Some business leaders think their office building is their company’s most important asset and others think it’s their intellectual property. I believe your pipeline is your company’s most important asset.
If you want to avoid unnecessary peaks and valleys in yearly revenue, protecting your pipeline is critical. Here are two tips for ensuring do you that.
When I’m giving business development seminars, leaders typically ask, “How do I get my sellers to put their notes in the CRM consistently?” My answer is JOB SECURITY. That’s right, job security! CRM compliance is not optional. The only way you can truly protect your pipeline is to have all sellers log their detailed notes immediately and in accordance with leader-specified formats and definitions.
For management reports to be useable, CRM notes must be logged in a consistent way by every seller. Terms also need to be defined.
For example, if one seller defines a meeting as a face to face sit down with the exact right decision maker and another seller defines a meeting as dropping off a manicure certificate for an assistant who helped provide information, management reports about number of meetings will be useless. Decisions cannot be made about how the team is doing or how to improve results if the data is useless. Who decides on the definitions? The leader does. If the leader does not provide definitions, sellers will create their own. It’s important to include how sellers define terms and log information during the on-boarding process and then periodically check to confirm compliance.
Protecting your pipeline also means ensuring that all key prospect and customer relationships are kept by more than one person on the sales team.
Think of the “hit by the bus” philosophy. If a seller leaves your company or is sick, somebody needs to be able to maintain continuity of the relationship and understand his or her notes. If there is no one who can easily step in all the time, money and effort spent with the prospect will have been wasted.
I know these ideas are not the most exciting part of sales. Few want to discuss them and more will not implement them. They’re not the 30K foot strategies on which leaders prefer to spend their time. What I can tell you from my years of experience in sales is that when leaders pay attention to what’s happening at 5K feet, they can often avoid making big, expensive changes at 30K feet. Even if you hired sales people and a sales manager whose job it is to watch over your business, don’t assume they’re always doing everything right, even with experience and the best of intentions.