Master the brief but effective pipeline review

“Be brief, be bright, and be gone”. I learned this phrase from a technology adverse sales vice president whom I worked with a few years back, and to this date it is one of the best lessons I’ve learned about how to run effective pipeline reviews. Whether the Monday morning huddle or the quarterly team review, pipeline reviews must be purposeful, productive, and efficient in order for them to be effective.

Managing a sales team using a bloated CRM implementation and consistently making monthly and quarterly quota is difficult enough as it is. With limited time and resources available to sell, the last thing in the world you need or want are tedious, time-consuming pipeline reviews that still don’t yield an accurate update on the true status of the opportunities.

You know the reviews I’m talking about. The sales manager insists on reviewing each of the hundreds of opportunities in the pipeline, one by one. He is going in alphabetical order and you are “Z”. Or better yet, you are reviewing the key in-quarter opportunities in the pipeline, and the guest executives feel compelled to review if the correct SIC has been selected for all prospects. In the words of the familiar internet meme, “Ain’t nobody got time for that”.

In my book, pipeline reviews happen every day. Properly leveraging CRM solutions like Salesforce, you can implement a review routine for your team where in no more than five to ten minutes per sales professional you can:

· Focus on the star deals, so you confirm they are ready to be closed

· Identify the poor deals, so you can disposition them as needed

· Direct critical action on remaining opportunities, so you drive funnel velocity

If your CRM is properly configured and aligned to your sales operations and your business plan, pipeline reviews cease to be a “forced waste of time” and instead become a teambuilding success forum where rookies learn and professionals get the support that they need to successfully close more business.

When was the last time you had clear guidance on how to get an opportunity ready for close? Do you have a playbook for action after your reviews? Has your Salesforce CRM implementation ever been cleaned up to make sure it is not bloated? If the answer to any of these is “no” or “never” odds are your pipeline reviews are not as purposeful, productive and effective as they could and should be.

Stop wasting valuable time and effort. There are tools available that can dramatically streamline and focus pipeline reviews, make your team smarter, and let you get back to selling.

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