How to run an effective pipeline meeting
The key lies in preparation and knowing what to spend your time on
The pipeline meeting is one of the 3 meetings you need to run a successful sales team. It has two goals:
Arrive at an accurate revenue forecast.
Remove blockers to moving deals forward.
Most pipeline meetings are too focused on the first goal because it helps the sales manager manage upwards and don’t spend enough on the second goal, which actually helps the salesperson move deals forward and the forecast to improve.
Simply going around the room asking each rep for their commit and their plan to close their gap to goal doesn’t actually accomplish much, however it’s not also feasible to dive into the specific details of every deal, nor is it good use of everyone’s time.
The key to striking the right balance between the two goals lies in the following:
Sales manager preparation
What to spend time on in the meeting
This post provides details on how to do each of these.
By the end of the day preceding the date of the pipeline meeting:
Update all your deals in your CRM, focusing on the following fields:
Amounts should reflect the latest version of the solution that has been prescribed to the buyer. This is important because it helps you spot outlier deals that will require more stakeholders and take longer to close.
Close dates should reflect the expected contract signing date. If a signing date hasn’t been agreed, the close date should reflect the buyer’s critical event date (i.e. the date on which they need to see initial impact) minus the onboarding time for getting to initial impact. It’s important to get these accurate otherwise you will set unrealistic expectations and fail to deliver.
All stakeholders should be added as contacts and attached to the deal. This is important because it helps you spot where you have single-threading risk.
Sales framework criteria should reflect the latest information that you have. For example, if you are using the SPICED framework there should be fields for Pain, Impact, Critical Event and Decision, each containing the relevant information. This is important because it makes it easier to identify where you have risks of deals not closing.
Losses + loss reasons. It’s better to close deals and explain why they’re lost then to let them sit stalled in your pipeline and inflate your forecast.
Wins + win reasons.
Write out the following and share them with your manager + colleagues in the pipeline meeting shared doc.
Your individual goal for the quarter.
Your closed won amount for the quarter.
Your best and worst case estimates for how much you will close by the end of the quarter.
Your priorities for the week. For each priority, list the deal, action item and due date.
Your deal blockers. For each blocker, list the deal, the problem and the help you need.
Sales manager preparation
The morning of pipeline meeting day, prepare the following agenda.
A summary of the forecast. 5 metrics: