Best Practices for Managing Your Pipeline
For many businesses, pipeline refers to potential future sales. It’s a crucial component that allows organizations to visualize and track their sales process, from prospecting through fulfillment. Managing a pipeline effectively can lead to:
- Improved forecasts
- Better coaching
- Higher win rates
- Efficient lead distribution
- Process improvement
- Valuable insights from both wins and losses
With Spiro’s AI-powered CRM, implementing best practices around pipeline management is a simple and painless process.
1. Simplify Data Entry for a Healthy Pipeline
Data is the lifeblood of any CRM, providing valuable insights for reports and dashboards. However, excessive data entry can lead to CRM fatigue and hinder the accuracy of your pipeline. That’s why it is important to simplify and minimize data entry by removing unnecessary fields. If there are data points you can live without, eliminate them to streamline the process. Duplicate fields and subjective data entry requirements can also be problematic. It is recommended to be cautious about such fields as they can be data entry killers. Simplifying data entry helps users focus on what truly matters—nurturing and closing deals.
2. Clearly Define Process Stages
To build a solid pipeline, it’s crucial to have 100% alignment within your team regarding the stages and their meanings. Without clarity on sales stages, businesses lose visibility into how deals progress through the pipeline. Spiro allows organizations to configure their sales stages, but here is an example of a commonly used setup:
- Prospecting: At this stage, you’re gathering information and identifying if there is a need for your product or service. No contact has been made yet.
- Qualifying: You’re having meaningful conversations with the prospect and are assessing whether they are a good fit for your offering.
- Proposing: Mutual fit has been established, and you are working on submitting a bid or proposal.
- Closing: You’ve received a verbal commitment or have a strong belief that the deal will be closed within the next month.
- Closed Won: Congratulations! The contract is signed, and you’ve received the payment.
- Closed Lost: It’s time to learn from the loss and move forward.
These definitions and stages are just suggestions. But whatever setup is used it is important that everyone in the organization is aligned on what each stage represents. Regular education and training on the stages are necessary, as they may not be retained from initial training alone. It’s also crucial to extend this knowledge beyond Spiro users and ensure that everyone on the go-to-market team understands the stages and their impact on the business.
3. Learn from Your Losses
Tracking your losses is just as important as tracking open and won deals. It is important to recognize the value in analyzing lost deals to identify areas for improvement. By tracking information in Spiro such as competitors, reasons for loss, friction in the quoting process, and price comparisons, you can conduct a detailed analysis and make incremental improvements for future deals. If you’re not already tracking this information, we recommend tracking it in Spiro as soon as possible.
It’s important to remove the stigma around lost deals. Sales reps often hesitate to admit defeat, but embracing losses can lead to valuable learning opportunities. It can be a good idea to encourage sales reps to close lost deals if they don’t see a path forward in the next six months. If the opportunity re-emerges, a new one can always be created. By removing the stigma, you create a culture of continuous improvement, where learning from losses becomes a natural part of the process. If a deal is going nowhere for an extended period, encourage your team to remove it from the pipeline to maintain its health and accuracy.
4. Recurring Pipeline Meetings for Active Management
To effectively manage your pipeline, it’s essential to establish recurring pipeline meetings. These meetings serve as a platform for actively managing your pipeline, discussing progress, and identifying areas that require attention. We suggest running these meetings using Spiro to help design a pipeline dashboard that acts as a springboard for conversation. The same approach can be applied to one-on-one meetings as well. Consistently running these meetings from Spiro reinforces the idea that Spiro is the central hub for pipeline data. It ensures that all relevant data is prepared and readily available for the next pipeline meeting.
5. Remember to Celebrate Milestones
A pipeline consists of multiple stages, and each stage represents a step toward closing a deal. Spiro encourages companies to celebrate the mini-wins along the pipeline journey. If your team excels at converting prospects into qualified opportunities, celebrate this achievement company-wide. Recognizing these milestones helps solidify the importance of the sales process and fosters an understanding that the journey is just as crucial as the destination. By celebrating progress, you motivate your sales reps and reinforce their commitment to the pipeline management process.
Pipeline management is a critical aspect of any sales organization, and Spiro’s AI-powered CRM is designed to help users implement best practices in this area. By simplifying data entry, defining clear process stages, learning from losses, conducting recurring pipeline meetings, and celebrating milestones, Spiro provides the tools and guidance necessary for effective pipeline management. With Spiro, you can improve your sales forecasting, gain better visibility into struggling deals, enhance coaching, optimize lead distribution, drive process improvement, and create a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Take advantage of Spiro’s AI-powered CRM to elevate your pipeline management and achieve sales success.