By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
Most organizations have spent the time needed to define pipeline milestones. Sophisticated companies have defined multiple sets of milestones that reflect the different types of transactions that sellers must execute.
Two (2) things stand out in my mind that many companies haven’t addressed:
- Milestone achievements are based upon seller opinions. I hope you would agree that when grading opportunities, sellers that are less than YTD against quota will be much less stringent than those at or above quota. When forecasting, sellers with thin pipelines are far more interested in overstating where they are on opportunities than they are in attempting to predict what revenue will close.
If some milestones could be graded based upon buyer actions, then senior management could have more confidence in the pipeline.
- Companies hire salespeople with a wide variety of experience and skills. The challenge is there is no attempt to map and teach sellers the skills to achieve each milestone. Sellers want to succeed. When they fall short of achieving their numbers, the problems are either:
- Won’t – which is an attitude problem that managers must help them overcome.
- Can’t – in that they don’t have the requisite skills.
For virtually all other positions, employers try to find new hires that have or can be taught the requisite skills to be successful. It’s a shame the same thing can’t be done when recruiting to fill sales positions.