Why close dates are bad for your sales pipeline health

Close dates. As a B2B solution seller, I, like many others in similar roles, have spent so much time over my career obsessing over this seemingly simple data point. I mean, it’s pretty normal right? The focus of our work is finding, developing, and closing sales opportunities, and the close date is a vital piece of information that is captured, updated, and reported on ad nauseam.

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Risk: the hidden bomb that could sink your sales forecast

In most businesses, risk is a well-understood factor and usually equally well mitigated. Many companies have a risk register and if you are an insurance company then your risk appetite defines how you conduct your business. Yet there is one form of risk that lurks unseen in many organisations because it is not identified as such. It manifests itself in other terminology or is obscured by the way that those who have created the risks describe it initially.

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Lean & Agile Sales Process: a Non-Linear Approach

Why did we create the Essential Sales Process (ESP)? Well the answer is that myself, and the other co-creators of ESP, have worked in solution selling for most of our careers, and we felt that most of the available solution selling processes on offer didn’t work very well. They tend to be very linear, and assume a “happy day” scenario where everything goes according to plan, and we always have control over what the customer does, and what the competition does. Continue reading “Lean & Agile Sales Process: a Non-Linear Approach”

Improve sales governance with a well-defined opportunity lifecycle

A good sales process not only helps the sales team with opportunity qualification, assessment and planning, but also supports good governance. A key aspect of sales governance in most organisations is the opportunity lifecycle, usually defined by a linear progression of stages, e.g. Suspect, Prospect, Qualified, Business Win, and Closed Won. If your organisation uses a CRM system (who doesn’t these days?), then these stages will be hard-wired into that system, and will be key indicators feeding up into management reports and dashboards upon which forecasts and critical business decisions will be made. Continue reading “Improve sales governance with a well-defined opportunity lifecycle”

What makes a good solution sales process?

As solution sellers we all want to increase our win rate, our deal size, and get deals closed faster. We also need to provide accurate forecasts to our sales leaders, all with the minimal amount of admin. To do this we need to ensure we are qualifying well and focusing on the right deals. Our sales process should help us with all these things, and not get in the way by creating excessive process overhead. Continue reading “What makes a good solution sales process?”