A Sales Team without a Common Language is not a team. It’s a group of individuals.
DEI pioneered the use of formally trained “common language” sales pipeline and forecasting systems in the U.S., starting in the 1980s. They trained over 10,000 companies to implement effective sales pipeline management and provided the foundation for some of the world’s largest sales teams to scale their sales capability, globally.
Is it a lead? Is it an Opportunity? Is it a Prospect? Is it in the Forecast? Is it real? When will it turn into Cash?
Known as the Prospect Management SystemTM , it is the common language and rules you need to execute effective sales pipeline management and accurate sales forecasting. Most readers will have or use a CRM tool today that “does” sales pipeline and forecasting, but quite likely, each member of the sales team applies their own standard of measurement when it comes to deciding what stage a prospect (or opportunity) is at and what constitutes a forecastable deal or revenue.
One of hardest tasks is getting a sales team (or even one salesperson) to use their sales pipeline to diagnose and startegise their opportunities is a way that reduces the sales cycle, while maximising the participation of the buyer(s). That’s because the standard of measurement and language applied is too loose, undefined and variable.
Don’t ask “will it close?” Ask, where is the buyer located in their evaluation and decision journey? Are they even on that journey? Or are you selling to yourself?
The (Visual) Prospect Management SystemTM gets the entire team working the same way, using their own individual approaches. (Rather like is their conversations with prospects, you want everyone saying the same thing, in their own words). The system was originally designed and then developed by Stephan Schiffman and was so effective and successful for companies, that between 1990 and 2004, over 10,000 implemented it. It became known as The Board and some the largest sales teams in the world became that way, through implementing the system.
You Can’t Make a Sales on Your Own. It has to be worth the while of the Prospect or Buyer to Play Ball with You.
Solve The Invisible Universal Sales (Pipeline) Problem: Who’s Playing Ball with Me?
Most B2B firms (right from start-up) use a CRM and its sales pipeline tool today. Over time, an invisible “virus” creeps in; the seller thinks the deal is close r to the end than the start, but in reality the buyer is closer to the start than the end. Suppose for the sake of illustration, there is a 6-step buyer buying process which has a matching 6-step sales process. The seller has to make a judgment as to which stage a deal night be at. The default instinct will be somewhere stages 4-6. All that takes is one “great meeting”. Meantime, the buyer (prospect) doesn’t even have to think about where they are on the journey, and most times they are in the 1-3 zone – usually stage 1! The seller is nearly always ahead of the buyer, and it’s the sellers role to slow down, place the buyer in the buyer’s correct location, and then earn the right to get the buyer to move forward. This is sales. This is real selling, whether you have a transactional or a consultative model.
The Board or Prospect Management SystemTM measures where the buyer is in the buying / selling process, not where the seller is. It answers the question, who’s playing ball we me or am I playing on my own? As a result, it gives you the instant diagnostic and strategising tool to make better decisions about conversation and deal management.
The DEI System Eliminates Forecasting in the Dark
Accurate Sales Forecasting
Mature sales operations manage from the forecast, rather than the pipeline. Notice we said manage from. They stull need the sales pipeline (it’s a core sales tool), but it’s the forecast the pipeline can produce that supports effective sales management. The difference between a pipeline view of a salesperson’s outputs and a forecast view, is that the forecast is time-based. It’s answering the question: when will this deal close, not could it close eventually?
You might be going to all sort of lengths to come up with an accurate (short-term) forecast, but unless you can measure where the buyer is, you cannot forecast accurately. Specifically, the DEI Prospect Management System pushes the salesperson to this standard of forecasting: you would bet your salary on the deal closing by the promised date (and that date is “soon” and not “eventually”). If you cannot do this with your deal for the month or quarter, your forecasting quality (in terms of statistical probability) is the same as that of lottery gambling.