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Focus Pipeline Process

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This is the pipeline process that underpins our Focus software. You don\'t have to use the software to be able to apply the same principles.

This is the pipeline process that underpins our Focus software. You don\'t have to use the software to be able to apply the same principles.

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  • The most fundamental reason for managing your pipeline is to know where each customer is in the buying cycle.   A pipeline that can give you an accurate picture of which deals are going to close has to start with what the customer is doing. That means tracking the buying process.   Most customers won’t be able to define the buying process in terms of discrete actions but there are four stages that we all go through whether we are buying chocolate bars or space rockets. It is only the degree of risk and the time scales involved that change. The stages are: unclear need clear need precise need agreed need.   The sales professional helps the customer reach the agreed need by asking questions.   A decision to buy a Mars bars can be reached almost instantly. It’s a low risk decision: a wrong choice has few detrimental consequences and can be made good with relative ease.   When it comes to more expensive purchases the degree of risk increases, as does the amount of time taken to reach a decision. The same stages of the buying process are followed, however, albeit at a much slower rate.   How do you determine where prospective customers are in their buying process? Asking is obviously not an option. Studying behavior is. On the selling side you follow equal and opposite stages to the buying process. The selling stages are: Explore the unclear need Define the clear need Propose against the defined need Close the agreed need   These stages of the buying process mirror their opposites in the selling process. The diagram shows how they are linked and the parallel movement through the stages. The key point here is that, if your prospect is at the unclear need stage, for example, it’s obvious that you cannot propose a solution: you don’t have sufficient knowledge of the requirements.   If your process is no more sophisticated than seeing a customer and offering them a solution without any understanding of their needs and requirements, you are market stall selling.   There are obvious benefits of knowing where the customer is in the buying process. If you are asked in to provide a solution, for example, and, by use of some judicious questions, you discover that the customer hasn’t fully analyzed their need or requirements, you can build a relationship of trust that begins by helping them to understand their needs. The alternative is to propose a Rolls Royce for a customer who tells you they want a car. All well and good, but if they have budget for a second-hand Trabant then you’re wasting your time and theirs.   The unclear need stage is where selling begins. Selling here is helping someone onto the next stage. It’s getting them to sign up to do something. You do that by identifying their need and showing them the pain of avoiding taking action or the benefits involved in grasping opportunity.   There may be a future opportunity that they may be unaware of or they may want to explore an opportunity but be unsure how to do it. Part of selling is how to think through that process. At this stage you are beginning to help them move from being satisfied to an acknowledgement that they need to do something.   The best way to help the customer begin this movement is by exploring. You can explore where they are currently in their business, where they want to be or could be if they grasped some opportunities. Equally, where could they end up by failing to take an opportunity? You need to decide which they respond to more; seeing the benefits or feeling the pain.   At this exploration stage you cannot sell a product. You shouldn’t even mention you product at this stage, merely the capability of your organisation. The mentioning of a specific product or solution comes later in the buying. Now is too early because you don’t understand the customer’s needs.   This is also a great opportunity to shape any potential request or proposal they may put out, steering it towards the areas that your company scores more highly than the competition.   The next stage of the process should be the clear need. The customer has decided to do something they’re moving forward. This is the first stage on the pathway to buying. The decision has been made to buy something and they’re beginning to discover what they need to do, and the possible benefits of addressing the issue or opportunity.   They begin to put a process in place to select a possible supplier and they begin to understand what steps need to be taken to address the issue. They’ll begin putting together the criteria of what they are looking for but there is no selection process yet in place. That comes later. They are beginning to organise themselves and they will be out there examining a range of possibilities. They may be talking to various vendors and advisers in an effort to gather ideas. They may have even released a request for information document for people to respond to in order to gather their thoughts together.   At this stage what you are doing on the buying side is helping define the requirements as well as putting a plan together for developing a wider network of relationships with the client, if you don’t have it already. You’re also beginning to have a look at the territory to decide who exactly the customer is. You may not know the name at this stage but you need to define who it is within the organisation. Remember that you never sell to the organisation but only to individuals.   So who are the individuals that will be a party to this? Who will make the decisions, who is going to put the requirements together, and who carries influence? You start by developing relationships with those who are part of the deal planning process.   You also need to have a look at who your competitors may be, what they may be putting forward and what their relationship with the customer is.   You’re still not pushing a particular product. This is still a question of style, letting the customer understand the benefits to be gained by addressing their need. You’re not selling the product but what a product could do for them.   