This is my 4th post in a series on pipeline movement. I didn’t set out to do a series, but it seemed like the thing to do. Getting deals or opportunities to move through the pipeline is absolutely critical to increasing sales. Therefore, I thought it made sense to break down each of the areas that keep deals stuck and languishing in the pipeline.
A crappy sales process is the culprit of more stuck deals, or lost deals than many of us want to admit. A crappy sales process consists of bad or misaligned sales stages. When sales stages have little correlation with how your customer buys or with how your product is sold, you have bad sales stages.
The idea of sales stages is to give a sales opportunity context. It’s to provide visibility into how much work has been done to date, the level of customer vetting that has been performed, what is currently required to get closer to the sale as well as gaps in the process. Sales stages provide valuable insight to the management of an opportunity. When bad sales stages or worse no sales stages exist, the pipeline becomes very difficult to manage. Opportunities get stuck and take longer to close when in a crappy pipeline. Opportunities are missed and deals are lost when they are part of a poor sales process.
A good sales process leads an opportunity towards the sale. A good sales process is designed to align you with the buying habits of your prospects. It calls out the challenges early and allows sales people to anticipate problems in order to respond faster and more effectively. A good sales process makes it easier to see issues in the sale early. It doesn’t allow sales challenges to be lost or hidden.
Not having a good, solid sales process with stages that align with your prospects buying process undermines your selling efforts. Deals will get stuck, others will be lost unnecessarily and worse you won’t have the tools to save them.
Take a look at your sales process and the sales stages. Do they align with you prospects buying processes? Are the sales stages predictive? Do they lead a sale to the close? Do the stages give you visibility into the health of an opportunity? If not, consider changing things around and redesigning your sales process. It can make all the difference in the world.
Below are a few resources to help you determine if your sales process needs help and how to improve it:
Don’t miss the other posts in my Pipeline Movement Series: