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How Often Do You Clean Out Your Pipeline?

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 8/20/19 7:26 AM

Pipeline clear out

How often should you clean out your sales pipeline? I mean, you do clean out your sales pipeline, don't you?

Or do you keep deals in there longer than you should, accepting delay after delay either because they have to talk to someone else or the budget isn't really the budget?

Maybe you're just not entirely sure if this is something that they need to have because there's something happening, or if it's a nice-to-have because you know it would be great if we fix this?



I was talking with one sales rep this week who had finally closed a large deal. However, this was at a very steep price to him, including the very large mental stress calories that were spent on this deal. What was even worse is that when he found out that his time spent in the deal and others like it for the amount of value that he had was slightly the same or even less than the deals that he had gotten in other mid-market and even smaller businesses. He was a little bit more than frustrated that he'd done all of that work for the same to next to the little less of the payoff. But because he spent so much time and mental stress on those large deals, he wasn't able to actually get deals that might've been better, because he was spending his time elsewhere.

Now, there's lots of reasons and factors that go into why this is happening, which we won't go into right now, but the point is this: If he hadn't done that check to see where his time was really being spent and the value of that time, he could still be chasing deals that would actually sink him, even though they looked like larger deals. Instead of getting to decision makers and asking tough questions, he might just keep doing the same things until he finally burned out, never knowing why.

Think of it this way.

If you're a gardener, like me, and at this time of year the flowers are blooming and the fruits are ripening, but if you don't go out and trim and deadhead the old spent plants, the likelihood of you getting new ones is much smaller. Just like your pipeline.

Why? Because your soil, like your time and energy, only has so much that it can give and you want to make sure that it's giving it to the plants, and to the effort, that's going to be the best payoff. If you don't deadhead and clip and disqualify out of your pipeline, and get things moving forward or out, it's going to suffer.

Why it's important to clean out your pipeline on a regular basis

It depends on:

  • The length of your sales cycle,
  • Who your buyer is,
  • What criteria you set for your target accounts,
  • How you qualify or disqualify them
  • Whether you're getting to actual decision makers. 

These are just a few of the criteria that you should be using to clean your pipeline out, every week. Because if it's not moving forward and it's standing still, it's going to get stagnant like icky water. 

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Topics: pipeline management