You know what we could use more of in digital sales? Cause and effect. Intentionality. Some good old fashioned I did this and then they did that.
Instead -- too often -- sellers go through the motions of the capabilities presentation or the big idea pitch and then expect - OK, maybe hope - that an approval or an insertion order materializes somewhere down the line. What's missing are the numbers on the yardstick... the measurable, incremental answers and victories that get us from here to the sale. As a result, sellers assign far too much value (and time and resources) to the presentation and not nearly enough to running a great pipeline.
Great pipeline management starts before you even schedule time with the customer. Did they open your email? Acknowledge it? Have we secured a meeting date? Is there an important date on the customer's calendar that would create a deadline?
And once we engage, a new set of questions starts to emerge. What's the most this customer could commit to if this meeting goes well? What specifically am I going to ask her to do at the end of the call? What evidence do I have that this opportunity is either more or less likely than it was a week ago? What else might we try to learn to validate this opportunity?
Moving the chains on a commercial opportunity isn't just a nice idea. It's everything. Planning for the very next decision, the next yard marker, keeps the seller in the present. It tells him what he needs to close on in order to keep the deal alive. It prevents wishful - or even magical - thinking from creeping into your pipeline. It keeps everyone focused on what's still possible and on making it more possible.
It's sad when a seller doesn't get the results and the outcomes that she's worked hard for. But when she doesn't even know what needs to happen next? That's tragic.