Right now the market is job heavy so it's likely your pipeline is full to the brim with clients. The bad news is, a full pipeline isn’t always an accurate reflection of the volume of revenue you’re bringing in. If it's cluttered with low probability pay offs, they can easily end up being a major distraction.
So what can you do to make sure you’re always focusing your time and energy on the big winner in your pipeline? Use these simple steps to clear out your pipeline and you'll be well on your way to finding the money. Better yet: make this a regular habit and your desk will be more lucrative in the long-run! Here's how to go about it...
1. Fish out any deadwood
Do you know exactly where your next fee is coming from? In a job-heavy market, it’s essential to know what roles will pay off and which aren't worth your time. After all, forecasting a glut of jobs to impress your boss means nothing if you can’t convert them into money!
That’s why it’s important to identify and cut out the deadwood clients that are clogging up your pipeline. What are deadwood jobs, you ask? Frankly, they're the jobs that will never convert. Maybe you don’t have a candidate for them, or perhaps the client is moving too slow or is completely unengaged: Whatever the reason, if the odds are totally against you, it’s best to write off these deadwood jobs and clear them out of your pipeline.
This is exactly how you’ll free yourself up to be working on the best (and most profitable) opportunities that’ll get you a maximum return for your efforts.
2. Clean up the data in your CRM
Cleaning out dead data and updating our records is a habit we tend to drop when our desk is busy. But the more irrelevant information you have in your database, the less accurate your records and your pipeline will be. Regularly cleaning your data is an easy way to speed up your processes, and set yourself up for success.
For example, having up to date details on when the client has hired before, how long their time to fill was and whether or not they tend to work with multiple agencies is exactly the kind of intel you need to be making smart decisions.
Keep your data clean and you'll easily identify the big winners with the best odds that you should be prioritising right now.
3. Identify and prioritise the easy winners
To cut through the noise and find the money, you first need to take a step back and assess the jobs you have in front of you. If you don't, you'll end up juggling roles, spreading yourself thin and bringing absolutely nothing over the line. With this in mind, here are things to consider when looking for the easy wins in your pipeline:
- Is this client engaged?
- Have you placed candidates with this client before?
- Are they ready to hire?
- Can you successfully meet the needs of this client right now?
- Do they have a budget?
- Are you dealing with a decision maker?
- Do you have a pool of talent ready to fill the role?
If the answer is yes to all of the above, chances are you’ve found yourself an easy (and hopefully big) winner that should take top priority. Taking time to assess the potential of your pipeline and gathering key information like this allows will keep your pipeline in check and help you better prioritise your workload.
4. Keep generating new business
When the market is job heavy it’s easy to think that proactively building a pipeline of prospects needn’t be a priority. But what if the roles you’re working aren’t the right kind of roles? Suddenly, you’re going around in circles without a promising deal in sight.
To avoid this, you need to keep your foot on the gas and continue to pull in new business. Of course, you don’t want to get stuck working any old role, so qualify leads to a high standard. That way, as you bring in higher-quality jobs, you’ll be better positioned to say ‘no’ to any prospects that aren’t worth the effort.
5. Disqualify every day
When the market is job-heavy but candidate-short, clients really need your help, putting business in your favour. But saying yes to any old role can be really counterproductive. Instead of taking on everything that comes your way, you need to be ruthless about which jobs you work. The easiest way to ensure you don’t let any deadwood back into your pipeline is to evaluate and disqualify jobs on a daily basis.
It’s all about qualifying the right kind of clients, and disqualifying the wrong type of prospects. Be honest, be critical and if you have to – be ruthless! The more realistic (and less optimistic) you are, the stronger your pipeline will be. Disqualifying as you go is crucial to keeping your eye on the prize. Master this and you'll benefit from better clients, better sales and better commissions!
Growth Specialist Paul was a Principle Consultant in the tech sector before joining Firefish. He loves changing the way agencies recruit with software.