I’m talking about pipeline management. It doesn’t happen by accident. It happens through the deliberate allocation of time. This article may as well be titled, “How to Consistently Hit Quota”.
1. Do the math
There are as many different quotas as there are sales organizations. But pipelining and quota is all a numbers game. Let’s take tech sales as an example, selling a SaaS product through a visual demo scheduled through outbound cold calls. Try out the following formulas:
(Quota ÷ Avg Deal Size) ÷ Avg Close Rate = Total Demos Needed
(Total Demos Needed ÷ Avg Demo Rate on DM Access) = Total DM Pitches
((Total DM Pitches ÷ DM Access Rate) ÷ Contact Rate) ÷ Selling Days in the Month = Number of Cold Calls per Day you need to hit quota.
In English; If your average deal size is about 17–18% to quota and close rate is industry average of 20% you need to hold at least 30 demos each month with qualified DMs to hit quota. So having a consistently progressing pipeline is paramount to being a consistently successful salesperson.
How do you do this?
2. Respect the Dam Process
Think of your leads like the Hoover Dam. Your commission check is like a plot of farmland at the bottom of the dam.
The Friendly Rep
Some reps think they can get to quota by having a ton of leads in the beginning of the month, getting to the DM in the first week, pitching/scheduling in the second week, demoing in the third week, and closing in the fourth week.
This type of rep will be at 50–70% at the end of every month wondering what happened. They will take bucket after bucket of water from the dam all the way down to their plot of land and water it.
They only feel comfortable handling a few leads at a time.
They want to do a lot of pre call research.
They really get to know people on the demo.
They only run 15–20 demos each month.
They don’t want to be pushy.
They want to be liked.
The Firehose Rep
There is another type of rep that sees the numbers, sees the math, and wants to do as much as possible without any regard for quality or the human element of the sale.
They sit on a throne of ratchet deals with no value selling, never sell a top tier package, immediately go to cutting a deal instead of repitching value, and have to work twice as hard as every other salesperson because their average deal is no 10% of quota less than everyone else and they don’t know why.
This is why. They hook a firehose up to their dam and let it rip. Their field gets flooded with tons of calls. The rep doesn’t treat GKs with respect and loses influence with every cold call. They run a ton of copy/paste demos with little to no Needs Analysis. They try to assumptive close but end up having no leverage so they can only negotiate on price.
The Farmer Rep
Bum ba-dum bum bum bum bum!
This is the Legit Big Dog. The All Star rep. The President’s Club member. The 130% to quota every month type of Rep. They know it’s a numbers game but they also know that every call is with a human. They don’t carry buckets and they don’t attach firehoses. They build a pipeline from the dam to their field and irrigate the land every day. They call through their leads, manage new ones, build up the GKs, gain the trust and respect of the DM because the actually are experts in their craft, and help the client see a better way with the product they’re selling than their current solution.
They respect the dam process.
3. Do the Work
Staying focused and staying human on the phones is the biggest piece of advice I can give someone. Your pipeline can’t become top heavy or bottom heavy and it can’t become stagnant. You have to make your daily tasks a constant stream of action towards your ultimate goal. Orient with the formula in the beginning and you’ll be fine.
Stay Curious. Stay Brave.
If this helped you in any way, it would mean the world if you’d Share or Recommend it. Please feel free to leave comments or critiques.
DM — Decision maker
GK — Gate Keeper