The end of the year is here which means sales reps go to sleep dreaming of tanning beachside at club and calculating commission checks, but their pipeline might be rotting right under their nose. As every good sales rep and manager knows “time kills all deals” and so as appealing as it might be to fantasize about a fat check it is far better to focus on ensuring you get the deal first.

As with avocados, deals change quickly and often faster than expected so it takes focused attention and thoughtful coordination to ensure your timing and approach are correct. As outlined in the top graphic there is a broader GTM strategy to align the right resources at the right time, but let’s focus just on sales to maximize your Q4 pipeline.

Here are some critical signs that the deal is real aka “Ripe”

  1. Engagement – all successful deals have broad engagement. So you should see your champion pulling in key stakeholders if not already involved, there should be a natural progression up the chain and eventually ending with finance and legal.
  2. Velocity – all successful deals accelerate to the close. It is common in the enterprise sector for deals to have peaks and valleys in longer sales cycles, but in the end, as with smaller more transactional sales, the speed accelerates to the close as they want to get it done. (Aging is a critical metric we track with http://demandvue.com)
  3. Progress – all successful deals make progress. No company who is seriously considering buying your solution is “thinking” about it for weeks on end. This means they are closing the deal with your competition. Things are good if you are getting updates every few days on where things stand in their internal process.

If you are reading through these and this does not represent your current interaction on your deals then chances are you have some rotten pipeline. So here is what you need to do. Get immediate engagement with as many people at the account from as many touchpoints from your company as possible. Go wide and high with key members of your team. Executives will almost always respect outreach from a peer, so ghostwrite a note for your executive to theirs and get to the truth of where you stand.

To be a top performer in sales you must welcome honesty early and often as time is your most valuable asset and real income comes from closing a higher percentage not competing on more deals. The faster you clean out the rotten deals the more time you can allocate to the solid ones.

One last note, do not make the cardinal sin of a sales rep and push your dead pipeline forward.

You want to cultivate, nurture and invest in your solid deals. Artificially increasing your pipeline numbers and pushing rotten deals from one year to the next is just delaying the inevitable loss. As soon as the new year begins and even in late Q4 companies are already looking at new projects and initiatives for the year which means you have a narrow window to make sure your solution is part of that plan and budget. If you have not gotten triangulated validation you are in that plan, cut your losses and move on.

Now get to work so you can enjoy year-end avocado toast to celebrate a job well done!

#saas #sales #pipeline validation strategies and support from http://executiveanswers.net and http://demandvue.com