of a pipeline tool that will serve you best is:
A sales pipeline contains all of the active opportunities or “deals” a sales person is working on at one time. To be included in the pipeline there must be an upcoming meeting or phone call scheduled in both the sales person’s and the prospect’s calendar.
Why do you think this definition so strict? Because if there isn’t an active and upcoming action scheduled then it isn’t a live opportunity. If the prospect hasn’t given you a date to meet or talk next, then he or she may not be taking your work together seriously. What should you do if the prospect says, “Call me next week and we’ll set something up”? Ask, “When is a good day and time for you? Can I send you a meeting notice to lock that time in? That way we’re not playing phone tag; I don’t want to load your voicemail with messages!”
The opportunities you have in your pipeline must be sorted by expected close date and then as you look at each of these deals you can anticipate when you will realize those sales.
What do we mean by “adjust as necessary?”
If you notice in your pipeline that you are anticipating most of your deals will close in the next month, then how will you achieve your sales goal in the next quarter? What should you do to get more opportunities at the beginning of your pipeline? Get out there and set up some more first meetings! Ask for more referrals, call existing or former clients and see how you can help them further. What, alternatively should you do if most of your deals are in the earlier stages of the sales process, with expected close dates much further out? You will need to do what you can to bring those closer to a close date. And if this isn’t possible then you need to balance your activity on a longer term basis so that there are deals closing on a more regular basis.
If you need any help in adding more opportunities to your pipeline, smooth out the ups and downs of your sales cycle, then give us a call or send us an email. We can definitely help you out!