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Sales Strategy
This Same Deal Over and Over Again
May 5, 2016 | Anthony Iannarino lock
This deal was on your pipeline report last quarter. It was in the same stage at that time, too. The only thing that has changed is that you’ve had one phone call with the prospective client.

The same deal was on your pipeline report the quarter before that. It was in the same stage of your sales process then. Close to six months ago, this prospect suggested they are interested in what you sell.

This deal wasn’t a new deal three-quarters ago. Three-quarters ago it had a close date that indicated it would close in 90 days. That would’ve been two-quarters ago.

If we scroll back into ancient history, we will see that this opportunity started years ago. Back then, it may, in fact, have been an opportunity. There may have been real interest. More still, there may have been a compelling event. Too much time is past.

Where This Deal Belongs

It’s never pleasant to take an opportunity out of your pipeline. It feels like giving up. However, it isn’t giving up.

Some opportunities take significant time to develop. Some opportunities take a long time to work through the process of making a decision, changing, and buying something new from someone new. As much as you would like to compress the time, that is sometimes difficult to do, especially in a larger, more complex sale with high switching costs.

Moving an opportunity back to the appropriate stage, even if that stage is “qualified,” doesn’t mean that you can no longer pursue the opportunity or the prospect. It does mean that you cannot forecast that opportunity.

The reason so many pipelines are full of opportunities that are not ripe and have not moved in quarters is because the salesperson needs those opportunities as cover for not having developed additional opportunities, opportunities that may be driven by a compelling need to change.

Some deals take many months to win. Some deals take years to win. By selling effectively, you can compress the time it takes to win in the time it takes to deliver better results for your dream client. However, some deals require greater time and considerable effort.

Additional Opportunities

An accurate pipeline report does not demand that you should give up. It just calls for an accurate accounting on your forecast and additional opportunities that you can win while you work these deals.

Written by: Anthony Iannarino

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.
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