August 20, 2015
The importance of a sales pipeline review
You may have heard it said that without process there is no progress.
This quote is especially true when it comes to sales and the sales pipeline review. This discipline for sales teams and sales managers is key to grow as a business and has a sales person. Whether you are reviewing the pipeline with your internal sales team, or an outsourced sales team, making time for this disciple is so important. A detailed review of a sales pipeline is the place where teams should be objectively looking at where they are, where they want to go and how they need to get there.
A great post from the team at HubSpot gives these important statistics about Pipeline review:
- Companies that have a clearly defined sales process with defined sales stages had 18% greater revenue growth than those that don’t.
- Companies that spend at least three hours per month talking with each sales rep about their pipeline had 11% greater growth.
- Companies that train their sales managers on pipeline management had 9% greater growth.
Your team should be investing in these reviews because:
Being honest helps to give light to false assumptions:
Everyone in sales has had a deal go sideways. Sometimes it is beyond our control and entirely in the hands of the prospect. Other times, it could be false assumptions that lead us down the wrong path. Pipeline reviews should be asking questions that provide clarity for both management and sales teams. Wrestling through questions like:
What are the next steps to close this sale?
Do you have a plan moving forward of when and how you are going to accomplish those steps?
What roadblocks are still in your way?
Who are the other competitors in this space that your prospect might be dealing with? What is the biggest road block the prospect has from buying right now? Can that be eliminated?
There is no wrong answer in a Pipeline review. Only an objective conversation to uncover how to win the business. Hopefully asking in-depth questions will stop surprises in the sale process.
As a manager, your role is to coach to a win
A good coach is always wanting to help move the team forward. The goal of a review is to conduct a past faced review, checking in with your team and offering help. If something needs to be addressed, or something needs to be reprimanded, take the individuals you need to speak with aside at another time. if your pipeline review can become like a huddle, calling the plays, moving things forward in an exciting and positive way, your sales team will bring more to the table to work with.
Always leave with a crystal clear path
The goal of a sales pipeline review is not create an exhaustive list, but rather a list of manageable and clear next steps to move the process forward. Leave brainstorming sessions or creative solutions to deals that are stuck for another more in-depth meeting. This meeting is to segment the pipeline into cold, warm and hot, discuss what everyone needs to do and get everyone on the same page. Long exhaustive meetings with complex next steps never work. Less is more with a review.
A good pipeline review might means some deals are off the table, because not enough answers are currently available, or more qualification needs to happen. But with a routine review, your sales team will have a close to accurate pipeline. You will know what your next plan of attack is ad you will be working together to execute a plan that will win deals.
At SalesEvolve – whether we are working with our internal team, or working with one of our outsourced sales or lead generation clients, the regular disciple of reviewing the sales pipeline is key to our success. We help companies build sales processes that are solution oriented and custom to their needs. If you are looking for any assistance with your sales process, whether you are a mature company looking for a fresh pair of eyes, or a startup company looking for a great beginning, we are here to help. Feel free to connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org