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#659: Time to Reassess Your Pipeline

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, September 22, 2011
Updated: Thursday, September 22, 2011
I am worried about my client pipeline now that the economic conditions are changing. What's a good way to evaluate where prospects stand?

Now is a good time to reevaluate your pipeline, although maybe with slightly different criteria than historically. On a sheet of paper or spreadsheet, list your prospects and grade them along criteria of attractiveness for the coming year (add or modify this list as you see fit):
  • consistency of likely engagement with your practice strategy
  • engagement revenue volume (big or small job)
  • profitability (considering possibly greater cost of service for travel, staffing, materials)
  • risks (overweight of project as % of total practice and impact of termination)
  • industry profitability over the next year or two
  • likelihood of follow on business
  • referrals possibly generated
Now, rate your clients/prospects from A to F:
  • A clients - low risk, high referral, long term, likely to add services
  • B clients - modest in all categories but not likely to grow much
  • C clients - difficult to adopt new services, slow to pay, high risk
  • D clients - you have concerns and will probably not renew
  • F clients - these are low margin, problem clients, may be ethically challenged, and you'll seek to terminate when your obligations are fulfilled
Take a hard look at your clients in the context of changed economic conditions. Which clients are in need of more or less of your services? Which are going to be pressed to pay on time? In which client personally do you have better chemistry? You may be surprised how some clients move up and others down in the rankings. Focus on the A clients or prospects, try to upgrade the B and C clients and plan on dropping the D and F clients.

Tip: Discuss your ranking criteria with your colleagues. Do you agree on which industries are good prospects, on the attractiveness of your specific services, on the likelihood of selling additional services to named clients? You may gain insights from discussing these criteria, or you may find common ground for collaboration.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  marketing  prospect  sales 

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