How to Stop a Pipeline Crisis Before it Even Begins

4 minutes
Aug 31, 2022
Data ManagementPredictive Analytics

Your company’s pipeline is your best indicator for predicting deals and the amount of revenue currently on your radar. With so much importance placed on your pipeline, it’s crucial that:...

Your company’s pipeline is your best indicator for predicting deals and the amount of revenue currently on your radar.

With so much importance placed on your pipeline, it’s crucial that:

  • The data informing your goals is accurate
  • Your teams can easily track their progress
  • Key stakeholders are alerted to any potential problems, and
  • They can take action immediately to resolve any gaps

Pipeline management can make the difference between disappointment and a record-setting quarter. Properly aligning resources to create a trustworthy pipeline management process will go a long way in ensuring your business acts confidently and hits goals.

Let’s look at some strategies you can use to make your pipeline laser-accurate and eliminate any problems.

Start with Accurate and Realistic Goals

The best, simplest way to avoid a crisis with your pipeline is to set accurate and attainable goals from the start. Using arbitrary goals, or relying on inaccurate data to set goals, will only lead to frustration, finger-pointing, and missed targets.

Two common errors:

  • Pipeline goals are being generated with stale data
  • Targets are based on form-fills and MQLs

One reason pipeline predictions are so difficult is because many sales teams only capture the very end of the buyer journey. Buyers complete about 70% of the buying journey through anonymous online research, which means by the time they become a lead, they’re already close to making a decision.

Many accounts will never become a lead on your website, leaving you unaware that an opportunity ever existed.

MQLs don’t accurately represent the market opportunity, and they’re also a lagging indicator of the amount of interest that exists for your business. With modern ABM tools, you can spot the very beginning of the buyer journey and take appropriate actions to influence accounts.

By combining the anonymous activity (web pages visited, keywords researched, content viewed, etc.) with historical data about your company’s typical deals, you can be instantly alerted about:

  • Which accounts are in-market
  • Which accounts are most likely to buy
  • And how soon they’ll buy

Your pipeline targets should be based on real-time data that show how accounts are progressing toward a purchase decision. Instead of relying on your sales team to guess where they think a buyer is, use a platform like 6sense to uncover all of the signals an account is giving off.

With this data at your disposal, your teams can agree on realistic goals and be sure your pipeline is always accurate.

Stay Informed Through the Entire Quarter

Your operations team has better things to do than constantly pull ad hoc reports on your pipeline to update various stakeholders. All of your teams should have access to an easy-to-read dashboard that quickly and effectively communicates the status of your pipeline.

Pipeline Intelligence from 6sense gives your teams exactly what they need: an accurate and quick way to understand the status of your pipeline.

A screenshot of the Pipeline Intelligence dashboard in 6sense

A screenshot of the Pipeline Intelligence dashboard in 6sense.

A tool like this gives your teams the answer to important questions like: How much pipeline has been qualified vs. your projections? How are individual pipeline segments performing?

Providing self-serve access frees your operations team to focus on other work, and also provides other teams with the ability to structure their activities around accurate pipeline data.

For instance, marketing can track which activities drive the most pipeline this quarter and double down on those engagements. Or, sales can see which segments have yet to be engaged and focus on those that represent the biggest opportunities.

Pipeline Intelligence empowers everyone on the revenue team to focus on the activities that make the biggest impact on the bottom line.

Get Alerted When There’s a Problem

In a perfect world, your business would meet pipeline goals in predictable intervals based on planned activities. In the real world, we face pipeline gaps and leaks that can tank results if they aren’t noticed and corrected.

If you rely on the old school methods of pipeline tracking (manually-updated spreadsheets, ad hoc requests for information, etc.) you probably won’t spot problems fast enough to rectify them.

AI and machine learning can:

  • Continually track your pipeline and compare your current trends to historical performance
  • Quickly alert your teams when an emerging issue threatens target goals

Take Action in a Strategic Way

Knowing there’s a problem helps, but what you really need when you’re facing a gap in your pipeline is to understand what activities will be most effective and help close the gap.

6sense’s Pipeline Intelligence will provide your teams with recommended actions to address any pipeline problems. Instead of spending precious time and money on ineffective activities, you can immediately see which opportunities can generate the biggest impact and turn your shortfall into a windfall.

For example: In a few easy steps, you can instantly see which opportunities are pre-qualified and most likely to respond to your activities. Turn that list of opportunities into a dynamic segment and suddenly you’ve got an extremely relevant list of accounts and contacts that your teams can start targeting today — preventing fire drills at the end of the quarter.