Once you have all this extra data you can act on it. This is where tracking the flow of your pipeline is priceless in making sure you hit that end of year goal. With this breakdown of the data you are then in a position to act on it every week, optimizing your pipeline. This optimization can come from process or people.
Improving your processes can come from analyzing this data each week to find which issues reoccur frequently and with multiple reps. For instance:
- Not enough opportunities available: Sometimes it will be that there aren’t enough opportunities filling up the top of your pipe to service your team. In this case, sales leaders can work with the BDR team to find more opportunities for the pipeline. They can also use this data to better calculate pipeline coverage to make sure they always have the right number of opportunities available.
- Close dates keep changing: If reps are always pushing close dates for opportunities in your pipeline it is a definite sign that your sales process is faulty. Perhaps your target for your sales cycle is too aggressive, or there isn’t a good enough system for gauging when the deal will close. Conversely if people are pulling close dates, it could lead to rushed deals.
- Deal values keep changing: It might be nice to see the value of a deal go up during the sales process, but really you want to have that number dialed in as early as possible. You definitely don’t want to see them going down, especially if you’ve already spent a lot of time on the deal. Teaching reps to better qualify values early on in the process can help you keep your pipeline steady.
- Losing too many deals: If this is happening, then it is definitely a concern for a sales manager. Having this data available, along with historical data on your pipeline and why these deals ended up closed-lost can help you arrest a slide and still hit that target.
These reports can also help you improve your people. You can also analyze this data individually for each rep and use it in your coaching sessions. Let’s look at the individual report for one rep:
In this week her pipeline halved. Without this level of detail, Lauren and her manager may have gone into their one-on-one looking for ways for her to win more of her deals.
But this report shows them that losing deals wasn’t the problem. Zero dollars of the decrease was because of lost opportunities. Instead, the majority of the decrease in Lauren’s pipeline was devaluation. 85% of the pipeline value loss was because opportunities Lauren is due to close this quarter decreased in value.
Spending a coaching session on ways to win more deals wouldn’t have helped Lauren or her manager hit their goals. Instead, spending time looking at why these opportunities lost value in the week is far more beneficial for Lauren and the team.
As we move into this last quarter, and that target is in sight, you want all the data available to you to hit it. The greater understanding you have of your pipeline, the more likely you are to increase conversion rates and make Q4 a success for you and your team.
This comes down to understanding that your pipeline never stays the same, it ebbs and flows. By using the pipeline flow report in your pipeline review meetings, you can make sure that you are tracking that flow and are on target for the end of the year.