How well is your company managing its sales pipeline? Recent research revealed that 44% of executives think their organization is ineffective at managing their sales pipeline. This statistic is discouraging because there is a direct correlation between effective pipeline management and strong revenue growth.
The research also found that companies that reported having ineffective pipeline management had a marginal growth rate. However companies with effective pipeline management had an average growth a typical 15% growth rate.
What did these top companies do to achieve such a high level of success?
Here are the three best practices that these all-star sales forces have in common, as well as ways to implement them in your company.
- Clearly define the sales process. Pipeline management includes how the sales pipeline is designed, how it is measured, and how it is used to drive sales rep performance. However, at its most basic level, the sales pipeline is merely a representation of a company’s sales process. The research highlighted that sales forces were most effective at managing their sales pipelines if they had invested time in defining a credible, formalized sales process. In fact, there was an 18% difference in revenue growth between companies that defined a formal sales process and companies that didn’t.
- Spend at least three hours a month on pipeline management. In addition to having a solid process in place, the research revealed the importance of dedicating enough time and resources to carrying it out well. Companies that spent at least three hours per month managing each rep’s sales pipeline saw 11% greater revenue growth than those that spent fewer than three hours per month. But success doesn’t just depend on the amount of time that’s spent on pipeline management – how the time is spent is just as important.
- Train sales managers on pipeline management. The research also revealed that 61% of executives admit their sales managers have not been adequately trained in pipeline management strategies and techniques. This begs the question, “How can we expect our sales managers to do something well when we haven’t prepared them to do it?” Companies that had trained their sales managers to manage their pipelines saw their revenue grow 9% faster than those that didn’t. But not just any training will do. Sales managers need targeted training to address specific pipeline management challenges.
Ultimately, pipeline management is a critical activity for all sales forces, and better pipeline management can make a huge difference in sales performance. Research shows that there are no secrets to realizing this increased performance — you must define your sales process, commit to good pipeline management, and enable your managers to carry it out. If you integrate these best practices into your sales force, you can expect to nail your forecasts, hit your quotas, and see your sales reps succeed beyond what you thought possible
ProAptivity specialise in the delivery of CRM solution. Supporting this we help organisation implement best practice with regards sales and account management. To find out more, contact ProAptivity on 028 90735630 or at email@example.com
Source: Havard Business Review