A Leading Cause of Pipeline Mortality

May 28, 2015    |    David Mears

Are too many of your company’s sales opportunities dying prematurely?
If so, your team is suffering from “pipeline mortality.” Though cold comfort, you’re not alone. 

According to benchmarking data, less than 30% of all opportunities in a typical business-to-business (B2B) CRM system end up as won sales. And, only 6% of opportunities from inbound leads end up as closed business.  

Is it any surprise, then, that Harvard Business Review reports 40% of B2B sales people fail to achieve quota


Why is pipeline mortality such a pervasive problem?

Your company, like most, probably invests in sales training that helps team members become more consultative, insight-driven, assertive, and challenging in their approach. 

Regrettably, none of that training addresses a leading cause of pipeline mortality: horrible presentation skills.


Many sales people are not “presentation ready.”

No matter how skilled your people are at consultative selling, they'll lose opportunities if they can’t make compelling presentations when it counts — at every presentation “moment of truth” in your sales cycle. 

Per the Pareto Principle, even though only 20% of selling time is spent in presentation mode, 80% of the value in the sales cycle comes from the presentations people make.

That’s why it’s so important to ensure that your sales team is ready to fight back against pipeline mortality by being “presentation ready.” 


How can you build presentation readiness? 

The same way you get to Carnegie Hall. Practice. Practice. Practice. The caveat? It has to be the right kind of practice. I recently wrote about what the right kind of practice is in Training Industry Magazine.

In my article, Are Your Sales Reps Presentation Ready?, you can read about:

  • Examples of presentation moments of truth throughout the sales cycle
  • How to assess your team’s presentation readiness
  • How to improve your team's presentation readiness


The sales process may be disappearing, but the need to communicate well persists.

According to research by the Corporate Executive Board, because today's buyers are better informed and better connected, up to 70% of the sales process can take place before a buyer ever communicates directly with one of your sales people.

When buyers do engage, however, presentation skills matter. And, presenting well just might be the antidote to a high pipeline mortality rate.



Prevent pipeline mortality by improving your team's presentation skills, influencing skills, and collaboration skills. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today.