4 Questions Every Sales Manager Must Ask Before Agreeing to a Pilot Program

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A pilot program isn’t an award of the business, but rather a key step of the buying process. In this episode, learn the 4 questions sales managers must ask of their sales people to ensure a successful pilot engagement.

Johnny salesperson comes running into your office and says, “It looks like we’re going to get this deal. They just want to run a pilot program. Where should we go to celebrate?”


It sure feels like you can reach out, touch the finish line and cash the commission check. Don’t run to the bank just yet! Pilots aren’t an award of the business. They are merely a trial and this is a critical step of the buying process that the sales person must carefully manage.


Sure, one perspective is that being awarded a pilot means you are about to get the deal. But another perspective is that there are still questions in the prospect’s mind of whether or not your company can deliver performance at the levels that have been presented. In essence, they want to try before they buy.

As the sales manager, there are four critical questions to ask your sales person before committing to take on this pilot program.

First…What does your prospect want to measure during the pilot? You can’t succeed if you don’t know the criteria.

Second…How will success be measured? Without metrics, it’s impossible to demonstrate success.

Third…When the pilot succeeds, has the prospect committed to awarding you the full contract? Hey, if they don’t have skin in the game, what’s the point of the pilot?

The final question to ask of the salesperson… Who owns the success of this pilot?


Hopefully, your salesperson recognizes that it is him!

See you next time on the Sales Management Minute.

Lee B. Salz is a leading sales management strategist specializing in helping companies build scalable, high-performance sales organizations through hiring the right salespeople, effectively onboarding them, and aligning their sales activities with business objectives through process, metrics and compensation. He is the Founder and CEO of Sales Architects, Business Expert Webinars and The Revenue Accelerator. Lee has authored several books including award-winning,  best-seller “Hire Right, Higher Profits.” He is a results-driven sales management consultant and a passionate, dynamic speaker . Lee can be reached at lsalz@SalesArchitects.net or 763.416.4321.