7 best practices for effective sales pipeline management

written by
Fraser Moore
Dec 6, 2023
number
minutes read

Many consulting firms still struggle with the peaks and troughs in business development activity and project delivery activity.

Maintaining a consistent sales cadence is a crucial factor in propelling an effective sales pipeline. It plays a pivotal role in sustaining predictable growth and profitability, as well as optimizing team utilization.

So, what can you do to ensure you are managing your sales pipeline effectively when there’s a myriad of other things vying for your time and attention? 

Here are seven of my top tips to get super-focused and streamline your sales pipeline management—all while leveraging your PSA (Professional Services Automation) software to elevate your processes.

1) Customize your sales pipeline process

Craft your sales pipeline to fit your business needs, keeping things logical and straight-forward—for example, lead generation, qualification, proposal, negotiation, and contract signing.

You can then integrate this process into your PSA to drive standardization and automation. This helps to instil a sense of consistency and coherence throughout your business, laying a foundation for sustained growth.

2) Map your sales stages to key touchpoints

Align your sales stages with crucial touchpoints in the client engagement journey to ensure your approach resonates at every step.

Capture key insights within your PSA, and then review and validate them against your qualification criteria. You’ll then be able to maximize the value delivered in each stakeholder engagement and foster lasting relationships.

3) Automate routine sales activities

Automate everyday tasks and leverage activity templates and flows to ensure a regular cadence of contact, so engagement remains regular and systematic.

It’s also important to follow-up on opportunities to make sure they progress within the expected timeframes. Proactive follow-up is key for winning business as it reduces the chances of clients becoming distracted and the process stagnating.

4) Keep your opportunities data up-to-date

Regularly updating key data, such as opportunity value, win probability, estimated start and end dates, next actions, and due date can provide you with an essential view of the overall health of your sales pipeline.

It’s also a great way to foster accountability within your team—creating a transparent environment and applying team-based insights to progress opportunities, stop them getting stuck, and increase win probability.

5) Leverage real-time analytics

Your PSA’s real-time analytics capabilities can unlock invaluable insights into your sales performance. With live data and dashboards that monitor sales performance, you’ll be empowered to identify trends and extract actionable intelligence to steer your strategy toward success.

Real-time analytics can also pinpoint where you should be focusing your sales efforts, giving you the best chance to maximize the conversion of every possible opportunity.

6) Get accurate sales forecasts

Combine committed project revenues with both weighted and unweighted revenue forecasts—combining these approaches creates a balanced forecast—to achieve an accurate sales forecast.

This holistic approach makes sure that your resource allocation aligns with expected revenues, which can help with both resource capacity planning and making informed hiring decisions.

7) Use an integrated CRM & PSA solution

If you have a CRM as well as a PSA, make sure that they’re seamlessly integrated to eliminate the effort of double-handling sales pipeline and customer data. This results in a streamlined workflow that will enhance data accuracy and consistency through the process.

Additionally, connecting sales forecasts with downstream activities such as resourcing and financial planning ensures decisions can be made as part of a cohesive, data-driven approach, rather than in silos.

Some PSAs, such as CMap, even offer an in-built CRM that combines pipeline demand and live projects—find out more.

Final thoughts

Mastering your sales cadence is one of the most effective ways to help manage your sales pipeline. Even if you’re struggling with limited sales capacity, time, or resources, focusing your attention on the seven actions I’ve laid out above will help you on track to a healthy pipeline.

About the author

Fraser Moore, Head of Consulting at CMap, has over 30 years' experience as a business leader in the consulting sector and is passionate about building successful, sustainable, and caring consulting organizations. Having implemented CMap at several businesses in the past 15 years, Fraser strives to help businesses achieve operational success and achieve strategic ambitions. Read more about Fraser's journey here.

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