There are lots of ways to create, manipulate, and track a sales pipeline. And it all comes down to sales process. For a company likes ours with products like ours, we are not exactly a long buy cycle sale, but we’re also not an impulse buy sale. So, there is a middle ground we need to understand, and try to systematize against and track against.
Nailing this process down has not been too difficult, but what has been challenging is the sales methodology. So, where we have process as something like (and this is for mainstream customers, not early adopters): cold call; send materials; demo; pilot; close, we also need to fill that with a sales methodology.
So far, what we’ve found seems to be the best fit for our technology (which is not a replacement for an existing technology, but for an existing business process), is a solution oriented approach, where we attempt to determine our customer’s environment, need and challenge. And then we determine if there is a fit (or not, which definitely does happen).
We’re big believers in “quick to no” which means that we’d rather find out fast if a customer is not a good fit, and if we’re not a good product for them – it’s a waste of our and their time if we spend too many cycles on closing a deal that is forcing something that is not right. Of course, that’s easier said than done – disqualifying leads – but it’s really really important.