Thursday, 27 July
Today's Topic
Pipeline Management


You can mess up at a sales meeting with a big prospect or say something stupid in an internal meeting with a big boss present …but whatever you do, always nail your revenue estimate! Always.

Admit it, when you think of pipeline management, you also think of hot fudge sundaes, walks on the beach with your honey, and puppies.

Whadya mean you’d rather have oral surgery than spend more than two minutes inside your CRM? (Not a hard choice.)

Owning your number means you’re skilled at qualifying buyers and their opportunities. The ultimate pipeline qualifying question is, "When will you buy from me?"

Your pipeline – and manager – expects you to get that questions answered…and a few more critical questions too.

As you know, sales is a game of time: revenue today is better than revenue tomorrow. Your manager cares most about when you’re bringing the deal in and, of course, for how much.

Your manager, her/his manager, and her/his manager focus on the when. That means when is your focus too, especially when working inside your CRM.

The questions you ask your customer in the market that support your time" pressures logically start with "when." "When are you going to buy with me?" "When are you making a decision?" Close behind is this follow-up question: "If not now, when?"

Regardless of all the data at your company about your sales cycle (days to close, by deal size, by product, etc.), you are the one who controls the length of your open opportunities through your qualifying competency.

In an ideal world, your CRM would prompt you to answer one question at a certain point in the sales cycle: "Is this deal going to close? Yes/No?" But that’s not how your pipeline works, so you must manage it against when*.


Pipeline management is all about the calendar; when can you get the order in? The magic behind accurately projecting your revenue is learning to ask specific and direct questions.

Today, craft questions you will ask your customers that qualify the when.

Here’s an example: "Hey Joe, we’ve been working toward a deal for a few weeks (months) now…by your estimation, when will this deal happen?"

It’s bold, for sure. But you’re bold. That question will also give you insight into issues and potential objections that need to be addressed.

Try your hand at creating a few variations of thewhen question in your voice. Buyers will appreciate you asking them because they, too, don’t have time for the BS.

When you think about your conversations with your prospects and clients, be honest about how direct and specific your questions are.

Give yourself a 10 if you’re really direct and specific and a 1 if, well, not so much. Next, grade yourself by the same scale on how direct and specific your questions are about the when? For example, this question can’t get much more direct and specific: "Hey Joe, we’ve been working toward a deal for a few weeks now…by your estimation, when is this deal going to happen?"

Today, think about how you can ask questions that are more specific and direct, especially when qualifying opportunities that help you to project your revenue accurately. This means you may need to break through default behaviors with questions you don’t normally ask.

Today, write some of those questions down that represent your voice, and then ask them in your customer meetings.

Tomorrow - June 20

"Buyer, I object to your stupid objection."

Today - June 19

Didn't we JUST have a weekly sales meeting last week???

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June 18

Q2 account reviews that make your mgr smile.

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June 17

Whadya mean, you're not killing it right now?

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"Value the relationship more than the quota." – Jeff Gitomer

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