We all know improving sales pipeline visibility is important for companies looking to increase revenue. While sales tools are being developed and updated to help sales leaders get a better read on their pipeline, there’s still a lot of human element in play. A lot of it still comes down to sales managers working with their reps to feed these tools the right data.
That said, improving your sales visibility doesn’t have to be daunting. This article will cover some practical tips to improve your sales pipeline visibility that you can easily implement into your workflow.
What is Sales Pipeline Visibility?
Good sales pipeline visibility means the entire revenue operation team has data and knowledge about the sales pipeline. So beyond the obvious sales team, potential deal information should be available to groups like marketing, finance, product management, and customer success.
A high pipeline visibility level allows you to also provide more accurate sales forecasts, while also identifying and addressing issues inside the pipeline. Good pipeline visibility starts with good sales processes that focus on good data hygiene, regular process audits, and collaboration between revenue teams.
3 Proven Ways to Improve Your Sales Pipeline Visibility
1. Have Managers Conduct Regular Sales Pipeline Reviews
This likely won’t come as a surprise, but we believe the best way to improve your sales pipeline visibility is by having managers conduct regular pipeline reviews.
Pipeline reviews allow managers to get into the nitty gritty details of each reps pipeline, and uncover important information that won’t show up in a Salesforce report. Oftentimes, managers may find that certain reps are under or over reporting on their actual pipeline.
For example, there are typically a ton of deals that reps are working on that leaders aren't aware of. By doing this type of sales pipeline management, managers can make sure all potential deals are in your sales CRM and have an accurate expected close date. This helps improve pipeline forecasts and gives teams like customer success a better idea of when they can expect to onboard new customers.
Managers should also look at certain key metrics when reviewing the sales pipeline, including:
- # of deals in the pipeline
- Average deal size
- Average win rates
- Average sales velocity
Regularly tracking these sales metrics and comparing them over time gives you insight into whether your pipeline is generating increasing, consistent, or declining revenue. It may also give you hints as to why.
2. Improve Your Data Hygiene
At the end of the day, if your data management practices are sub-par, you are missing out on opportunities to improve your sales pipeline visibility.
Data hygiene can be one of the most tedious responsibilities of any modern sales team. However, ensuring that your team is only working off of the most accurate data is vital.
Here are some simple ways to improve your team's data hygiene and ensure you're maximizing your data's effectiveness:
Run regular data audits
We recommend starting with a simple review of your data collection process. However, you can also conduct more complex audits to identify problems like missing data fields or inconsistent information. Ideally, you should conduct these audits regularly so that you can catch inconsistencies as soon as possible.
Once you've identified any issues, make sure to take action to address them in both the short and long-term. That means fixing the bad data as well as identifying if there are systemic issues where certain data is missing or being entered incorrectly.
This may involve checking your data collection tools (if you use any) to ensure they’re working as intended, talking with salespeople about their workflows, or finding new tools to assist in aggregating new data into your CRM.
Work closely with your reps to solidify data hygiene best practices
In addition to running regular data audits, a good way to stop mistakes and omissions before they start is to work directly with your reps. In group or 1:1 sessions, you can offer advice and get direct feedback from your team about what's working and what's not.
That direct feedback is invaluable because a "best practice" only works if it’s actually effective for your team. This regular coaching and communication can help you build a truly functional data workflow unique to your team.
Add new tools to your stack
The good news is that improving data hygiene has gotten much easier over the years, with plenty of new tools, resources, and automation available to help you better organize and track your data.
For example, Rattle connects Slack or Teams with Salesforce to notify sales managers and reps when Salesforce data is incomplete or missing. By proactively reminding sales reps of anything they may have forgotten to add to their records, good data hygiene becomes a nearly automatic process.
Create incentives for practicing good data hygiene
It’s good to equip your team with the tools and procedures that make data hygiene easier. But the fact is, many reps will still need some extra motivation to implement these things.
Rewards like gift cards, free meals, or dinners are commonly used to incentivize sales team members to comply with certain data management requests. However, it's ultimately about making the often-tedious practice of data hygiene pay off in both short and long-term rewards.
3. Create a Deal Desk
A deal desk is a cross-functional group focusing on efficiently getting high-value, complex deals through sales pipeline stages. The deal desk brings together all involved parties and information in one location, including the sales team, finance, legal, product, marketing, customer success, and support. Due to their cross-functional nature, deal desks can improve pipeline visibility by encouraging information sharing between all these separate teams.
Assembling the deal desk at the right stage of a deal is crucial and can lead to slowdowns if there's no proper system to make it happen seamlessly. Thankfully, Rattle also has a Deal Rooms feature that allows you to automate this process and assemble your deal desk in no time.
With Deal Rooms, you can create custom triggers for Rattle to create a deal room slack channel and assemble the right people at the right time. For example, you can specify that the implementation manager is added to the deal room whenever the deal reaches the "proposal delivered" phase, so they're brought in once they're truly needed.
Deal desks help you improve pipeline visibility for your biggest potential revenue generators and are key to real time collaboration on these important deals.
Despite all the tools, best practices, and automated processes available to improve your pipeline visibility, they don’t mean anything without a team who actually uses them to their advantage to close deals.
This is why we're so big on creating sales practices that give your team more time to focus on their prospects and processes.
Through these simple process tweaks, you can improve your visibility, make more informed decisions about deals sitting in your pipeline, and improve cross-functional collaboration throughout your team to ensure as many people hit quota as possible.