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Clearing the Clutter: How to Clean Up Your Sales Pipeline and Increase Your Success

As a sales leader, one of your main responsibilities is managing your sales pipeline. Your CRM system can quickly become....

As a sales leader, one of your main responsibilities is managing your sales pipeline. Your CRM system can quickly become cluttered with deals that are going nowhere, making it difficult to accurately gauge your team’s progress and hit your sales targets. To ensure your pipeline is filled with actual opportunities, it’s crucial to recognize the signs that indicate whether a deal should stay or be moved out. In this article, we’ll explore six major signs that can help you clean up your sales pipeline effectively and increase your chances of success.

📈 Statistics Spotlight: Removing aged out deals from your sales pipeline can increase your chances of success. By keeping your pipeline focused on fresh, relevant opportunities, you have a higher chance of closing deals and meeting your sales targets. 🎯

1. Aged Out Deals

Just like the leftovers you find in your refrigerator, some deals in your pipeline have aged out and should be discarded. To identify which opportunities fall into this category, follow these steps:

  1. Calculate the average sales cycle for your business.
  2. Double the average sales cycle.
  3. Remove any opportunities in your pipeline that are as old as or older than the doubled average sales cycle.

Removing these aged out deals will help keep your pipeline focused on fresh, relevant opportunities that have a higher chance of closing.

💡 Hints & Tips: When evaluating your sales pipeline, consider the number of contacts within a potential client organization. If there is only one stakeholder involved, it may indicate that the opportunity is not substantial enough. Keep your pipeline focused on more robust and promising deals by jettisoning non-opportunities. 🌟

2. Perennials

Do you have prospective clients who repeatedly express interest in buying from you but never follow through? These are the perennials in your pipeline – they keep coming back but never blossom into actual deals. After encountering this pattern for a few years, it’s time to remove these poor opportunities from your pipeline with no harm to your coverage. By doing this, you free up space for opportunities that are more likely to convert into actual sales.

🤔 Did you know?: Opportunities in your sales pipeline should be motivated to take action. By asking the right questions and filtering out unmotivated opportunities, you can focus your efforts on prospects who are truly ready to engage and make a purchase. 💪

3. Lack of Motivation

Opportunities in your pipeline should be motivated to take action. When you identify a new opportunity, ask the sales rep two important questions: What is compelling this client to change now? and What will happen if they don’t do something? Without clear answers to these questions, the opportunity may not be worth pursuing. By filtering out unmotivated opportunities, you can focus your efforts on prospects who are truly ready to engage and make a purchase.

4. No Second Meeting

Much like a first date that never leads to a second, a first meeting with a prospect doesn’t guarantee a new opportunity. If a prospect fails to respond or schedule a second meeting, it’s likely that there is no genuine potential for a deal. Including these opportunities in your pipeline can mislead your team and hinder your ability to hit your targets. To maintain an accurate pipeline, promptly evict these non-opportunities.

5. The Illusive Big Deals

We all dream of landing those big deals that could significantly impact our business. However, if a deal that appears promising fails to make progress over weeks or even months, it may be time to replace it. If a sales rep claims to still be working on a big deal but has no tangible results to show, it’s time to let go. Don’t let false hopes clutter your pipeline; focus your efforts on deals that are viable and moving forward.

6. Too Few Contacts

When it comes to opportunities, having a single stakeholder is rarely a promising sign. If a salesperson has only ever met one contact within a potential client organization, it may indicate that the opportunity is not substantial enough. The longer a deal progresses with only one stakeholder involved, the more likely it is that the opportunity isn’t viable. Consider jettisoning these non-opportunities to keep your pipeline focused on more robust and promising deals.

⚙️ Filtering Your Pipeline for Quality Opportunities: To maintain a clean and effective sales pipeline, it’s important to filter out anything that isn’t a genuine opportunity. Here are two key filters to apply:

  1. The compelling reason: People and businesses don’t change without a compelling reason. Assess whether your sales force’s contacts have a genuine motivation to change or invest in your solution. If there’s no compelling reason, it’s unlikely to be a viable opportunity.
  2. Your delivery model: Make sure the opportunity aligns with your abilities and delivery capabilities. If what the prospective client needs is something you can’t or shouldn’t provide, it’s best to set it aside. Don’t waste time and energy on opportunities that aren’t a good fit.

By applying these filters, you can ensure that your pipeline is filled with high-quality opportunities that have a higher likelihood of converting into sales.

Conclusion

Maintaining a clean and well-managed sales pipeline is essential for hitting your sales targets. By recognizing the signs that indicate whether an opportunity is worth pursuing or should be removed, you can keep your pipeline focused and increase your chances of success. Remember to regularly evaluate your pipeline, have open conversations with your sales team, and make informed decisions about which opportunities to pursue. With a clean and honest pipeline, you’ll be better equipped to build a strong and profitable business.

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