Everyone wants a sales pipeline that's as clear as the bottom of Lake Tahoe, right?
But, before we dive into sales pipeline visibility and you, tell me: do you remember playing peekaboo as a kid?
You know, the game where you hide and unhide yourself and the kid on the other side gets a kick out of it. Weird game, but guaranteed giggles. Works every time.
Guess what doesn’t work as much?
Playing peekaboo with your sales pipeline as an adult.
You know what I'm talking about. For a minute, it seems like all your deals (okay at least 60% of them) will close for sure by the end of the quarter. But you look away for one hot second, and those same deals seem to be vanishing into thin air. Poof. 💭
All you can do is guess what happened and hope it's not too late to salvage the deal for the next quarter.
Think about it. When was the last time you were able to say with confidence, “There is no way that deal is going to close in time,” much, much before the end of the quarter?
And a very pressing problem as well, making it even more important for sales managers to be able to plan quotas prudently and equip their leaders with accurate revenue forecasts. So, why does this happen?
13, sorry, 3 reasons why your sales pipeline is just not working for you.
You’re relying on guesstimates
How many times have you asked your SDR whether a deal will close this month? And how many times have they stated, confidently, “By the end of the month for sure.”?
Why is this? Because as experience tells us, their response is not based on facts as much as it is based on confidence.
Plus, let’s face it, not everyone is good at reading the signs, as Jill Konrath writes.
Case in point: A prospect says they’ve sent your proposal to HQ and have been waiting for approval. Now, this could mean that the approval could come through in time but it could also be an indication that the deal is headed south. 🤷♂️
In this case, the final information could be interpreted in many different ways based on the other signals from the deal handling, including the last contacted date, last Zoom call, etc. And, of course, on how strong (or bad) a case of happy ears you have! But you have no way of knowing these variables, right? Spoiler: You do NOW!
You’re leading an optimistic bunch of reps
Who doesn't like optimists, right? No one wants to walk into a sales meeting and run into a bunch of grumps who say that the job cannot be done!
Optimists are great for morale. For sales forecasting? Not so much.
We've heard stories from so many sales managers and VPs of how they get different answers to the question "What's your commit?" at different points during the month.
- You at the beginning of the month to your rep: "So, what's your commit? Your best case." Answer: "Yeah, I'm going to commit 20,000 dollars and my upside is 40,000."
- And then halfway through the month - "Oh, one deal fell through. But, I have this other one. I'm going to close 15,000 now and a 30,000 upside."
- Finally, fast-forward to the end of the month, and no one even remembers what the first numbers were! Your rep could say 10,000 now and a 20,000 upside and no one would be the wiser.
The truth is: Sales forecasting and sales pipeline reviews should be rooted in reality and numbers, rather than sentiment and hope. HubSpot shares some great pointers here on how to set up accurate sales forecasting models.
Which brings us to the last and maybe the mightiest sales pipeline pitfall of them all.
You just don’t have ALL the information in one place
Gasp. It's true.
Let me explain:
I know you probably have a CRM with all your deal information. And it's indispensable for your daily sales ops and comforting to look at too. I mean just look at that endless scroll of contacts and interactions, right?
But based on our regular coffee catchups with our early customers, we've realized that when you're sitting down for a sales pipeline review, here's what you should have but probably don't:
- The ability to see clearly the exact timeline of ALL your interactions around a deal or account.
- The ability to spot ANY gaps in communication or follow ups.
- The ability to JUMP to the context of the communication - what your rep said they would send as next steps, and what customer questions they just weren't able to handle well.
Clearly, you don't need another CRM. You need something that gives your team these #sales #superpowers.
And that's why we are building the all new Deal View, currently in beta. 🎉
With the Deal View, you get the following superpowers
- The power to review all interactions around your deals, across accounts, in one single view.
- The power to drill down and filter by deal stage, close date, rep or deal amount.
- The power to see interactions as they happened (on a timeline) and spot any gaps.
- And finally, turn that visibility into action by tagging your rep with your comments on the same page itself.
When it comes to sales pipeline reviews, Wingman's got your back :)
If you'd like to get early access to the future, sorry, feature, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. 🚀
Update: From beta to bazooka - Introducing Deal Central here.