The beginning of the month (BOM) sales pipeline review meeting is one of the most critical interactions between sales reps and sales managers: it helps sales teams identify the inaccurate and leaky pipeline issues that can quickly sink a company’s growth trajectory.
An inaccurate and leaky pipeline can quickly sink a company’s growth trajectory, which makes the beginning of the month (BOM) sales pipeline review meeting one of the most critical interactions between salespeople and sales managers, regardless of industry or organization.
Sales managers must meet with individual reps to focus on top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) opportunities. Does each rep have sufficient opportunities in their pipeline that will make it down to the last few opportunity stages and meet individual or company-wide quotas? Additionally, both sides must ensure that reps are beginning the month with accurate data.
Here are some key steps to include in your BOM sales pipeline review meeting:
1) Quick overview of current sales pipeline
Managers need to know that their reps have enough opportunities to work on within this sales period. A quick overview of a rep’s individual sales pipeline should let managers know how many open opportunities a rep is currently working on, what the value of these opportunities are, the likelihood of each of these opportunities closing and how much effort the rep is putting into each one.
Use this opportunity to ask probing questions and help reps prioritize their efforts. For example, if an opportunity is scheduled to close soon, yet remains at an earlier qualifying stage or hasn’t been contacted in two weeks, that might raise a red flag. Ask your rep why they think this opportunity will close, despite all signs suggesting otherwise. Encourage them to use facts and data, rather than assumptions, to back up their assertions. If there is a disconnect between the state of the pipeline and what your reps are telling you, that might suggest that reps are not filling in accurate data or prioritizing the right opportunities.
2) Sales cycle review for coaching
Sales managers will be more productive in coaching reps if they can bring specific salient points that need to be improved to the session. Looking at the sales cycle by Won/Lost for individual sales reps allows managers to be more sophisticated and focused when coaching reps.
Comparing a winning sales cycle by stage to what the sales cycle for a losing opportunity looks will pinpoint exactly where a rep’s weaknesses are for additional coaching. For example, if Bob’s winning deals tend to spend 7 days in the trial stage, while his losing opportunities spend more than 30 days in that stage, a sales manager can help Bob tighten up his process during this stage. Perhaps he needs to qualify opportunities more carefully before passing them onto the trial stage, or he needs to customize trial processes to the individual opportunity.
Studying these metrics provides a deep-dive into lost deals for discussion, feedback and improvements. Managers and reps alike are always looking to improve, and the BOM pipeline review meeting provides a sterling opportunity for doing so by looking at the Won/Lost sales cycle.
3) Pipeline History Review
Finally, managers should take the opportunity to review a rep’s pipeline history to see what has changed from the previous selling period and how a rep’s pipeline was evolving over time. Are the rep’s efforts growing the pipeline? Which specific pipeline stages are trending particularly well over time? What is the rep’s pipeline to deal ratio?
Traditionally, many organizations apply a 3:1 ratio in terms of determining how much they need in their pipelines to reach quota. It wouldn’t make sense for all companies to use this ratio as a one-size-fits-all approach, when advanced sales analytics can provide a more accurate ratio. Use each individual rep’s historical pipeline to deal ratio to gauge if the rep will succeed in the next sales period, given the existing opportunities in the pipeline.
Sales managers and reps both need visibility into the present selling period, as well as the future of their team and the company. The BOM sales pipeline review meeting provides this clarity for TOFU opportunities. A successful BOM sales pipeline review meeting will ensure that there are more than enough prime early stage opportunities for the rep to hit his or her goals, setting the tone for a successful selling and revenue-growing month.
What does your BOM review meeting include?