What is sales pipeline management?
Your sales pipeline is, at the most basic level, a list of all your current opportunities, organized by the stage they’re at in your sales process.
In order to drive the most effective sales process and to have perfect visibility into what is going on in your sales, you need to proactively manage your sales pipeline towards achieving your sales goals.
Why is sales pipeline management an important part of a rep’s daily activities?
Companies with a formal business process generate more revenue. Sales pipeline management instills confidence in sales reps and permeates throughout the organization as it:
- Identifies a clear path to success. Having a standardized sales process keeps sales reps on-track to success with clearly defined steps and goals. It serves as an early indicator of success and will lay the necessary sales framework for growing your business.
- Improves internal communication. Sales reps work with a variety of people within an organization. Having a visible sales process and a clearly defined plan for reaching the milestones in it reduces friction between your team and the departments that interact with on a regular basis. You start an inter-departmental feedback loop to continually improve the team and the process. Sales reps can focus less on answering questions about what their next steps are and spend more time selling.
- Provides leaders with a real time snapshot of their sales. In order to achieve and exceed their sales goals, sales leaders have to know exactly what is going on with their sales. Knowing which opportunity is at what stage is the first step in gaining such visibility.
Can creating a formal sales pipeline management process help me sell more?
Absolutely. The initial investment in creating the process can be grueling, but immensely rewarding. Harvard Business Review (2015) revealed that there is “a direct correlation between effective pipeline management and strong revenue growth.” Companies that had a clearly defined sales process, trained sales managers on proper sales pipeline management, and spent at least three hours a month on sales pipeline management “saw 28% higher revenue growth.”
Effective sales pipeline management takes into account various factors specific to your company (industry, services, team size, rep specialties, territories) to create a unique set of milestones your reps are expected to meet during every deal. Setting these milestones and a process for what to do when each deal reaches that stage ensures that your reps are actively moving the deal forward at every step of the process.
Effectively manage your sales pipeline.
Effectively managing your sales pipeline requires planning and discipline. The fastest growing companies share common patterns in managing their sales pipeline:
- Have a clearly defined sales process. Define every step in your sales process through which your team should take every opportunity. The best sales processes align with the prospect buying journey and define the exact activities that should be performed at each stage.
- Define feasible goals and milestones. Each stage of your sales pipeline should represent realistic hurdles that your buyer needs to overcome in order to buy your product. And each stage needs clearly defined action for your reps to follow that will help move buyers to the next stage. However, don’t over-engineer your sales process. It need to be flexible enough for your sales reps to feel guided, but not constrained.
- Continually analyze and optimize. Set aside time (Harvard Business Review suggests 3 hours a month) to evaluate your sales process and optimize it. Your market is constantly changing so you need to make sure your reps can meet the new demands. Revisit and revise as often as necessary and make sure all your reps are kept in the loop.
- Train your sales managers to properly execute the strategy. Sales pipeline management is not an automatically generated report from your sales platform or CRM. It is an active process where sales managers are required to make better decisions about how and who best to close what deals. Tap into your team’s strengths and weaknesses to determine the ideal pipeline size and deal types for each rep. Communicate which actions at what timeframes in the sales process make the biggest impact to enable them to close bigger deals, faster.
How has technology helped streamline pipeline management?
Understanding your pipeline is critical to sales leaders, but a simple CRM will not tell you the whole story. Layering powerful sales analytics and reporting tools on top of your sales data will transform the way you read and react to forces affecting your pipeline.
Base makes managing your pipeline easier and more effective.
Base is the ideal Sales Pipeline Management tool for companies that are serious about growing their sales and managing their sales team. Base makes it easy to set up a customized sales pipeline tailored to your business. Base allows you to:
- Track deals in real time. View critical details about your deals, like how much it’s worth, who you’re competing against, and what stage the deal is in. Track all deal activities as they happen, so you can respond at the right time with the right information and close deals faster.
- Personalize notifications. Get the right information at the right time with custom notifications. Base commands top-rated mobile apps that reps can use to update their sales pipeline on-the-go. As a manager you can also use the mobile apps to track sales progress and even receive push notifications the second there are updates in your sales pipeline. When was the last time your whiteboard sent you a notification on your mobile device?
- View out-of-the-box pipeline analysis. Base enables you to deeply analyze your pipeline with fantastic pipeline reports that are available as soon as you start using the product. See the conversion rates per stage, understand which activities drive success and much more!