7 tips to transform your sales pipeline report from routine exercise to sales driver


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Many sellers see their sales pipeline as an exercise that they do periodically ate for their boss. Where as it can be a dash board to help self manage and drive sales.

here are 7 tips to help you get more from your pipeline reporting and analysis.

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7 tips to transform your sales pipeline report from routine exercise to sales driver

  1. 1. Inside Sales Series 7 Tips to transform your sales pipeline report from routine exercise to sales driver. Last time, we looked at the questions a sales manager should ask their sales team to improve sales forecasting accuracy. However, in reality the inside sales professional should not have to wait for their manager's intervention to challenge the way they are managing and evaluating sales opportunities - they should be asking the questions themselves. • Every Inside Seller needs to act and behave as if they were their own sales manager. • Every Inside seller needs to ask some 'hard questions' of themselves to challenge the judgment (or otherwise) they have used this week to move their sales efforts forward. This week's blog will outline tips and ideas that will help you interrogate hoe effectively you manage and move your sales pipeline process and report. Setting yourself up for success: The 7 steps to creating an effective sales pipeline reporting process. 1: MIRROR The steps in your sales pipeline (and pipeline report) should mirror the decision making steps the prospect takes along the path to purchasing a product such as the one you can offer.
  2. 2. Inside Sales Series 2. NEXT STEPS Your pipeline report should track 'the next steps' you have caused the prospect to take that effectively moves you one step closer to closing the deal. For example, in the table on the - the activity at 'stage one' of this pipeline process is making contact ... but the desirable 'next step' to be achieved is the 'meeting' with someone who can qualify the sales opportunity'. Example : Stages in the Sales Pipeline Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5 Stage 6 Sales Activity Devising target list 1st contact made Contact / Meeting to qualify sales opportunity Sales proposal Contact to obtain verbal agreement Contract signed / sale closed Next Step N/A Meeting to qualify sales opportunity Agreement to propose sales solution Timeframe for decision making Time frame for contract signed Solution dispatched / delivered Tip: Always report and monitor whether you have (asked for and) achieved movement towards the next step. Remember, an activity with no agreed next step - is a stalled stage in your sales pipeline.
  3. 3. Inside Sales Series 3. RED FLAG The report should act as a 'red flag' to help focus the inside seller’s efforts and create urgency in the areas that require attention. Anything else is just a historical record. 4. EVIDENCE BASED All the information presented in the pipeline report should be based on evidence, in the form of commitments given by the prospect at each stage of the pipeline, and not the blind optimism of the insider seller. 5. CAUSE A FOCUSED CONVERSATION The report document should be used to cause a focused conversation between a seller and their manager to create a set of activities that will move the opportunity on to a next step. Do you have this conversation? Or do you see the report as a routine exercise that has to be completed for your boss? Tip: Create a section in your report that quotes the commitment / conditional commitment the prospect has given you at the end of each stage of your pipeline process. Remember: No commitment means less chance of the prospect following through to the next stage within your preferred timeframes.
  4. 4. Inside Sales Series 6. THREE STRIKES AND YOU ARE OUT! The 'Rule of 3': If an 'opportunity' in your report has not moved forward for 'three pipeline' reporting periods (Or if the prospect has totally ignored your last three attempts to engage / reengage) assume something has changed. It could be their timing of the project has moved out, or that their priorities have changed - either way it's time to remove or reduce (or remove) the opportunity in your pipeline reporting. *Assumes they haven't told you they wouldn't be in touch for a period of time. 7. KNOW YOUR NUMBERS. The inside sales professional must know the average length of a typical sales opportunity from start to finish. Get to know your attrition rate at every stage of your sales process. When you know the average length of the sales opportunity and the attrition rate at each stage - you'll very quickly be able to work out how many new opportunities need to be added to your pipeline to ensure your sales quota or target keeps on track. Lastly, remember, it doesn’t matter whether you use an electronic sales pipeline tool or a paper based pipeline tool, what matters is that you use the pipeline to drive movement through your sales process not just to record the sales activity that you have engaged in. Have a look at our blog on getting movement called
  5. 5. Inside Sales Series davemalonesalescoach More tips and resources freely available at www.evolve.ie/resource-centre/