Akoonu Pipeline Reviews and Forecasting

Akoonu Pipeline Reviews and Forecasting

Blog: Thoughts, Tips and Tricks

Rethink Your Pipeline Management

Selling is a numbers game, but it doesn’t need to be limited to just that. Try researching “improve your sales pipeline” and you’ll see a consistent theme in the recommendations. Not surprisingly, bigger pipelines yield better results, more tactical work yields more opportunities, and defined processes lead to more predictable wins.  In reviewing the highest ranking recommendations for how to “improve your sales pipeline”, we’ve categorized the top 34 tips by type.

Improve Your Sales Pipeline Tips.jpg

The biggest group focused on improving strategies:

  • Define (and operationalize) your sales process to improve growth. HBR reported that companies with a defined process experience 18% more revenue growth.
  • Segment buyers into similar groups and develop messaging and positioning specific to them.

The next type revolves around analyzing metrics:

  • Live and breathe metrics to quantify everything you can in order to think beyond gut feeling.
  • Look for ways to improve stage velocity in order to keep deals progressing.

Then the tactical group covers tips such as:

  • Build better relationships within your accounts.
  • Gain credibility with buyers through actions and follow-ups.
  • Use social channels and referrals to develop relationships.

Take a deep look at these categories—while it’s clear that selling strategies, measurements and tactics are entirely essential—most of the tips focus on the seller, rather than the buyer.  To take your pipeline improvement efforts to the next level, it’s time to get buyer-centric.

2 tips for achieving buyer-centricity in account-based selling

1. Integrate the revenue journey into your process.

Understanding how the buyers journey relates to your sales process is called the revenue journey. The visual below shows a simple revenue journey that helps you build buyer awareness into your process. Notice how the interactions by Marketing, Sales and Success teams can overlap in time. 

Understanding the Revenue Journey - Akoonu.jpg

Sales can use context and insights gained from the buyers journey to more effectively advance prospects from one stage to the next. An action list that sales can follow to move deals forward includes the following (more detailed version with specifics on how to execute these is here):

  • Know your buyers
  • Track buyer progress
  • Address buyer needs
  • Prevent friction

2. Capture and analyze buyer signals.

Integrating buyer signals into the data you collect about opportunities in your CRM helps to strengthen your reps’ understanding of the deals in your pipeline (and improve the health of your pipeline as a result). Rather than focusing on just getting more deals or improving your selling tactics, try understanding the full context of the deals you’re currently working so you can win a higher percentage of them. Knowing which are winnable, which are on-track and which might be most vulnerable to unwelcome surprises are valuable insights that reps can’t afford to work without.

Buyer Signals across Selling Organization and Buyer Account.png

Making buying easier on buyers is best way to help sales improve their pipelines. Research from CEB shows making solutions purchases usually takes twice as much time as customers think they will. Empower sales reps with insights about buyers that will help them more quickly identify buying groups and committees. Guide your reps to use insights from past wins to understand how to help buyers in current deals make decisions and solve problems, so you can make a sale while improving the overall buyer experience.