Keith M. Eades
Sales Performance International
According to the latest survey of sales managers conducted by CSO Insights, less than 50 percent of forecasted sales opportunities fail to close as predicted, as illustrated below. At face value, this number is stunning—how can companies effectively manage their business operations when the ability to predict sales revenues is this unreliable? In addition, more than 20 percent of these sales opportunities result in a decision on the part of the customer to do nothing!
These findings show that too many salespeople are investing in opportunities that they never had a good chance to win. Although many managers believe their sales teams have a problem with qualifying new opportunities, we find that most salespeople have a bigger problem—they are increasingly reluctant to disqualify opportunities that they have been working on for a while. That is, many salespeople wait far too long to qualify themselves out of deals that are going sour, especially when their pipelines are lean. As a result, they waste their most precious resource—their time—in bad opportunities that they can't win.
Figure 68.1. Outcome of Forecasted Deals (Copyright © 2009 CSO Insights, used with permission.)
Both qualification and disqualification are important skills for sales professionals to master. ...