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8 Crucial Capabilities Sales Managers Need to Optimize the Revenue Pipeline

Every sales organization has one over-arching objective to which all other activities are in service and that is to meet or exceed its revenue goals. For sales teams, that is how “victory” is defined.

If you run a sales team, odds are pretty high that you’ve been focusing on the following in order to ensure your team is positioned and prepared for success:

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1. Improving sales performance through better processes and methodologies
2. Measuring and analyzing key sales metrics

Truth is there are a myriad of activities you can undertake to impact your chances of leading your team to victory. The devil is in the details.

Unfortunately, many of those details are hard to get—if they’re available at all—within Salesforce CRM, without special customization (i.e. a lot of hard work and money).

Optimize the Revenue Pipeline to Ensure Victory

How do you know whether you’ve got an optimized pipeline? Could your reps be moving deals through the pipeline at a faster pace? Do your reps leverage each call to its fullest? Are deals progressing at an unacceptable rate? What is an acceptable rate? In order to answer these and other questions that comprise “the details” you need information.

You’ve likely found it difficult to know whether reps are asking a unified set of qualification questions, or to obtain other critical call details—details that reps should be entering routinely into CRM, but instead, remain locked-up in their heads. We find the root cause is often not an unwilling rep, but rather an unwieldy system.

It is a problem when you lack the information required to analyze and measure your revenue pipeline. You can’t measure what doesn’t get recorded. And of course, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve upon it.

When that happens it’s not uncommon for managers to rapid-fire a barrage of questions in one-on-one review sessions. That approach is a bit like coaching a football team without witnessing the game first-hand. You scramble at each break to ask your players what’s happened so far, so you can coach them for the next play.

A Better Approach

To solve this problem, it’s imperative that you have a more real-time understanding of what reps are doing, and how customers are responding.

What do you need for that to happen? The following checklist should help to give you a good understanding of the capabilities most sales managers need. Determine which are important to you and which of those you’re missing.


Crucial Sales Management Capabilities In Place Needed Not Needed
I’m able to improve sales team performance with coaching based on historical data of what works and what doesn’t.
Because reps are consistent in capturing qualification questions and answers, I’m able to produce meaningful reports and gain needed insight.
I can on-board new reps quickly because of the tools I’ve put in place such as: qualification questions, persona-based conversational questioning, multi-touch follow-up processes and standardized follow-up materials.
I don’t have a problem getting reps to log their calls in a way that allows me to analyze results consistently across the board.
Sales and marketing managers agree on what types of campaigns deliver the best sales results.
We know which conversation starters convert to more conversations. Reps are able to optimize call outcomes as a result.
I know precisely how call volume correlates to quota attainment. And I know the metrics in between (average number of leads that convert into conversations, the average number of conversations that convert into meetings, the average number of meetings that convert into opportunities).
I know how much time it takes for reps to adequately prepare for a call and the number of steps required. I’ve taken specific actions to speed the process and reduce the number of steps and I’m able to measure the results—both in terms of call outcomes and quantity of calls.


Download a PDF Revenue Optimization Checklist

If this list isn’t perfect for your situation, take a moment to think about what you do need and whether or not those needs are being met. Incite2 provides each of the capabilities listed in the checklist all within Salesforce CRM. No matter what your list contains, the point is to do the exercise so that you know where the gaps are. Only then can you systematically address each one and put the tools in place to lead your team to victory.

Jim Banks is a sales expert, with over 40 years of sales experience. He has watched CRM throughout the years and realized that it still lacked several tools that the sales professional needed. In 2004 he left his job as a Sales Executive and started improving CRM systems for other companies.
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