The Dreaded Pipeline Review
As a sales leader, you likely hold weekly, or biweekly, pipeline reviews with your reps to gauge the health of their active deals. These meetings help you keep a finger on the pulse of your pipeline, but more importantly, they offer critical 1:1 coaching time with reps and provide strategic insights that improve their deal momentum.
However, if not conducted correctly, these essential meetings can prove to be just another slot taking up time on your busy calendar.
5 Signs Your Pipeline Reviews May Need a Revamp
1. You spend more time questioning the accuracy of the pipeline forecasting data than coaching.
2. You and your rep both spend at least an hour preparing for the meeting.
3. You are missing the full perspective by only having the rep’s activities tied to the account while missing all other engagement that could impact the deal, such as intent, marketing, executives, sales engineers and more.
4. Your rep leaves with a check-list that is not easy to monitor and track.
5. You repeat this same cycle every week.
If these signs of a failing pipeline review sound familiar, know you aren’t alone. Most managers and reps do not reap the benefits of pipeline reviews because their structure is fundamentally flawed.
A major cause of this is the lack of trust in the accuracy of the data presented to you — both in quality and volume. In fact, according to Gartner, less than 50% of sales leaders and sellers have high confidence in their organization’s forecasting accuracy.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way! Gone are the days of archaic practices where reps are forced to sift through massive amounts of data instead of spending time with prospects and customers. Save your pipeline data and your team’s valuable time. Fix your data collection and management, and the improvement of your pipeline reviews will soon follow. Sound too good to be true? It’s easier than you think.
Activity Capture Improves Data Accuracy
The first step towards a productive pipeline review is collecting the complete record of sales activity for every deal. When you task reps to do this manually, you are left with incomplete records of their sales activity. Whether this is because of lack of time, its tedious-nature or lack of ROI, this method of collecting sales data highlights a glaring weakness in manual CRM updates.
According to Forbes, sales reps only spend 35% of their time selling. Because reps have to manually update their CRM data, they’re forced to choose between selling and data entry, and your entire organization is suffering because of it.
Fast-growing organizations are taking this burden away from their reps and allowing them to focus on their actual job – growing the business. With automated Activity Capture, you ensure every call, email and other sales activity is recorded directly to your CRM in full detail. More importantly, this is done in real-time, so you can review deals knowing every available detail is present. Without a tool like Activity Capture, your sales reps will continue to spend a small percentage of their time actually selling.
No more interrogating your reps on the accuracy and recency of their data. Now, instead of spending pipeline reviews patching together gaps in each timeline, you can focus on strategizing and coaching reps on their ideal next steps. This is what the meeting is intended for; allowing both sales leaders and reps to prioritize the actionable steps that will improve performance.
Bring Structure and Accountability to Your Pipeline Reviews
Once you have confidence in your data, improving your pipeline reviews comes down to creating an effective meeting structure that prioritizes action and accountability.
We all come into a meeting with an agenda, but it’s not long before the session is derailed and a full team is misdirected to a tangential topic – it’s human nature for this to happen. However, with pipeline reviews, the tangents are often more testy. Your reps begin to feel the added pressure of accurate data collection on top of their already busy schedules, and the manager has no choice but to question each deal’s validity; it’s a poor situation for both parties.
Balancing activity data with machine-learning-generated scores, such as Confidence to Close and Ideal Customer Profiles, now makes it easy for sales leaders to validate what your rep shares. If a deal has a Confidence to Close score of 93%, you don’t need to spend time on it. Rather, put your coaching to work on the deal that has a Confidence to Close score of 73% so you can help your rep know the exact steps to take to raise the score and improve outcomes.
There is a lot you can accomplish in just one hour with your rep. Sometimes, it simply takes a new perspective to recognize it. Check out our free guide, “The Better Approach to Pipeline Reviews,” to see what steps you should be taking to maximize every pipeline review. You may even find that your dreaded meetings become welcome growth opportunities.