Keeping a clean pipeline for your sales team provides incredible insight into several areas of your sales department. It takes a particular discipline to stay on top of the pipeline, and it is well worth the effort.
To start, you need a tool that will allow you to access your pipeline at any time. At The Center for Sales Strategy (CSS), we use HubSpot. The deal stages provide tremendous insight into seller activity and success and show signs of potential derailments to a deal.
7 Reasons You Should Focus on Keeping a Clean Pipeline
1. It provides insight into bottlenecks in your sales process.
2. It encourages communication between the manager and the seller when deals are stalled.
3. It provides insight into not only deals about to close but also your future revenue potential in the now, near and far term.
4. It provides insight into your account list management strategy and shows how often target accounts are being actively worked and engaged.
5. It provides insight into seller activity.
6. It provides you with insights to be more accurate in revenue projections.
How Do You Keep a Clean Pipeline?
Here are seven steps to ensuring you have a clean and accurate pipeline.
1. Ensure that all sellers are inputting deals into the pipeline and they are in the proper deal/opportunity stage.
2. Have set criteria for the length of time that a deal can/should stay in a stage. You can base this on your typical sales cycle and/or your goal for deal speed.
3. Review the pipeline daily and for each deal near the close date, be sure to review communication to support sellers close the business.
4. Weekly review the pipeline with each seller and confirm deal size, close date, confidence to close, deal bottlenecks, and TIME. Time as we have said, kills deals. Is the deal moving through the process?
5. Ask the right questions of each seller and dig deeper into why deals have stalled or are not progressing.
6. If the deal is not moving through the process, the prospect has gone cold or MIA, create criteria for the requirement to move this deal to either closed lost or back to the beginning of the sales process.
7. Review monthly your deal reports/metrics to understand the time each deal spends in each deal stage. This will provide tremendous insights into your sales process.
As a sales leader, if you don’t know your numbers, that is the first sign you are not paying attention to the right things. Focusing on keeping a clean pipeline will create discipline and foster better communication internally and remind your sales team you are paying attention.