Hot Takes

You’re Not Focusing on Pipeline Quality… And That’s a Problem

Revenue Sales

If you’re like most brands and CROs, you aren’t properly focusing on pipeline quality, and that’s a major issue. 

Vishwanath Mallikarjunan of has diverse experience ranging from market research, product development, sales, business analytics, DevOps, finance ops, and revops.

And this is one fact that he knows to be absolutely true, which is what he discussed in his Hot Takes Live session.

First, as a recap: Why should you be focusing on pipeline data quality?

There are plenty of good reasons, including the following:

  • Pipeline data is the tangible and articulated representation of the sales process in the CRM
  • A pipeline is a useful intermediary that formally bridges the sales and forecasting processes
  • Sales process -> Pipeline -> Forecasting 

So what constitutes pipeline quality in your CRM?

From a sales point of view, it’s going to be data hygiene. Are you getting information about the stage of the customer journey users are in, the amount they’re purchasing, or the close date? What about deal info, meeting notes, and next steps? Sales alignment and the cadence of the process are crucial.

When it comes to the RevOps point of view, however, the pipeline itself is in crucial consideration. They’re going to focus on defining the beginning and end of a pipeline and identifying activity vs. dormancy when it comes to potential deals. 

There are three core levels of pipeline data in the average CRM:

  • All pipeline data
  • Pipeline data for sales review
  • Pipeline subset data for forecasting

Let’s talk metaphors. Take a look at this picture of a gorgeous, mostly peaceful, and clear lake. 

The sales process is going to be equivalent to the lake currents, including the growth phase and sales motion consistency across product or market segments.

The quality of the pipeline can determine how clear the water is—is it crystal clear and you can see through it, or is it murky and mucky?

The forecast is the bottom of the lake. Are you able to see through it clearly to understand what you’re swimming or floating above? 

So when it comes to putting it all together, remember the following:

  • Align all teams on the sales process and how it’s articulated in the CRM
  • Data hygiene and consistency determine the CRM data subset that can be considered the “pipeline”
  • Understand which sales motions are consistent, which ones are new, and the influencing external factors
  • Segment pipeline by sales motions and forecast separately; each will have its own variance for accuracy 

Ultimately, a consistent sales process is the strategic foundation for quality pipelines and forecasts, and maintaining that pipeline hygiene is crucial at a tactical level.

Want more? Join 48 of the top SaaS leaders on February 16th, 2023, as they dish out hot takes and surprising insights on product-led growth, RevOps, marketing, and sales. Save your seat now!