When should sales managers focus on inspecting Opps during the Pipeline Review – higher up in the funnel (i.e. early) or later?
Most sales managers engage later in the process when there is some problem with an Opportunity but by that point it’s too late. It’s natural to focus there because these deals will close sooner but it’s critical to focus on Opps earlier in the process (higher up in the Pipeline funnel). Also, most FLMs also ask about “interesting” deals (bigger deals, known brand names, etc.) at the later stage and reps learn to hide deals a the top of the funnel. So successful sales managers don’t fall in that trap. They start early and question deals at the top of the sales funnel / pipeline.
The key to success in managing your pipeline in sales is to maintain the integrity of your Sales Pipeline which means the Sales Manager must start early when Opps enter the pipeline and must ensure that the reps fill the pipeline with well-qualified opportunities. That’s the only way to maintain or improve your % Win Rates throughout the entire selling cycle.
So the manager much start early and pay attention to what’s filling the pipeline at the top. Focus on top of the funnel because later will be too late – the fate will already be decided. Inspect in early stages and coach reps early otherwise you will have a bloated pipeline with low integrity and low predictability and ultimately low % Win Rates and you will miss your quota and lose credibility. Tapering off is natural but if you can focus on getting most Opportunities purged as early as possible then you will have a much more ideal selling process so you team is not consuming their valuable time and resources on low probability deals