Building and maintaining robust/healthy pipelines is a problem with most organizations. Virtually every organization seems to be struggling with this. And if my social feeds are any indication, filling anemic pipelines is the number 1 problem facing organizations.
My email is filled with endless outreaches. I get texts from people/numbers I have never encountered. By social feeds are filled with connection requests suggesting, “I’d like to tell you how we can guarantee and endless stream of high quality leads…..”
In addition to all the techniques suggested for filling the top of our pipelines, AI is here to save us! We can now automate our outreach, inflicting more stuff on more
victims people, more frequently.
And yet, the pipeline generation problem is still a problem, seemingly getting worse every day.
One starts thinking, what else can we do to address this problem? How do we find and qualify enough opportunities to make our numbers?
The most obvious and least addressed is improving our win rates! Win rates have plummeted in complex B2B, to an average of 15-20%! To make our numbers, we have to have pipelines of 5-6.7X! If we need to close $1M, we need a qualified pipeline of $5-6.&M! We need so many opportunities, that we spend less time on each opportunity, and guess what? Our win rates fall further, and we have to get more to fill our pipelines.
And to fill our pipelines, we relax our qualification criteria. Fogging a mirror and clicking on a download become the sole criteria for qualifying an opportunity. And our win rates continue to fall.
Imagine what would happen if our win rates were 40%. We would only need pipelines of 2.5X. Since we need fewer opportunities, we can invest more time in those we qualify, further improving our win rates. And since we need fewer opportunities, we can be much more selective and focused in our prospecting (more on this later).
And then there is the client with the 82% win rate…..
Then there is another approach. What if we narrowed our focus in our outreach–viciously so. We have the tools and technologies that enable us to refine our targeting. Narrowing it to our ICP (assuming people recognize that ICP doesn’t stand for Incredibly Crappy Prospecting). The tools can further narrow our outreach to those that are most likely to be experiencing problems now. And then, these tools can help us tailor outreaches that are incredibly relevant and impactful to this small number of target people.
Those people still have lots of crap inflicted on them, so it’s tough to standout. But the only way is through high relevance in each of our outreaches. And to be relevant, the outreach has to be about them and their challenges–not what we sell.
And we have to explore new ways to engage the right prospects. Ironically, many of these are “old.” Conferences, events, tradeshows are important. High impact content in the right channels. Thought leaders with deep expertise. Relevant discussions in the right groups/social channels. F2F, direct mail, and other approaches are experiencing a renaissance. But the messages are always about the customer, their challenges, opportunities, and their concerns. Strong digital engagement strategies. It is never about what we sell.
Most of our pipeline generation problem is self inflicted. Customers still have needs to change, grow, and improve. The issue is that our outreach seldom addresses this, it’s just self serving noise.
Pipeline generation is not easy, but it’s senseless to make it more difficult than it need be.