August 17, 2020

From Managing Pipeline to Managing Activity

Kevin Cheng

The events of the past few months have shown how quickly pipelines can dry up, sales forecasts that you thought were solid can evaporate, and quotas can become irrelevant. If all your management metrics revolve around pipelines, forecasts, and quotas, what does that leave you with?

The best salespeople never give up, not even when closing deals is all but impossible. If the customer cannot or will not buy in the short run, they can be coaxed toward doing so in the long run. Sales leaders who understand the sequence of activities needed to identify opportunities and nurture customers can track those activities in good times and bad.

Accurate tracking of sales activity is only possible when salespeople record data in the CRM. users focus on making that happen by making CRM more useful to those salespeople, rather than trying to mandate compliance for management’s purposes. Sales leaders get the information they need as a happy byproduct.

Of course, bottom line results cannot be ignored – not for long, or the company will go under. However, flogging your salesforce to produce immediate results when that is just not happening is a sure way to torpedo morale and irritate customers who are subjected to inappropriate pressure to buy. Focusing on sales activity and making sure your people are doing the right things for the customer is a much better way of ensuring that sales will rebound when circumstances allow.

For any organization with long sales cycles, managing the sales force by the quality of their activity is likely to be more successful than managing to quota, or to pipeline.

Want more insights on how sales leaders are adapting to the new normal? Get your copy of Sell From Home: The New Way to Sell in Uncertain Times here:

Kevin Cheng
Kevin Cheng
Head of Global Marketing and Communications at

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