Our clients are almost always surprised by this finding when we dig into the data and illustrate how much selling time is lost by stage reversion.
The top 3 reasons why this happens are:
- Management isn’t actively looking for this phenomenon
- Management doesn’t act on it even when they know it is happening
- The Rules for transitioning to the next stage in the sales process are subjective and determined by the sales rep
Let’s take each one in turn.
If sales management doesn’t actively inspect sales stage duration then you can expect this problem to grow over time. An Opportunity Aging report can shed some light on the severity of the issue.
Front line sales managers tend to be focused on late stage deals at the expense of poor sales execution in the earlier stages. If you want to grow your sales capacity without adding headcount, start paying attention to the early stage activities and stage duration.
Lax rules for promoting an opportunity from one stage to the next emboldens sales reps to rush through the sales cycle and apply irrational enthusiasm to their assessment of where a deal really is in the process. Buyer driven exit criteria that is driven by a exhibited buyer behavior is a much better test to determine whether an opportunity should be moved to the next stage in the CRM.
The definition of sales force effectiveness is the ability to bring about the desired result of sales. If you want to win more, redirect some of the energy and time spent on losses and no decisions to more fruitful opportunities.