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Weekly sales funnel reviews provide a control and visibility into a company's sales pipeline. These days, it’s extremely surprising to come across companies that have yet to adopt this indispensable practice!
In fact, ignoring pipeline reviews or not running them properly is a huge disadvantage, both for sales leaders and for business executives.
Why sale managers don't conduct pipeline reviews?
As with the CRM, the pipeline review is sometimes associated with micromanagement. To me, this indicates that it isn’t being used properly. Far from being a time to simply review opportunities, it's instead an essential sales coaching tool.
Representatives will be motivated by these reviews, as long as they can count on the input of their coach to identify ways to speed up the sales cycle.
The 5 stages of an effective sales pipeline review
Here are five elements you should consider optimizing for your sales pipeline reviews with your representatives.
- Identify the salesperson's state of mind
- Address objectives head on
- Identify a success
- Dissect a failure
- Review critical opportunities
Identify a salesperson's state of mind
The primary goal isn’t about the rep meeting their sales objectives.
Instead, the coach should focus on the representative’s state of mind and degree of motivation.
This is, without a doubt, what will impact the upcoming week. That's why pipeline meetings should take place at the end of the week to review the week that just ended.
The sales manager will be able to act quickly on any negative feelings held by the salesperson, which could be damaging to the sales efforts.
“How was your week?”
This simple question should be asked at the outset, because the way the representative responds is very telling.
The answer can be very dynamic if their performance was satisfactory, or on the contrary, very sullen if they feel they weren’t up to par. There may be a disappointment due to not closing a sale, irritation due to a problematic situation, anxiety about a meeting that went wrong…
In short, the tone and choice of words are good clues for the sales managers to start coaching.
Sales objectives shouldn’t be tackled right away, it’s important to focus on the salesperson’s mindset. In turn, this allows the sales leader to demonstrate empathy and to get closer to the salesperson.
Address the objectives head on
Addressing more concrete things like meeting targets can only be addressed at this stage. Sales managers should discuss not only the sales indicators, but especially those associated with the rep's activities.
A rep's weekly objectives can be defined several ways:
- The number of calls made;
- The number of conversations that took place (Fit Call, which identifies a problem experienced by the prospect);
- The number of first-goal meetings secured;
- The number of presented offers.
Reviewing a rep's progress towards meeting key indicators allows the coach to see if the representative maintains a good focus and works on relevant activities.
For example, if a representative must go and look for a minimum of two references, we want to ensure that they’ve been requested and obtained. If they haven't, the coaching must be adjusted accordingly.
Identify a success…
Identifying a salesperson's success over the past week is the third point to consider during a funnel review. It may be;
- a sale that the representative closed, or
- a behaviour that has allowed the advancement of an opportunity, or
- even help that was granted to a team member.
The important thing is for the representative to reflect on their positive elements, with the help of the sales leader.
... and dissect a failure
Though successes are important, unachieved objectives mustn’t be neglected.
There’s almost always an element that has gone wrong. Once the representative has identified a failure, they should be able to identify the causes.
What must be done to ensure this doesn't happen again?
Identifying the causes of failure is one of the most important coaching elements and the funnel review is a good time for this type of intervention.
Review critical opportunities
When the funnel has a lot of sales opportunities, sales managers need to select the most critical ones. The importance of opportunities is determined by the potential turnover, but also by their likelihood of closing.
Sales managers should also need to focus on the opportunities that should close during the month or quarter.
The role of the sales manager is to identify the places where he or she can help their representative. The coaching should be adjusted accorded to the blockages.
It’s not a question of telling the rep what to do, but of leading them to identify a solution by their own.
It's only if they can’t that the sales manager can suggest a method.
Funnel reviews can last from 30 to 45 minutes every week. They’re done individually, one-on-one. Group meetings are to be avoided, as this is a personalized coaching session.