Look Deeper, Things May Not Be What They Seem

Not too long ago, during happier times, sales manager only had to look at their funnel to determine if a good quarter was upon them. Depending on the industry a funnel of 3X or 4X quota would ensure a good year; maybe even Presidents Club.

In today’s uglier times, a funnel may not only be inaccurate, it could be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Luring you into a false sense of safety.

The economy is a differently place today. Companies are cutting operating expenses and reducing capEx (capital expenditures). Every dollar is being reviewed and evaluated. Inspection is at an all time high. Everyone’s budgets are under tremendous scrutiny. There are no longer any free rides. The gig is up.

Companies want a measurable return. For every dollar put out they want to be getting back a 1.25 or more in 12 months. Companies want a 12-month ROI. Companies are hoarding cash. Many are taking an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” attitude with their infrastructure. They are putting off capital improvements. They are reducing R&D. Every investment is being weighed against every other need in the company.

If a funnel, no matter how big, hasn’t consider today’s tumultuous economy, it’s no funnel at all. Expect companies to cancel orders already placed, and to put off projects already committed. No project, effort, commitment or budget is safe. Therefore, no funnel is safe. Companies are panicked and they aren’t going to spend a dime on anything that won’t improve their financial position.

If a funnel hasn’t been combed for opportunities with a measurable 9 to 18 month ROI it’s not a funnel. Today organizations have to look deeper. Sales leaders need to pry into their organizations funnel and ferret out the real deals from those that will die on the vine. Account managers must be closer to their customers and know their business, their key goals, and success metrics. A new vernacular of ROI, capex reduction, lower TCO and measurable return is a must.

In a climate where competition is fierce for every dollar, you are no longer competing with your traditional competitors. Your competing with EVERY vendor vying for the few precious dollars your customer will part with. There is no second place. Only haves and have-nots and there is no bread line.

Today’s funnel is like a rock; you have no idea what is under until you turn it over.