Positive momentum is precious – it’s difficult to create and easy to lose. Negative momentum, on the other hand, seems to happen all on its own but is actually the result of not paying attention or not methodically executing the necessary inputs required for consistent results.
To maintain momentum and avoid inconsistency in revenue performance you must recognize that there is always a lag between inputs and results. Most sales people work very hard when their list of qualified prospects is thin or sales are sub-optimal. But as their pipeline improves and sales come in they then tend to neglect pipeline development. They usually justify this neglect by rationalizing that there is not enough time to prospect and also work existing opportunities. But as sure as night follows day, poor revenue results follow low prospecting and pipeline development activity. The people who suffer from these ups and downs usually alternate between feelings of confidence and panic throughout their sales year.
The key to consistent results is consistently engaging in prospecting and pipeline development activities regardless of the demands of current qualified opportunities. Successful sales people measure these inputs and manage their activity levels accordingly. Every industry is unique yet there will be proven metrics for the required rates of cold calling, referrals, appointments, presentations, proposals, and other key activities. Understand the specific activity levels for your own industry and habitually honor the law of momentum by having a disciplined work ethic.
It is essential to have a balanced pipeline of qualified prospects for short-term and significant long-term opportunities. There should be a minimum of three times quota in qualified prospects, and achieving budget should not be dependent upon the largest deal alone. Continue with pipeline development activities regardless of how good current sales appear to be and despite how busy you are with current prospects. An abundant pipeline provides the luxury of choice in where you invest your time and resources.
What are your key performance inputs? These are the activities that drive sustained performance. The best book available on this topic is Cracking The Sales Management Code by Jason Jordan – buy it and read it.
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Main Image Photo by Flickr: Ethan Lofton