“Put. That coffee. Down. Coffee’s for closers only.”
If you’re familiar with the Glengarry Glen Ross leads speech scene, or have worked in sales, you’re familiar with the raw discussion of the age-old question – where are the leads? Which in turn speaks to a frustration in the sales pipeline. The dichotomy between lead generation and closed sales generally creates a distraction around what’s actually going on with your sales and marketing pipeline – so let’s examine the top 5 sales funnel clogs.
There’s a short-term strategy, but what’s the long-term plan?
You bought a list. The next event is going to be a great one. There’s an amazing email or calling campaign to get you through the next few months, but what is your long-term plan? A lack of follow-up after a campaign is a common problem for sales teams. Have you thought about your call script after that next big campaign hits? How many calls and email attempts do you have planned to execute your strategy? Without a solid follow-up plan, you could be missing a big piece of your pre-planning efforts and missing out on a majority of your ROI.
Defining your sales funnel and lead scoring
What is a lead, and who is a contact? Who is qualified, what are your pipeline stages – what does “closing” even mean – and are you using the same language across your sales team so that you know when a prospect is defined as 75% versus 5%, and has a score of 25, 50, 100… – are you all talking in those terms, and is it a defined language? Many of us have regular sales meetings and feel like we’re discussing the same pipeline, but are we really on the same terms? Defining what a good lead is – whether it’s someone who downloaded a white paper or clicked on your pricing page – can make the difference between a productive sales call and “smiling and dialing.”
No training and complicated incentives
As Shawn K., a sales performance management consultant for Fortune 500 companies said, “I’ve built a number of incentive compensation plans, and I’ve seen where many enter fast decline – beginning with the sales person simply not understanding their own incentive package.” A clear bottom line regarding incentives and your sales process in general can reduce a lot of wasted time while also ensuring your sales team is aware of their goals. As your company evolves, keep in mind that training isn’t just for new sales team members – it takes a small amount of time to make sure everyone is up to speed, resulting in unity across your messaging, sales pitch and process, and ultimately your sales success.
Communication between sales and marketing isn’t jiving
Your marketing team has created an amazing campaign, and sales isn’t following up as quickly as they’d prefer. Your sales team is annoyed they don’t have more leads, and are left sending follow-up upon follow-up emails in an effort to keep the campaign “active”. A simple, regular check-in meeting between your teams may be all you need to make sure you’re both pointed in the same direction and understanding any mutual frustrations.
Expecting too much from your CRM as it relates to your sales process
Your CRM is likely the bread and butter of your lead generation documentation process, but sometimes you can rely on automation too much to close what are essentially people deals. Is your sales rep bogged down by “analysis paralysis” and afraid to send a simple follow-up that may end up being the difference between a lost or won opportunity because she’s afraid of selecting the correct email template? It’s worth examining.
You know your sales process and funnel better than anyone, but taking a quick glance at these five tips that may seem quite basic could reveal some immediate and easily identifiable opportunities for you to flush out the clog in your sales opportunities, close some deals and get that coffee.