You would move into this stage from a qualification view point if you’re sure that there is a real opportunity and are sure that the customer will be buying from someone. You also want to make sure that this is an opportunity that you want to pursue. Finally, you will put it into your pipeline only if you believe this is an opportunity that you can win. If you don’t believe you can win it, it shouldn’t be in your pipeline.   Opportunities in the pipeline that you believe you cannot win are diverting your attention. You’ll begin to behave like someone who believes they won’t win. Nobody wants to buy from a loser. When a customer decides to spend a lot of money they’ll look to buy from confident people.   Let’s move on from a clear need to a precise need. This is a watershed in the process. One of the key factors is that the customer must have a budget in place and specifically for the deal you’re working on. They’ll have agreed on their selection partners and have a shortlist. They’ll also have a decision timetable in place. In other words, they’ve got the budget and they can start refining their requirements and matching it to a solution.   At this stage you’re beginning to manage real deals that will reach a conclusion. They’ll definitely be buying from someone. You need to begin thinking at this stage about managing the timing in terms of closure. The customer will have defined their needs and listed their requirements. Now they’ll be looking at their selection process, searching for a solution to match those requirements. This is where they are going to choose their preferred supplier. You need to have outmaneuvered your competitors by this stage by putting an argumentative strategy in place. You will also have found your coach inside the organisation who knows exactly what is going on and who knows the value of your solution.   In the final phase the customer agrees on a supplier and gives verbal confirmation of their choice. They will have a sign off process in place and an agreed closing plan, defining who needs to sign what and when, and how the funds are released. They will be looking for a date to implement the solution or take delivery and they will be looking to finalise the deal in terms of getting the contracts and agreeing the final price.   On the buying side you will be helping them buy and on the selling side you need to manage the sign-off process to close the deal. Much of the time customers won’t even know their sign off process until they get to this stage. If the deal needs management or board approval you need to make sure that the item is on the agenda. Help get it in front of the secretary who puts the agenda together and, if it’s on the agenda for the afternoon try and get it changed to the morning so it doesn’t get left off if things overrun.   Once you go through and close it you get an agreement and sign the deal. The important part is taking it from verbal agreement to close, keeping the timescale short. The longer the time it takes, the greater the opportunity for a competitor to come back in. You never ever lose a deal until a competitor wins it, and, equally, a competitor has never lost it until you have won it. At this stage you need to make sure that you win.   A deal only appears in the pipeline if the customer is on the pathway to buying. Customers yet to begin that journey for the sales period represented by the pipeline remain as suspects.   These are the steps involved in setting up a pipeline. Before you begin to populate it with deals there is fundamental information to input. Set up your quarters – enter the start and end dates for your sales periods. Define your targets – there may be separate targets for product ranges or revenue and gross profit. Define Run Rate and Conversion Ratio. Enter the amount already Shipped for the quarter. Define your Commission Plan. Now put in the deals – and for each deal determine: Where they are in the buying process. Where they are in the selling process. The need. The value. The degree of influence you have on the deal.   The need is important to know and to understand. This marks a fundamental difference between retail selling and business selling. If you know what their particular need is and what benefits your solution can bring them you can begin to make a compelling case. When you know where the customer is now and where they want to be, you can show them what will happen if they do nothing and what will happen if they decide to buy.   The value is not the value of the deal so much as the value you and your solution bring to the customer. The greater the value recognised by the customer the higher the barrier becomes for prospective competitors. This value will comprise elements if business value, unique value, and personal value.   Influence is essential if you are to close the deal. The elements that define influence are: Knowing at least 3 people inside the organisation. Having a coach who can supply you with the inside story on the deal’s progress. Having a chain of influence within the account. Knowledge of the informal buying criteria used by the organisation. Getting enough time to spend in front of the people that matter (people buy from people).   Knowledge of the customer’s needs, full awareness of the value you offer, and the ability to exercise influence on the deal are the three legs of the stool called CONTROL.   When you have control over a deal it becomes a bottom line deal and, as such, forms part of your Forecast.   The knowledge of your customer’s buying state allows you to create a plan and the more accurate your knowledge of the customer then the more likely it is that the plan will succeed.   The plan has two objectives: To make your number. To maximise your commission.   An accurate pipeline will reveal ahead of time if there is a potential shortfall in your number. Better yet, it will show you what can be done to remedy this.   When it comes to tracking your commission, having control over your pipeline lets you see not only your current position but also allows you to view easily the potential commission to be earned should certain deals be moved to closure or brought from the top line into the forecast.   This is especially useful if you have a number of different targets, such as revenue, gross profit margin, and product-specific numbers. In these cases it is usual that accelerators are applied – or are greatly increased - only when all targets are reached. With an accurate pipeline you remain in control of the numbers and deals that will allow you to ensure that these accelerators bring you a maximised commission at the end of your sales period.
