For those of us who have a fiscal year-end, the fourth quarter is now upon us. It’s time to take a serious look at whether or not deals should be in or out of your year-end pipeline.
The probability of closing a deal that is not in your pipeline is slim to none since many complex deals take months, if not years to close. Have you looked at the reality of your pipeline?
What do you think about the deals that you keep changing the close date and the deal has been in your pipeline for hundreds of days? In or out?
What do you think about the deal that you moved up the date because management asked you to
but you will have to ask a huge favor to get it closed and it may be beyond your ask? In or out?
What do you think about the deals that you cannot get any key stakeholders at the client to have a meeting with your executive management? In or out?
How do you know if the deal can close this quarter? Collaborate with your customer at different levels:
- To understand the priority of your deal in relation to everything else your customer has on their plate specifically where they are spending their time, money and resources
- To understand the timing of implementing your products and services or doing nothing and the criticality of that timing as it relates to their business results
- To identify, based on the agreed upon timeframes, if a contract can possibly get done this year and, if not, are there any possibilities to moving the date forward
- To review the timeline on a regular basis, showing the customer’s level of engagement and ensuring you both identify any missteps in timing along the way in order to figure out how to deal with them as they occur
As always, nothing is for certain however if the customer is engaged in the process and they are openly collaborating based on realistic timelines, you can be fairly certain that if it is in your pipeline to close in Q4, it will. Now is as good a time as ever to clearly look at your pipeline and please kill those deals that have been in your pipeline forever and will never close, adjust the close dates to reflect the customer’s reality versus yours and help your management and all of your critical internal resources to spend their time on deals that you have the best chances of winning. Whether in the fourth quarter or beyond.
Janice Mars, principal and founder of SalesLatitude, is a senior business and sales executive with more than 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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