Sales Tips
April 14, 2024

3 Sales Pipeline Strategies for Better Control and Conversion

3 Sales Pipeline Strategies for Better Control and Conversion

Sales Tips
April 17, 2024

Selling can feel overwhelming. Getting a handle on your pipeline helps to feel more level-headed and make smarter decisions. However, it requires building the right habits. Here are the top 3 simple things you can start doing today that will make a huge difference.

Salespeople want more control of their sales pipeline

Why are we talking about pipeline again?

Pipeline management is just one of many competing priorities on an Account Executives plate daily. You can’t skip it. Of course to even have “a pipeline”, you need to do the prospecting, the outreach, book the meeting, qualify the opportunity, etc. - all just to get 1 deal!

With the average Account Executive needing to close 10+ deals per month (TBD your ACV of course!), it often feels like you’re juggling 20 different balls at the same time.

It’s a constant battle between:

  • Which deal is worth your attention?
  • How do I keep the relationship warm with stakeholders?
  • What can I do to move them forward?

It’s no secret that strong pipeline management gives you an edge in making quota.

In a previous life, I was leading growth for a construction management startup. During weekly pipeline reviews, reps would break down their deals, sharing the last action and the next one. While this drove each rep's individual actions and performance, the ritual of having to prepare your actions each week led to greater accountability and deal performance. It was a forcing mechanism for reps to step back and see where they stand.

3 reliable ways to control of your pipeline

1. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize 🔨

Not all deals are created equal. Some will demonstrate a higher probability of closing, some are more valuable, and some will align more directly with your ideal customer profile (ICP). It's important to prioritize your deals based on these factors.

This doesn't mean ignoring the smaller or less likely deals, but rather ensuring that you're dedicating your time and resources to each deal based on its importance.

There is a method to the madness. Here is what you can do:

  • Setup a quick scoring system for each deal based on factors like deal size, likelihood to close, and strategic important
  • Score your entire pipeline and action each deal in order of priority
  • Review your scoring each week (great Monday morning or Friday PM activity) so your prioritization stays up to date
  • Share with your manager so they can understand how you think and how you’re spending your time (without getting in the reeds about it)

Remember, what you decide to focus on is as important as what you decide to NOT focus on (* drops mic *, exits stage left)

Steve Balmer (from Microsoft) repeating "prioritize" 25 times at the 2007 developer conference

2. Consistent communication 🗣️

For the average B2B opportunity, reps will have 12+ touchpoints with over 10 different stakeholders (across all functions) to get that signature on the dotted line. It might feel like a lot, but the human touch is needed until everyone uses their AI bots to buy things for them.

What’s crazy is that most reps will likely abandon the touchpoint thread somewhere along the way. They’ll figure “Oh well, sent an email and left a VM, I guess it’s a lost deal.” If that’s you, we get it, but you need to keep pushing.

Communication is key in sales. Maintaining regular contact with prospects will help you to:

  • Stay on top of their mind
  • A better understanding of customer needs (concerns, timeline, etc.)
  • Position yourself as the thought partner to them, someone they can count on

While it increases your chances of closing the deal, more importantly, it helps you stay in control. Regular contact not only helps to build and maintain relationships, but it also gives you a chance to continually qualify and re-qualify your prospects to ensure they're still a good fit for your product and that the deal is on-track.

When risks arise or potential delays are introduced, you can be the first to know and respond quickly. Let’s all avoid the blindside of “oh well now that it’s with procurement, we should know in 1 or 2 months”.

Here’s how you can approach it:

  • Don’t use the ridiculous “just checking in”.
  • Don’t bombard your prospects with constant sales pitches, instead stay engaged with thoughtful, relevant, and value-add communication. 
  • Be helpful - not just to close the deal, but to build a strong relationship. This could be sharing an interesting article, offering your insights on a relevant industry event, or simply checking in to see how they are doing personally

3. The right tools & information ⚡

The average rep will have to jump between 15 different applications every week. That’s insane. Tabbing between your CRM, calendar, email, customer research, outreach tool, and so many others is stimulus overload.

When it comes to controlling your pipeline, picking the right tools, that provide you with the right information is key. Not only that, but you want to be able to access everything when you need it most.

Chances are your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform was picked for you right? The 2 guerillas in the room are Salesforce & HubSpot, so let’s imagine you’re using one of those.

Any modern-day sales tech stack is going to start with the CRM. In most cases, it acts as your “source of truth” on pipeline and contacts.

Just because your CRM is the source of truth, doesn’t mean it’s the best tool for you to manage all the necessary information to understand your pipeline.

Wait what - sounds crazy right?

Fortunately, there are platforms out there that help you close deals while simultaneously updating your CRM so everyone (e.g. your manager) is happy.

Newer sales tools offer even more functionality and info while automating mundane data entry or capture.

A few favorites of ours:

  • Lemlist - multi-channel outreach automation (think LinkedIn & email in one spot).
  • Apollo (free to start) - find lead contact info & sequence outreach.
  • PandaDocs - nicely designed proposals, automatically generated based on deal parameters.
  • Pod (woops, also free to start*)* - identifies your top deals to focus on with the info & actions to close them.

The right sales tool should:

  • Enrich your pipeline with data on your contacts, the organizations they work for, and what sort of relevant information adds value to your outreach/follow ups.
  • Create or manage notes around your meetings, preparing them for you and even (for bonus points) drafting the follow up emails. 
  • Bring all those tabs into one place: your calendar, your notes, your deal data - all in one place

You might feel like you don’t have the “authority” to pick up a new sales tool and start using it. Yet what could be more important than something that helps you close deals for actual revenue. Tell me one business leader in the world against that and we’ll see eat our words.

Quality over quantity

Taking control of your pipeline requires a strategic approach. It comes down to:

  • Knowing what’s important - by prioritizing your deals
  • Foreseeing obstacles - by maintaining an open line of communication with your prospects
  • Having the right info - by picking tools that enrich or automate your sales strategies

With this, you'll be well on your way to more efficient and effective pipeline management.

Remember, the key to sales success is not just about having a full pipeline, but a well-managed one.

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