The most important factor for sales manager success is, of course, pipeline management. If you are a new sales manager who arrived at your position through succession management, this may be an entirely new concept for you. Unfortunately, sales pipeline management is an area of business that even the most seasoned salespeople can be ineffective at. Thankfully, there are best practices that make it simple to succeed in this role. Learn these pipeline management best practices below to help you start a new career on the right foot.
Sales Metrics Are Key
One of the most important aspects of managing a sales pipeline successfully is knowing your sales metrics inside and out. Make sure you understand the metrics that impact your sales funnel. This will help you to create predictable revenue figures in the future. But for now, it will help you better predict revenue as you are just starting out. Learn up on new leads created by each source per month. Study the conversion rates of leads to opportunities and opportunities to closed deals. Also be sure to know your average won deal size and sales cycle length as well as your win rate and your total number of opportunities. This will help you to become the most effective sales manager possible.
Standardize The Sales Process
If your company’s sales process is not already formalized, you need to set this straight right away. A sales pipeline needs to have clearly defined opportunity stages in order to function correctly. Make sure that these stages are mapped from the customer’s point of view, rather than your own. When you do this, you are matching your sales process to the buying process of your customers. That helps to make sure you meet consumer demand and generally improves outcomes all around. This is one of the best pipeline management strategies to help set yourself apart as a standout sales manager.
Use The Right Tools
Using the right pipeline tools will help make you the best sales manager you can be, no matter whether you work at a value added reseller business or a retail company. Salesforce, Pipedrive and Base are three of the top pipeline management tools in use today. Regardless of which one you use, these pipeline management solutions help you to streamline your workflow. They also help you to improve sales performance by offering tools that improve productivity and efficiency for sales management. If your company does not already have a sales management software in place, now would be the time for you to get one.
Separate Tasks/Separate Meetings
Separate tasks do not always require separate meetings. However, forecast review meetings and pipeline review meetings need to be kept separate. This is one of the simplest pipeline management best practices that many sales managers mistakenly ignore. Pipeline reviews should focus on what is entering the sales funnel or has just entered it. Forecast reviews should only focus on exiting the sales funnel. These are two separate discussions entirely. Make sure you account for this and give each part of the sales funnel the individualized attention it deserves. Your sales outcomes will reflect the change.
Sales Process Training Is A Must
If you want to become an effective sales manager, you need to train your employees. It is one thing for the sales manager to know the sales pipeline inside and out. Pipeline management is in your job description. However, your sales people should also be familiar with the stages of your sales process. Otherwise, how can they navigate the sales process if they do not know what it is? Training employees about the stages of the sales process and the action items necessary at each stage will help them to better achieve desirable outcomes. Make sure you train your employees to know the sales pipeline just as well as you. This will make you a better sales manager than others who have been managing a sales pipeline for decades.
If you want to improve pipeline management at your company when you step into your new role as sales manager, use these tips above. You do not have to worry about the company warehouse. You just have to worry about using the right tools to keep track of sales metrics, keeping sales pipeline meetings on topic and training sales professionals. These are the best practices for pipeline management that will help you achieve sales goals time and time again. Managing a sales process does not have to be difficult. At least not for you anymore.
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