Most businesses with a sales staff of more than one utilize some type of lead generation and opportunity tracking system. And usually there is a version of the sales “pipeline” somewhere in some responsible sales manager’s hands. It probably looks something like this:
The Lead Gen Problem
The problem many business owners face is that either (a) there’s not enough lead generation being done to fill the pipeline to begin with, or (b) the pipeline seems full, but not enough sales are being generated from those leads. They usually think this is caused by either gathering too many unqualified (not real) leads, or poor closing techniques by the sales staff.
The real reason this occurs is that too much focus and effort is placed on the extremes of the pipeline (top and bottom) and not enough in the middle. This is called “pipeline marketing” or “pipeline management”.
How Does Your Grass Grow?
About ten years ago in late May, as I was working and sweating, trying to do everything I could to improve my lawn’s slim chances of survival during the hot summer months to come, a neighbor (who’s lawn just happened to be the envy of the neighborhood) strolled by and said: “You know, if you’ll work this hard on your lawn in September and October, next spring you won’t have to work half this hard and your grass will look great all summer.”
The Key To A Greener Sales Forecast
The key to improving sales is not just in what we do on the front end filling the pipeline, or in what tactics we take to convert those leads to sales. If we’ll commit to working half as hard on pipeline marketing, we’ll find it takes a lot less lead generation activity (and dollars spent) or sweating out closings to generate a lot more “green” in the end.