  • The most fundamental reason for managing your pipeline is to know where each customer is in the buying cycle.   A pipeline that can give you an accurate picture of which deals are going to close has to start with what the customer is doing. That means tracking the buying process.   Most customers won’t be able to define the buying process in terms of discrete actions but there are four stages that we all go through whether we are buying chocolate bars or space rockets. It is only the degree of risk and the time scales involved that change. The stages are: unclear need clear need precise need agreed need.   The sales professional helps the customer reach the agreed need by asking questions.   A decision to buy a Mars bars can be reached almost instantly. It’s a low risk decision: a wrong choice has few detrimental consequences and can be made good with relative ease.   When it comes to more expensive purchases the degree of risk increases, as does the amount of time taken to reach a decision. The same stages of the buying process are followed, however, albeit at a much slower rate.   How do you determine where prospective customers are in their buying process? Asking is obviously not an option. Studying behavior is. On the selling side you follow equal and opposite stages to the buying process. The selling stages are: Explore the unclear need Define the clear need Propose against the defined need Close the agreed need   These stages of the buying process mirror their opposites in the selling process. The diagram shows how they are linked and the parallel movement through the stages. The key point here is that, if your prospect is at the unclear need stage, for example, it’s obvious that you cannot propose a solution: you don’t have sufficient knowledge of the requirements.   If your process is no more sophisticated than seeing a customer and offering them a solution without any understanding of their needs and requirements, you are market stall selling.   There are obvious benefits of knowing where the customer is in the buying process. If you are asked in to provide a solution, for example, and, by use of some judicious questions, you discover that the customer hasn’t fully analyzed their need or requirements, you can build a relationship of trust that begins by helping them to understand their needs. The alternative is to propose a Rolls Royce for a customer who tells you they want a car. All well and good, but if they have budget for a second-hand Trabant then you’re wasting your time and theirs.   The unclear need stage is where selling begins. Selling here is helping someone onto the next stage. It’s getting them to sign up to do something. You do that by identifying their need and showing them the pain of avoiding taking action or the benefits involved in grasping opportunity.   There may be a future opportunity that they may be unaware of or they may want to explore an opportunity but be unsure how to do it. Part of selling is how to think through that process. At this stage you are beginning to help them move from being satisfied to an acknowledgement that they need to do something.   The best way to help the customer begin this movement is by exploring. You can explore where they are currently in their business, where they want to be or could be if they grasped some opportunities. Equally, where could they end up by failing to take an opportunity? You need to decide which they respond to more; seeing the benefits or feeling the pain.   At this exploration stage you cannot sell a product. You shouldn’t even mention you product at this stage, merely the capability of your organisation. The mentioning of a specific product or solution comes later in the buying. Now is too early because you don’t understand the customer’s needs.   This is also a great opportunity to shape any potential request or proposal they may put out, steering it towards the areas that your company scores more highly than the competition.   The next stage of the process should be the clear need. The customer has decided to do something they’re moving forward. This is the first stage on the pathway to buying. The decision has been made to buy something and they’re beginning to discover what they need to do, and the possible benefits of addressing the issue or opportunity.   They begin to put a process in place to select a possible supplier and they begin to understand what steps need to be taken to address the issue. They’ll begin putting together the criteria of what they are looking for but there is no selection process yet in place. That comes later. They are beginning to organise themselves and they will be out there examining a range of possibilities. They may be talking to various vendors and advisers in an effort to gather ideas. They may have even released a request for information document for people to respond to in order to gather their thoughts together.   At this stage what you are doing on the buying side is helping define the requirements as well as putting a plan together for developing a wider network of relationships with the client, if you don’t have it already. You’re also beginning to have a look at the territory to decide who exactly the customer is. You may not know the name at this stage but you need to define who it is within the organisation. Remember that you never sell to the organisation but only to individuals.   So who are the individuals that will be a party to this? Who will make the decisions, who is going to put the requirements together, and who carries influence? You start by developing relationships with those who are part of the deal planning process.   You also need to have a look at who your competitors may be, what they may be putting forward and what their relationship with the customer is.   You’re still not pushing a particular product. This is still a question of style, letting the customer understand the benefits to be gained by addressing their need. You’re not selling the product but what a product could do for them.   You would move into this stage from a qualification view point if you’re sure that there is a real opportunity and are sure that the customer will be buying from someone. You also want to make sure that this is an opportunity that you want to pursue. Finally, you will put it into your pipeline only if you believe this is an opportunity that you can win. If you don’t believe you can win it, it shouldn’t be in your pipeline.   