A common occurrence in many companies: sales management looks at the pipeline and spends time only with the deals that are forecasted to close this quarter. What’s the problem with this? For starters, it’s too short-sighted. Here are three reasons why sales managers should get involved early on in the sales cycle:
If sales management focused on deals that are in the early stages, they can help create, shape and validate them early
. They can be part of the discovery process and/or get a seat at the table to provoke and help solve business problems that the client either knows they have or did not realize they had.
2. Sales management can formulate peer relationships early and cultivate them
along the way. It is almost impossible to come in just when a deal is about to close and formulate any relationships when the client is clear that your self orientation is all about you and not them. If it was about them, you would have cared more about what they are trying to accomplish earlier on.
3. Asking questions about the client’s priority early in the process reduces slippage in the forecast
after getting the verbal OK and the contract is sitting on the bottom of a pile on procurements desk. By understanding the priorities and cultivating a relationship with executive management and procurement, sales managers will get to the bottom of other priority projects the client is working on and where their solution fits in with the bigger picture.
So, sales managers, don’t wait until the later stages of the deal to get involved. Don’t just focus on this quarter’s deals. Protect your pipeline and jump in to the sales cycle early on.
Janice Mars, Managing Partner and co-founder of SalesLatitude, is a senior business and sales executive with more 30 years of experience helping companies build successful sales teams. She has parlayed that experience to help her clients to improve their sales processes, accurately forecast revenues, ensure focus on winnable opportunities, and attain consistent results.
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