Ramp up your pipeline quickly – brainstorm with a mentor

Have you recently started a new sales role or is your pipeline of opportunities not large enough?  Finding new opportunities (and growing your pipeline) may be easier than you think.  How do you identify them quickly and get an action plan in place?

Contact someone who can act as a mentor

Mentors can be someone inside or outside your company.  Either way it is important, for this exercise, that the person has a good understanding of your business.  Sales Managers, Services Delivery Managers, experienced sales representatives and people in other key roles can be valuable as mentors. 

When I joined Compaq Services (which became HP Services) I had the great fortune of having multiple mentors including my Sales Manager and another Account Executive, Dan Tobin.  Dan had a great track record for many years driving new services business.  In my first few months he was kind enough to spend time with me once a week to rapidly develop my knowledge of our services capabilities and identify new opportunities.  You can certainly do the same.

How to identify opportunities quickly – brainstorm with your mentor

Simply create a grid (or you can start by using a whiteboard to make collaboration easy) with customers listed on one axis and product and/or services your company offers listed on the other.  I suggest you list no more than 3 – 5 customers at a time.  Then do the following:

  • Put an “x” in the boxes where you are currently providing any products or services
  • Agree upon additional products/services the customer would likely be interested in
  • Identify customers your company is providing these additional products for (you may refer to these customers as you pursue new ones)
  • Outline an action plan for new opportunities including owners and due dates
  • Agree upon a follow up date to get back together to discuss progress

A simplified example…

Make the process fun

If you cannot identify a mentor, find someone to collaborate with.  The process can certainly be productive with more than one person contributing ideas.  Encourage each other to be creative and maybe include a fun challenge.  The collaboration will have you feeling more excited about the possibilities in a short period of time. 

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