3 ways to manage your pipeline more effectively

Nov 17, 2021

Maintaining a smooth-running pipeline is essential in a high-performance sales team, but it takes effort across the organisation. Let’s find out more.

When you manage your sales pipeline well, keeping it well-stocked at the top and running smoothly throughout, your sales team will always perform better. A smooth pipeline means predictable revenue, more accurate forecasting and a happier workplace. It eliminates that inconsistent famine or feast that often occurs in sales teams. It grows your business and helps you scale. 

However, managing your pipeline isn’t easy. It’s something you need to work at consistently, with effort from across your organisation. In this article, we’ll look at three ways to keep your pipeline flowing.


What is a sales pipeline?

But first, let’s clarify what a sales pipeline is.

A sales pipeline is a visual representation of your revenue operation at any given time. It typically shows the different stages of the buyer’s journey, tracking individual opportunities as they move from the start to becoming a customer. 

The individual stages will depend on your organisation’s sales process, but it could include:

  • Prospecting
  • Qualification
  • Demo
  • Price quote
  • Negotiation
  • Closing
  • Customer success stage

Your pipeline will show how many opportunities are at each stage, with financial values, so you can see where you are versus target and what you need to do to achieve your goals. You can use several metrics to assess how well your pipeline is flowing, such as:

  • SQLs per month – the number of sales qualified leads coming into the pipeline
  • Pipeline value – the total value of the opportunities in your pipeline
  • Deal velocity – the average amount of time it takes an opportunity to move from the start of the pipeline to the end

So, you can see how important it is to maintain a full pipeline that runs smoothly, ideally getting faster. Now, let’s look at three things you can do to manage your pipeline more effectively.


1 – Get higher quality leads at the start of your pipeline

One of the most common ways a pipeline can stop flowing is when the leads coming into the pipeline aren’t high quality. The marketing team sends the sales team a good number of leads, but when sales reaches out, they find it hard to move them on to the next stage of the journey. This is often because marketing teams give sales teams leads before they see a strong signal that they want to buy.

The best way to remedy this situation is to get your marketing and sales teams on the same page, working towards the same goal – revenue. After all, sales and marketing alignment is a common feature among the highest performing SaaS businesses. Get your sales and marketing teams to collaborate on defining a high-quality lead and how they can work together to keep the pipeline flowing.

Some organisations take sales and marketing alignment by paying their marketers on creating pipeline, rather than simply marketing-qualified lead (MQL) generation. Compensation drives behaviour, so if you want to focus your marketing team on generating warm leads that are likely to become customers, put your money where your mouth is.


2 – Evaluate and clean your pipeline

The sales pipeline needs to be the central focus for every member of your sales team, no matter what stage of the buyer’s journey they work on. For example, SDRs are responsible for qualifying and booking meetings that AEs turn into deals, but if SDRs can improve their conversion rates even slightly, it could lead to a significant improvement in revenue. Track every deal in your pipeline. Check how it is moving and if it gets stuck, find out why and how you can fix it. 

You also need to keep your pipeline clean. Make sure you have all the correct contact information for the prospects in your pipeline. Make sure they sit at the correct stage of the pipeline. If there is a lead that will never become a customer, don’t be afraid to delete them from the pipeline. It will stop your salespeople from wasting time chasing lost causes.

There are several tech solutions that can help you evaluate and clean your pipeline. Pipeline management software shows you the data you need in an easy-to-understand way, so you can make all the necessary improvements.


3 – Get your pipeline moving quicker

When you get your pipeline moving faster, you shorten the sales cycle and do more deals in less time. You can make improvements at each pipeline stage to get better conversion rates and faster deals:

  • Better outbound – Always be improving your cold calling and email outreach strategies
  • Prioritise – You need to know which leads are most likely to buy, so you can call them before the ones who are just browsing
  • Follow-up – Don’t let a lead sit idle in your pipeline. After you have spoken to them or sent them information, follow it up quickly
  • Tech is your friend – As well as pipeline management software, use your other software tools to speed up your sales process
  • Coaching – Coaching can help at every stage of your buyer’s journey, but it excels when it comes to showing salespeople how to overcome objections and get that deal over the line
  • After the sale – How does your customer success team work to renew, upsell and get referrals from happy customers?


Find out more from SaaSLeads

At SaaSLeads.io, we recruit, develop and deliver SDRs to your organisation, ready to produce excellent results in your sales team. Our SDRs have an excellent grounding in the basics, ready to branch out into more advanced techniques.

Our extensive training programme teaches SDRs to generate excitement around the impact your product brings. First, they learn how to move your prospects through a structured sales process that leads to more won deals. Then, when they get to your company, they’re ready to produce unparalleled results. 

To find out more, contact us by filling out the form below.

Sarah Mills

Sarah started her career as a Science teacher before ending up in the world of tech. Her career has now gone full circle as she brings both of these experiences to the SaaSLeads Academy.

Outside of work, Sarah can be found travelling around the South West coast in her campervan searching for waves.

Ready to talk? Get in touch today