Sales Pipeline Management from a Rep’s Perspective
by Cara Hogan
As a sales rep, you’ll often hear your manager talking about managing the sales pipeline – adding new opportunities, closing out old opportunities, and tracking conversion rates to improve the team’s performance. Many sales reps believe their job is all about selling and doesn’t have anything to do with managing the pipeline – but that’s just not true.
It’s incredibly important for every sales rep to take ownership and manage their own personal pipeline – tracking how each new opportunity is progressing down the funnel and making the necessary adjustments if an opportunity is at risk of being lost. Here are the metrics you need to watch to manage your own sales pipeline.
Your Personal Sales Pipeline
Every single day, you should look at your personal sales pipeline, analyzing which open opportunities need attention, which are at risk of being lost, and why. In this report below, you can see all of Angelina’s opportunities, sorted according to close date and expected deal value.
This report uses historical data on her personal win rates, sales cycle and other metrics to weigh all of Angelina’s open opportunities – the red circles are at risk of being lost, while the green are more likely to close. The size of the circle also represents how many calls, emails and connects she’s made so far, helping her keep track of how much effort she’s put into working each opportunity. By analyzing the data, sales reps like Angelina can prioritize time each day to contact at-risk opportunities sooner, to try to save the deal.
Analyze Open Opportunities
When you see a deal is at risk in your sales pipeline, you need to try to understand what has gone wrong and act quickly. You should drill down into the details of the opportunity, looking at what’s may have caused the problem and try to solve it.
In this report, you can see one of Angelina’s opportunities is at risk because of the length of time it has been open, 49 days in total. This means the momentum has slowed, and she is less likely to close the deal, according to the historic performance of similar deals. Angelina can either decide to move on from this deal if it’s not worth the effort, or she can try to change the outcome by engaging with the prospect again immediately, and pushing to close the deal. You can see in the activity report that she’s called the prospect a number of times in the past few weeks, but now it’s time to call again. This report could help her close the deal, instead of losing it.
Understand Personal Sales Metrics
In addition to keeping an eye on at-risk deals and prioritizing your daily activities, you also should understand your conversion rates as opportunities move through the pipeline. What are your historical conversion rates in moving an opportunity from Qualifying to Present Solution to Technical Fit to Closing? Every sales rep should be intimately familiar with their win rate, as well as conversion rates through the various sales stages.
In this report, you can see Angelina has a 28% win rate, and her conversion rates are strongest toward the end of the sales funnel, and weakest at the beginning. She is only successful in moving opportunities from Qualifying to Present Solution 49% of the time, leading to a huge loss in possible revenue. The fastest way to improve her overall win rate is to focus on her skills in the Qualifying Stage. She should work with her manager to improve her personal conversion rates where they are the weakest.
Even if you’re not currently in the habit of managing your sales pipeline, it’s time to start focusing on the metrics. By monitoring your open opportunities, analyzing at-risk prospects and working on your personal conversion rates, you can drive up your win rate and close more deals.
This post originally appeared on the InsightSquared Business Analytics Blog.
Cara Hogan is a Content Marketing Associate at InsightSquared, where she is a constant contributor to the blog on Sales and Marketing Management Analytics. Cara studied Journalism at Boston University and has written extensively about the intersection of technology and business.