The Fat Sales Pipeline vs. the Narrow Pipeline: Which is Better?

Conventional wisdom doesn’t hold. It’s time to bust this myth!  The long-standing belief is you need to have a big fat pipeline. It’s what our bosses have told us for years.  I remember as a salesperson keeping prospects that weren’t going anywhere in my pipeline to simply keep my boss happy.

Fat pipelines only wind up doing one thing — they create havoc and keep you from truly selling.  The fat pipeline requires too much time and effort just trying to keep the leads straight.  The result is you don’t have enough time to spend on your best prospects.

For years in my keynotes and training, I’ve advocated the best approach is to have a narrow pipeline to give you the time you need to spend with your best prospects.

Check out this 91-second video where I talk about this issue while keynoting at the Growth Acceleration Summit hosted by Zoominfo:

 

The acid test I use is to look at the % of deals you have to discount to close.  I use this as a key metric because it says two things.

First, it says if you’re having to discount, it means you have not been able to get the customer to understand the value of what you offer.  This is due to you not being able to spend enough time with them.  Second, discounting to close means you may be prospecting people who don’t fit the profile of your perfect customer.  This is due to you not segmenting your leads fast enough to narrow your list to only those that fit your perfect profile.

Ten years ago I subscribed to the fat pipeline theory, but times have changed and the ability to identify leads has never been easier thanks to the internet.  This ease of list building has resulted in pipelines becoming bigger, but that doesn’t change the reality that you still only have 24 hours in a day.  Go ahead and load up on all the hacks and apps you want. It’s not going to change the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day.

Narrow pipelines are the new norm.  It’s not a game of leads; it’s a games of leads that match up to your perfect profile.

Yes, I’m aware as you read this you might be ready to go ballistic with me or minimally be upset as to how your boss would take this should you share this post with them.  Hit me with your toughest concerns. I’ll be happy to answer and share with you more on this issue.

And don’t forget that a coach can help you excel in your sales career! Invest in yourself by checking out my coaching program today!

Copyright 2018, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results

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1 thought on “The Fat Sales Pipeline vs. the Narrow Pipeline: Which is Better?”

  1. Mark, I couldn’t agree more. I continually talk to salespeople about this. A couple of questions that I have them think about in regards to their pipeline.

    How hard are your criteria for a prospect to enter your pipeline?

    Is it the customer opting out overtime or you who are opting the customer out?

    On the subject of price, the reason that this becomes the default setting is due to one of the biggest challenges that many sellers have. That is the inability to articulate value and get customers to understand the value you bring. This takes time and effort, so only focus your effort on those opportunities that are worthy of your (and the customers) time.

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