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How to Wisk (not Whisk) Stalled Deals through the Pipeline

What if marketing drives a highly qualified BANT lead to your best sales rep, who then nurtures this lead, educates him, meets, engages, and . . .

Nothing! He’s not sure, but the relationship is now limp and lifeless. Just when he seems to have everything going for him, like this guy in the classic 1984 Wisk commercial, the deal is choked by “Ring around the pipeline”. 

“Ring around the pipeline” can occur at any time in the sales cycle, so your pipeline acceleration strategies will fall into one of three stages:

  • Rapid Entry – When new marketing initiatives flood the pipeline with high-quality, but sometimes less familiar lead types, you need an acceleration strategy that will ease the bottleneck.
  • Intra-Pipeline – Middle of the pipeline deals sometimes need to be revitalized. The questions above can help to pinpoint the problem. Marketing and sales can work to determine the right strategy to get these deals back on track.
  • Last mile – A final hurdle may be particularly difficult to clear for many deals. Sales and marketing must collaborate on which stalled last mile deals are best understood, so that the right strategy can be employed to move the deals to closing.

 Deals get choked by “Ring around the pipeline” for a variety of reasons, some of which you can pinpoint more easily than others. To work toward a solution, first ask your rep these questions:

  • Did you qualify the deal well upfront? (Are you talking to the right person for whom the opportunity is a priority, and are you involving the right influencers?)
  • Did you discuss value and commitment to change?
  • Did you discuss buyer context or larger organizational issues that could affect a purchasing decision?
  • Did you discuss time frame for a decision?
  • Did you assess level of interest in your solution?

With these answers in mind, consider these three solutions to your stalled deals:

  1. Develop your missing content links

Your content marketing strategy was to align the sales process to the buyer’s journey. But not all buyers are the same, and not all buying contexts are the same. As your sales organization discovers new nuances in buying contexts, your marketing creative team will need to be nimble. You may need middle-of-a-deal checklists, comparision videos, or other content that addresses some of the landmines your competitors are surely leaving to make your prospects question your solutions. Overcoming your customers’ doubt and uncertainty with the right content will give your sales reps a chance to re-engage.

  1. Engage a subject matter expert

Your sales representatives are qualified experts in your solutions, and any buyer can learn a lot from them. The trouble is, there is a common perception that sales representatives are not knowledgeable beyond the script. Buyers sense this, right or wrong, and shut down. To your rep, it can seem inexplicable. If there were no reasonable answers from the questions I suggested above, consider involving a subject matter expert in the dialogue. A great way for that person to connect with your customer is through social media, and LinkedIn user groups (the customer belongs to) in particular.

  1. Learn about stalled accounts through social listening

This is a proactive, rather than reactive solution to a stalled deal.  Enable your organization to wisk more deals through the pipeline by setting up accounts with social media tools like Hootsuite, Social Mention, Mention, and Google Alerts. These tools can help you create account lists to monitor social activity across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social sites. Your customers may be asking questions to people they perceive to be neutral. Don’t be aggressive, or try to “wisk” them away, but do follow the dialogue and find a natural way to re-engage with the answers they are seeking.

Stalled deals can be reinvigorated. If you’d like to learn more about how sales enablement can loosen your “Ring around the pipeline,” call a Bridge Metrics executive at 877.801.7158.

About the author

Alan Margulis

Sales Enablement Columnist

Alan Margulis is a frequent contributor, specializing in sales enablement, channel marketing, and software.

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