Twenty percent of the sales process is customer-facing time. Eighty percent is everything in between. Isn’t that crazy?

A lot of the sales activity is not face-to-face. It’s how you define and manage your sales pipeline.

Today I’m sharing the three tips for managing your sales pipeline so that you can close more deals and drive growth.

  • Have a CRM
  • Define Your Sales Phases
  • Establish a Pipeline Review Discipline

Principle #1: Have a CRM

The sooner you start with a CRM the better off you will be. At the very least you need a spreadsheet to track your deals. What matters is that you write down all the deals you have and in what stage of your sales process they’re in so you can accurately forecast and appropriately follow up on deals.

When you invest in a CRM you get access to stats and analytics. Those come in handy. The CRM I recommend is HubSpot. It’s free to get started.

The next principle will validate why having a CRM is so important. It helps you define the different phases a deal goes through.

Principle #2: Define Sales Phases

By default, you have an opportunity. Also known as, your discovery call. Maybe they downloaded your manifesto or did an outbound; whatever it may be. Eventually, they want to get on a discovery call with you.

As you work through this sales process you will eventually close a deal.

Not every deal that books a call will end up buying. Generally speaking, if you have four deals, one will buy.

What that means is you have a certain win rate. Using your CRM you can better track this metric. You can also track the deals you didn’t win and why.

Between discover and close your pipeline phases might look like this:

  • Discovery Call
  • Demo
  • Send a Proposal
  • Job won or lost

You could have more or less depending on your sales process. As you define each stage, there is a percentage that exists between each stage (i.e. 3:4 go from discovery call to demo, 2:3 go into proposal phase, etc.)

As you start to track and measure these leads, you will start to see how many leads are moving through the pipeline and when they drop off (aka the lost column).

Depending on what your MRR is and taking into account your win rate and average deal size, you will start to know how many dollars you need to have in your pipeline in order to meet your sales goals. Is that a 3-5x pipeline or more?

This is the power of sales pipeline management. This is where a sales-driven model really shines.

Once you’ve defined these stages, you next need to review them.

Principle #3: Review your Pipeline

Put a reminder on your calendar to review your pipeline. Ideally one-on-one with each of your sales reps and with the team.

When you sit down to review, there are three questions you need to be answering.

  • What is your forecast?
  • Is each deal in the right stage?
  • What do you do next?

As you start to grow out your sales process, you may add more stages (i.e. security review) but never more than eight.

When you do that your win rates will go up, forecast accuracy will go up, better partner with marketing to make sure you’re getting enough pipeline generated, and accelerate your growth.

Lastly, if you’re in the stage of building out your go-to-market machine and want the exact steps I follow, then I invite you to check out my coaching program. Here, I give you the step-by-step framework to build out the marketing and sales sides of your SaaS business along with my coaching.