Opportunities in the pipeline that you believe you cannot win are diverting your attention. You’ll begin to behave like someone who believes they won’t win. Nobody wants to buy from a loser. When a customer decides to spend a lot of money they’ll look to buy from confident people.   Let’s move on from a clear need to a precise need. This is a watershed in the process. One of the key factors is that the customer must have a budget in place and specifically for the deal you’re working on. They’ll have agreed on their selection partners and have a shortlist. They’ll also have a decision timetable in place. In other words, they’ve got the budget and they can start refining their requirements and matching it to a solution.   At this stage you’re beginning to manage real deals that will reach a conclusion. They’ll definitely be buying from someone. You need to begin thinking at this stage about managing the timing in terms of closure. The customer will have defined their needs and listed their requirements. Now they’ll be looking at their selection process, searching for a solution to match those requirements. This is where they are going to choose their preferred supplier. You need to have outmaneuvered your competitors by this stage by putting an argumentative strategy in place. You will also have found your coach inside the organisation who knows exactly what is going on and who knows the value of your solution.   In the final phase the customer agrees on a supplier and gives verbal confirmation of their choice. They will have a sign off process in place and an agreed closing plan, defining who needs to sign what and when, and how the funds are released. They will be looking for a date to implement the solution or take delivery and they will be looking to finalise the deal in terms of getting the contracts and agreeing the final price.   On the buying side you will be helping them buy and on the selling side you need to manage the sign-off process to close the deal. Much of the time customers won’t even know their sign off process until they get to this stage. If the deal needs management or board approval you need to make sure that the item is on the agenda. Help get it in front of the secretary who puts the agenda together and, if it’s on the agenda for the afternoon try and get it changed to the morning so it doesn’t get left off if things overrun.   Once you go through and close it you get an agreement and sign the deal. The important part is taking it from verbal agreement to close, keeping the timescale short. The longer the time it takes, the greater the opportunity for a competitor to come back in. You never ever lose a deal until a competitor wins it, and, equally, a competitor has never lost it until you have won it. At this stage you need to make sure that you win.   A deal only appears in the pipeline if the customer is on the pathway to buying. Customers yet to begin that journey for the sales period represented by the pipeline remain as suspects.   These are the steps involved in setting up a pipeline. Before you begin to populate it with deals there is fundamental information to input. Set up your quarters – enter the start and end dates for your sales periods. Define your targets – there may be separate targets for product ranges or revenue and gross profit. Define Run Rate and Conversion Ratio. Enter the amount already Shipped for the quarter. Define your Commission Plan. Now put in the deals – and for each deal determine: Where they are in the buying process. Where they are in the selling process. The need. The value. The degree of influence you have on the deal.   The need is important to know and to understand. This marks a fundamental difference between retail selling and business selling. If you know what their particular need is and what benefits your solution can bring them you can begin to make a compelling case. When you know where the customer is now and where they want to be, you can show them what will happen if they do nothing and what will happen if they decide to buy.   The value is not the value of the deal so much as the value you and your solution bring to the customer. The greater the value recognised by the customer the higher the barrier becomes for prospective competitors. This value will comprise elements if business value, unique value, and personal value.   Influence is essential if you are to close the deal. The elements that define influence are: Knowing at least 3 people inside the organisation. Having a coach who can supply you with the inside story on the deal’s progress. Having a chain of influence within the account. Knowledge of the informal buying criteria used by the organisation. Getting enough time to spend in front of the people that matter (people buy from people).   Knowledge of the customer’s needs, full awareness of the value you offer, and the ability to exercise influence on the deal are the three legs of the stool called CONTROL.   When you have control over a deal it becomes a bottom line deal and, as such, forms part of your Forecast.   The knowledge of your customer’s buying state allows you to create a plan and the more accurate your knowledge of the customer then the more likely it is that the plan will succeed.   The plan has two objectives: To make your number. To maximise your commission.   An accurate pipeline will reveal ahead of time if there is a potential shortfall in your number. Better yet, it will show you what can be done to remedy this.   When it comes to tracking your commission, having control over your pipeline lets you see not only your current position but also allows you to view easily the potential commission to be earned should certain deals be moved to closure or brought from the top line into the forecast.   This is especially useful if you have a number of different targets, such as revenue, gross profit margin, and product-specific numbers. In these cases it is usual that accelerators are applied – or are greatly increased - only when all targets are reached. With an accurate pipeline you remain in control of the numbers and deals that will allow you to ensure that these accelerators bring you a maximised commission at the end of your sales period.

