Everybody needs a bigger pipeline.
Have you ever been in a scenario, maybe a business meeting, or a dinner with colleagues, and heard someone say, “I’ve got all the pipeline I need?”
Didn’t think so.
Every company needs a bigger pipeline, and every company is trying to do everything they can to get one, but very few are actually succeeding in building it. Why? What does it take to build a quality pipeline?
Sally Duby, Chief Sales Officer at The Bridge Group was a guest on the B2B Revenue Acceleration podcast recently and had some great insights around the challenges that sales leaders are facing today, as well as a few helpful tips on what it takes to build a quality pipeline.
Alignment, Alignment, Alignment
Now that The Bridge Group is a decade old, Sally shared that they still get by far the most questions around this issue of alignment. How do you align the sales and marketing teams?
Even today, after we’ve been talking about sales and marketing alignment for over twenty years, the industry is still primarily one of silos. Sales professionals focusing on selling, and marketing professionals focusing on marketing.
The problem is that to really get at the heart of things, and to really get the most out of your efforts, you have to have alignment.
Everybody wants to say they’re doing account-based marketing, but they really don’t get it and don’t know what they’re doing with it.
Enabling Front Line Sales Managers
Think about your company, and think about the people that get promoted to sales manager.
They’re probably former sales reps, right?
They are usually thrown into the deep end with very little training. There’s no training around HR issues. No training on how to coach another rep. No training on how to transition to being the boss of your former peers.
But what if sales reps don’t’ always make the best sales managers? Or at the very least, what if it wasn’t the sales rep making 200% of quota that would make the best sales manager?
The problem with those people who are constantly blowing sales numbers out of the water is that they’re usually lone wolfs. They usually want to work by themselves, not get involved with the drama of the office, and as a result, they might not make the best sales managers.
Do you want to know how to identify the sales reps that would make great managers? Look at how they treat and help out the other members of the team. Those are the ones that will make the best managers.
Sales and management require two very different skill sets, and the two aren’t always interchangeable.
Pipeline cures all sales problems.
It takes a lot of work to build a quality pipeline.
In all of my year’s sales consulting talking to thousands of sales leaders, I only recall 3 that told me that they had enough pipeline.
So how do you build a quality pipeline? Sally shared a couple of key ideas, though there are certainly more.
Pipeline Building Should be a Multi-Faceted Approach
This goes back to alignment.
It’s not just the sales reps that are responsible for building the pipeline. It’s marketing It’s SDRs. It’s the executive team. It’s everybody in the entire company.
Linkedin has become a vital tool over the last few years.
Everybody in the company can keep their profile up to date, and keep a network up to date. They can all help draw their network into what the company is doing by posting and sharing what the company is doing, milestones, and key moments.
When the time comes, this can really help the sales team with introductions.
20 years ago this kind of networking wasn’t possible, but now it’s more than possible, it’s vital.
Custom Fit your Pipeline
Most organisations aren’t just going after one segment. You’re most likely going after multiple segments.
You’ve got multiple markets, multiple buyers, and the complexity of your product and the average deal size all play into what kind of different pipeline building models you should be instituting.
You’re going to have a vastly different approach targeting a C-level executive with an average deal size of $1M than you would targeting hundreds of mid-size companies with an average deal size of $50k. You can afford to expand your resources and do what it takes to get that account.
These are just two of the tips that Sally offered during her incredible chat on the podcast.
Pipeline is at the center, or should be at the center of everybody’s mind. With just a few steps, you can help ensure that you build a quality pipeline that generates the most return.
This post is based on an interview with Sally Duby from The Bridge Group.
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