My last blog discussed the problems that can arise from an inconsistent sales pipeline. I equate it to riding a roller coaster. When sales are going up, all is great! But when sales are going down, you lose your stomach. So, how do we create a consistent sales forecast? There are several steps involved, but it's not as difficult as you may think. Start with basic data segmentation and sales stages.
Often, I begin a new project by asking a client, "So, where is your data?" The answer I often hear is "all over the place!" I've seen data in spreadsheets, Outlook, PDF files or even in a bunch of cards at the bottom of someone’s drawer.
To understand your data, you must start by cleaning it up!
1. Start by putting your relevant data in one place - preferably an Excel spreadsheet. Be sure you don’t include your dentist or the gang's favorite pizza place!
2. Don't forget current clients, past clients and potential clients. Focus on contacts who can bring revenue to your door quickly and effectively. You'll want to have them in your database, in your sales forecast, and in your sales pipeline. Continually update these contacts so you don't lose touch.
3. After your data is in one place - and the pizza joints are removed - fill in the missing pieces. Spend time finding those emails, phone numbers, titles, etc.
4. Finally (for now), assign ratings. Review your most promising targets and give them an “A” rating. Then review again for “B” and “C” rated clients. Start calling/engaging accordingly.
Start with these simple first steps and you're on your way to smoothing out that roller coaster ride!
Stay tuned for (or catch up with) other blogs in this series:
- Get off the Roller Coaster!
- Divide and Conquer
- Set the Stage
- Pull the Trigger
- Refine and Rejoice
- Financial Impact