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Empty Pipeline Syndrome aka EPS

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Scott Moss
June 11, 2020

Empty Pipeline Syndrome aka EPS

Not to be confused with IBS. Sorry, I just couldn't resist. Now that I've given you an ugly look into my typically misguided attempt at humor, just ask my kids, I'll get to the point of this week's post. It is inspired in part, and thankfully so, by my friend and expert digital marketing wizard, Leslie Carruthers.

Let's begin with the definition of EPS: a condition brought on by what most sales professionals worth their weight in gold fear more than losing their voice - a sales pipeline devoid of legitimate winnable opportunities. For a better insight and understanding of EPS, let's break it down into three distinct, yet interconnected, parts as follows.

Part One: Root Causes

  • Too busy delivering solutions or managing existing accounts
  • Focusing solely on long-tail, complex deal closure
  • Utter laziness, indifference, or ignorance of what it takes to succeed in sales

Part Two: Common Symptoms

  • Mild: temporary loss of visibility into CRM deal flow, resulting in slight worry or distraction during inter-office meetings - typically lasts for 1 day to 1 week
  • Moderate: longer-term false confidence in the actual number and size of closeable deals and early-stage qualified leads in the CRM, resulting in sketchy forecasting or even blustery braggadocio to peers and management - typically lasts a full 30 days
  • Severe: extended periods of self-loathing sadness, uncontrollable exhaustion, and outright pitifulness, resulting in missing goals, team alienation, questionable sales tactics, and complete loss of swagger - typically lasts for 1 quarter if the sales professional even makes it that long without being fired or lost to the proverbial woods of shame forever

Part Three: Avoidance & Recovery

  • Avoidance: preferred by every sales leader that there ever was and includes among other things: KPI measurement for lead acquisition, funnel stage progression, and inbound & outbound activities, accompanied by consistent review, analysis, and modification
  • Recovery: not so much preferred because it is reactionary instead of preventative but can sometimes be effective and includes tactics such as: a good talking to by your manager (for mild cases), structured retraining and coaching by sales leadership (for moderate cases), and performance watch or probation possibly leading up to the old heave-ho (for severe cases that are often-times and sadly lost causes)

Well, there you have it, Empty Pipeline Syndrome defined and explained in its most basic form. I welcome constructive comments and sharing with colleagues you think will find some meaning in all this. Now let's get out there and Achieve Greatness.