For this 5-part series on crushing your Q4 quota, we sat down with two fantastic smart thought leaders, Nancy Nardin of Smart Selling Tools and Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing. In part 3 of this series, we covered “What are the pitfalls to avoid in attempting to crush your Q4 number?”

In part 4 of this series, we will cover “How do you ensure a healthy pipeline so you’re closing the right deals?”

How do you ensure a healthy pipeline so you’re focused on closing the right deals?

Every sales team has organizations they are proactively are selling to, as well as organizations that they would like to sell to. The commonality between those two sets of organizations, when you get into the late stage of the pipeline, is urgency and need. If you’ve got a prospect that’s engaged in the middle and bottom of the pipeline, and they’ve committed to change that your product or service represents or enables, then ask yourself, “What is that change and what is the urgency driver that makes that change necessary?”

In doing a work-back timeline in figuring out when a new solution needs to be implemented, you should be aware of the impact that you will need to have in that change, and in when that change needs to happen. As a healthy deal healthy pipeline is not just about having the right prospects, it’s about the sense of urgency those prospects must have to get the deal done.

How can you qualify or know which ones are the most qualified?

One way to know which prospects are most qualified is to know your ideal customer profile. Another way is to really understand what’s taken place in the account. But that can be hard to do with CRM. Especially if you’re a manager and you’re trying to get a hold or a grasp on where all these different deals are at. One of the big problems is that salespeople just can’t take the time to work is the CRM.

If CRM data is not input, then you can’t really do the best analysis to understand whether or not there have been steps missed in the sales process. Those are big red flags. How do you know? How can you count on your CRM data if updates aren’t entered into it?

Jim Dickey from CSO Insight talks about how it takes 65% longer to lose a deal than it does to win one. That’s a lot of blood and sweat spent trying to close deals that are likely not ever going to close, and a lot of wasted sales capacity. The way to get around that is to ask yourself, how has the forecast changed over time? What’s slipped over and over again? Are you using CRM right? It’s not easy if people haven’t input the data.

AI for CRM data management

There are AI solutions that will automatically kind of read your email and read your calendar and populate the CRM with those activities without requiring a sales rep to enter data. In fact, one place to look is at the Smart Selling Tools Landscape, where there is a category called “Sales Process & Activity Management” with a few recommendations.

On the flip side, research shows that sales reps are only spending 35% of their time in front of or engaging prospects. The rest of that time is spent on data entry or reporting. So by integrating AI, teams can free up sales reps to spend more time – up to 65% of their time – with prospects.

This blog will be followed by 1 more blog next week covering the final topic, below. If you would like to listen to the audio for each section, please click on the movie at the top of each section. Or you can view the full hour-long webinar content here.

Next up…

  • Part 5 “How do marketing and sales stay aligned during the crushing process?”

Read prior parts to this blog at:

  • Part 1 “What are the warning signs you’re not ready for Q4?”
  • Part 2 “How do marketing and sales stay aligned during the crushing process?”
  • Part 3 “What are the pitfalls to avoid in attempting to crush your Q4 number?”