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How to flog a dead horse

Being a realist is one thing, acting on it is another. We can pretend that the sales cycle is not getting any longer and that Brexit will not make it any harder, but caution is an inevitable consequence of a fall in confidence that comes with any shock to the system, whether you voted to remain or leave.

Some are now sending out the CVs they had to dust off in January, while others have hit the unemployment pavement so hard, they are too dazed to have started to work a plan.

In marketing terms, all this tells me is, you had better work out where your real sales opportunities lie. Some people run pipeline as nothing more than an insurance policy against the future, but if the opportunities fail or dry up, then pipeline had better be fat, long and double-insulated.

In addition, opportunities need to be looked at harder. Just because they all got converted from a lead, does not mean they are all remotely the same. Obviously, it takes courage to confront a weak opportunity and dump it, but it may be the only way to refocus on the strong opportunities.

From there, it makes sense to look at how long the opportunity has been live. Just because the textbook says you have to be persistent and patient, doesn’t mean you will win in the longer term. However strong a decision maker will to commit is, a lack of confidence in the economy causes all sorts of things beyond their control to happen – change of role, budget withdrawn, merger or acquisition, board level nerves, and so on.

Beyond that, there may be all sorts of what were once opportunities that you have consigned to the Lost or Tyre Kicker bin, that may reveal new opportunities. Even if you disagree, it certainly makes sense to segment your entire pipeline more intelligently. A new view will always bring new insight. It may feel like flogging a dead horse, but I can show you signs of life.


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