How to Analyze your Sales Pipeline – Impact of Effective Pipeline Reviews
One of the most important things for effective sales pipeline analysis is having a regular pipeline review process. By having the process on a regular basis you are able to assess your pipeline is performing across your entire team and gauge the consistency of what your teams are generating making it easier to predict your revenue.
A pipeline review also lets your whole team assess your pipeline against established key metrics that have been previously outlined enabling you to understand the health of each of your opportunities. This understanding provides the insight needed for you to update quarterly sales forecasts to more accurately reflect the current status of your pipeline. As well as give you actionable insights which your teams can use to drive deals forward.
Seems straight-forward, right? But how can these reviews be more effective? And what do they mean for improving operational performance?
What Is A Pipeline Review Meeting Meant To Do?
To understand how to run an effective pipeline review first we need to understand why we review sales pipelines. Pipeline reviews provide an effective way to inspect the health of a sales pipeline to ensure that it is accurate and correctly updated. Doing this on a regular basis means that you are able to consistently check on the current status of your pipeline and correct any roadblocks or leaks that have formed, ensuring the accuracy of your forecast as well.
Some of the key objectives within a pipeline review meeting are:
- Identifying potential risks to your pipeline such as opportunities that are at risk
- Identify weaknesses in your reps’ performance and enabled training or coaching opportunities
- Ensure that your forecast is accurate and correctly aligned
How Do You Run Effective Pipeline Reviews?
A key aspect that makes pipeline review effective is making them strategic and focused. At Ebsta, we focus our pipeline reviews around a core of elements to ensure that our meetings are as productive as possible, we do this by:
- Building objectives before the meeting. As our sales team has access to the latest data before the meeting, this enables our sales leaders to create an objective-based agenda for the meeting creating a more focused review.
- Ensuring that everyone has the right information and data they need. With real-time data, our sales teams are able to review the latest pipeline data before meetings. This moves the meeting from subjective insights to data-led making the meeting is more effective and impactful and thus more productive.
- Remove the need for interrogation. As we have the real-time insights and data we need before the meeting our sales leaders can formulate their own insights and questions removing the need for interrogating reps on their progress.
- Put context to roadblocks stopping deals. By using in-depth analysis of each deal within our pipeline we are able to identify what is stopping the deals from moving forward, whether that is not enough relationships, a lack of engagement or no future activities planned. This insight means that we can effectively plan out actionable steps to move deals forward or refocus on deals that are more likely to progress.
- Leverage historical data to predict pipeline coverage. By using our pipeline insight tool, we have years worth of historical data analyzed enabling us to examine how our pipeline is progressing and predict the coverage needed across each deal stage to hit targets.
- Empower our sales reps. We are a big believer in empowering our sales reps to take control of their pipelines and for them to be engaged enough to take positive action themselves. By using the real-time insights that tools like Ebsta’s Revenue Intelligence Platform can provide means that individuals can review their own pipelines and see what actions need to be taken to push deals forward.
- Build targeted coaching sessions. With data-driven insights, our sales managers are able to identify where coaching is needed against each step, within the sales process, on an individual and team basis making the coaching more effective.
By taking a strategic approach to the review we are able to understand how our pipeline is progressing and ultimately answer the key questions around the health of the pipeline:
- What has changed with specific deals?
- What has happened in this deal stage?
- How likely are the deals to close?
- What is the engagement for the deals?
What This Means For Improving Sales Performance & Coaching
As you can see by utilizing the insight gained from regular pipeline reviews you increase the potency of your coaching practices and by extension sales performance. Reviews enable you to have a clear understanding of exactly what is happening across your pipeline enabling you to target pain points directly by being able to answer key questions such as:
- What sales tactics worked and why?
- Why certain tactics didn’t work?
- Where did deals fall out and why?
- What areas can be improved?
By answering these questions you are able to get a better view of where you need to improve your performance either through improved coaching or better deployment of tactics.
Furthermore, sales pipeline reviews help you to discover how each activity in your process is working and if there are lessons to be learned. As you are able to benchmark your KPIs from the current quarter against the last or previous quarters you can more conclusively measure your progress throughout the quarter.
An effective pipeline review meeting will give you clear actions and takeaways which will positively impact your business sales.
- You will have the insights needed to more accurately predict your forecasts
- You will have a better idea of where your pipeline stands and what is needed to achieve your quota for the quarter
- You will know where your weaknesses are and the actions you can take to mitigate them
- You will be able to build more impactful coaching practices
- You will know what tactics are working and which are not
- You will have successfully identified where your pipeline is slowed down and why, and established what is needed to get it moving again
If you are ready to make your pipeline reviews as impactful and effective as possible, see how our Revenue Intelligence Platform can make your pipeline check-ups easier and more accurate.