Your sales pipeline reviews should be a tool to improve productivity, both during the meeting itself and out in the field. The challenge, as with any meeting, is getting the most out of the limited time that you are able to spend as a group. We've got 5 tips to help you get the most out of your reviews, and keep your sales pipeline running strong.
Collect Data Before and Begin Your Review By Verifying
Sales pipeline reviews depend heavily on data, and nothing derails a meeting more quickly than lack of preparedness. You'll save plenty of time and headaches by collecting all of the data you need beforehand, so that you'll be ready to roll when the review begins. Whatever you plan to cover – percent-to-goals, time in each lead stage, etc – should be prepared in advance, and your team should always know what's expected of them.
When you begin the review with data in hand, you won't have to waste precious minutes getting organized. Start your review by going through the data you'll be using, and verifying its accuracy with your team. Verification should be a simple process, and you'll be able to continue the meeting knowing that everyone is working from the same set of data.
Don't Dodge the Tough Questions
Asking the tough questions isn't always pleasant, but it's the only reliable way to solve big challenges. If there's a weakness in your sales pipeline or a rep is having trouble reaching goals, don't be afraid to ask why. Why has this deal stagnated? Why weren't we able to close this prospect? Simple questions, but the answers can shed major light on the performance of your pipeline.
Remember that questioning doesn't have to mean assigning blame. Choose your language well, and you can ask even the toughest questions without damaging relationships. A review means looking at the positive and negative, and your reps understand that.
Identify the Road Blocks to Moving Your Pipeline
The answers to those questions should illuminate any roadblocks that are keeping your pipeline from moving forward. The reason might be specific to a given client, or it could be an issue that affects your pipeline more broadly. By drilling down on specific roadblocks that are slowing or halting deals, you can begin to work on solutions. Again, this isn't about assigning blame, but getting a full picture of what's holding back your pipeline in specific areas.
Close by Discussing Solutions
It's always best to close on a positive note, and accomplishing that goal shouldn't be difficult. Once you understand the challenges facing your pipeline, you can move forward to developing solutions. End your pipeline reviews by going over potential solutions. Your solutions will often take the form of experiments – small changes to your pipeline or practices to address specific needs, which you can review at your next meeting.
This process evolves naturally from one meeting to the next. Once you've outlined solutions and tested them, you can use each successive review to build on your progress. Keep your reps invested in the process by avoiding laying out blame, and showing them how making changes will bring them more business. With the right attitude and a focus on preparedness, you will get maximum value from your sales pipeline reviews.