Some companies try to slow sales when they have operational challenges. Others simply take their foot off the gas because things are going well, and they are more concerned with executing for their clients than they are in opportunity creation. Still, others lose momentum because they become apathetic about prospecting and the creation of new opportunities.
Newton’s First Law of Motion states that a body in motion stays in motion and a body at rest stays at rest. Regardless of the reason, letting up is an enormous mistake and one that is difficult to correct. It also takes more time and energy than one might believe to restart motion.
If for whatever reason you have a long sales cycle, the work you do to create opportunities in the first quarter is going to determine what your result is like in some future quarter or quarters. Even though you may work very hard to compress the time it takes, it is highly unlikely that you can make up for months without prospecting in the weeks leading up to the end of your quarter. You are not going to find enough prospects with enough of a compelling reason to change to be able to move them now.
When a whole sales organization starts to shift from opportunity creation to opportunity capture, meaning they spend much more of their time working on their existing clients, they become exposed to the risk of going backward when they lose a large client, or when there is an event that strips them of their current revenue. If it’s been years since the sales force was really focused on acquiring new clients, it is going to take a very long time to rebuild that core competency. In some cases, it requires a new sales force.
You never want to be in a position where it is necessary to restart your pipeline. It is easier and more effective to make prospecting and opportunity creation the foundation of what salespeople do because truth be told, it is. The more consistently and effectively you create opportunities, the more consistently you will produce new clients—and new revenue.