Focus Pipeline Process Focus Pipeline Process Presentation Transcript

  • Firstborder’s Pipeline Process
  • Pipeline Behaviours The first person to know that you’re going to win the deal is the customer. Yet corporate and personal pipelines, without exception, concentrate on the selling process. Unless you and your prospective customer are at the same stages in your respective selling and buying process, then you can apply all the terminology you like to define your side of the process and it still won’t give you the information you need to decide whether you’re going to win the deal or not. A pipeline that can give you an accurate picture of which deals are going to close has to start with what the customer is doing. That means tracking the buying process .
  • The Buying Process Most customers won’t be able to define the buying process in terms of discrete actions but there are four stages that we all go through whether we are buying chocolate bars or space rockets. It is only the degree of risk and the timescales involved that change. The stages are; Need, Requirements, Solution and Deal. The sales professional helps the customer reach the agreed need by asking questions. In the example shown, the decision to buy a Mars bars can be reached almost instantaneously. It’s a low risk decision: A wrong choice has few detrimental consequences and can be made good with relative ease. Your eyes range across the chocolate on offer at the store and you select the item that is now your agreed solution; a Mars bar – the purchase completes the deal. You know you’re hungry but you’re not sure what you feel like eating. Do you want a main meal or a snack? Hot or cold? Sweet or savoury? You know you need to eat but you’re unclear about exactly what you want. Answering the previous questions moves you to determine your requirements. You decide you don’t want a main meal: A snack will do. More answers narrow it down further, leaving you wanting a cold, sweet snack. Your favourite kind of cold, sweet snack? Choosing chocolate brings you to your desired solution. When it comes to more expensive purchases the degree of risk increases, as does the amount of time taken to reach a decision. The same stages of the buying process are followed, however, albeit at a much slower rate. buying a Mars Bar Need Requirements Solution Deal
  • Mapping the Selling Process to the Buying Process Selling is helping people to buy by influencing with integrity. To do that you need to match the buying process with a selling process that supports the customer. Unaware of Problem / Opportunity. Acknowledge but not addressing. Aware but unsure how to address. Promoting capabilities. Establish the Need. Looking to shape potential RFP. In matching the buying process, the first stage is to help the customer to Explore their unclear Need. They maybe unaware that they have a problem, or they may acknowledge the problem, but are not addressing it, or they may acknowledge it, but are unsure how to address it. As the Need is not yet understood, you will be promoting the capabilities of your organisation rather than talking about products or solutions. During the explore process you will be looking to establish the Need and the business imperative for addressing it. You will be taking the opportunity to shape any potential Request For Proposal (RFP). Customers who fall into the Exploring the Need stage of the process are not yet buying, they are therefore your Sales Leads – the Sales Funnel. Your task is to help establish the business imperative so that they want to address the need and therefore move the Sales Lead to a Sales Opportunity and in to the Sales Pipeline. Explore Need Requirements Solution Deal the buying process the selling process
  • Mapping the Selling Process to the Buying Process Requirements Solution Deal The next stage of the process is helping the customer define their requirements. The customer has decided to do something and they’re moving forward. This is the first stage on the pathway to buying. The decision has been made to buy something and they’re beginning to discover what they need to do and the possible benefits of addressing the issue or opportunity. The customer is beginning to organise themselves and they’ll be out there examining a range of possibilities. They may be talking to various vendors and advisers in an effort to gather ideas. They may even have released a request for information document for people to respond to in order to give them some platform on which to base their thoughts and ideas. At this stage what you need to do on the selling side is to help define the requirements and put a plan together for developing a wider network of relationships within the client. You’re also beginning to have a look at the territory to decide who exactly within the customer you need to sell to, who the competition is and start developing the sales strategy. You would move into this stage from a qualification view point if you’re sure that there is a real opportunity and are sure that the customer will be buying from someone. Decided to address issue. Requirements gathering. RFI. Looking at different vendors. Understanding the requirements. Establish relationships. Developing the sales strategy. the buying process the selling process Explore Need Unaware of Problem / Opportunity. Acknowledge but not addressing. Aware but unsure how to address. Promoting capabilities. Establish the Need. Looking to shape potential RFP. Define
