There are a number of reasons so many sales organizations have weak pipelines. Here are 6 of them.

  1. You have been told not to cold call. There is no greater obstacle to creating a healthy pipeline of opportunities than an inability or unwillingness to pick up the phone. The social selling mafia will tell you that you dare not dial is criminal negligence, plain and simple. More still, your relentless attempts at emailing your dream clients are a form of cold call. Passively waiting isn’t part of an effective prospecting strategy.
  2. Email is a poor method for making an ask. The reason you are more comfortable asking for what you want in an email is because you lack the confidence to ask face-to-face or over the telephone. If something is important, ask for it face-to-face. When you can’t, ask over the telephone. Emails are easily ignored, and when they are not, they are deleted.
  3. Working from home takes incredible discipline. Most people struggle when working from home. There are too many distractions, like the Internet, your children, and your doorbell. The busiest people can work from home because their work hunts them down wherever they happen to be. Prospecting is something you have to do proactively. Even when you don’t want to do it.
  4. Managers and leaders worry too much about the wrong end of the funnel. It’s more fun to talk about deals than prospecting activity. There is a lot more to talk about. There are no cold prospects in your pipeline, and what is out of sight is out of mind. Sales managers have been told that they should not focus on activity and must only focus on outcomes, without being taught to find a balanced approach. But the top of the funnel is what makes the middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel possible.
  5. You have a weak value proposition. You haven’t been taught to deliver a compelling sales call value proposition. You make it difficult for your client to say “yes” to something that sounds like the value being created is the value you get from acquiring a new prospect, things like, “I’d like to introduce myself and my company.” Without a customer-oriented and customer-focused value proposition, your dream client is right to reject a meeting. No meeting, no opportunity. No opportunity, no pipeline.
  6. Your sales processes and methodologies aren’t effective. You sell product. You sell experience. You sell features and benefits. You rely on these things to do the heavy lifting instead of developing the business acumen and situational knowledge that would allow you to create value for your dream client. You may gain a first meeting, but without creating enough value, it doesn’t result in a commitment for a second meeting.

Producing results, especially breakthrough results, requires a pipeline of opportunities. Eliminate these mistakes and build a healthy, quota-crushing pipeline.

Sales, 2015
Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
January 10, 2015
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