  • Mapping the Selling Process to the Buying Process Explore Need Requirements Solution Deal The customer will have defined their needs and listed their requirements. Now they’ll be looking at their selection process, searching for a solution to match those requirements. You will be proposing the final solution. This is not any proposal, it is the final one. Unaware of Problem / Opportunity. Acknowledge but not addressing. Aware but unsure how to address. Promoting capabilities. Establish the Need. Looking to shape potential RFP. The customer will have finalised their requirements, they will know the budget available, they will have authority to spend it and they will have put a decision timetable in place. Rather than you driving the process, the customer begins driving it. You will begin thinking now about managing the timing. You need to move things to closure. This is where they are going to choose their preferred supplier. You need to have outmaneuvered your competitors by this stage by putting an irrefutable strategy in place. You will also have found your coach inside the organisation who knows exactly what is going on and who understands the value of your solution. You would move into this stage from a qualification view point if you’re sure that the customer has secured the budget, has a timetable in place and that they know how they will be selecting their preferred supplier. Define Decided to address issue. Requirements gathering. RFI. Looking at different vendors. Understanding the requirements. Establish relationships. Developing the sales strategy. Finalising RFP and decision timetable. Budget being secured. Short listing solutions. Complete qualification. Establish credibility. Outmanoeuvre competition. the buying process the selling process Propose
  • Mapping the Selling Process to the Buying Process Explore Need Requirements Solution Deal The final stage of the process is to close the deal. The customer will be prepared to give verbal confirmation to the supplier of their choice. The deal will be in the final stages of being signed. Unaware of Problem / Opportunity. Acknowledge but not addressing. Aware but unsure how to address. Promoting capabilities. Establish the Need. Looking to shape potential RFP. They will have a sign-off process in place and an agreed closing plan, defining who needs to sign what and when, and how the funds are released. They will be looking for a date to implement the solution or take delivery and they will be looking to finalise the deal in terms of getting the contracts and agreeing the final price. On the selling side you will be making sure the solution is finalised and you will be discussing final pricing and contracts. You will be managing the sign-off process to close the deal. You recognise that customers will not always know their own sign off process! With a verbal agreement in place you need to keep the timescale short. The longer the time it takes to reach a close, the greater the opportunity for a competitor to come back in. You never lose a deal until a competitor wins it, and, equally, a competitor has never lost it until you have won it. At this stage you need to make sure that you win. Define Decided to address issue. Requirements gathering. RFI. Looking at different vendors. Understanding the requirements. Establish relationships. Developing the sales strategy. Propose Finalising RFP and decision timetable. Budget being secured. Short listing solutions. Complete qualification. Establish credibility. Outmanoeuvre competition. Agreeing on a supplier. Starting negotiations. Will be agreeing decision date. Finalise the solution. Manage the sign-off process. Negotiate & close the deal. the buying process the selling process Close
  • Mapping the Selling Process to the Buying Process Explore Need Requirements Solution Deal Having briefly outlined the mapping of the selling process to the buying process the final stage is show how the two processes can be linked in order to be able to forecast deals that will be closing in your favour. There are three elements to consider. Unaware of Problem / Opportunity. Acknowledge but not addressing. Aware but unsure how to address. Promoting capabilities. Establish the Need. Looking to shape potential RFP. The first and most important is the Business Imperative. The customer may agree they have a need, but if they do not view it as imperative to address then they probably will not be buying. Selling is about helping create this imperative. Refer to First Border’s Business Imperative Analysis tool. Stage three is to establish your value to the customer. There are three value stages; business, unique and personal. The business value has to be established first, then the unique and it is the personal value that will seal the deal. The final stage is to close the deal and the Negotiation Framework helps prepare the win / win negotiation. Define Decided to address issue. Requirements gathering. RFI. Looking at different vendors. Understanding the requirements. Establish relationships. Developing the sales strategy. Propose Finalising RFP and decision timetable. Budget being secured. Short listing solutions. Complete qualification. Establish credibility. Outmanoeuvre competition. Close Agreeing on a supplier. Starting negotiations. Will be agreeing decision date. Finalise the solution. Manage the sign-off process. Negotiate & close the deal. Having established the business imperative, the next major activity is to help define the customer’s selection criteria. The criteria has to reflect your unique value thereby making it easier for the customer to select your solution. the buying process the selling process Explore Propose Close Define Need Requirements Solution Deal Business Imperative Selection Criteria Value Proposition Negotiation Framework
  • Mapping the Pipeline to the Buying & Selling Processes The Sales Pipeline is made up of three major elements. The first element being the Funnel. The Funnel is for managing your Sales Leads which are considered to be potential Sales Opportunities. You believe the customer will want to address a potential Need and / or the customer already recognises they have a need, but have not committed to addressing it. The second element is the Pipeline itself. The Pipeline is for managing your Sales Opportunities which are considered to be potential Deals. You believe the customer has committed to buying a Solution for a Need. They have a business imperative to address the need. You manage your opportunities to help ensure you meet your sales target and maximise your commission. The third element of the Sales Pipeline is the Outcome. There are two basic outcomes for opportunities in the pipeline. They are either won or lost. Won is hopefully self explanatory. Lost means you have not won. The opportunity has been won by a competitor, or the customer has decided not to address the need. Either way, the opportunity is lost. Need Requirements Solution Deal the Funnel Sales Leads the Pipeline Sales Opportunities Won Lost Explore Propose Close Define
  • Forecasting Deals that will Close The next step is to apply the sales period to the buying and selling process. There is a separate funnel and pipeline for each sales period. The top line is known as the Pipeline Upside. The upside contains the opportunities that you are not close enough to in order to be able to predict if you will win them. You will be able to track the customer’s buying behaviour to determine whether they are at the Requirements, Solution or Deal stage and the opportunity will be logged in one of the yellow grids. Upside deals will have a low sales conversion ratio, you will therefore require a number of deals to hit your number. As you can’t get close, each deal will require less time, but they will be hard to forecast. The bottom line is known as the Pipeline Commit. The commit contains the opportunities that you are forecasting to close. It is your sales forecast and it is the opportunities in your forecast that are measured against your target. You can forecast these deals because you are close to them. You and the customer understand the business imperative, the customer understands and wants the value you will deliver and you can influence the decision. Commit deals have a high sales conversion ratio and consequently you need less of them to make your number. The first step is to define your sales periods. These will normally be dictated by your target in your commission plan. Normally sales periods are measured in quarters, but can also be monthly, bi annually or annual. The best results always come for quarterly focused. The funnel is represented by the first column. The pipeline is represented by the next three columns. We now need to consider the two outcomes from the pipeline; Lose and Win. We do this by dividing the top and bottom. Bottom Line commit The funnel now has two grids. The top grid is for sales leads that you have not yet spoken to, the bottom grid contains the sales leads that you are talking to. Need Requirements Solution Deal Explore Propose Close Define Sales Period Top Line upside
  • Placing Deals in the Grids Budget in place. Final proposal submitted. Decision on supplier will be announced soon. You have little influence. You have verbal agreement. You are managing the sign off process. You are negotiating the final close. Customer can spend. Timescales agreed. You have the preferred solution. You can influence the decision. You have qualified this as a real opportunity – the client will be buying from someone. The customer definitely needs to buy – and you believe they will be buying from you. The customer has / will select your competitor. You are trying to save the deal. These are your ‘suspects’. You believe that the customer will want to do something in the future. You will be helping to establish their need and can influence their requirements. Explore Propose Close Define Need Requirements Solution Deal
  • The Funnel & Pipeline in Focus
  • The Next Stage Firstborder’s Pipeline Management